View Full Version : Why BA remains tops for this SLF

27th Apr 2004, 22:22
I noticed a thread where one person complained about the lack of personal treatment from BA having made a mistake in his flight booking. It really is a shame...and I think most SLF have noticed, across the board, personal service slipping not only from airlines but in all walks of life.

There often seems to be some BA bashing from people here and probably justifiably so. Having just finished a contract with a major British company I never want to work for the B:mad: S again and I can see parallels regarding pay, conditions and so on.

HOWEVER...having travelled on many flights BA really is one of the, if not the best, simply because of the attitude and humour (9 times out of 10) of the Cabin Crew. And I would much rather board a BA jet than those of other companies. Just coming back from JFK I managed a couple of hours restless sleep and was dying for a cuppa (I was in Cattle Class). No problem. Contrast this with AA and so many more. Thank you BA crew - keep up the good work it's what makes travelling all the more bearable. It's a shame that BA no longer flies to Plymouth - it made life so much simpler especially with the luggage...and that means I fly KLM more than I would wish. However, they are good...just not as good. Here's my quick list of carriers in the last 12 months and some subjective (personal) thoughts...

British Airways
Class: Business and Cattle
Service: Efficient and friendly
Attitude: Professional and reassuring
FF: Exec Club good...though since the change I can no longer work out how to earn miles. Nice to have a reasonable chance of an U/G though. Especially enjoyed the LHR-Phoenix.

American Airlines
Class: Business and Cattle
Service: Poor, very poor (1 smile from crew between LHR and Chicago)
Attitude: Bad. Very unhelpful
FF: Reasonable.

Class: Cattle
Service: Efficient
Attitude: Professional

Class: Cattle
Service: Efficient
Attitude: Professional though somewhat cold
FF: Flying Dutchman excellent. No freebee U/G though

Class: Cattle
Service: OK
Attitude: OK. It did feel like being on National Express though.

Class: Cattle
Service: Good
Attitude: Friendly and attentive.

Class: Cattle
Service: Not very friendly to be honest
Attitude: Passengers were getting in the way of the cabin crew.
(Sorry Virgin..it was one return flight to Boston. Maybe it would be different if I travelled more but that one time made me think BA)

I would welcome any feedback from crew...

27th Apr 2004, 22:44
I think that to be objective it may require several flights to judge an airline effectively. However, I do agree that a bad experience on a passenger's first and only sector with a particular operator might act as a deterrent from using them again. In defence of the cabin crew, if airlines treat their front line personnel with the contempt that some of them do, it's not surprising that in turn their motivation to serve the customer may be a little dampened.

27th Apr 2004, 23:27
Unfortunately an airline as with many other vendors (shops, service providers of all sorts) is often judged on the first impression. If I go into a shop and don't receive reasonably polite and efficient service at a good price, I won't be back. If I feel I got ripped off by a service provider, I won't use them again. Then I will tell 20 friends about my experience who will tell twenty friends.....

Competition, it can be a minefield if your staff are not particularly suited to their jobs or do not know how to treat paying customers properly.

Final 3 Greens
28th Apr 2004, 06:31
From experience over the past 2-3 years, 60-90 sectors p.a., comments only on airlines where I've flown 5 sectors or more:

British Airways
Class: First, Business, Premium Economy & Economy
Ground Service: Efficient and usually pleasant - consistent
CC Service: Efficient and usually friendly, but the higher the premium, the better the service - consistent
Attitude: Generally professional
FF: Exec Club is a sales prevention process and the blue tier makes you feel like someone buying Tesco's stripy blue and red "value" brand
Other: Online check in is excellent
Verdict: I've flown with BA on only about 20 sectors in the past 2-3 years, as the Exec Club screws me

Class: Business
Ground Service: Not always as good as it should be, e.g. Munich does not always support C class boarding easily
CC Service: Typically friendly and efficient
Attitude: Generally professional
FF: Stiff targets to gain entry
Other: Online seat selection is good
Verdict: Very good experience

Air France
Class: Tempo (Economy)
Ground Service: Highly variable, from very pleasant and chatty through to downright rude
CC Service: Usually efficient and friendly
Attitude: Gallic ( this has upsides and downsides)
FF: Part of Skyteam, which has an excellent FF scheme
Verdict: An acceptable experience

CSA Czech Airlines
Class: Travel (Economy) and Business
Ground Service: (CZ) Efficient and helpful, but often impersonal (UK) handled by an agent, but professional
CC Service: Generally as good as anyone
Attitude: Can be a little reserved, but this is in line with Czech culture and should not be misinterpreted as rudeness, rather it is polite and respectful behaviour
FF: A great scheme, silver tier after only 15 Skyteam sectors and Gold after 30. Regular upgrades to Business from Silver up.
Other: Nicely equipped and spacious lounge in Prague, twice daily service form my local airport to Prague
Verdict: My airline of choice, for Europe and USA, even if it means indirect flights

Class: Economy
Ground Service: Okay
CC Service: Okay, but not always on top of the job
Attitude: Pleasant
FF: Part of the Skyteam alliance, so good
Verdict: Very average, but by no means the worst

Class: ???
Ground Service: Efficient and fast
CC Service: Very friendly, not always very professional on the service side (although I don't question their safety proficiency)
Attitude: How many Stansted Express tickets would you like to buy?
FF: What's that?
Verdict: Does exactly what it says on the box, prices are consistently cheap, even at peak times and when booked only a week or two before

Class: ???
Ground Service: Typically long queues, but well managed and never a problem
CC Service: Quick, but friendly
Attitude: Please have the right money ready for the easyKiosk
FF: Don't be silly
Verdict: Can be surprisingly expensive, fullservice airlines often competitive

Smell the Coffee
28th Apr 2004, 14:26
Attitude: Please have the right money ready for the easyKiosk :}

As cabin crew with the relevant airline, I have to admit you are pretty much spot on. The problem tends to be that everyone pays us with 20 pound notes, and we only have so much change...

Can be surprisingly expensive, fullservice airlines often competitive

Got no defence here, absolutely true. Even staff travel can be more expensive than BA or Ryanair. :(

Final 3 Greens
28th Apr 2004, 15:55
Smell the coffee

Just to be clear, I think that you and your colleagues are very good overall and running a service on short flights is hard enough without handling cash :O My comment was slightly tongue in cheek, since I do tend to take the right money now I have been 'trained' and invariably it is received with a smile and a nice comment.

On the fares side, its a shame that you don't get decent staff travel deals, I didn't realise that.

28th Apr 2004, 18:11
A welcome surprise from the TV programme (why does Stellios do that).
73 quid round trip to Palma, pretty good service, you couldn't even hitchike there for that price.
been with them economy and upper class. An absolute world of difference. Seriously thinking about spending my own money to fly upper with them again:ok:

Pax Vobiscum
28th Apr 2004, 21:37
A fascinating and useful thread. Maybe my standards are too low, but I've never had any cause for complaint from the service I've received from any of the 40+ carriers I've flown with (apart from a few 'behind the curtain' in the bad old days). I don't expect in-flight catering to be a gastronomic experience (even in F!), I don't expect to see a fixed rictus on the face of CC at all times (I realise that it may be their nth flight of the day) and on the rare occasions that my request for a refill of my G&T goes unanswered, I put it down to the fact that they're busy on a full flight.

That having been said, on the three or four occasions when I've felt that I've received service 'above and beyond' - true excellence - they've all been with BA (and in economy) except one with NZ.

B Sousa
29th Apr 2004, 03:12
To this day I have NEVER been treated better on Any flight than I was on Business BA from London to JNB a few years ago. Things have changed Im sure but that flight is still with me. That includes First Class on others. Just wish I had written a Thank you for the service.

29th Apr 2004, 07:49
Thank you for being so supportive - sometimes the negative comments concerning BA's service make it appear as though we're doomed to failure!!! It's nice to know we're appreciated!

Whether you experience a good or bad flight depends on many factors, as Final 3 Greens pointed out. However, there are a few variables that affect all his ponts:

1. How busy the flight is. (If full, Check In queue longer, Cabin Service slower, less liklihood of obtaining desired seating etc)

2. Who your fellow travellers are - on a flight from Seattle to Heathrow, I occupied seat 22B with a 6 foot 7 in gent in 22A and a portly 6 foot 4 in gent in 22C. Both pairs of legs occupied my leg space, and Mr Portly's ample buttocks in 22C overspilled underneath the arm rest! Nothing BA could have done would improve my comfort or my in-flight experience. (It was a completely full flight so no chance of any of us having seats moved). It sort of made a nonsense of that part of the PA "........if there's anything we can do to make your flight more enjoyable etc etc"!!!

Thanks again, friends!!!:ok:

29th Apr 2004, 09:17
I've had some wonderful flights on CX, but one sticks in my mind.

I was the only passenger in First Class HKG FRA on Christmas Day on the overnight horror many years ago... the service was overwhelming. They wouldn't let me sleep - but I enjoyed it!!!!

Final 3 Greens
29th Apr 2004, 15:43

You are quite right in what you say about variables and I had tried to factor that into my thinking.

I just wish that BA would sort out the exec club in line with the reality that most companies (i.e. my clients) use economy around Europe and their specialist departments or travel agents take advantage of special deals from airline sales depts that do not gain many (if any) points with BA.

The problem is that other airlines do give credit for M or N flights and thus, whilst I think BA is the most consistent airline in Europe, from a service angle, my business is driven elsewhere.

CSA have upgraded me on every sector, without exception, ever since I logged 15 Skyteam sectors (I did most of that on Air France & Alitalia) and that is regardless of the ticket cost.

Therefore, when flying to NYC and onwards, I buy a J class fare with them or Delta.

I only did 2 north atlantic sectors with BA last year, both in a premium cabin and this was because the timetable worked in specific circumstances.

So BA lost out on 6 full fare, J sectors with me last year and probably about 45-50 euro sectors at naff prices... but how does this really make commercial sense when the marketing team are spending a fortunre to advertise Nice for 69?

It really is time that someone reviewed the Executive Club - I'm not bothered about upgrades particularly, since BA mainline and EOG short haulers are comfortable in Traveller, but lounge access and Club checkn in would make the difference.

I spend 250 PA on a priority pass card - in fact, perhaps it is time to consider going back to the 1970s and charging a small fee for people without anough tier points.

That would bring me back to BA, but until then I'm sticking with the airline that puts itself out to look after me and that's CSA.

30th Apr 2004, 12:48
Service and CC attitude on BA is consitently better than any of the other 30 or so airlines I've flown with.

I have been upgraded from cattle to business on three occasions when flying from Bangkok to LHR and last time I did this trip I paid for business and our stewardess gave me a full 75cl bottle of wine as I got off at Heathrow, "because I seemed to enjoy it".

I have had lousy experience with CX, including being bumped off a HK - BKK flight, only to be reinstated at the last minute, thereby missing duty free etc., the finding we were not even seated together, on a 777!!

I have flown business with Qantas and Singapore Airlines from LHR to SIN and found them to be very good, calling me by name etc., but to be honest they were slightly too attentive, interrupting movie/work on laptop several times to see if I wanted anything.

BA Exec club is pretty good I feel. In September, I and Mrs wub are going Club to Antigua on BA miles (one of the seats is free because I have an affiliated Amex card and reached the target spend limit to qualify for a freebee) and this year so far I have amassed enough miles for two trips to Europe.

Final 3 Greens
30th Apr 2004, 15:44

I'm pleased that the BA Exec club works for you, but it positively discriminates against the short haul traveller whose flights are booked by corporate travel agents.

I've just booked a free flight using BA miles, but I'll continue to use CSA as my first option, since I get the equivalent of your "bottle of wine" every flight.

3rd May 2004, 20:31
Agree with Kremmen!

Flown BA several times (only in cattle class mind). Always found them good.

BA flights tend to have a sense of prompt yet relaxed professionalism that I havent seen quite matched on most other carriers. I must say, flying still feels special when it's BA and perhaps a small handfull of other carriers.