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Does HfP have an ‘anti-BA’ bias?

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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:

British Airways A350

“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 🙂


British Airways BA Amex American Express

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Comments (178)

  • Cheshire Pete says:

    Can’t agree wth you on afternoon tea Rob! It’s acceptable to be served it to your seat at perhaps 2 to 3 pm. But not when your flight has a departure time of 16.45. Then by the time you push back , taxi, reach cruising altitude, then having it served to your seat at 17.30 is one of the most pathetic rules BA have. In point of fact I often decide if I want to pay more to fly CE based on departures such as this, and more often than not decide I’m not paying extra for a scone when it’s time for proper food at that time. Again it saves BA what ? The cost of 1 small bottle of champagne.

    • Ian says:

      I stopped flying BA on afternoon flights in club because of the afternoon tea situation. Its awful, especially flying from airports that have no lounge or airport options.

      I sit in economy with extra leg room wondering why I ever pay for club europe!

    • Simmo says:

      Totally agree its the worst BA meal in my opinion!
      You might as well have the Y Sandwiches.

  • Thomas says:

    Keep calm, and fly BA! …..or not!

  • Genghis says:

    i want to like BA due to:
    – national airline;
    – being able to fly direct east, west, north and south
    – avios being the easiest currency to collect in the UK (yes they can be redeemed elsewhere but I like the ‘value’ a 241 gives).
    I think all the negativity is because although people value the above, the hard product is falling behind other carriers. I feel Raffles is fair in his criticism

  • Jerome Zagala says:

    Hello, I am a US resident and have been an HFP reader for about one year. This is my first comment on HFP Personally, I think this BA employee has you confused with Ben Schlqppig.

  • Cheshire Pete says:

    Oh, and guess what Tattinger has gone from the 1st class lounge at T5! Abominable! They replaced it with a brand called “Heron” which in comparison was so poor I could only manage one glass of the Pink. Utterly downgraded, as is the new food layout there. Apparently the caterers have made changes and gone is a lot of fresh salads and cold meats and replaced with….. Yes you guessed it finger sandwiches like you get with afternoon tea in CE. Who makes these decisions? Bizarre to annoy your passengers in there I think.

  • McSalty says:

    Well maybe I’m a lone voice but I’ve always felt HFP is generally biased *towards* BA (unfairly positive towards them).

    The inclusion of articles about negative changes to services I read as HfP’s disappointment because they’re eroding that positive impression you have and appear to have held for a long time.

    I also think they demonstrate an attempt to show both sides – the negatives as well as the positives.

    It does feel at times as though there are more BA & Avios articles than the other airlines serving the UK. Certainly more Oneworld articles than other alliances but that’s to be expected given the Avios background of the site (and says so in the About Us section).

  • Paul says:

    Problem is many staff believe the marketing hype and have no experience of other airlines beyond staff travel in Y.
    BA has a near monopoly at LHR and the barriers to entry for genuine competition there are huge. In the UK generally there is only one serious fQTV unlike the USA where there are several. am a gold card holder on the back of AA QR and CX flights plus BA short haul in Europe for my 4 BA sectors. I do this as there is no other programme in the UK which can effectively compete with BA FQTV programme, not because I like BA.
    I do fly them in first on redemptions but only because of 241 and this site. As a family of 4 premium travel using points on Oneworld is costly and BA rip off fees, when the operating carrier has none, a further barrier.
    My antipathy to BA after 30 plus year of premium travel is due to their lack genuine developments in product over the last 10 years. this plus deteriorations in service, possibly from staff like the complainant, who may appreciate the true cost of flying given their hugely discounted access to flights. For £100 club world to JFK might look fabulous to staff. For £3000 it’s an entirely different matter.

  • rossmacd says:

    I actually find that HFP is actually BA biased in several cases. An undue attention to a sub-rate airline is posted on this site, but I guess HFP is providing what the ‘typical’ readership want (SE England based, middle class with disposable income and likely half-decent corporate budgets at their disposal).

    More focus should be on quality airlines (QR, CX, QF, JL, AA to name a few in the OW alliance, but there are many also superior options outside of OW).

    I found the review on TK and the IST laughable in the fact that it was so biased it was just funny. The article was written as you did not want to enjoy the experience whatsoever, and HFP lost credibility for me.

    • Raffles says:

      Nah, it was rubbish! I do enough Etihad, Emirates and Qatar to know what a proper airline is like 🙂

    • Ian says:

      How is this biased towards BA…?!?

      “All in all, I was not hugely impressed by what I found. It is, of course, still better than British Airways Club World in terms of space and seat size, but Turkish does not want to be judged on such comparators. It wants to be judged against Qatar, Emirates and Etihad who are setting the pace these days – and, in pretty much every respect, it comes up short.

      Of course, if you need to fly from London to Istanbul in business class then it is a no-brainer to choose the Turkish Airlines Boeing 777 services over the standard British Airways Club Europe service! “

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