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Highlights from Alex Cruz’s interview in the Mail on Sunday

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There was an interesting interview in the Mail on Sunday yesterday with British Airways CEO Alex Cruz.

You can find it here.

It was billed as his ‘first major interview’.  Unfortunately, you can tell that the Mail had to agree to write a soft puff piece in order to get the story written.

(The irony is that the Mail is no longer available in British Airways lounges or at plane doors.  But who knows if it will reappear next week?)

For me, the red flags started waving when the newspaper writes (and this is not a quote from Cruz, this was written directly by Ruth Sunderland) – “engineers in Cardiff are retro-fitting 128 long-haul planes in the existing fleet with new interiors”.

Did she mean the 130ish strong short-haul fleet?  In which case, she purposely failed to mention that a toilet is disappearing, that the other toilet will be rammed into the back wall and reduced in width and that three extra rows of seats are being squeezed in, with all seats beyond row 12 having no recline.  Or did she really mean the 130ish strong long-haul fleet, which is not having any sort of new interior?

Other red flags include news of “fast” wi-fi and “big” snacks for economy passengers.  I’m also not totally convinced that the biggest “PR blow” in the last year was when Nicola Benedetti got a bit grumpy because BA refused to take her violin in the cabin because she hadn’t bought an extra seat.  I’m sure we’re all relieved that Cruz “says the row has now been smoothed over”.

The more cynical among you may have got suspicious by the first paragraph when the reporter arrives – by total coincidence – at the same time as Cruz is doing a shift ‘on the ramp’ at Heathrow, helping to dispatch a plane.  At least that hi-viz vest would have come in handy at last.

The only tough question comes over BA’s market position:

“We will continue to be a premium airline for the rest of our lives, there is no way around it” he says.  How does scrapping the free food on short haul fit with that? “Whatever we do, BA will always have a premium edge to it.”

There is one new fact revealed, however.  It seems that the new Club World cabin will have fewer seats.  This was not an inevitable consequence of having new ‘all aisle access’ seats and products such as the Qatar Airways Qsuite show that you can deliver an amazing product with a fairly high density.

Despite the above comments, the article is worth a read.

And, despite my own comments, I do fully understand that Cruz is in a difficult position trying to compete with low cost carriers whilst paying up to £44.91 (Istanbul for eg) to Heathrow in ‘Passenger Service Charges’. 

It is also true, however, that the upside of having multiple carriers competing on most routes from London is that you can ‘do a Waitrose’ and focus on hoovering up people who are not obsessed with price above everything else including comfort.

The idea that the public can choose anything from a London bus to an Uber Mercedes S-Class to get to the airport, and stay in anything from a hostel to a 5-star grande dame when its lands, but has no interest in anything but a low price when picking their flight has always been ludicrous.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2023)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (119)

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

  • George Pepper says:

    IHG availability seemed to be much better this afternoon than in recent years. Managed to get the IC in Kiev and the CP in Belgrade. Hopefully in this new post-Weinstein world of ultra-feminism and equal pay,I’ll be able to get a bona fide female hooker discounted to a similar price that a man might charge… 🙂

  • Tony says:

    What happened to the full service airline that BA used to pride itself on being?

  • Linda says:

    Hear, hear Rob, your final paragraph sums it up perfectly…

  • Andy says:

    Please someone buy Señor Cruz a Mach 3 Gillette! His facial hair would make a hipster jealous…

  • Tom says:

    BA Website

    Trying to search for Avios reward flights, and I keep hitting a brick wall of Error messages on the Stopovers page saying “Something has gone wrong, Please try again later”.

    Is this a regular problem?

    • Anna says:

      Every so often it has a bit of a glitch like that. I wonder if it’s when the redemption availability is updating.

  • FirstClassLad says:

    I disagree with your ‘ludicrous idea’ comment. A £5 flight with Ryan-Scare will attract a large portion of the population, over the £50 [better] BA option…. despite the £25 Stansted Express train fare*, landing in a non-centrally located airport / paying for a taxi to get you to your destination and possible additional extras. Psychology is key. Asterisk is for the fact I have no intention to travel to that airport – ever 😀

  • Richard Thomas says:

    I fly BA about once a week between LHR and TXL or vice-versa (normally Club, with Avios redemptions). I know that the overriding sentiment here and in other places is how much worse it has become. But if I objectively consider my experiences of travelling BA in the last couple of years, I’d say I was pretty happy with the service. I like the new vegan options on Club; probably 9 out of 10 times the cabin crew are attentive and friendly, the flights are on time, I find the new seats more comfortable than the old ones, and fast-track at T5 works well. It’s fun to bash BA, and I’m very tired of the new safety video, but compared to my experiences on most other European carriers I think it’s a pretty good service.

  • Nigel says:

    We have flown Club World to Tampa from Gatwick three times a year for the past 6 years. BA is the only carrier with so many different configurations of the 777 and the times our chosen seats have changed because of an aircraft change is ridiculous especially as we pick seats to avoid stepping over people. Cabin service has gone downhill during these 6 years as well as CS which is all to keen to send you text messages about how good they are once you have walked into the airport. We are now going with American carriers who stick to one plane format even if we have to go through hubs. They cannot be any worse than BA or should it be Spanish Airways?

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

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