I’m Skeptical: British Airways CEO Promises Premium Focus

I’m Skeptical: British Airways CEO Promises Premium Focus

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British Airways appointed a new CEO (Sean Doyle) in late 2020, which sure is an interesting time to start a job as an airline CEO. With an aviation recovery happening ever so slowly, Doyle is now promising that the airline will become more premium. Is he just paying lip service, or is there more to this?

British Airways CEO promises “premium proposition”

British Airways’ CEO published a video for employees this morning, intended to outline the direction the airline is taking as it continues to see a recovery. Interestingly the focus is overwhelmingly on how he wants to transform British Airways into a premium airline. The Financial Times quotes Doyle as saying the following:

“There is room for optimism that we are on the way out. Putting the premium proposition into the heart of what we do is going to be key. We want people to come off a British Airways flight and talk about it as if it’s something different. Any airline can go out and buy products off the shelf and put them on a plane. It’s actually the confidence and the style and the intimacy that we deliver in service that is going to be a differentiator.”

Hah. I mean, I’ve been coming off British Airways flights for well over a decade and talking about how it’s something “different,” so I guess that has already been accomplished. 😉

British Airways has for years faced the same issues as so many other European airlines. The airline faces tough competition from ultra low cost carriers on short haul routes, and faces fierce competition from Gulf carriers in many long haul markets. Figuring out the right balance between offering a premium product and controlling costs can be hard.

British Airways has been under scrutiny for its cost cutting measures. During the pandemic, we’ve even seen politicians in the UK refer to British Airways as a “national disgrace.” For that matter, Qatar Airways owns 25% of British Airways’ parent company (IAG), and Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker has referred to the airline as a “low cost carrier.” He went on to say:

“British Airways is the flag carrier of the UK. You remember the motto? ‘To fly, to serve.’ That was not any more the motto of the company. It was only on a billboard.”

Al Baker did also say that he has confidence in the new CEO, and that he thinks the airline will “get the glitter back,” and that “British Airways will come back to its glory days.”

British Airways’ new boss is promising a more premium experience

British Airways won’t become truly premium, and that’s fine

Credit where credit’s due, British Airways was already starting to improve pre-pandemic, at least when it comes to the premium passenger experience. The new British Airways Club Suites are a massive improvement to the business class hard product, and on top of that first & business class catering was also starting to improve pre-pandemic.

That being said, I don’t believe that British Airways will become an actually premium airline. That’s partly because I don’t think management will invest to make that happen, and partly because British Airways doesn’t need to be much more premium.

It’s ironic that Doyle says that the differentiator in becoming premium will be the style and intimacy with which service is delivered, because arguably staffing is where British Airways most cuts costs. British Airways has been completely unreasonable in contract negotiations over the years, and morale among employees is low. The airline wants to pay Ryanair wages while having employees deliver Singapore Airlines service. As you’d expect, that leads to very high turnover.

Individually British Airways has some great employees, but the airline doesn’t have a culture of good service. It’s going to take a serious investment in people for that to change, and I don’t think the airline is willing to invest that.

My other big feeling is that realistically, British Airways doesn’t have to be all that premium. British Airways’ single biggest asset is that it dominates Heathrow, a highly lucrative, slot controlled airport. At the end of the day, people pay a premium to fly British Airways because the airline offers the most service to & from Heathrow. That’s it.

British Airways isn’t like Qatar Airways, as the latter actually has to provide a great product to convince people to connect in Doha when traveling between two other countries. British Airways doesn’t have that “problem.”

British Airways’ new business class seat is excellent

Bottom line

British Airways’ new CEO is promising that the airline will become more premium as it emerges from the pandemic. This has long been a talking point among management at the airline, and I only partially buy it.

Yes, British Airways is improving in some significant ways, at least for long haul premium travelers. The new business class seats are great, and catering was improved as well. But that’s about it.

I think what’s truly standing in the way of British Airways becoming premium is the people. And that’s not the fault of the individual employees, but rather the fault of management, for all the bad faith negotiating and cost cutting that has been going on over the years.

What do you think — will British Airways actually become premium?

Conversations (49)
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  1. Marc Syrene Guest

    Flew on Brithish aiways international travel in june 2022. Worst travel experience of my life. Lost bags both directions. Waited 3 hours in line just to talk to someone in Madrid. Missed our bus as a result. One person servicing the line that kept growing while business class just walked right up and no line. Appalling. Took 2 days for me to get my bag delivered. This is after we double checked to make sure...

    Flew on Brithish aiways international travel in june 2022. Worst travel experience of my life. Lost bags both directions. Waited 3 hours in line just to talk to someone in Madrid. Missed our bus as a result. One person servicing the line that kept growing while business class just walked right up and no line. Appalling. Took 2 days for me to get my bag delivered. This is after we double checked to make sure it would be transferred on our connecting flight and was reassured it would be. They cancelled our original flight and left no choice but to spend the night in London but did not compensate us with a room which ended up being a whole hassle in itself. A return bag did not end up on the carousel and they said they would send it as we had ro catch our bus then we get a call saying we had to pay 40$ for them to send it. The manager was rude saying the bag was there but it was not. They finally sent it almost a week later and multiple calls with no call backs. Seems the airline has really bad management from the top down. We did have an absolutely wonderful flight attendant on the way there. She should run the company as far as I am concerned. At the very least should make more money.

  2. Chris Md Guest

    Ben,

    With all respect, the new business club seats are absolutely rubbish. First and foremost, its a business class product, but yet there is no space to actually store a laptop. Secondly, the space to move your legs from sitting to standing around the lowered arm rest is even worse than the AA international business seat implementation of the same Collins product. The storage offered all around cannot be used for take off or landing...

    Ben,

    With all respect, the new business club seats are absolutely rubbish. First and foremost, its a business class product, but yet there is no space to actually store a laptop. Secondly, the space to move your legs from sitting to standing around the lowered arm rest is even worse than the AA international business seat implementation of the same Collins product. The storage offered all around cannot be used for take off or landing as it was never designed to be secured, so you have the pleasure of unloading and loading your stuff twice during your flight (unless you can hide it). The storage itself though is such an afterthought that most of the spaces are tiny, misshapen and unusable. The suite doors are not magnetic or tracked in a way that they want to stay closed for privacy, any turbulence and they start to open and close by themselves. If you are traveling as a couple in the middle seats, you cannot see each other at all without straining so conversations are impossible, and the tiny sliding door feels like its better in a prison. This Collins seat is also an HDBC product that is more claustrophobic than what other airlines have implemented with the same product. To get out of the seat in a leaned back position (not flat) requires any middle height user to completely bring the seat to an upright position so you can squeeze your legs out. The suite walls are too low for privacy, but too high for the staff to use, and so they have to consistently open the door and bend around to pick up or drop off drink and food trays. Lastly, though the old club world seat required someone to walk over your legs, you had an entire area above your body without hitting anything, and so it wasn't claustrophobic, a unique and original design, and could actually store a laptop....for business use.

  3. Ian J Guest

    It’s time BA got their experienced crew back in their First and Business Class cabins instead of inexperienced kids.

  4. Mark Chataway Guest

    BA was even worse 20 years ago. I used to fly on it, when I couldn't avoid it.

    The seats were truly awful -- some still had 40" of legroom and, if I remember properly, about eight degrees of recline; the modern ones had about 47" inches of legroom and were, laughably, referred to as "cradle seats".

    The staff were usually positively hostile. Sometime in the mid 90s, I was flying First from...

    BA was even worse 20 years ago. I used to fly on it, when I couldn't avoid it.

    The seats were truly awful -- some still had 40" of legroom and, if I remember properly, about eight degrees of recline; the modern ones had about 47" inches of legroom and were, laughably, referred to as "cradle seats".

    The staff were usually positively hostile. Sometime in the mid 90s, I was flying First from Cairo to London. I asked if I could have breakfast early as I really needed to sleep before going to work. "We have other things to do, you know," the purser told me and breakfast arrived two hours after take off from Cairo.

    Then they went through the phase of weighing every piece of hand baggage and refusing anything that was even 100g over 7kg. Overall, it's a mediocre airline that employs *some* really lovely people. Overall, I think it's got a bit better, but only a bit

  5. Sean's Boyfriend Guest

    Did you know what "lip service" means when you wrote this? I didn't until I met an American Ambassador and his frown when I said it prompted further enquiry. Yes, the new Club World Suite will roll out soon and World and EuroTraveller will be phased out. I think I sat in then twice respectively, why, is exactly why they need to go away.

    1. Clayton Guest

      Your level of knowledge, or rather lack thereof, of BA kind of tempers your comment.

      The Club Suite has been rolling out for neigh on 2 years now with its deployment actually being aided by repeated border lockdowns. "Euro Traveller" and "World Traveller" are the terms for BA's economy cabins so the likelihood of them being phased out, ever, is somewhat remote.

      As for your Ambassador friend. Their own lack of knowledge about...

      Your level of knowledge, or rather lack thereof, of BA kind of tempers your comment.

      The Club Suite has been rolling out for neigh on 2 years now with its deployment actually being aided by repeated border lockdowns. "Euro Traveller" and "World Traveller" are the terms for BA's economy cabins so the likelihood of them being phased out, ever, is somewhat remote.

      As for your Ambassador friend. Their own lack of knowledge about what lip service means outside of the world of smuttiness would indicate an unsuitability to their role.

  6. Josh Guest

    What they really mean is that they will continue to provide premium service in the nose of the aircraft and treat the rest of the passengers like cattle.

    BA First has been pretty reliably premium for a while now. JFK Concorde Room is one of my favorite pre-flight experiences.

    Business new product looks pretty good (J seats on the 747s were dreadful). This is actually one of the times that a polished, experienced crew makes...

    What they really mean is that they will continue to provide premium service in the nose of the aircraft and treat the rest of the passengers like cattle.

    BA First has been pretty reliably premium for a while now. JFK Concorde Room is one of my favorite pre-flight experiences.

    Business new product looks pretty good (J seats on the 747s were dreadful). This is actually one of the times that a polished, experienced crew makes ALL the difference. In the back of the plane, service is indifferent to surly, legroom is terrible, and you’re better off bringing your own sandwich.

    Where they really fall down is the LHR ground experience. Transit security personnel all missed their calling as North Korean prison guards and seem to forget we’ve already been screened at origin. LHR Concorde Room is nice, but too big to provide “premium” service. I’ve stopped using the J lounges at LHR in favor of the airport bars - better crowd and food/drink options.

  7. Jack Hodgson Guest

    BA is too big a business model to become a premium airline and in my view with the improvements made since Doyle took over it is fine now . The lounges around the world are very good with some having been or due to be improved in the future, great cabin crew, competive baggage allowances , club Europe on short haul routes etc. BA is what it is better benefits for those who wish to...

    BA is too big a business model to become a premium airline and in my view with the improvements made since Doyle took over it is fine now . The lounges around the world are very good with some having been or due to be improved in the future, great cabin crew, competive baggage allowances , club Europe on short haul routes etc. BA is what it is better benefits for those who wish to pay for it, and a good experience for those who do not BA now is not what it was in the 90s and never will be times have changed. A airline is about more than premium passengers

  8. Andy Diamond

    If we compare BA/IB with AF/KL and the LH group, it has a solid premium product. Arguably their sister IB has the best and most consistent business class product of any European airline, but BA is not far behind, especially when they have replaced all seats.

  9. Ben Guest

    Let's be real - it is no good comparing BA now to BA 20 years ago. The world and the industry is totally different.

    I fly BA a lot - I always fly in Club Europe and it is nice. The lounges are good (both Gatwick and Heathrow), catering is good, and I have always found the crew helpful, friendly and engaging. Seats are the same as economy - this is standard across Europe.

    ...

    Let's be real - it is no good comparing BA now to BA 20 years ago. The world and the industry is totally different.

    I fly BA a lot - I always fly in Club Europe and it is nice. The lounges are good (both Gatwick and Heathrow), catering is good, and I have always found the crew helpful, friendly and engaging. Seats are the same as economy - this is standard across Europe.

    BA Eurotraveller is basic, but the fares are basic too. Ryanair and easyJet are not always cheap. Especially once you add on all of the cheeky extras.

    People seem to forget that you generally get what you pay for. We want to pay peanuts for flights, but be treated like royalty.

    Let's be real. If you don't like BA - go find another carrier and stop moaning!

  10. WW Guest

    I'll take BA 'Premium' any day! Over any American 'Premium' airlines!

  11. John Guest

    Keeping it short and sweet: BA and 'premium' are two different concepts and never the twain shall meet.

  12. Ghislaine Barillaud Guest

    This picture is a picture of business class... the business seat do not have any room to even put book next to the bed....

  13. Jorge Paez Guest

    Uh, yea, because it's all about what rich entitled passengers get.....

  14. Brodie Guest

    Oh lord. How about answering the damn phone! How about staffing your Twitter team so they respond faster than 8 days. This guy is so full of $hit. AA looks premium compared to BA.

  15. Lune Member

    I remember in the 80s/90s BA had tremendous cachet as a sort of Old World glamorous vestige of the British Empire. All that went out the window when it was privatized and became just another soulless corporation. Now they compete on their product just like everyone else and no one gives a flying fig about its glorious history stitching the Empire together.

    And in that regard, the importance of LHR is greatly exaggerated. As the...

    I remember in the 80s/90s BA had tremendous cachet as a sort of Old World glamorous vestige of the British Empire. All that went out the window when it was privatized and became just another soulless corporation. Now they compete on their product just like everyone else and no one gives a flying fig about its glorious history stitching the Empire together.

    And in that regard, the importance of LHR is greatly exaggerated. As the largest colonial power, yes LHR was important in the 50s-80s/90s because all of its former colonies used LHR as their primary gateway to the rest of the world.

    But those days are long past, and most countries are easily connected through a variety of options including other European and especially the ME carriers. The truth is that LHR is awful for transiting, even against other European airports like AMS/FRA/CDG and most people avoid it if at all possible.

    That leaves o&d traffic. London is no doubt still a major, if not the major financial center of the world. But after Brexit, its importance will diminish there too. And with other airports in London itself being much more developed now, having an iron grip on LHR doesn't give BA a unique advantage that any other airline with a hub in a major city has.

    Which means BA needs to compete just like its peers which are the other major carriers of the world. Resting on its past glories, or hoping that LHR will serve as a fortress is a surefire way of continuing the slide down...

    1. Wilhelm Guest

      BA was privatised in the mid-eighties, and had been known as Bloody Awful while under state ownership. After privatisation, the airline did indeed become more premium, starting with the launch of Club World. The decline started much later, and it’s gotten worse. In my opinion, what used to set BA apart was their staff. Unfortunately many of them have left, voluntarily or not, and the former CEO had no understanding of what premium meant. Terrible...

      BA was privatised in the mid-eighties, and had been known as Bloody Awful while under state ownership. After privatisation, the airline did indeed become more premium, starting with the launch of Club World. The decline started much later, and it’s gotten worse. In my opinion, what used to set BA apart was their staff. Unfortunately many of them have left, voluntarily or not, and the former CEO had no understanding of what premium meant. Terrible staff relations didn’t exactly help.

      Agree with you regarding transferring at LHR - always having to reclear security, rude security staff, time consuming changes of terminals. The one thing that’s good is the range and quality of lounges.

  16. Mark Guest

    Travelling short haul BA are really Ryanair with old aircraft. Their long haul economy (both premium & non-premium) aren't up to the short haul standard.

  17. ChadMC Guest

    Imagine if they put actual first class seats on Club Europe routes? They'd be leaders in Europe as no one else does. As for the back of the bus, the seat pitch is smaller than that of Ryanair - no way that can be a premium experience.

    Eliminating charges for assigned seats in F/J, installing proper seats in Club Europe, and offering a decent amount of space in the back are things that could...

    Imagine if they put actual first class seats on Club Europe routes? They'd be leaders in Europe as no one else does. As for the back of the bus, the seat pitch is smaller than that of Ryanair - no way that can be a premium experience.

    Eliminating charges for assigned seats in F/J, installing proper seats in Club Europe, and offering a decent amount of space in the back are things that could easily make this into a more premium experience. I think they already have the service side largely down and the catering was turning out to be quite good before the world ended in 2020.

    1. Alexf1 Member

      Sadly, the premium seats will never return to Club Europe. Given that often CE runs all the way to the emergency exits in rows 11 / 12 of the A320 - that's a huge money spinner they couldn't run if they had a fixed premium seat cabin of, say, 5 rows like the US and Asian carriers do. Either that or increase the CE fares which can be quite cheap.

  18. DCYukon Guest

    I’m skeptical since they did away with F on LHR-JNB flights and downgraded me in the process ( still waiting for comp) to what appears to still be the old uncomfortable Club seats on a upcoming trip in a few months. Kept F on US connecting segments, so hoping this doesn’t screw up Concorde lounge access st LHR. But it does make me suspect this announcement is mostly rhetoric.

    1. Altus Guest

      I am a travel agent based in South Africa. F is definitely back on the JNB route as the A380 is back in service. It could only be seasonal but best to check with who you booked with.

  19. ConcordeBoy Diamond

    There's no way in hell I'd ever consider an airline "premium," if it tries squeeze customers who've just spent up to 5figures on PAID business class, by charging them several hundred extra for SEAT ASSIGNMENT.

    WTF is that?? On the most basic economy fares? ...understandable.
    Paid C/J class? ...idiocy!

    No matter what excuses fanboys come up with to justify it, that will never come across as anything other than cheap to NICKEL & DIMING...

    There's no way in hell I'd ever consider an airline "premium," if it tries squeeze customers who've just spent up to 5figures on PAID business class, by charging them several hundred extra for SEAT ASSIGNMENT.

    WTF is that?? On the most basic economy fares? ...understandable.
    Paid C/J class? ...idiocy!

    No matter what excuses fanboys come up with to justify it, that will never come across as anything other than cheap to NICKEL & DIMING of the type of customers whom airlines would most wish to attract!

  20. Lasdiner Guest

    What is a premium carrier these days tho?
    If we are talking about AF P or LH H, we are talking about airlines that have still a certain level of state employee protection, have been relying on lifeline funding from the EU, and charge substantially higher cost for first (and sometimes business) class. In the case of AF, the P product is very limited in seats offered and relies on a very niche clientele...

    What is a premium carrier these days tho?
    If we are talking about AF P or LH H, we are talking about airlines that have still a certain level of state employee protection, have been relying on lifeline funding from the EU, and charge substantially higher cost for first (and sometimes business) class. In the case of AF, the P product is very limited in seats offered and relies on a very niche clientele based in Paris. As for LH, the product is marketed as ultra premium, but it is not often so (for example, does not compare to AF P both for ground and air services, I am sure you would agree).
    As for ME3 carriers, Emirates has an airport experience these days so incredible anymore, and is far from personalized. Onboard, some J seats are still not fully flat.
    Qatar has never thoroughly implemented an F service, has nice but oft overcrowded lounges with restrictive access policies for OW elites not in J, and does not guarantee Qsuites on most routes. I find food on QR J worse than on BA.
    Etihad feels somewhat MIA since the pandemic, and is divesting from its premium product (at least its highest segments)
    Catering for all ME3 looks amazing on paper, but asides from the EK F wines it can be really meh, because of mediocre quality of local supply, or poor execution by crew. As for CX and SQ, it is with deep sorrow that I say that they don't exist anymore, at least for my market, which is US/EU
    So, considering the current onboard offer, the still ample schedule and the fair prices, the open lounges, without revolutionizing much BA has become almost ultra premium...

    1. Phillip Guest

      Well said!

      On recent flights in Emirates Business and First I found a very impersonal service where staff are taking all the orders on their phones as if they are robots and serve them just like so. In Qatar Business, aside from the fact that across 4 flights, all of which were meant to be Q Suites, I ended up with not a single flight with Q Suites. One of them even changing after check...

      Well said!

      On recent flights in Emirates Business and First I found a very impersonal service where staff are taking all the orders on their phones as if they are robots and serve them just like so. In Qatar Business, aside from the fact that across 4 flights, all of which were meant to be Q Suites, I ended up with not a single flight with Q Suites. One of them even changing after check in and seat assignments were messed up. As for onboard service, the friendly cabin crew was actually running (literally) back and forth to the galley. At the end they asked me for feedback, telling me that “their employer is planning on making changes to the route and my feedback would be very important in stopping the changes”.
      And so on and so forth!

  21. Andrew Diamond

    Agreed the club suites are nice on the updated aircraft. My wife and I enjoyed our flight to London from LAX, so hopefully the days of "buy first for a good business class experience" are behind us.

  22. Creditcrunch Diamond

    I think the “premium” branding that BA is striving for is more about reversing some of the cost cutting the previous CEO implemented based on a LCC. Little things like eliminating the charges for seat reservations, making the Club Europe seat more attractive by reintroducing the middle seat table, an accelerated retrofit of the new Club Suite on older aircraft.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Creditcrunch -- Agreed all of those things would be nice, but you really think British Airways will eliminate seat assignment fees, even just in business class? If so, you're much more optimistic than I am...

    2. Creditcrunch Diamond

      @Ben — Sean was interviewed on Sky News last year and he said BA should move away from trying to be a LCC+ model airline and rediscover it’s roots, now agreed I have listed the things that I would like to see changed, I remain hopeful Mr Doyle makes some revenue changing decisions even if it has an impact on its bottom line short term, with longer term aspirations.

    3. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      @ Creditcrunch -- sharing your hope as well. Hope that they're serious. Because they'll never shed the stench of being a ULCC-wannabe, if they're still doing idiotic measures like squeezing paid Business class customers hundreds of dollars extra, for seat assignments.

  23. Ed Guest

    Just flew BA from LAX to DXB over Christmas in J and had great personal interactions throughout. The club suites on the 787-10 and A350 are quite good, a little tight in foot space, but certainly comfortable, though very much "off the shelf" save for the door. The A380, on the other hand, that plane needs to be refreshed or put out to pasture. The hard product hasn't aged well at all in that plane, lots of wear and broken bits throughout the seat area.

  24. Hank Tarn Guest

    I fly with American carriers, would not want to support the Brits or other Europeans after how badly they have treated America over the years. Also they keep buying A350 and nearly all Airbus for short haul, the IAG MAX order still has not yet happened, how much longer will we be waiting.

    The Europeans were all very dismissive of the Trump Presidency, and it was disrespectful when it is what the people of America...

    I fly with American carriers, would not want to support the Brits or other Europeans after how badly they have treated America over the years. Also they keep buying A350 and nearly all Airbus for short haul, the IAG MAX order still has not yet happened, how much longer will we be waiting.

    The Europeans were all very dismissive of the Trump Presidency, and it was disrespectful when it is what the people of America chose. So happier to spend money on supporting American carriers employing American citizens.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Hank Tarn -- I'm curious, how do you feel about flying Delta? Because the airline has roughly 250 planes on order, and they're all from Airbus...

    2. JC Guest

      @Hank Tarn - An overwhelming majority of Americans (8 million +) proved they were dismissive of the Trump Presidency - hence why we now have a new President. Are the overwhelming majority of Americans now "disrespectful" in your eyes?
      Any traveler knows that the Asian, Gulf and some European carriers are far superior than the American carriers when it comes to services offered, better flying experience, etc. I'll continue to fly these carriers when possible.

    3. Reno Joe Guest

      Virtually all of American Airlines short-haul flights are on non-US aircraft. What about Delta and United? What about all of the European-based airlines with 747s, 777s, and 787s? You are a hypocrite.

      As for Mr. Trump, he was very dismissive of NATO and it was disrespectful when he wanted to withdraw.
      When the world turns to America as the ultimate arbiter of peace and justice -- and, it does -- in the face of...

      Virtually all of American Airlines short-haul flights are on non-US aircraft. What about Delta and United? What about all of the European-based airlines with 747s, 777s, and 787s? You are a hypocrite.

      As for Mr. Trump, he was very dismissive of NATO and it was disrespectful when he wanted to withdraw.
      When the world turns to America as the ultimate arbiter of peace and justice -- and, it does -- in the face of an increasingly hostile Russia, Mr. Trump intended to abandon a Europe that is still dependent on America. More so, Mr. Trump's policies seemed calculated to make Europe susceptible to Russian power. Is it now a surprise that Russia is emboldened to invade the Ukraine? Mr. Trump was Mr. Putin's Manchurian Candidate.

    4. JS Guest

      @Hank Tarn - An overwhelming majority of Americans (8 million +) decided to be dismissive of the Trump presidency - hence, we now have a new President. Does that make the overwhelming majority of Americans "disrespectful"?
      Any traveler knows that the Asian, Gulf and even some of the European carriers are far superior to the American carriers in terms of services offered, travel experience, etc. I will continue to travel using these carriers when...

      @Hank Tarn - An overwhelming majority of Americans (8 million +) decided to be dismissive of the Trump presidency - hence, we now have a new President. Does that make the overwhelming majority of Americans "disrespectful"?
      Any traveler knows that the Asian, Gulf and even some of the European carriers are far superior to the American carriers in terms of services offered, travel experience, etc. I will continue to travel using these carriers when possible over American carriers.

    5. EBWaa Guest

      You seem oddly resentful of EU-based airlines buying Airbus aircraft yet don’t have the same problem with US-based carriers buying Boeing aircraft which seems like quite the double standard.

      As for your out-of-left-field comments about Mr Trump and “disrespect”, the Former President made a habit of being loudly contemptuous towards the leaders of other countries (who had been democratically elected) when he disagreed with them, even going so far as to call then-German Chancellor Merkel...

      You seem oddly resentful of EU-based airlines buying Airbus aircraft yet don’t have the same problem with US-based carriers buying Boeing aircraft which seems like quite the double standard.

      As for your out-of-left-field comments about Mr Trump and “disrespect”, the Former President made a habit of being loudly contemptuous towards the leaders of other countries (who had been democratically elected) when he disagreed with them, even going so far as to call then-German Chancellor Merkel a “loser”. He got the same level of respect he afforded others.

    6. Tom Guest

      Sorry Hank, all I can say is that works just fine as you are exactly the kind of narrow-minded Trump fanatic American we don’t really want in the UK anyway polluting our politics (the fact you think all of Europe is one homogeneous place really says it all…)

      Maybe if every single current Boeing plane wasn’t clearly inferior to the current Airbus competitor in terms of passenger experience (the A320NEO is nicer than the Max,...

      Sorry Hank, all I can say is that works just fine as you are exactly the kind of narrow-minded Trump fanatic American we don’t really want in the UK anyway polluting our politics (the fact you think all of Europe is one homogeneous place really says it all…)

      Maybe if every single current Boeing plane wasn’t clearly inferior to the current Airbus competitor in terms of passenger experience (the A320NEO is nicer than the Max, the A350 is nicer than the 787 and 777), Boeing might still be the world’s largest airplane manufacturer.

      In addition, it’s weird you’ve chosen to post this on a BA article as BA remains one of Boeing’s biggest customers, dual sourcing from Airbus and Boeing, just like Delta.

    7. Reno Joe Guest

      Tom, to piggyback on your "homogeneous" comment, it would be similarly unfair to say that all Americans are Ugly Americans based on Hank's comment . . . or that all Southerners are racists.

    8. Jerry Diamond

      Hank, it’s too bad that Malev folded. I think you would really appreciate Orban’s outlook, so you may have been interested in supporting his national airline. LOT is starting to look like a good option for you, too.

    9. Alexf1 Member

      Yeah, shame about the Max order. Shame about all those people who died in the Max crashes too. Shame about the appalling lack of respect Boeing had for it customers and their passengers. I love America, but Boeing is a disgrace you shouldn't be proud of.

  25. SR Guest

    You are spot on with the reason why they don’t have to and why they won’t be a premium airline. ❤️ Your comment on how they have already accomplished what the CEO wants . Have and will never transit through LHR, so probably will never get to experience the “premium” BA !

  26. Khatl Diamond

    Completely agree. With so much traffic to/from London Heathrow and with BA (a) owning the significant majority of slots and (b) flying to a huge amount of other cities, BA itself doesn't have to excel like Qatar

  27. OB Guest

    I'm sceptical to say the least. Tired of the continued 'Bread today, Jam tomorrow' rhetoric.

    Flying F on BA next week and 1 of the 3 listed deserts is 'Lindt Truffles', the other is Vanilla ice cream.

    Ice Cream & Lindt Truffles would be a nice touch in Economy, it's a joke to list it to offer it in F, let along as 2 of 3 desert options!

    1. Reno Joe Guest

      I regularly fly in F between the US and UK. I have always had very good food offerings and service with BA. It's dessert options were substantially better than what you mention . . . plus good Port. The dessert options you mention seem more in line with an American-based carrier. I would agree that BA will not be a Qatar or a Singapore. But, of the "main line" carriers, I find it to be among the top.

    2. Ned Guest

      Is this actually true? I thought BA used Do&Co for catering and have had better dessert on the 45 min flight from AMS back to London. I think this might actually be nonsense and maybe BA bashing instead of realising that airlines are businesses. How many airlines are there that aren’t state sponsored, Ch11 veterans etc that can compete with BA consistently across the fleet?

    3. John H Guest

      I’ve flown BA F from LHR to DFW twice in the last month. It is, in fact, true that vanilla ice cream and Lindt truffles were two of the three desserts. To be fair, the ice cream had chocolate sauce and raspberries and was quite tasty. But the post about the choices is factually accurate.

  28. mdande7 Diamond

    It seems BA could become more premium using Aer Lingus as a more moderate long haul option. There are options if they wanted to be creative, but it would take a tremendous about of work.

  29. shoeguy Guest

    The new business class seats and the improved catering, which I recently experienced on a flight to LHR in long haul, are a step up for sure, but they are a long way from making BA a premium carrier and you're probably right, it never will be, and that is indeed OK. BA is too big an airline with too traditional a model to be a full premium carrier. It does not have the built...

    The new business class seats and the improved catering, which I recently experienced on a flight to LHR in long haul, are a step up for sure, but they are a long way from making BA a premium carrier and you're probably right, it never will be, and that is indeed OK. BA is too big an airline with too traditional a model to be a full premium carrier. It does not have the built in advantages of the ME3 or TK to move premium feel significantly forward. BA has always to me felt more or less institutional at best. The crew are generally fine. It is basically ok. Does not have the bells and whistles of VS, but has a much better network, overall. As someone who flies the NYC-LHR sector very often, usually on AA, I've, for the past few years, avoided BA as the service and seat in AA business class always seemed a notch higher (a whisker really, but enough for me to opt in). It will be interesting to see what happens as these two co-locate at JFK.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Jerry Diamond

Hank, it’s too bad that Malev folded. I think you would really appreciate Orban’s outlook, so you may have been interested in supporting his national airline. LOT is starting to look like a good option for you, too.

1
Ben Guest

Let's be real - it is no good comparing BA now to BA 20 years ago. The world and the industry is totally different. I fly BA a lot - I always fly in Club Europe and it is nice. The lounges are good (both Gatwick and Heathrow), catering is good, and I have always found the crew helpful, friendly and engaging. Seats are the same as economy - this is standard across Europe. BA Eurotraveller is basic, but the fares are basic too. Ryanair and easyJet are not always cheap. Especially once you add on all of the cheeky extras. People seem to forget that you generally get what you pay for. We want to pay peanuts for flights, but be treated like royalty. Let's be real. If you don't like BA - go find another carrier and stop moaning!

1
Brodie Guest

Oh lord. How about answering the damn phone! How about staffing your Twitter team so they respond faster than 8 days. This guy is so full of $hit. AA looks premium compared to BA.

1
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