7 Ways British Airways and Alex Cruz have trashed their own brand

Warning: Long post!

The growing dissent of British Airways customer has been simmering for the last few years, but it has recently ballooned with a string of events for British Airways.

While I do not for a second doubt their commitment towards safety, often I wonder whether the company cares about the experience of their customers.

Below I share some of the things BA have done in recent times to screw themselves over.

Strike after strike after strike…

In 2017 there has so far been 26 days of strike action by members of staff at British Airways.

Yesterday it was announced the latest industrial action would be last two weeks by Unite, the union which represents their “Mixed Fleet” crew, between 1st – 16th July, right in the busiest period of the year.

(In case you did not know, the Mixed Fleet is a set of cabin crew created in 2010 because the BA bosses (then at the time headed by Keith Williams) could not agree to the contractual demands of their more senior “Worldwide” crew. No-one has been hired under the latter's contracts since Mixed Fleet was created. Normally the only ways you can tell which fleet is operating is if the female crew are wearing hats when you first board your plane, or if the crew look so young that if they had been working 7 years they would have been under age!)

I'm not going to take sides over the Unite and British Airways Management duel, but when passenger service is so frequently disrupted and when BA have such a stronghold on flights out of London, it grinds down the trust passengers have in the brand.

 

Buy on Board

This was the straw that broke many camels' backs.

By far the most controversial change in recent times for British Airways, and perhaps inspired by the CEO Alex Cruz's leadership at Spanish low cost carrier Vueling, this has certainly gone down like a lead balloon. Even BA staff have expressed their sincere embarrassment that this has been introduced.

It can only be conjecture to put all the blame on him, but certainly as the man responsible for the entire vision and strategy of BA, he must take a good portion of accountability.

Buy on board is traditionally only employed by low cost carriers. Combined with a checked baggage allowance, it is possibly the only thing that distinguishes full service carriers from low cost carriers. The only thing BA was going to offer was cold tap water. Hot water would be priced the same as a cup of tea.

However, if you're going to do it, at least do it well! Even a couple of months after introduction there were many complaints of short supply and slow service, to the extent that half a plane of passengers were not served.

Many ate nothing on their flight and were left with a bad taste in their mouth.

 

May Bank Holiday IT chaos

Last month during the UK's May bank holiday weekend a contractor accidentally switched off BA's central server which caused flight reservations to get lost and grounded the entire airline worldwide for the weekend.

The initial outage is an unfortunate event which could have happened to any airline, though I do wonder what the backup systems would have been like for other airlines. However, BA's response during and after the event was abysmal.

During the Saturday and Sunday Alex Cruz appeared on national television (in one interview he was unexplainably wearing a high-visibility vest in an office environment) to express sincere apology but offered little substantial comment on what BA were doing to resolve the matter.

Some passengers had no choice but to travel to their destination that weekend. That's the normal course of working life, but BA outright refused to book stranded passengers on other airlines, which would have been the response for many other airlines.

Also, passengers who paid out-of-pocket to fly on another airline to reach their destination were then initially refused compensation upon claiming necessary expenses, when BA clearly had no leg to stand on.

BA later apologised for this action, but the damage was done. BA's penny wise pound foolish approach had been made clear for everyone to see.

An expensive lesson for BA here. Customers will always remember how you treat them in a crisis, whoever's crisis it was.

 

Ditching the Shareholders' Discount

In 2011 when British Airways merged with Iberia to form IAG back in 2011 there was a resounding silence over the future of the 10% shareholder discounts which BA shareholders enjoyed prior. It later transpired that new IAG shareholders would not get this discount and but existing BA shareholders would.

Fast forward until early 2015 and the shareholder discount is scrapped in its entirety.

 

British Airways Executive Club devaluations

Avios logo

2011 was a chastising year if you were a BAEC member. In addition to the shareholder's discount annulment above, it also ended its Open Doors policy meaning Gold Card holders could previously visit into the lounges if they were departing on any flight from a terminal with a BA lounge.

In fairness this was a pretty generous benefit to begin with, which no other competing airline offered, and I could imagine other lounge visitors could get rather unamused during school holidays when a normally frequent BA flyer starts to bring his/her partner plus a couple of screaming kids.

Also in 2011, BA changed their entire redemption structure, renamed the BA and Iberia air miles to “Avios”, made sweeping changes to the redemption rates (though to their credit they brought in Reward Flight Saver) and refused to tell Executive Club members the reward chart until the day of implementation, causing many members to be confused and anxious about what to do with their hard-won air miles. Their whole system eventually changed to the distance-based chart it is now with EVERY leg of a journey being charged separately, making long haul redemptions or EU – London- long haul type redemptions a rather expensive affair.

BA acquired British Midlands International (BMI) in 2012 and quickly annulled all of BMI's lifetime golds, but gave them BA gold for a year. A few years later what do we have now? Lifetime BA gold, with not an ounce of concession towards the former BMI golds. This was truly unmerciful.

Early 2015, BA decimated its Avios earning structure and increased long haul Avios redemptions further. They introduced Peak and Off-peak structure and made all non-BA/Iberia/Aer Lingus Oneworld redemptions peak price.

Business and First class redemptions became significantly more expensive during this 2015 too. Previously the reward structure for World Traveller/World Traveller Plus/Business/First had the ratio of  1x/1.5x/2x/3x the price of World Traveller tickets, but changed it to 1x/2x/3x/4x. You can see the up-t0-date award chart here. Combined with the earning rate drop from 100% minimum flown miles to 25% in the cheapest tickets and only 50% bonus for Silver BAEC members, that dream first class redemption just got a whole load more dreamier.

Last year in 2016 BA removed the 4500 Avios redemptions for North American flights. The minimum redemption became 7500 Avios. (see the current chart here).

And finally BA started to block close-in Cathay Pacific awards without telling anyone.

If you are going to call BAEC a “loyalty programme” then at least let loyalty go both ways. Otherwise call it an “incentive programme”.

 

(Lack of) Seat Selection on Hand Bag Only Fares

This one does have a happy ending. Back in 2015 British Airways decided to cut the free seat selection benefit to all passengers who bought the Hand Baggage Only fares. They did reverse this decision recently. Though there is no official reason for their reversal, they tried to dress it up by trying to say it is a new benefit, when instead it is was just reintroducing what was there before.

Perhaps somehow too many travellers paying £300 for a last minute fare within Europe and being asked for an extra £10 to pay for seating got fed up.

 

Calling everything an ‘enhancement' and saying it's what the customers wanted

This is the pet peeve of mine. BAEC members know what to expect when the word ‘enhancement' is used by the PR team, and it's not for anything good. I understand the company's need to spin everything in a positive way but there is a distinction between spin and outright lying.

And don't blame customers and say it's what we wanted.

 

Conclusion

Yes, this post has felt more like a rant and only spewing out mostly negatives, but if not this then what? British Airways' race to the bottom has been heartbreaking to see, as it was a brand I respected when I was a child.

I voted with my feet last year and stopped buying BA fares unless it was an exceptional business class fare for a tier point run (but even then it was only to get superior lounge access in other Oneworld airlines) or to burn up my Avios.

Maybe I'm not the right demographic for BA after all.

 

Does anyone else have any other experiences they fancy sharing? Feel free to comment below!

Comments

  1. A good list of negatives, all richly deserved. I would also add the increasingly huge non-availability of reward seats in long-haul F. I’m on the US West Coast. Even as a long-time Gold, apart from JFK-LHR, it is almost impossible to find any awards seats on BA to/from Europe at any time of year. If they didn’t have such a monopoly of LHR slots, I’d go elsewhere. It’s an appallingly run airline with a snooty, penny-pinching attitude. The only positive I’ve noticed in the last few weeks is the re-introduction of a solitary flower in the F’s cramped and dingy bathrooms. It’s truly a miserable and unreliable airline.

  2. You could also add that the 2015 devaluation scrapped the “free” connecting flight from the regions to LHR when redeeming Avios for a short-haul trip. You might as well call them London Airways, as all short-haul redemptions connecting through LHR now cost an additional 4,500 Avios for anyone outside the capital.

    But that’s if the flight even operates… I’ve literally lost count of the number of times they’ve pulled the LBA-LHR connection. Seems it’s always the first to be sacrificed during capacity restrictions at LHR – or just if the load is too light…

  3. Oh, and they flat-out lie when you make a claim for a flight delay. I recently claimed for a 5+ hour late arrival from GIG and they refused three times to honour their obligations, giving a different excuse each time. It was only when pressed for their “final position” statement that – lol and behold! – €600 was forthcoming for both my partner and me.

    Sure, they probably saved a few thousand euro by putting off the less tenacious but at what cost to their reputation.

  4. The gate agent at Barcelona forced me to check my carry-on luggage (same thing that went to Barcelona with). Of course it damaged some art work inside. I tried to make a claim with BA, they declined it claiming it was because I didn’t put it in my carry on when it was in fact the gate agent who forced the gate check. From what I remember, they didn’t even give me a receipt non the less. I only got my money back after filing a claim with the US BBB. How much did it all cost, $150 to BA, but now they have lost my family as a customer.

    I hope the woman at BCN loses her job too

    • So sorry to hear this – I feel sick hearing this incident. I am an amateur musician and could never dream of this happening to my violin made in 1869!

    • The lady at the barcelona airport did not check in your bag for personal reasons, they have strict punctuality targets by which everything is measured, nowadays. Also she must be tired to work for Iberia and deal with all the pain from BA customers, so it’s childish for you to wish her to lose her job.

  5. Well deserved!

    DONT FORGET.
    Automatic downgrade for Amex 241 vouchers!
    Twice this has happened to me!.
    My 241 and my wife’s 241.
    Both times when we arrived at the airport one of us has been downgraded. Which was the person flying on the 241 voucher.
    Bugger all compensation offered!…

    Apparently it’s worthless.
    Another BA Incentive not worth doing.
    Spending 20k with Amex worthless…

    • Check out the Head For Points website… if I recall correctly a passenger is taking BA to court for this very reason as clearly the seat has a value. Apparently the trick is to demand that the voucher holder to be downgraded rather than the +1. Scandalous

  6. What about serving a “Costa Coffee” style Panini in Club Europe (without even a plate recently) and telling me that passengers think the catering change has been a positive improvement.

  7. I couldn’t agree more with ALL your points! I too could go beyond 7 but my blood pressure suffers. I’ve been BAEC Gold for years and indeed last straws were charging me for a snack in gla to lhr when connecting to an effing 4-6K Club or First flight! They have TOTAL monopoly in gla to LHR flights, but I’ll now take a business class flight with other carriers from GLA or EDI from now on
    I pay my own fares as am self employed… so for me I’ve also decided
    ENOUGH IS ENOUGH
    Goodbye Mr. Cruz and your thieving BAst*rds!

  8. As a new Silver member, which I realise is still quite lowly, I had hoped to benefit from airline loyalty, but feel very disheartened. Which airline, in your experience, do you feel hasn’t devalued their brand / customer loyalty?

    • Silver has been hard hit, especially with the reduction of Avios tier bonuses. It used to be pretty valuable in my books but now there is nothing behind it.

      For airlines that haven’t devalued themselves, I would have to go with the low cost carriers like Easyjet and Ryanair (which let’s face it is actually ok for intra-Europe!). The low cost mentality is engrained into their core values, rather than the full service carriers pretending to serve us with pride, but wasting themselves away.

  9. The article is pretty much spot on and provides the list of changes that have made the BA experience & the BAEC much less valuable. The removal but reinstatement of seat allocation for elite members, to introduction of M&S food all diluting the offering. Recently travelled with my wife in Club World to the Dominican Republic – it ran out of champagne 50 minutes after take-off on an 8 & a half hour flight – may be a leisure route but frankly outrageous – but hey they awarded 4,000 Avios by way of compensation – dreadful. Am currently a Gold Card owner, but have no plans to retain status based on experience.

    • 50 minutes!!! Didn’t they think that Caribbean flights might be full of leisure passengers having their once-in-a-lifetime business class experience?

    • I had meant to write about the T5 BA Lounge, which I’ve used twice in a few weeks. Probably not much they can do about how crowded it is, but the food is over complicated and difficult to eat on your knees – could they not start supplying some sandwiches, or at least the fixings to make one, rather than messy plates of meat/fish with sauces.

  10. The problem is this man (Cruz) comes from a low cost environment. He even managed to cock that up !!!! He’s basically Walsh’s henchman. The product is trashed, the front line staff are demotivated and the Co have even managed to alienate Mixed Fleet (who were its bright and shiny new future ‘ albeit on the cheap)
    The race to the bottom has been well underway for years (imho) It can’t all be entirely blamed on Cruz but he’s doing a great job at accelerating it

    • Is it possible to say “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” here? I have never like fully attributing someone’s current performance from their past, but this guy has done a carbon copy of his LCC days. With brutality too…

      Annoying customers is one thing, but risking demotivating your staff is another more serious affair.

    • I have worked for BA for 30 years and have never seen such self destruction. You are correct in saying Willie Walsh is hiding behind Alex and pulling the trigger. Alex is the henchman and between them they are destroying BA and the brand. Willie’s aim as IAG boss is to have a virtual airline (so just the name with no one actually working for BA) and yes will work but there will not be a brand to sell. They are going through every department cutting it to the bone and staff have never been so low! ( yes many of you will say “so what get a another job” but when your front line staff are treated so bad then it’s the customer who sees and pays for that treatment). I work in the IT department and the issue was down to a co tractor BUT the recovery was doubled due to the outsourcing which most press have failed to pick up on. TCS did not have a clue about how to recover and we’re starting servers and databases in the wrong order which made it longer and more painful for the operation to get back to normal. I feel so frustrated for the customers as your fed wrong information from the press and Alex Cruz but these 2 men will destroy this airlines name (if not already) and it’s all down to one word I’m afraid GREED as the airline is/was doing SO well yet the shareholders and Willie want more!!! It’s a crying shame and I’m ashamed to say I work for our national airline. It should be against the law to make people redundant only to replace them with Indian workers and flood our own IT market ONLY to fuel their own pockets with cash. Shocking actions by greedy people and I hope their names get rubbed in mud.

      Sorry to rant but I could go on for hours as have hundreds of shocking truths about behind the scenes at BA

      • I truly feel for you as a loyal BA worker. I speak to club and first crews all the time and it’s painfully sad to see everyone, staff and customers being f*cked by Uncle Willie the greedy little c*nt now using Cruz the *ssh*le – another greedy BAst*rd. Its shameful as a Brit to witness this. They should give ul the pretense, there’s NOTHING British about British Airways. Its only a name. The brand is f*cked!

      • Well said Lee. I am legacy crew and like you my colleagues and I are so frustrated and angry at the trashing of our product we offer our customers. We are sick of having to appologis all the time and are embraced at the shoddy product we offer be it shorthaul or longhaul. We are all so demotivated and long for the likes of a lord King or a sir Colin Marshall to come along and save us from our own demise. I know one thing they would turn in their gravesend right now. So so sad.

  11. we also had dreadful food on long haul UK to USA premium economy. service was non-existent and only water and orange juice were offered as drinks. No snacks available on long flight. But worst of all (and we booked long in advance) they seated us separately so expected me to wave across the cabin to my daughter throughout an 8 hour flight!!

  12. I personally am a fan of buy on board. As an economy passenger doing GVA-LHR quite often, I look forward to the bacon butty and a champagne or magners – before this the best I could hope for was the shortbread biscuits. As a OWE I can say their first lounges have nothing on say the qantas SYD/MEL lounges, but they are still a decent haven before a flight. Having said that, I am not a BAEC member so do not feel the pain of some of these changes.

  13. Despite being a Silver Card holder, when I booked a HBO ticket to Paris on 14thJune, returning 15th, I was not offered any free choice of seat on either leg.

    I had not been aware of the reversion to the old rules and if I had, would have made more of a fuss despite it being such a short hop.

    To be fair, when I checked in at CDG on the 15th for the return leg I was given an aisle seat when I asked if it was possible to move.

  14. I’ll try to keep this reasonably short……..if I can.
    I’ve been flying with BA since 1973, I worked for them for seven years, and I’m a BAEC member. I’ve always been loyal to BA, choosing to fly with them whenever possible, and always proud of the company.
    Things change but, unfortunately, not for the better!
    As Willie Walsh and Alex Cruz set about decimating the airline, destroying any customer confidence and affiliation, and reducing BA’s reputation to that of a laughing stock, it seems that a month cannot go by without some stupid “We love to treat our Customers with total contempt” event taking place!
    One such event is driving me really crazy, and always gets me angry when I’m at check-in – even though I know it’s coming – and it began in November 2015.
    If you have an onward flight connection, you can no longer check your bags right the way through unless both/all bookings are on the same PNR – even if the connection is to another BA flight!
    So, now you have to go through passport control, collect your bags – and go and check in all over again. It’s appalling.
    I often decide to add a destination to a trip days, weeks, or even months, after I’ve made an initial booking but, as ba.com doesn’t allow you to add booking to an existing PNR, the only alternative is to call the executive club help line, and ask them to add your flights. This also means that you can no longer make any changes to any of the flights on the PNR – you have to call the help line…….again.
    I first come across this at Christmas 2015, and at first I thought it was some sort of joke, but unfortunately not. I watched a family, with four young children and all the paraphernalia associated with Christmas, being told that they would have to go through passport control at LHR, collect their bags, check in again, and go through security again! All this when the terminals are heaving with high season passengers. They had a major problem as their onward connection was just over two hours after landing. I don’t know what happened to them, but when I got through baggage the queues, even those for BAEC fast track, were taking more than an hour.
    I suspect that family would be seriously considering using an alternative to BA next Christmas!
    When I started asking the obvious questions: i.e a) what idiot thought that this was a good idea? b) Why?
    The answer to a) was a shrug of the shoulders, sighs, and a muttered “Who do you think?” and b) it was the baggage handling system / the baggage handlers fault, they’re too expensive/ it’s too complex a system.
    This is obviously the current company line, but as I spoke with more and more staff, it became clear there was only one reason – it’s a cost cutting exercise. WW & AC strike again!

    The situation with BA seems to be a complete shambles, which is sad for a company who once had such a great reputation.
    BA now offer domestic economy passengers a minuscule bag of crisps or nuts – and dare to call it a snack, and then offer M&S “snacks” if you want something more substantial – but you’ll have to pay for it; they plan to cut meals for some long haul flights – because who needs feeding on a long flight?; they bring back Business Class on domestic flights – because they can charge almost as much as for an international flight and they can get away with minimal service (but don’t be fooled by the food shown on ba.cm – what you’ll be offered won’t look much like that at all!).

    This is on top of everything mentioned elsewhere in this blog, and it’s both disappointingly sad and utterly disgraceful. Yet BA have some of the best and most loyal staff around, and they continue treat them like s**t. I bet that doesn’t apply at board level.

    BA are NOT a cut price airline, and that’s why people choose to fly with them. We all pay the expensive fares because we don’t want to fly like livestock. BA fares are ridiculously expensive, from economy to first class, and it’s time BA stopped being so damn greedy and went back to what they’re supposed to be, what we used to be so proud of – Britain’s national carrier, with excellent service and an excellent reputation in all areas.

    Just one last comment – I promise.
    When Alex Cruz stated that the cause of the recent system failure was due to “someone unplugging the wrong plug, and then reconnecting it incorrectly”, I really thought it was a Monty Python moment.
    When a company who depends on IT systems for all of its key operations comes up this that, it beggars belief. How would that fly (pardon the pun) if it happened with an Air Traffic Control system?
    BA is, in effect, saying that it has no fail-over or redundancy systems in place, from which it wouldn’t be too difficult to infer that they have never performed any extensive risk assessment, nor do they have Disaster Recovery or Business Continuity Plans in place – and that is a major management failure issue at the highest level.
    When your only focus is on profit then your business model is based on greed and is both morally, professionally and ethically invalid. BA are a service industry, where “profitability” is dependent upon their customers. Alienate them and you don’t have a business, never mind a profit.

    • Rest assured, BA do of course have a DR and BCP in place, it was tested very regularly. What happened after the ‘power outage’ would normally have taken 2 or three minutes to recover however our glorious outsource colleagues were absolutely clueless and did nothing for four of five hours. A power outage would absolutely not cause this kind of disruption, it would be virtually invisible. It was the manual intervention required for the recovery that didn’t happen, TCS are responsible for this now and mis-handled the job utterly.

      • Which just reinforces my comment about training and quality.
        Placing blame on an outsourced supplier is the easy way out. Responsibility may lie with the SP but accountability remains, at all times, with the business (i.e. BA).
        If you do not hold your SP’s to the level of service you expect, if you do not ensure that your suppliers train, manage, monitor and maintain, those levels of service – then BA, as the accountable business, is where the buck stops.
        Any deviation from the required service as, (hopefully), properly defined, documented and agreed in a contract/SLA should be identified, both as part of the agreement AND as part of the client’s (BA) audit procedures.
        Blaming some “clueless colleagues” may be understandable as a knee jerk reaction, but is not the issue. If BA is working with a SP that they are not monitoring properly, and that includes all aspects one would be looking to cover, from both a QMS and professional best practice perspectives, then the issue lies with BA – not with the SP per se. The old adage still applies, “Pay peanuts and you get Monkeys”, maybe it should also say “If you don’t feed the monkeys – expect chaos”!

        • This is very true, the problem most definately lies with BA. They knew full-well and accepted that the service they would get with this particular SP would be less good than the service given by their own IT department but they were, of course, cheaper. BA decided it was worth the risk. The people making the decision though had not the first clue about the complexity of the systems involved and couldn’t get their experienced IT staff out of the door fast enough, long before (as it turns out) the SP were ready to take over. The SP management would of course said that they were ready and the BA management didn’t know enough to challenge that opinion.
          BA gambled that it would be ok, it wasn’t. Will they ever admit that ? Of course not, far easier to blame a BS ‘power failure’ than their own ill-informed decisions, their mis-management of their SP, or even the SP themselves.
          BA don’t have the balls to challenge their SP who promise the moon on a stick without either of them knowing what the moon or a stick actually are.
          IAG’s shareholders need to be demanding how BA managed to make such a mess of all this and cost them so much in the long-term.

  15. After serving 15 years in the company i finely left this year. It was one of the hardest thing i have done. I was proud to say i am cabin crew at BA, the uniform, the wings. I gave my heart, missed my children’s burthdays, anniversaries and other family occasions, but I was happy to go to work. The last 5 years I saw BA transformed to something I didn’t want to be part of anymore.
    It was hard and frustrating to solves problems, delegate and make someone’s day.
    I was 100% with all my passengers once I put my uniforms on at any given minute. Unfortunately my company wasn’t. I couldn’t live with it any more.
    I hope that one day somebody will wake up and bring BA back to what it used to be. AMEN

  16. I just came back from holiday in Malta having flown BA both ways. I vow that I will not pay to fly with them any more! I will also request with the people who book my work related flights that they avoid booking me with BA. I arrived at Luqa Airport for my return flight in good time (a reasonable time to allow for lounge use, refreshments, a bit of shopping etc) to find that the check-in desks had not been allocated. But, all of the other airlines were at least 3 hours prior to their flights. At the screen that gives the info on check-in desk numbers, there were crowds of BA passengers (Club & Economy classes) awaiting info. During this time, other airline passengers were arriving a few at a time and breezing through check-in/bag drop with ease of hen continuing towards security. Our flight was scheduled for 13:00 after 11:00, three gate numbers appeared. All of the flights up to over an hour after ours were already on the screen below ours! So, one big mass exodus then three very long queues, one for Club, one for economy check-in and one for pre checked-in bag drop. I pay through my bank to use the lounges but unfortunately, I was not afforded the time to which I found very upsetting. So, does it cost the airline less to have check-in open for only two hours as opposed the three hours? Compared to the more generous times afforded by other airlines, I can only assume that this is a penny pinching cost cutting procedure! I won’t list all of my other gripes but this was the last straw. Has anyone else experienced a similar thing at other airports? I would like to point out that BA check-in desk was the only one with any queue.

  17. Now the plan is to out-source the call centers to Capita when all the staff will lose perks as well as a large part of their wages.Disgraceful when these workers have been loyal to BA for years and have taken a lot of flack for problems which weren’t their fault. Greedy people slowly crippling this once great airline.

  18. Good list, but you forgot about the most abusive practices. Fake surcharges and fees for “Free tickets.” Three years ago, I paid $2500 for two “free” round trip first class tickets to London. On top of that, I got a broken seat, a broken lounge chair in a cabana in the Concorde Room, and overall poor service. They also broke the wheels off of my new “unbreakable” suitcase, admitted that it was their fault, and then never paid anything for it. I fly a lot, but for the past several years have avoided BA like the plague.

  19. My wife, daughter and sister flew BA about ten years ago. They over booked the flight and my daughter was down graded from club class and treated throughout like it was her fault! ‘Oh, you’ve downgraded’. NO … you downgraded me!! I wrote 17 letters of complaint to BA and one to the CAA – only then did I get compensation on the full fare. Never flown with BA since, won’t give them a penny. The letters I got from customer care had whole paragraphs repeated – luck and stick reply letters. Experience was appalling

  20. I am cabin crew with BA and so sick of the abuse I have received onboard from passengers like you! Blaming myself and my colleagues on the slow death of the company, conducted by Willie Walsh and Alex Cruz, who are hidden away from the public in their offices on their six figure salary. How naive are all of you? Do you really think that all your trashing of my airline will make a difference in bookings? £2.2bn yearly profit to April 2017… does that sound like a downfall to you? The board of directors are rubbing their hands in glee, while crew like myself, have had salaries cut and have had to downsize my family home from 3 bedroom to 2, because of wage cuts. Even putting fuel in my car at a gas station, I was in uniform and got shouted abuse from a man who said he is a gold card holder and we, (crew), should lose our jobs!! Now, all you executive card holders, what kind of attitude do you think you’ll receive from crew on board, when articles like this highlight your hatred towards us? Do you really think that all the decades of our loyalty to our airline which has treated us so badly, and then we get abuse from you, you think we are going to give you the best service?? Let me tell you all, we are so sick of apologising to you all for bad inflight entertainment, broken club seats, lack of meal choice etc, all BA’s fault, that now, we just don’t care! We are not going to keep apologising and grovelling to your demands when as crew, we bloody work our balls off every flight to keep correcting all mistakes made by BA! Oh, and one last thing.., We don’t care how good Emirates or Cathay is… we’re sick of hearing this all the time. If that’s the case, why you still with us!!!

    • Most of the comments on here don’t seem to be about the crew and I empathise with the staff. I think the derogatory remarks are about the very people you mention, Cruz & Walsh. You seem to be angry at the people (passengers) who are paying your wages and expressing your anger at them with aggressive comments will do no good for either the paying passenger or the staff. What have I done about my bad experiences? I have voted with my feet and will no longer fly with what used to be my favourite airline. I, like many, feel for the cabin crew and other staff. I sincerely hope that if business is affected so badly, they will change their key management, have a rethink and get things back to how they used to be. Then, and only then will I use them again. Unfortunately though, I doubt that will happen.

      • Sir
        I actually have my eyes glazed over as I write this, as that is the height of my emotion. Every time I put on my uniform to work, I still feel pride. Not for the company, but in myself. Even with a Hons. degree in Marketing Management, I chose, 20 years ago, to join as cabin crew, the third in my family to join BA. I usually choose to work in Club World, around 90% of the time. I enjoy giving premium service, talking and engaging with my customers, which you’ll find lacking with the robotic middle eastern and far eastern carriers. Although, we know their product is far superior. I don’t care about BA now, my care is now for my customers.If I can get off a flight knowing I have done a good job, I can rest easy. I am not a confrontational person, and, if I have had a bad day, and have snapped at a customer, I will go and apologise after, because that is not something I can sleep easy with. But, my pride in my work, is also my Achilles heel. When I hear of crew being part of the general BA bashing, which I guess is part of the job, I do get emotionally angry. The media, The Daily Mail, doesn’t help, painting us as overpaid, spoilt and selfish. But I still stand by the fact, we do get abuse from passengers, executive card holders as well, and that does hurt. Especially onboard where we are helpless to do anything if we don’t have certain catering, or the ability to repair damaged seats or entertainment systems. We, as crew, don’t come to work, leaving our families behind sometimes for 6 days, with contempt for our customers, but we do feel we get tarnished with the same brush as the one that slams BA.

    • As Steve Quirk says, none of the comments are aimed at the BA staff in any way, and no one is “hurling abuse” at the staff .
      All anyone feels is sympathy for those who are doing their very best for the customers, while Willie Wonka and his Cruz missile try to destroy the company.
      Yes, it is all about greed at the senior management level, supposedly disguised as “improvement” (please, for crying out loud, give me strength) and, No, no one expects that the staff can in anyway change that – if only they could, it would be a completely different airline, one which the staff would again be proud to work for.
      I understand how upset the staff become, I used to be one and I have friends still at BA, but your outrage at us, the customer, is not well placed, nor is it acceptable.
      Those like me still try to retain our loyalty to BA, although it becomes increasingly difficult, and we stay because we care. Yes, there are better airlines, with better services, with better staff treatment, but still we stay. Even you would understand that YOU yourself would not be happy if in a similar situation. You, as the rest of us, have a choice; for you also there are other options, other airlines which would be delighted to have staff with the level of training and experience you have. I understand your anger – but until things change (or you find a new job) I’m afraid that the part of your role which covers putting up with us (rightfully) angry and irate customers will continue.
      I wish you luck.

      • So basically, what you’re saying is get another job or put up with your angst on board. Great!! I came back to work after chemo for this!

        • No Sanjay,

          That is not what I said, and I’m sorry you read it that way.
          I simply meant that we all have choices available to us, not that and that the jobs we choose to do all come with responsibilities. If we work in a service industry that often means dealing with customers who are upset by things which are beyond our own control.
          Yes, I have been angry at BA, and as a customer I have that right. But whilst I have usually made my position and my feelings clear to the BA staff ( and that generally means to the poor check in staff, not to the cabin crew), I have never, ever, been rude or abusive to anyone, and have made it quite clear that I understand that the situation is not something they can control.

      • I feel I should apologise – I have have seriously insulted Willie Wonka…….he doesn’t deserve to be maligned by being associated with Willie Walsh and his tame assassin.

        I’m very sorry Mr. Wonka.

    • Sanjay, I have been crew for 30 years with BA and I find your comments totally unnecessary!!!!! Sadly these customers have a right to complain as some spend thousands every year. Yes we do all get fed up having to apologise for the powers that be’s mistakes and we are all demoralised as to the way our company are treating us but sadly as front line staff you should know that we are always going to be the ones that people are going to vent at. You have to tell them to send their complaints to where they need to be heard and let it go over your head.
      I find your post quite offensive and unprofessional.

      • Well I find your post very hypocritical! You know as well as I, crew can’t stand rude customers, those who rant at us, verbally abuse and shout at us, when its out of our control! When it’s the fault of the board and CEO, you say tell them to write in or give a comments card? I’ve had a comments card thrown back at my face by a gold card holder after an aircraft change meant he didn’t get his choice of club seat! I really hope I don’t fly with you, ever, as I can imagine you totally siding with the passengers if something like that happened, rather than backing up your colleagues! You obviously didn’t notice the wording of my reply on the previous post, how I still have pride in my work. I don’t come to work looking for confrontation, I don’t say bye to my wife and kids, sometimes for six days looking foreword to arguments with passengers. And your comment, saying these people pay thousand so will vent out at you and I should expect that being front line staff?? How Dare You!! Is that what you think? Money buys the right to behave in any manner towards another human? You make me sick!! I find your reply to me extremely offensive and I know if I fly with you, you’re never going to have the back of your colleagues! Thank god we don’t all behave like some of these people! I have received bad service on other airlines/restaurants and other service industries, but I would never shout or take it out on front line staff, those on the least wage, and those who really aren’t at fault, but I imagine you are such a character. And I’m not going cowardly hide behind this post, my name is Sanjay Aruwhalia, worldwide crew LHR.

    • Sanjay, I agree with others here that you are misplacing some of your anger.

      You are contradicting yourself by disapproving of the actions of your employer (quite rightly, your sick leave experience sounds appalling), and then directing some of that anger at the other people that are also at the receiving end of all of the above, the customer. We’re all getting screwed here, and the only way to deal with this, is to direct your argument to the source of the problem- Walsh/Cruz/top management.

      Attacking not only customers but fellow cabin crew for not lying down and taking it is helping nobody.

      Outside of the utter shambles that BA has become, the simple truth remains that the job you signed up for includes the duty of being a public face of the company and therefore you should expect to interact with the public.
      Let me tell you, the public consists of nice lovely people yes, but also rude arseh*les. It shouldn’t be the case and it’s sad to say, but that’s the world we live in. There isn’t some magic filter at the door to the aircraft that removes these people so you don’t have to deal with them (like the chap who threw back the complaint card in your face…unacceptable). I’m talking about people that are downright rude, aggressive and or drunk and belligerent.

      Your posts annoy me as you seem to not be able to separate these kind of people from loyal customers who calmly and politely raise a grievance with you, a representative of the company, hoping the message will go up the ladder (I often save my complaint for an email to customer services as I appreciate the less than satisfactory working environment your management are placing you in and I don’t want to add to it).

      As a gold card holder and regular flyer I spend alot of money on BA tickets. I am 6ft 9in tall and simply don’t fit in economy, so I stay loyal to BA and buy club world tickets, which I can barely afford, to keep my gold card so I can pick the emergency exit row when I regularly do fly economy and every now and then spend some avios on a nice club world flight for my partner and I. A ticket in club world is a lot of money for me to spend. I’m not wealthy and every time I do fly club world it is a treat I am spending my money on, instead of a lot of smaller luxuries most people enjoy throughout the year. Can you imagine my anger when after shelling out a large proportion of my yearly earnings on club world tickets the experience isn’t just a little disappointing, but regularly dreadful. I got off my flight from Bangkok in clubworld last week feeling robbed.

      So my suggestion to you Sanjay is to take a breath and really think about what the source of your anger is. Because if it is just the bad behaviour of a small minority of f*ckwits you will always get when working with the public, you are in the wrong job. If it’s top management, join us..

  21. O have been a BA crew for 20 years, amd the decline I jave seem is considerable. Not only in the product, but also the disregard and contempt with which we treat our customers. Our aircraft are old and dirty, the food in all cabins; well what can I say, ground staff overseas are outsource in most cases, grpund staff at LHR with loe moral and overworked, mistrust of management, disloyalty towards the employer etc, etc. But the worst for me, is when talking to customers who jave had an inconvenience but the company are just not interested in helping or completely ignored them, and these are gold card holders, not a one off customer on a holiday. Things can go wrong in any industry, thats for sure, but it is how a company deals with those moments of adversity when we can show who we really are, how much we care and how mich we value our vustumers. My employers are a company that lost sight of their own vision, values and most of all their identity. We as a company are only penny pinching and lound spending. Our beloved leaders are very much interested in filling up their own pockets, bonus after bonus. We dont know if we are a no frills low cost carrier or a full premium carrier. We are a very arrogant company, we have a monopoly on direct routes to and from London, and sadly we dont care if you fly with us or not, because there are 100’s behind you. At least, that is what our arrogant management think, with their hubristic attitudes. As a worldwide crew member, I am there to help and make sure you have a good flight woth the little tools we now have, and there are many 1000’s like me. Sanjay, with the comment above is a very small minority. I believe as a costumer, who lays a hell of a lot of money, the least you deserve is respect. I soncerely apologise for the rave to the bottom this once fabulous company is heading to.

  22. Having worked as cabin crew years ago I am now embarrassed to admit this. I fly back and forth to Portugal on a regular basis and all I have seen is this once super airline go down the pan. No free food drinks luggage and now less leg room. 2 weeks ago I was made to feel like the lowest of the low because I couldn’t change my seat unless I paid because I had bought a hand luggage only ticket. Madam you have bought the lowest fare, was the happy checkin girls response. I don’t need a case as I have a home there. I have never been made to feel so cheap. They have taken everything away that set it apart from the low cost airlines but still charge far more than their rivals who they have used as their excuse to be in line with. Am I missing something. Even with avios points they are still well over priced in comparison with the other better low cost carriers.BA…Bloody Awful airways.

  23. To All Executive card members reading this.
    My name is Sanjay, crew with BA. You’ve probably gone through my previous posts, and I stand one hundred percent by them. You say BA have treated you badly, and I have posted how sometimes it’s taken out on us as crew. We are the only face that BA has, since most aspects of the travel process, from booking, check in etc, is all online now. If you think you are treated badly, let me tell you how badly they treat staff.
    4 years ago, after weeks stomach pains and fever, I was diagnosed with ductal adenocarcinoma, (Pancreatic Cancer). It was stage 2, still treatable. This happened with 3 days left of my leave before I was due to work, it was April 2013. After gathering myself from the shock, next day I called BA, telling them I need to be off long term sick, I just found out I have cancer. Their response?, Well how ill are you? It’s Easter and we need you to work.
    I thought they didn’t quite hear what I said, so I repeatedly told them I have to be on medication for a week to prepare my body for an operation and then chemotherapy. The response was inhumane! “Well, that means you’re free for a week, we have a 4 day trip to Tokyo, report for work as normal”! I’m not going to go into detail on how this was a battle with BA trying to get time off, but I was threatened that my job may not be there for me if I take off too much time. Just what a cancer patient needs, more stress!! Not an ounce of support, or how are you keeping, can we help, take your time…NO, just utter contempt. Now, if this is how they treat what they call their prized team of cabin crew, as passengers, once they have your money, they don’t care. And then I return to work, not with a welcome back, how are you, well done for beating it, (I’ve been cancer free now for 4 years)…But with a disciplinary meeting with two managers because I’ve been off too long. Then I was put on a year probation where I was not allowed to go off sick…again, just what I didn’t need, after stress of already not having enough funds in wage to barely cover living costs! So, when I do come to work to this company that I have been loyal to in the past, (not any more!), and then I get complaints, shouted at by passengers, abusive language, when all I want to do is come in, do my job and get back home. So, as to my previous posts, I stand by what I said.

    • Sanjay, you appear to be barking up the wrong tree here and getting rather emotional about it too. We all support the BA staff for their heroic efforts – It is Willy and Cruz we are bemoaning. And as the post already says, I have stopped flying BA where I can.

  24. You forgot…
    Filthy cabins
    Broken seating
    IFE which regularly fail and when are working literally have smaller screens than an entry level smart phone and sound quality from the 1890s
    Failure to load enough “food” for all of their paying passengers
    Densification of cabins
    Hidden charges (seating)
    Unfair / non industry std charges esp on redemptions e.g. fuel surcharge

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