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BA - Lesson 1:01: How To Seriously Upset A Group Of Premium Customers

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BA - Lesson 1:01: How To Seriously Upset A Group Of Premium Customers

Old 1st Feb 2010, 11:47
  #41 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Its quite old but theres some good info here

http://www.heathrowairport.com/asset...esentation.pdf

Including some good images of the airport layout that shows why T5 doesn't have enough capacity. T5C was pencilled in parallel to B where the stands are at the moment.
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Old 1st Feb 2010, 16:30
  #42 (permalink)  
 
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Thanks for that link, Fargoo.

As so many others have commented, the entire LHR problem goes back decades, when aircraft were smaller and fewer. And it was built in an area where future expansion [then unimaginable in today's terms] was extremely difficult. In the 50's and 60's it was cute [I used to cycle from Richmond to go 'plane potting from the Queen's Building].

However, we are where we are, and it will take a decade to bring LHR up to speed.

Other airports were located with space to expand!! such as Dulles!
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Old 2nd Feb 2010, 08:43
  #43 (permalink)  
 
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BA and LHR Service Levels

I now fly as a fare-paying passenger having recently retired from working in the industry for 40+ years.

There is no doubt that service levels in many airlines and airports have deteriorated in recent years : I personally believe that senior managers in these organisations fail to fully comprehend the fundamental business necessity of providing excellence in customer service and therefore do not ensure that this philosophy is driven down to their frontline staff and regularly checked for compliance.

Whilst T5 is a massive enhancement compared with other terminals at LHR, taking lengthy and crowded bus journeys to remote stands ( LHRYYZ 10Dec and YYZLHR 15Dec for example ) very much negates the experience of the new facilities. I have also found the transfer and security processes and staff leave much room for further improvement.

As for BA, their Club World product has continued to decline ; the above-mentioned flights were below expected standards from a comfort (B767) and service perspective. Even AC are now better.

In contrast I recently flew to S.A. with Qatar Airways : excellent service on all four sectors even if the crew lacked a degree of experience.

Off to BGI in March - this time with Virgin as I am no longer prepared to "risk" the all too variable service on BA.

I would say to all who are dissatisfied with BA, take your business where you think you will receive best value. There is no point whatsoever in handing your cash to any organisation who doesn't put your interests first.
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Old 2nd Feb 2010, 08:50
  #44 (permalink)  
 
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This thread has drifted towards a discussion of the deficiencies of T5 - and justifiably so.

BA's problems go back further, and are more deep seated than the T5 saga. Management has lost contact with the operations people, and has failed to empower employees to make decisions in the interest of the customers. It really is that simple.
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Old 2nd Feb 2010, 08:55
  #45 (permalink)  
 
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I know it's only a minor thing, but a stewardess on the ABZ-LHR last night said it's policy now not to carry slimline tonic. They never carried many cans, but now it's none at all. Yet another millimetre on the downward slope?
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Old 2nd Feb 2010, 11:33
  #46 (permalink)  
 
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ODY757 ... in your first post you have summed up the content of about 382,635 posts in 732 different Threads!! I doubt there will be many who would disagree with your views!

In the final analysis, T5 is just a better building manned by the same sort of staff in the other Terminals. As you note, it is service levels that remain a constant source of annoyance to the paying pax, especially those in the premium cabins.

A well-run restaurant has a maitre d' who is constantly checking, and kicking, and nudging, and encouraging. That level of hands-on supervision/management seem to be one big factor that is missing, either in the terminal or in the aircraft.
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Old 2nd Feb 2010, 14:23
  #47 (permalink)  
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A well-run restaurant has a maitre d' who is constantly checking, and kicking, and nudging, and encouraging. That level of hands-on supervision/management seem to be one big factor that is missing, either in the terminal or in the aircraft.
Excellent example and generally, true of the original BA service to the mid '90's. The "maitre d' was a CSO or SCSO (later CSD) who was part of the command team on an aircraft and respected by the flight deck, cabin crew and passengers accordingly.
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Old 2nd Feb 2010, 15:52
  #48 (permalink)  
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Capetonian
Management has lost contact with the operations people, and has failed to empower employees to make decisions in the interest of the customers.
In fact, they have done quite the opposite - they have deliberately DIS-empowered the staff!

In numerous threads in PPRuNe BA staff (at all levels) have stated that they cannot use any discretion that would involve the company in spending money. That means, effectively, they cannot do anything outside of the SOPS, from telephone agent, to check in to gate and all the way through to the far end when the system spits you out.

I recall reading (some years ago) of a pax on a VS to HKG just before the handover to the UK. The pax found themselves sitting next to Branson in Y. When asked, why he was sitting there and not up front? The proprietor said, "Because we only decided at the last minute that it would be interesting to be in Hong Kong at handover and then all the seats at the front were booked."

Suggest that to some (not all - but enough) of the BA managers ...
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Old 2nd Feb 2010, 16:01
  #49 (permalink)  
 
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Suggest that to some (not all - but enough) of the BA managers ...
Can I also suggest this to CC and their own.
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Old 2nd Feb 2010, 16:05
  #50 (permalink)  
 
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I have no experience of running an airline ... I really should make that clear.

However, I have had some 40 years in both 'operations' and 'management'. I am not an idiot.

There are still some basic principles that will always apply ... and at the top of the Aviation list are obviously 'Safety' and 'Profitability'. If you do not have the Staff enthusiastically supporting both of those principles, you have a BIG problem.

How do you encourage people to go the extra mile? IMO, by meeting them somewhere in the middle from time to time. That anecdote about Sir Richard sums up my style [yeah, I'm wonderful!] ... if Management keep Staff at arms length, instead of engaging with them, you are doomed! I never lost any Management credibility by putting the kettle on in the crew-room ... it was just that at that moment, everyone else was busier than I was. No big deal, I even do that for my wife occasionally

"Arrogance" breeds opposition. A bit of humility goes a LONG way.
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Old 2nd Feb 2010, 18:21
  #51 (permalink)  
 
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Happy destination = happy crew = happy pax. ??
The crew are there to do a job irrespective of where they are flying.
On the CC crew forum a lot is made of customer service and interaction, if they really feel so strongly about the role, the destination should not come into it.
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Old 2nd Feb 2010, 20:58
  #52 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Two-Tone-Blue
The interaction between staff and the paying customer is critical in the development of business. I've observed previously about the amazing CC on MaxJet [of fond memory]. I would never expect a Global company like BA to be able to generate that level of intimacy and inter-action with the customers.
Two-Tone-Blue has a good point and I know F3G has also mentioned it with regards to Air Malta. I'm lucky, in that, despite flying for such a large airline, I tend to fly the same route most of the time and therefore, have had the pleasure of getting to know many of our regulars on that route. There's Mr XXX who always likes to be in 15K and is usually happy to have a quick chat before getting down to work, always with a glass of his preferred white. Then there's Ms XXX, who's PA is convinced she needs to diet. (She doesn't!) We have an understanding that I will always seek out the most cholesterol laden offering I can find as a substitute for her Low Cal meal, just to spite her PA. And there's Mr & Mrs XXX who are constantly travelling back and forth to see their children. I won't labour the point as I'm sure you get the idea.

Don't get me wrong, I try to treat all passengers in the same manner but there is something special about those that I have got to know during their time in the air, even when it comes to some of our slightly tougher regulars. I know what they like. Whether they usually like a chat or generally just want to sleep. What their preferred drink is. In some cases, even how many children they have and what they've been up to. I can usually pre-empt their requests. That, surely, has to make their experience different, no matter how hard I try with those I "don't know". Maybe that's where the smaller airlines have the advantage.

Please don't misunderstand me. I am not condoning bad service but I can't help feeling that I generally perform much better on those flights, than on the ones where I don't instinctively know what the passenger wants.

Of course, there have also been occasions when I have just got it plain wrong. But then again, I'm only human and where possible, I'm not too proud to apologise.
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Old 2nd Feb 2010, 23:55
  #53 (permalink)  
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Registering a genuine sympathy note for CC here ... I think the destination DOES make a difference. Every job has it's boring aspects and the prospect of a more enjoyable layover will make a difference. The task must be to not let it show!

My job has some repetitive aspects to it and yesterday I had to visit two venues for two different clients and, the nature of the job means, two sets of staff at those venues. At one of them - everything is like a tail wind helping you along. At the other? The wind is only designed to be theirs and you have to find your own wind and make what you can of it!

I agree with T-T-B. The only important management lesson that I learnt in the 25+ years I was in telecommunications was to talk to the folks at the coal face. If you sit and listen, the staff will tell you what you need to hear. You just have to sift the importance and veracity of what you've heard. That's one of things you get paid for.

When a project reached completion and the engineers were installing the gear and trying to make it all work - I had no useful purpose other than making a decision if something went wrong - since all of my work was done, be it well done or not!

So I made sure that there were always packets of good quality biscuits and decent instant coffee and made the tea. Or got the take-aways on Saturday afternoon when it was all looking like a pile of poo. It really is so easy but a 'seagull manager' or one that allows himself to take seat 1A and then get off the plane in advance of everyone else? Game over.
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Old 3rd Feb 2010, 10:34
  #54 (permalink)  
 
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One of the most obvious and neccessary things is for the decision makers to be familiar with their product. That means for BA Management acting as a PAX and getting the PAX experience frequently in all classes and destinations. I understand that said management never ever fly in the back. I bumped into Stelio H of Easyjet once on a flight - Talking to him he told me that he flew several times every week to various places - it always gave him early warning of a problem.
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Old 3rd Feb 2010, 10:55
  #55 (permalink)  
 
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Presumably, the Senior Manager is either Martin Broughton, Willie Walsh or Keith Williams?

........... unless you're a BA employee, you're unlikely to know any of the others!

There is no way, however, that they would have avoided the UK Border Agency's Customs or Immigration checks. Apart from visiting Heads of State or those with Diplomatic immunity, everybody must go through the standard UK Border Agency checks.

If a senior, high-profile manager such as WW was to exit the building without passing a UK Border control point, British Airways' would immediately be forved to suspend operations at Heathrow - it would be traeted that seriously!
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Old 3rd Feb 2010, 13:16
  #56 (permalink)  
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That, surely, has to make their experience different, no matter how hard I try with those I "don't know". Maybe that's where the smaller airlines have the advantage.
I think that this is an insighful comment from JSL.

With regards to Air Malta, I don't know all the crew (but do know a substantial number) and when we do know each other, the experience is different as they can judge from my body language as to whether I am tired or not, whether I am working or not etc.

Intuitively they can deliver a good service as they have an insight into my patterns of behaviour and expectations.

Also, Mediterranean people are, by culture, relationship focused and this is noticeable.

The smaller airlines (or regional units of the biggies) do have an advantage in this respect.
 
Old 3rd Feb 2010, 16:38
  #57 (permalink)  
 
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Perception is everything

bealine, you may be very right - but if I saw the guy let off the aeroplane before everyone else and shuttled away I would certainly believe s/he did avoid customs. Otherwise, why the special treatment? (and yes, I suppose there that working crew have their own customs formalities - but explain why a BA manager should be entitled to use them?)

And, while it might be treated very seriously if someone was caught - do you really believe that BA would be forced to suspend operations at Heathrow?

I'm sure that the UK Border Agency would see this as being slightly unfair, to penalise BA's customers for a stupid mistake by a BA manager. From the comments in this thread, and in this forum that sounds like the type of decision that BA management would make.

Sorry for the sarcasm, but I don't believe you.
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Old 3rd Feb 2010, 20:19
  #58 (permalink)  
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........... unless you're a BA employee, you're unlikely to know any of the others!
It wasn't any of the people you mention and it's quite easy to recognise senior BA management board and operations board managers. Just go to the corporate website and pictures/biogs of execs and non execs are there for all to see as well as .pdf's of annual reports which also contain pictures.
For the record, I am not suggesting that the person in question bypassed border controls.
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Old 4th Feb 2010, 19:28
  #59 (permalink)  
 
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Interesting to find this thread and its opening post the same day as I arrived back home from BA286 SFO-LHR in WT+ (The limit my employer will stretch to).

The thoughts that went through my head at various points in the journey:

"Where are all the pax?"
"Nice to get fresh milk not UHT so yes, I will have a cuppa this time"
"Hmm, dinner is very low rent, both quality and quantity"
"Jeez, they call the manky cold contents of that cardboard box, breakfast?"
"If I were in Club I'd be rather miffed at the tired and shabby cabin"
"Strewth, Club and First get herded on the same crowded bus as the rest of us?"
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Old 4th Feb 2010, 20:02
  #60 (permalink)  
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"Strewth, Club and First get herded on the same crowded bus as the rest of us?"
Of all the many bad things about BA ground service, this is the one I do not understand.

It is APPALLING.

EK provides a premium bus for F/J; once, due to a ground handling agent mess up, only F were allowed on and J were put with Y.

I reported this to EK (to ensure it didn't happen again, as I was using the route frequently) and the company was appalled - I found a substantial amount of unsolicited miles added to my account.

Yet BA thinks it is OK to do this as SOP.

The company does not get that a journey INCLUDES THE GROUND EXPERIENCE.

It does not matter how good the airborne service, if the ground handling is pants.
 

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