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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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How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 2024)

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Comments (147)

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

  • BigDave says:

    as with easy jet I will take my own sandwiches when I can
    probably spend almost the same money, but I can eat them
    when I want and it will always be first choice….

    • Julian says:

      Travelling out of LHR or LGW with BA I will from now on always be buying an airside Boots meal deal for £3.79. (don’t ever buy it landside before security or your drink won’t make it on board with you).

      Large good quality sandwich or shusi platter, wide choice of soft drinks including up to 450ml fruit smoothie and then either crisps, chocolate bars, chocolate brownies, various sliced fresh fruit choices or a porridge and muesli breakfast thing for the add on snack.

      Cruz is a complete liar and the only reason BA is actually getting rid of free drink and free sandwich is to vastly up their on board revenue streams by either not having to provide a free drink and sandwich at all or otherwise vastly over charging and making a very fat profit on those customers who still insist on BA serving them one.

      The main question is will BA’s top possible last minute one way cash fare for a 2 hour Economy class seat to the Med be any less than the outrageous £479 one way being charged last year (compared to a top price Easyjet or Ryanair last minute booked fare of only about £200 one way) in view of their new more efficient cost base? I suspect not and reckon that the extra money made will largely go in the pocket of Alex Cruz and his fellow senior directors/managers as a large bonus payment……….

  • @mkcol says:

    I wonder if Boots in T5 has seen an upswing in meal deals being sold in the last wee while.

    • Julian says:

      I’m sure Boots have seen a very big rise in Meal Deal sales. Although a lot of customers won’t change their habits until they have experienced their first Fleece You On Board BA offering.

  • Lostantipod says:

    Cruz displays the senior management hubris and self-belief that sees great companies go the way of the dinosaurs, by expecting us to believe he never received his first choice meal in 7 years. Being quoted in interview saying rubbish like that makes clear the utter contempt he has for his passengers.

    • Julian says:

      Hear, hear. But Cruz is only a Spanish Clone of Wee Willie. He is not where the rot first started within BA/IAG.

  • Rash says:

    O/T I upgraded from my Gold to Platinum and the symbol has changed to Plat now when I login to my account. Only happened today, and I haven’t activated my card yet – slight problem is my MR points balance is not showing at all. Is this normal?

  • Scottydogg says:


    I think I know the answer for this but though id check .
    Ive just cancelled Amex gold card , I wanted to sign up for a platinum in July as we are travelling for the month of April and will be visiting a good few airports so though it would be good to have lounge access .
    Would I get the sign up bonus ? only 3 months later ……I messed up my timing with cancelling that gold , my partner has a gold card too so can’t sign up in her name either !

    Any help ?

    • Alan says:

      Nope, you need six months without an MR-earning card. Perhaps look at SPG or BAPP in the meantime?

    • Brian says:

      Get your partner to upgrade to Platinum and see if Amex will give her a bonus for doing so?

  • aliks says:

    On our recent (economy) flight to Athens, the head flight attendant come over to talk to me about BoB. I told her I wasn’t too worried about the change as the previous food offerings were such low quality.

    Given that we are always in the lounge beforehand, we don’t really want free food on European flights just a coffee maybe – so its not even much of a price hike.

    • David says:

      Selfish comment. What about people that don’t have lounge access? There used to be a good selection of free drinks. Terrible in my opinion.

      • Leo says:

        Why is it selfish? Someone is simply expressing how it effects him?

        • David says:

          And I was just expressing that I felt that the comment was selfish, in my opinion.

          • callum says:

            Your opinion is wrong (yes most opinions are subjective, but yours is objectively wrong).

            Not being too worried about the severe suffering wealthy people (if you can afford to fly, you’re wealthy) go through when they can’t get some complimentary food doesn’t make you selfish.

          • Louie says:

            I’m with David. Perfect example of when my mum would have said “I’m alright Jack”. Or I don’t care how other people are affected as long as I’m not affected myself. I don’t see that the subject matter matters.

          • callum says:

            Jesus Christ, it’s a tiny packet of crisps or half a wrap. Your sense of entitlement is beyond absurd if it’s “selfish” to not be “too worried” over the wealthy having to go 3 hours without a complimentary snack!

            Either that or you must live in a constant state of severe depression – a hell of a lot more people go without a hell of a lot more for their entire lives…

      • TripRep says:

        Inclined to echo Leo’s comments.

        David, it was a personal response to an open question on how they felt about the new service.

        Most people would reply in the context of how it affected them individually.

        If I were asked (and I wasn’t feeling grumpy) I might of said that BA should keep Tea/Coffee & water as complimentary and honour the benefits of any tickets bought prior to the announcement of this enhancement.

        • the real harry1 says:

          yep I’ve got no problem whatsoever with BOB as it does actually make my flights cheaper, I’ve noticed, for the times we actually pay – and makes cheapie HBO £70 a decent alternative to £17.50 + 7500 Avios if you want to conserve your Avios stash

          but I do seriously object to not getting my F&B previously paid for on my T-355 tickets, as y’all know! 🙂

    • AndyR says:

      Some outstation lounges are crap though. Also what about your return as BA don’t provide lounge access in Athens?

  • Arun T says:

    Airline CEO’s always tend to be a ‘special’ type of person….but the more I read about Alex Cruz, the more I seem to think he has genuinely lost the plot with this ‘low-cost’ strategy.

    The one major caveat, is that IAG is making money – and that’s all his employers care about. Until that stops, he will keep pushing it!

    • Nicholas Danks says:

      At the end of the day, the market is full of choice. I guess we have a narrow ‘lense’ through which we view changes; the real measure is the bottom line profit and long term sustainability of their business model as required by their shareholders.

      I’ve got quite a lot of skin in the game with over 1m of avios and 4 x 2f1 vouchers, however I’ve resigned myself to Longhaul Y or J in QR as a way of earning enough avios to fly me and my family around within europe using RFS.

      I suspect Alex Cruz’s success as measured by the board of IAG will be judged by his impact on shareholder value; not by us FF diehards who mourn the loss of perks or downgrading of service.

      This is just my objective view – I don’t like the way things are going either 😛

  • Jonny says:

    OT: Just booked a week’s parking in June at Gatwick through the official airport “Premium Valet Parking” service (dropping off car outside the terminal). myGatwick was offering 20% off, which made it cheaper than anything else as far as I could tell. Hope this helps someone.

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

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