Bits: BA long haul buy-on-board confusion, interesting Accor / Economist deal

News in brief:

British Airways tells the press it is considering long-haul buy on board

I had been told, prior to last weeks big British Airways press event which we covered in depth, that Chairman and CEO Alex Cruz was being deliberately kept away from the media.

This or may not be true, but it isn’t hard to believe.  Clearly feeling full of confidence after Wednesday’s event, he gave an interview to The Sunday Times yesterday in which he declared he was interested in introducing buy on board in long-haul economy.

This was not a secret.  He has spoken about the possibility of adopting a different business model at Gatwick to combat Norwegian, and this would be a key part of any plan.  Saying it openly to a newspaper only four days after getting BA some decent press coverage for the first time in weeks was not a great idea, however.

It was quickly picked up by other media outlets and the Press Office was forced into action.  The Times article is behind a paywall but the Evening Standard version is here.  (The Press Office once called me on a Sunday afternoon whilst I was toy shopping to ask me change something in a HFP article!)

The same Times article also suggested that the amuse bouche and ‘flower in the loo’ could be returning to First Class.  Whilst this is good to hear, any impression that this would be funded by charging for food down the back is also not good PR.

PS.  I was also confused by this quote from the Times.  Speaking of buy on board in short-haul economy, Cruz said:

“It’s going great. Customers say to us: ‘Finally, I have good choices. No more chicken or beef’

… which makes no sense, because you would need to go back 10 years, perhaps 20 years, to find a time when short haul Economy passengers were offered a choice of two hot meat meals.  It is all very bizarre.


Interesting Economist / Accor promotion

We have seen a number of Economist promotions recently, including one with Avios which only closed on 31st March.  It offered 13,200 Avios for a one-year subscription.

This new deal is more intriguing.  It is organised in conjunction with Le Club AccorHotels.  The landing page is here.

You will earn up to 12,000 Le Club AccorHotels points with a two-year Economist subscription.

1 Accor points = 1 Avios point in Iberia Plus if you choose to convert them.  (Do NOT convert into British Airways Avios as the rate is 2:1.  Convert to Iberia and move them across to BA via ‘Combine My Avios’).

However …… 12,000 Accor points are also worth a €240 discount on an Accor hotel stay.  Given that a 2-year Economist subscription (print and digital) is £315, this is a very strong rebate if you were after the magazine in the first place.

If you are self employed and can offset the cost of the magazine as a business expense, it is even more interesting.

The deal runs until 31st May.  Thanks to Steve.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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Back in the Etihad First & Business Class lounge, Heathrow Terminal 4
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  1. David2910 says:

    OT: Greenwich council tax. Payable by Amex at Coop paypoint?

    • Genghis says:

      It was when I lived in SE10

      • Sergeant Major says:

        Does anyone know if Dartford Council tax can be paid by Amex? No barcode on the bill and the council doesn’t do a payment card either. Much appreciated

        • Genghis says:

          Note if you currently pay by DD, a barcode won’t appear on the bill

        • My CT bill is on my desk. I do not pay by direct debit and there is no barcode, but they do issue an AllPay card which allows payment of up to £150 per transaction at Coop etc.

        • Genghis says:

          ‘A barcode won’t be on the bill if you pay by DD’ and ‘There is no barcode on the bill and I don’t pay by DD’ can both hold true. My council only puts barcodes on bills where don’t pay by DD (Dartford could be the same) whereas yours clearly does not.

    • IDK about Greenwich but be aware that there may be a £200 transaction limit for Co-Op Paypoint. When I did mine, they had to break it up into five or six transactions to put it through. The first clerk I saw didn’t know this, so the system kept declining the transactions until his colleague came over and told him about the limit.

  2. I don’t terribly mind BoB, regretfully that is the way things are going, however I do mind it being done appalling badly. 18.40 service back from Zurich last week (dinner time) and they loaded only two of each hot sandwich options for a full 767. Sat in row 9 and nothing left by the time the got to us, flight attendants requested we fill out complaint forms as “they never listen to us”!

    • I fully understand Buy on board when people fly for 30 pound one way but I actually paid almost 200 euros Amsterdam to London and back in Euro Traveller the other day. Let’s just say it didn’t feel right.

  3. S jacob says:

    The cost of food served on board is very expensive and if passengers are given an option, i am sure a lot of passengers will opt for not having airline food. They can pick up a sandwich or some thing else from the airport for far less money. That means the fare should go down considerably. I don’t think there is a need to feed twice on an 8 hour flight. Instead reduce the fare substantially. This should attract more passengers at the back end. Obviously passengers in the front end would like to be pampered with best food and wine. They should be provided such luxuries as they pay a lot more than the back end passengers.

  4. There’s really nothing confusing about Cruz statements. He’s just fully embracing the ‘post-truth’ world, where it doesn’t matter if a statement is actually grounded in fact. His whole tactic since taking over at BA has been about using normative influence to soften the damage that drastic cuts to service standards have on the brand. Simplified, the idea is that people like to fit in. If you tell people enough times that everyone else loves the changes you’ve made, they will start to express love for the change as well, even if they actually hate it, and will even start to question whether they’re wrong to inwardly hate it…they must be missing something if everyone else loves it, right?! Almost everyone’s desire to fit in eventually trumps their rational thought process, and so that is why every cut has been announced as ‘in response to customer feedback’, and why Cruz is constantly telling us how much customers love the changes. It’s nothing more than a psychological trick.

  5. Seems BA employee also agrees that the company is in a race to the bottom: