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British Airways announces new cuts to in-flight service

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In what is becoming a regular monthly announcement, British Airways has announced a new raft of service changes.  Most of these will, I believe, kick in from 1st July although some may take a little longer to materialise.  All cabins are impacted, even First Class.

This is what I understand to be happening, based on comments at Flyertalk and from emails from HfP readers who work for BA.

BA A380

First Class

Amuse bouche to be removed from the meal service

Blanket removed from day flights, provided only on request

Club World

Changes to Club Kitchen stocking (this is not necessarily a backwards step based on what I saw, but it seems that there will be a move to even more ambient – ie chocolate bar – stuff and away from more expensive fresh items)

World Traveller Plus

The second meal is to be removed on shorter routes, to be replaced by the opportunity to take something from a basket of ambient snacks passed around by the crew

Pretzels, cheese and biscuits to be removed entirely

World Traveller

The second meal is to be removed on shorter and medium length routes, to be replaced by the opportunity to take something from a basket of ambient snacks passed around by the crew

The bottle of water will be replaced by a small plastic cup of water

Pretzels, cheese and biscuits to be removed entirely

Toothbrushes and toothpaste will no longer be provided but they will be available on request

Something for everyone to look forward to over the Summer, whatever cabin you fly, I’m sure you’ll agree.

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Comments (114)

  • Paul says:

    BA is plunging new depths of mediocrity by the day. My experience of just flying domestically on Fridsy and Sdturday was shocking. Delayed over 3 hours on Friday amid scenes of chaos culminating in 170 passengers booing the capstan when he attempted to blame French ATC and weather from the day before for the chaos on Friday night. The problem was that passengers knew that BAs systems were not working, boarding , checkin, resource management and gate allocation had all failed at some point during the day. ( interesting that given that apparently BA are letting go lots of IT staff in yet another internal reorganisation)
    In a futile attempt to get rebooked of standby for another flight I watched with incredulity when 3 ticketing staff- clearly struggling with new IT systems- launched into the most extraordinary and highly vocal criticism of Willie Walsh when a customer complained about his treatment. There was utter contempt for him and for the new IT which they said did not work and that for 7 weeks they had complained but had been ignored. The clearly despised WWalsh whom they claimed, very loudly did not care about BA only himself and his bonus.
    On my flight on Friday several in the front rows were saying that the operational melt down had been going on for weeks. One guy said that the flight we were on had not left less than an hour late for 5 weeks. The general con census was that BA were abusing their monopoly position on domestic services. This seemed to be confirmed on Saturday when on my route every flight was delayed. 2 by just 20 mins but one by 5 hours and every evening flight by over an hour. By contrast few EU services were not delayed in the same way.
    I don’t fly regularly but what I saw and experienced in the 36 hours was desperate and this is an airline which has simply lost the ability to delivery the basics and whose staff are do demoralised that they no longer care. Seems to be in melt down so having to ask for blanket in August may not be worst thing to happen to me when flying Veuling to JFK!

    • James67 says:

      There was a piece on Channel 4 news a few nights ago about BA IT systems, outsourcing, and impacts on operations, safety and security. Whether true or not, it certainly gave me the impression BA were trying to keep a lid on something that is now a major issue. Presumably, the outsourcing again boils down to yet more penny-pinching.

      • Alan says:

        Interesting, didn’t know they covered it. Have certainly heard from quite a few friends travelling through both London and Dublin that FLY (the new IT system) has been an unmitigated disaster!

      • Alan says:

        Excellent, thanks!

      • littlefish says:

        A must view News piece. Thanks. Most of it I was aware of one way or another but my comfort over BA’s safety checks and balances has taken a hit I’m sorry to say.

      • rant incoming says:

        When the luggage is delayed or you lose the luggage it’s been an absolute nightmare for us. No one seems to know who’s responsibility it is and you get different answers from different people. Your basically left on your own to deal with local people often with poor english with little sympathy. Combining that with missing connecting flights and we actually fear travelling with BA now which is not the mindset to be in especially if you are going on holiday. We are really only going to fly with them on an annual 241 trip to America and treat ourselves to first where you feel there is a buffer to the madness should it arise!

      • James67 says:

        Thanks for posting that for bendfit of Alan and others, I was just about to check if I could find it. Like litt,efish, I found it a bit disturbing.

    • Bob says:

      Don’t forget to claim compensation if delayed more than 3hours. We got 600euro each from Virgin within a week after a 6 hour delay.
      Make the most of EU compensation rights while they exist!

      • Paul says:

        You can only make the claim when BA have allocated an accurate delay code. If they have covered up their incompetence and iT issues by calling it weather and ATC you will get nothing.

        • James67 says:

          I gave up months of effort claiming compensation from Finnair. Could not get past the weather bit despite captain announcing onboard that they were returning from the runway to the gate after overlooking the need to pump out the toilet waste from arriving flight!

          • Bob says:

            Well then I should give Virgin more credit – I didn’t realise others were so bad. We just filled in the form on their website, got compensation offer email within a week and money into our accounts soon after. No chasing required.

          • the_real_a says:

            Dont give up. I used Bott and Co (EUClaim) to process my claim. There was some commission but got the money in the end.

  • James Alexander says:

    Why are we surprised? Race to the bottom by BA continues slowly and painfully.

    • Genghis says:

      +1. The move to a budget service for full service (premium) prices. The trouble is, companies are going to continue using BA as the preferred supplier for travel. What other airline can you fly direct to many places in the world? It’s my preference as a business traveller. It’s also my preference as a leisure traveller up to a point (provided the price point is right).

      • rant incoming says:

        For europe, i would say flybe is a much better option especially for regional travellers – business and leisure. They do avios and the priority pass lounges are generally of the same standard, some are even better than ba ones. It wins all the awards for business travellers so i would have thought that London specifically would be well served to.

        I think a lot of us have maybe been slightly brainwashed by BA especially since BMI was sold to them. The quest to retain status, collecting avios, BA AMex 241’s and the brand with the alternatives being easyjet or ryan air. Even on this site it gets the majority of the publicity.

        • rant incoming says:

          My point is apart from the 241’s for long haul flight to America for example, i don’t value the benefits flying with BA brings. There are credible alternatives to the lounges now so BA status isn’t worth it. The BA brand (due to cost saving measures, poor punctuality, luggage problems and poor customer service) isn’t anything better than EJ and RA and there is a better alternative in Flybe where i can now move my avios over from the BA account. Old habits die slowly though and i think BA know this.

  • Ben says:

    Raffles – given you fly a lot, what other airline/alliance would you recommend for Europe – US travel? I currently always fly BA/Oneworld and am gold card holder, but will switch my alliegence at the end of this year as sick of these constant service cuts. What’s the point of booking flights/accumulating status when you don’t know what service/benefits you’ll actually get by the time you fly?

    • rant incoming says:

      Outside Europe and transatlantic:

      – if you have got loads of an avios, my assumption is there isn’t a better deal than flying with BA using a 241 from BA Amex Premium Plus card and we actually feel we are the ones screwing BA for a change 🙂 Only business and first though, would never do this in economy.

      – if you don’t have avios, there seems loads of deals now for cheap business class tickets with the likes of Qantus, KLM , Air France and BA themselves. That’s only price but personally i would forget who i was flying with if long haul deals are really good and you are flying in business or first.

      Inside Europe:

      – Flybe have been amazing for us and can’t really say a bad word about them. A business class option would be good but there isn’t any airline with a proper business class product to Europe. They save us time by flying direct from regional airports in Scotland, i think we’ve been delayed once in 3 years and that was due to weather. Customer service is friendly, helpful and flexible and it feels pleasant to fly with them. You get great cash and avios deals with them as well if booking a couple of weeks in advance. If you have Amex Platinum, the priority pass lounges are as good as any of the London ones (apart from first) and most European oneworld ones we’ve been to.

  • Antonio says:

    “Nickled and dimed”

  • Alan says:

    What the heck is an “ambient snack”?! Never heard of such weird terminology. Knowing BA they probably are just using it as a new term for ‘snack appropriate to the time of day’!

    • Steve says:

      It’s a term that’s used in theropod industry. As I understand it it means products that do not require special storage conditions (i.e. They don’t need to be kept chilled) – presumably this means they’re cheaper to handle, and unused products can be saved and used on future flights.

      • Steve says:

        *the food

        • Alan says:

          Haha was off Googling theropod for a minute – are you accusing BA of being a dinosaur? 😉

          Thanks for the explanation though – makes sense when related to temperature, I’d just never heard it describe a category of snacks before!

    • James67 says:

      BAs next penny-pinching exercise will likely be cutbacks to the ‘floor coverings and window dressings’ onboard their aircraft.

  • Andy says:

    Compare BA’s constant penny pinching to the competition. It’s the little things that add value to passengers. One example is QA when flying economy the basket of sweets before take off, costs next to nothing but it adds to the experience.

    I really don’t know what BA are trying to be as they have become a very average airline now with all this cost cutting.

  • Alex W says:

    This just means I will be stashing more snacks and drinks in my hand luggage on my way out of the lounge.
    If another airline offers me a status match I would switch loyalty.

    • Brian says:

      Not if the drinks get removed after the lounge as just happened to me last week at Kuala Lumpur. I think it also happened in Singapore couple of years back if I remember right.

  • Concerto says:

    I stopped flying BA about 2 years ago thinking I’ll probably come back because they’re not so bad. But I can’t believe how it continues to spiral down. Definitely won’t come back now. You’d be amazed how easy it is to avoid them if you don’t live in London!

    • Concerto says:

      Also, I hope they’re not cutting on safety and maintenance.

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