I received a private message via Flyertalk yesterday from a British Airways employee who said, to paraphrase, that he was fed up with the anti-BA bias that he felt runs through the site.
(In my experience most BA employees are not hugely enamoured by everything done by their employer, so I wouldn’t want to dismiss his complaint on that basis. In some ways, I am tempted to take it more seriously!)
What pushed him over the edge was this line in my review of the Eurostar lounge at St Pancras yesterday:
“There is also no shortage of reading material, which always wins brownie points with me, [and] which makes the weak British Airways Galleries selection look pitiful.”
Ironically, I received this message whilst sitting in a two hour meeting with a senior IAG employee who at no time expressed any issues with my content!
My response was this:
I need to use a common frame of reference for comparison purposes in reviews. The logical comparison point is with British Airways because that is an airline that most HFP readers fly. If I had compared the Eurostar magazine selection to the typical Singapore Airlines lounge magazine selection, it wouldn’t have meant much to 95% of the readers.
(I could, I admit, have pointed out that the breakfast on offer in the Eurostar lounge is far worse than the breakfast offered by British Airways – and I didn’t. Magazines in lounges are a personal bug-bear of mine, however, as long-term readers will know.)
It makes no sense for me to run down British Airways. Avios, and the fact that you can use Avios to redeem for aspirational flying experiences, is a key driver of this site. If I was permanently criticising BA it would not be great for business!
I don’t think there is a single frequent flyer in the country who genuinely believes that British Airways is offering the market leading product compared to Qatar, Etihad, Emirates etc. Even American Airlines, unbelievably (given its history), is now offering a business class product on most London flights which beats the BA seat on most criteria. I would lose all of my credibility if my writing implied that BA could do no wrong.
I have 13 BA flights in my diary between now and mid-September …..
It is also true, to be honest, that criticism is easier to write, and more interesting to read, than praise. However, for the record, here are a few things I honestly believe even though the general opinion out there is often the opposite:
Heathrow Terminal 5 is a fantastic facility
British Airways afternoon tea in Club Europe is OK and I’m not sure what would be a better option
The British Airways lounges at Heathrow are generally very good and are worth spending time in
The Club World cabin – irrespective of how you find the seats – on the new 787 aircraft is a very classy piece of work
The Avios booking system at ba.com is, in terms of ease of use and the number of partner airlines which can be booked with it, almost best in class
Reward Flight Saver – and the BA short haul reward pricing structure in general – is a good idea and puts other frequent flyer programmes short haul pricing to shame
The guaranteed ‘4 + 2’ reward availability for Avios seats on BA is a genuine improvement (although 4 + 4 would be even better)
The British Airways Premium Plus American Express ‘2 for 1’ voucher is the most attractive credit card reward in the UK
I obviously need to have a lie down now after such a rare burst of BA enthusiasm
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