Dear British Airways
Dear British Airways,
It’s not me, It’s you. I really tried my best to love you and be with you but I think it’s time we had the “chat”.
It sounds like a breakup letter – and in some ways I guess that’s how I feel at this very moment. So here’s the thing. I fly a lot in the year. Yes not as much as some people but a lot more than a lot of people. I’ll probably end up this year at around the 40-50 flights for the year. Not quite a flight a week but really not far off.
I would say that 90% of those flights are on British Airways. The other 10% either with budget carriers (because of locations they fly) or they are an internal flight in country/region that British Airways don’t fly on. Of that 10% I’ll always try and do One World just to benefit from the tier points and also the Avios points.
My enthusiasm is now starting to really and I mean really wane
This at the moment is where my enthusiasm is now starting to really and I mean really wane. My wife and I have had and I’ll freely admit this a number of really nice holidays where thanks to all our business travel which has gained as Avios points we’ve been able to either fly for free, nearly for free, or get a nice upgrade. That’s a perk of a lot of miles and hours in a plane. Do you get this with Ryanair or Easyjet no you don’t!
Do we get access to the lounge pre flight. Yes we do (although that’s another topic) Do we get a smoother check in. Yes we do. Do we have more flexibility for our flights. Yes we do. Do I feel valued by British Airways or do I feel the experience that I get is much better. Sadly not.
Of course there are some destinations that the “budget” carriers just don’t fly to and also frankly 10 hours to LA on Ryanair – no thank you…. But I’m seriously now in a quandary.
The "Worlds favourite airline"
British Airways – once self dubbed the “worlds favourite airline” has seriously fallen from grace. Last year they dropped to number 30 in the world… Gone are the days of the 60’s and 70’s when air travel was restricted and was for the few – and that’s how it should be, but the airlines like Ethiad and also Emirates/Singapore Airlines are showing you how it can be done….
When did it start to go wrong? Well perhaps it was the infamous Maggy Thatcher “tailgate” saga? Was it Virgin opening up competition? Was it the arrival of the new kids like Emirates or Etihad? I don’t think that there is one thing that can pin point it… Yes British Airways is the UK’s “flag carrier” airline but that’s where it ends. (perhaps BA’s just actually summing up the general state of the UK better than anyone else!)
However British Airways is really starting to fail. And in so many ways.
I recently had an awful 22 hour delay to a flight to LA and how that’s been handled by British Airways is just shocking. If you don’t follow me on Instagram – you can catch that selection of horror stories pinned to the top. However it really highlighted to me the issues that exist at the airline…
I’ve spoken with a number of regular British Airways users and we’ve pulled together the 5 areas that we all feel need improving.
5 stage action plan
5 stage action plan
- Please god invest in a new App technology. I use the flighty app and that can tell me when, where my plane is, the bag line for British Airways flights – something your app can’t! Other airline apps like United can tell you when your bag is loaded, what gate it is all in real time. The British Airways app just won’t even refresh your latest flights. When checking in you have to go to a separate website and use that (still in the app) and it’s all just so clunky….
- Make your Silver and Gold members feel wanted. We’re your regular customer base. Do I feel valued and like I’m treated well because I’m in that tier no. Ok yes I have access to a lounge and can check into my flights earlier but that’s it. My recent trip with the airline to the USA showed that even as Silver member I just didn’t matter to them.
- Sort your lounges out. Having chairs that are broken, seats that don’t have any kind of power source, (and if they do they are usually broken). In todays world 99.99% of travellers need to either charge something or work on something. Help us! It’s not just power – the lounges feel old and tired. Ok – I get some that are shared with other airlines in far flung airports its not possible to control, but in T5 “the Home” of British Airways we shouldn’t be putting up with the quality that we do. Other “One World” airline lounges are so much better – and when you have to use those ones at the far flung airports you really do notice how bad yours are.
- Improve your customer service. When the Las Vegas flight got cancelled we were basically left to fend for ourselves. Little bits of help were there, but I’m a seasoned traveller. For those who weren’t listening to some of their horror stories made me cross that you put people in that place. Also if you are Silver and Gold (or flying business) treat those customers like your premium customers!
- Sort out your flight punctuality. My colleagues joke that if I’m on a British Airways flight I’ll be late. Now that might be a *little* harsh – but it’s also not far from the truth… I know that the budget airlines have a quicker turnaround time, but what’s stopping you doing what they do? Why don’t you allow more time in your schedules? Why don’t you get your planes to do one less segment? I’ve had more late or delayed flights than on time flights this year with you – and that’s really shocking
Is it the end?
I understand these things take time, and of course money. But I also want to feel that someone in the airline is accountable for this. If we know that you can’t do the app because of X and Y and then we need to update X and Y and that’s going to cause more chaos – then tell us. We can work these things through and work it out but at the moment British Airways is sleep walking back into the 20th century and it’s a sorry state of affairs for what should be one of the worlds best airlines.
I hope British Airways – this is just a temporary “blip” in our partnership, but you need to have a good long think about your next steps to stop this from being the end…
Have you had any recent experiences with British Airways? How was it for you?