BA Is Shite

BA Is Shite


The latest news and views on British Airways, the world's "favourite" airline.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

The BA Strike, Unite, Willie Walsh et al

My return flight from Beijing yesterday gave rise to an interesting discussion with a member of BA staff, and indeed a number of observations about the "quality" of BA.

Seemingly, if the member of staff is to be believed, the much vaunted vote for strike action (due to start on 21 December and last during Christmas) was based on "misinformation" being disseminated by the BA union (Unite) to the staff; the staff member used the word "conned".

I am told that the staff were given to believe that the strike action would be a series of one/two day strikes, over a period of time, not a 12 day strike over Christmas.

Why would this be a problem?

Aside from the obvious issues of further destroying the BA brand, the other key problem would be the fact that BA staff themselves would find their Christmas flight plans "inconvenienced".

Ironically, despite the fact that staff tell me that Walsh is not respected (and by some staff loathed), the injunction stopping the strike has been in the best interests of the staff (who want to travel during Christmas).

Regarding my own experiences of the Beijing/Heathrow flight yesterday; here are a few observations:

1 It took off one hour late.

2 The pre meal canapes were foul, I spat one out into my napkin it was so bad.

3 The inflight sky phone did not work in my seat.

4 One of the back panels of another chair fell off during the flight.

5 The inflight TV (not movies) shows were the same as those shown on the outward journey to Beijing on Sunday.

6 The touch screen TV was filthy, and needed to be pressed very hard to actually function.

7 It took an interminable length of time for bags to appear on BA's "ultra efficient" baggage belt in Heathrow terminal 5.

8 There were no baggage carts, in view, at terminal 5 baggage reclaim.

From my biased perspective as a "passenger" (or as BA would have us believe "customer") the brand is tired, and the equipment/facilities in need of a serious overhaul/upgrade.

As a "national flag" carrier it is not something to be proud of.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

BA Long Past Its Sell By Date

There is an interesting article in the Times about the decline in BA's customer service, and the frustration of the staff who work for BA.

As far as I can see, the fundamental problem is that there is no defined career progression for cabin staff.

Fly another airline, eg Virgin, and you will see that the staff are relatively young, after several years they are promoted to more "admin" type roles.

BA, on the other hand, are more often than not crewed by staff who have spent up to 20 years or more flying.

All very well wrt experience. However, after a few years of flying the novelty and enthusiasm soon wears off.

I have spoken to many staff on long haul flights, they are brassed off (to put it mildly) with how the company treats them; this frustration ends up being taken out on the customers, albeit unintentionally.

BTW, as per the article, I too have experienced broken seats (in first class!).

BA is a company that is long past its sell by date.

Friday, 13 November 2009

BA Merger With Iberia

It was announced today that BA may merge with Iberia, if a satisfactory resolution to BA's £2.6BN pension fund deficit can be found.

In the event that the merger does actually take place, I wonder what will happen to the price of flights to Spain?

See two articles I wrote in 2007:

The World's Costliest Airline

The World's Costliest Airline II

Will the consumer really benefit from this merger?

Friday, 25 September 2009

Why Fly BA?

Today the Money Blog asks whether there is any point in flying BA – or any premium airline for that matter – any more.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

BA Scraps Short Haul Meals

The BBC reports that British Airways is to scrap all free meals, except breakfast, on its short-haul flights to save £22M a year.

Passengers on flights after 10am, which last less than two-and-half hours, will only be served drinks and snacks. They will not have the option to buy food.

A BA spokesman claimed that:

"When you fly with British Airways, the in-flight catering is top-class."


I draw BA's attention to my experiences with their "top-class" catering, as outlined on this site in earlier articles and on my Restaurant Review site as well.

As ever, when a company runs into financial difficulties, it is the customer who suffers.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Stormy Weather

I doubt that Unite, the BA staff union, will be that impressed by this report in today's The Times:

"The entire 11-member board of British Airways has agreed to work for nothing next month but is clinging to the free, unlimited, first-class travel perk granted to all past and present senior directors and their spouses for life."

Friday, 1 May 2009

Lamentable Timekeeping

BA's time keeping remains at its normal lamentable standard, as my girlfriend and her fellow passengers waiting on board their 13:50 London to Stockholm flight on Wednesday can attest to.

The passengers waited in the plane for around 45 minutes or so, as there seemed to be some confusion on the flight deck as to how much fuel the plane was carrying.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Price Fixing Refund

The Times reports that:

"Thousands of long-haul passengers affected by price-fixing by British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are finally set for a refund after three passengers dropped a challenge to a £73.5 million deal struck with the airlines by American class-action lawyers."

Monday, 26 January 2009

Prepare for Turbulence

It looks like there may be some staff issues ahead within BA, as Willie Walsh seeks to impose a 1% pay rise.

Doubtless it will be the long suffering passengers who have to end up weathering the forthcoming storm.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Special Privileges

The Times reports the following:

"The heads of several big companies that called for a third runway at Heathrow are members of a confidential British Airways club of elite businessmen who receive special favours.

They are served by a team of BA staff who cater for their every need. Other passengers are sometimes bumped off flights to make way for them, according to a BA source. Staff meet members at the aircraft door to fast-track them through immigration and flights are sometimes held to ensure they make their connections.

The only way to become a member is by personal invitation from either Willie Walsh, chief executive of BA, or Martin Broughton, the chairman. No one can earn the right to join by frequent flying.

Members get a black Premier card and distinctive black luggage tags, which BA staff are trained to look out for

I am sure that being given the Premier card didn't influence them in the slightest.