The BA Executive Club representative over at Flyertalk announced some genuine ‘enhancements’ to ba.com functionality this week.
To give BA credit, their online booking system for reward flights is getting pretty darn good now. It isn’t perfect – anything requiring more than one connection generally throws it – but it beats a heck of a lot of the competition. Lufthansa, for instance, doesn’t let you book any rewards online unless they are on Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian or LOT.
One of the more glaring omissions, though, was the failure to book mixed class redemptions. Just a fortnight ago I had to call to book a Club World out / First back ticket – luckily they waived the telephone booking fee for me.
This has now been fixed, although oddly the system can only handle three booking classes! Search for First or Club World and you don’t see Economy results, only World Traveller Plus, Club World and First. Search for Economy (World Traveller) or World Traveller Plus and you don’t see First!
Here is a typical screenshot with the new look:
avios.com, of course, has had this functionality for ages. However, that was no use if you were booking with a 2-4-1 voucher or booking a BA partner airline. (avios.com still allows you to see seats in all four booking classes at once, rather than just three!)
There are also some other little tweaks on ba.com, to quote:
Improved RFS (Reward Flight Saver) signposting and new icon to distinguish from standard redemptions
A ‘change flights’ button on the fare quote page to make it easier for you to change selected flights
A new ‘back’ button on the fare quote page to allow enable easier navigation between pages
So, thumbs up to BA for this one. What we REALLY need – although this is unlikely to happen – is for BA to dedicate an special fare class to reward seats in the Global Distribution Systems. This would allow you to use a 3rd party service such as ExpertFlyer to list flights you wanted to fly on and then to receive an email if Avios seats opened up. You can already do this for a lot of airlines.