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Bits: Avios Group CEO replaced, BA Buy on Board – just fancy that …

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News in brief:

Avios Group CEO replaced

Andrew Crawley was appointed as CEO of Avios Group earlier this week, replacing Gavin Halliday.

Andrew is starting his new role “with immediate effect” (he was previously head of IAG Cargo) whilst Gavin “is leaving IAG” having resigned on Friday.

Gavin Halliday was a friend of this site – we drive huge amounts of third-party partner revenue for Avios Group, after all – and we had various lunches over the last couple of years where we chewed the fat about developments in the industry.

I always felt that Gavin ‘got it’ in terms of how the programme had to work in order to thrive.  His problem was always how to broaden out the appeal of the scheme, both geographically and demographically, with BA being so tightly focused on London.  Revenue had stagnated but this was due to the BA changes in 2015 which reduced the number of Avios purchased by the airline, and the increase in flight redemption rates will clearly not have helped either.

The one thing we never really discussed was IT, which appears to be the biggest Avios Group issue.  The long delayed launch of Aer Lingus AerClub – which still has IT problems – seems to have delayed the plan to move Iberia Plus and British Airways Executive Club onto the same platform, and possibly the delay in launching Avios with Royal Air Maroc as well.

I wish Drew – who I haven’t met – well in his new role, and hope that Gavin has more luck than his predecessor, who left Avios to became of CEO of airline Monarch as it was on its spiral into near bankruptcy.

British Airways

British Airways Buy On Board – just fancy that ….

There will be a full report on the British Airways press event yesterday on Head for Points tomorrow.  It finished late yesterday and it takes time to put together a considered overview.

Meanwhile, with apologies to Private Eye, the following caught my eye whilst reading third-party reports of the event in my hotel here in Hong Kong:

Spot the difference:

“We have reached this point as a consequence of an increasing number of requests from our customers, “ Cruz said. “We have customer saying to us “Do not force me to eat just what you have – there is very little choice” … Today’s product launch is in reaction to customer response around choice and quality.”

BA CEO Alex Cruz speaking to Business Traveller, September 2016

Latest figures show only 2.5 per cent of flights now run out of fresh food and we are focusing on the few flights where we can now sell more. I think also crew and customers are starting to understand that not everyone can have their first choice, without creating huge amounts of waste. I flew with easyJet every week for seven years and don’t remember ever getting my first-choice food; I was always prepared to have a second option. It’s a mindset shift.”

BA CEO Alex Cruz speaking to James Brown, Customer Service Manager at Gatwick, in the March 2017 BA staff magazine


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Comments (147)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Lux says:

    It’s a minds*t shift, for sure. What a nonsense.

    Sat opposite Drew Crawley at a GGL event several years ago: seemed practical, knew BA extremely well, friendly but definitely very commercial. He needs to invite you to lunch soon.

    • Rashad says:

      Has he just stated that only because he has “suffered” on EasyJet flights for 7 years it’s time for BA customers to suffer the same?

  • Stu R says:

    We have flown our first BoB segments recently and I have to say that, whilst £23.50 is probably steep for inflight drinks and snacks for two, the quality of the food was very good, so much so that we had the same on the way back. We both had the Angus beef & chutney bloomer (which was delicious), each accompanied by a packet of crisps and a G&T.

    The cabin crew struggled to serve the entire flight on the way out, although on the return, they were much more organised and took all sandwich orders immediately after take off to ensure they managed folks expectations and didn’t run out.

    My slight disappointment was that although supposedly earning 3 Avios per £ spent with BA, and despite the transaction showing up on my BAPP statement as BA High Life, I was only awarded 1.5 Avios per £ …. did I miss something?

    • Alex W says:

      Traitor! Thou shalt not buy anything except maybe some Percy Pigs.

    • Save East Coast Rewards says:

      Out of the sandwiches the only one I like is the bacon roll, the cold ones have always been too soggy (probably because of the tomato). Personally I find most of the menu uninspiring.

  • John says:

    I’m prepared to buy before I board. But BOB does seem to be relatively popular with others on the flights I have taken since its launch.

  • JK says:

    From what I’ve noticed, business people seem ok with BoB as they can expense it, but leisure travellers are still being surprised when asked to pay for a cup of tea and then refuse. I think that’s what BA is counting on.

    • Richard says:

      “business people seem ok with BoB as they can expense it”

      this might be true for those living in the UK or USA but in many other countries business travellers do not “expense” things. they get a fixed daily allowance and pay for their food/drinks out of that. I get 70euro/day when working in the UK,i do not collect receipts for food and drinks.
      If I fly there on BA then drinks onboard come out of that. If I fly there on AY then that money stays in my pocket. So it’s money coming out of my pocket for food and drinks on BA.

      • Genghis says:

        I wish I was on per diem. When you can have cereal for breakfast, Sainsbury’s meal deal for lunch and a ‘Spoons Burger ‘n Beer for tea, having a tax free €55 left in your back pocket isn’t to be sniffed at.

        • Stu says:

          I thought it was only me that thought this way 🙂

          However on our £35 day amount across most of Europe, it’s more of an essential than a way to pocket cash… especially when it has to cover other incidentals too, not just food!

          Back to BoB: From Geneva, BoB is (for me) the cheapest and best quality option vs airport – although sadly 3 out of 4 flights have had really poor availability…

          • Genghis says:

            I could only do per diem on a decent amount, certainly not £35! That would barely pay for my bottle of wine. I don’t know how I managed in my accountancy training days on £25 a night.

      • Rashad says:

        that can not be imposed on all those living outside of UK. I invite HR specialists to chair my recruitment panels across UK and i can see what they claim for and inflight meals are included 🙂

      • Alan says:

        We used to have that but HMRC clamped down for just the reason you described – it wasn’t reimbursing expenses but essentially additional income and thus they were missing out on receiving tax on it. €70/day is a decent amount – I get £35 for dinner and nothing for breakfast or lunch.

        • Mike says:

          My uncle is a pilot (not for BA)
          Recently HMRC were investigating their per diem and wanting to see all receipts.
          He spent the month eating at the most expensive restaurants he could find near the airports he flies out of in order to justify the level of their per diem.
          Now it’s back to packed lunches and meal deals!

      • Catalan says:

        AY have BoB too in their economy cabin don’t they?

  • Callum says:

    Why are you apologising to Private Eye?

    I’d also say there’s a large difference between having no choice and having to settle for your second choice, so those quotes don’t particularly contradict eachother.

    • John says:

      Always a ray of sunshine, Callum.

      • Callum says:

        I do the best with what I have to work with…

        Though I do guess it’s about time I stop reading this blog. The drama queen theatrics have reached an irritating peak (the main reason I stopped reading FlyerTalk) and while the articles are as good as ever, I’m experienced enough to find it myself now – often before its here (Robs a victim of his own success!).

    • Rob says:

      Private Eye runs a similar column in each issue.

  • Chris says:

    New advertising slogan;

    BA – your second choice airline

    • Stu R says:

      Indeed, currently 4 calls and several tweets/DM’s/emails into a prolonged battle to get past TP/Avios points credited – they don’t make anything easy and platitudes flow freely! Certainly not the airline they once were 🙁

      • Rashad says:

        why such battle with your TP’s? i have claimed my online and they were credited within 2 days.

  • Brian says:

    Damn! If Gavin is no longer CEO, that means Rob can’t chase up our 250 miles for AerClub…

    • Rob says:

      True 🙂

      • James says:

        🙂
        Bessie mates gone (smirk) – perhaps you can offer him a job with HFP until something else comes along?

  • RIcatti says:

    “I flew with easyJet every week for seven years.”

    This must have been a traumatic experience. Now all of us (BA customers) have to endure the same.

    And… the healthy option is not to touch food served in Economy! Those sandwiches are full of carbs and go right into your sides over the next 2-3 hours of flying.

    • Rob says:

      Thing is ….. he was flying from London to Barcelona working for Vueling. And he took easyJet. And clearly had no easyJet Plus or priority boarding, or he would have been at the front and got his choice of sarnie!

      • Planeflyer says:

        I don’t understand how you can travel the same airline, same route for 7 years, and never get your first choice. Who sets themselves up for dissapointment like that, when there are plenty of ways to avoid it (e.g. pay for front row seats). Bizarre.

        I think very few people who have their heart set on something are willing to just let fate takes it’s course and see if it all falls into place. I you really WANT that beef sandwich, buy in the terminal! Or make it at home. Buy at your local M&S and bring it with you. Don’t wait till the trolley rolls down the aisle. Only the truly deluded believe that the place for unbridled choice is a metal tube at 40,000ft.

      • Robbie says:

        That is what I found the most shocking. Why as the CEO of the airline would you not fly that airline? surely they would have got him whatever he wanted?

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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