Has British Airways thrown Alex Cruz under the bus?
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An interesting article appeared in the Mail on Sunday yesterday entitled “British Airways’ blueprint to go upmarket again”.
I am not going to go into the article in detail, since there is nothing in it which will be news to regular Head for Points readers.
What DID make me do a double-take was this paragraph:
“It marks a huge shift for BA under new boss Sean Doyle, whose predecessor Alex Cruz was accused by investors and passengers of trying to take BA downmarket and compete with budget airlines such as Ryanair. BA said the change in strategy had begun under Cruz but the airline is now able to accelerate its plans.“
This is, I think, very disingenuous. The lead-time to get anything done in aviation is measured in years, not months. The requirement to thoroughly safety-test everything means that you can’t move quickly, even if you want to.
It is simply not true that Sean Doyle is the architect of the changes that are now being put in place. Whilst HfP was far from being Alex Cruz’s biggest cheerleader, I personally liked him and in many ways he was simply a puppet for Willie Walsh, then Chief Executive of BA’s parent company IAG.
Let’s take a look at every single British Airways ‘improvement’ listed in the Mail on Sunday article. Remember that Sean Doyle was at Aer Lingus until he took over at BA last Autumn and so had no input, at all, into anything the airline did before that.
“new digital ordering systems for in-flight meals” on short-haul – this was announced by Sean Doyle, I admit. However, the termination of the Marks & Spencer contract was announced on 26th October. Cruz was fired on 12th October but the M&S decision would obviously have been taken by then. I have been told that the move back to ‘free water and a snack’ in Economy had been signed-off by Cruz at the same time.
“Long-haul passengers in premium cabins will be served food from gourmet menus prepared by chefs in new kitchens next to the runways at Heathrow” – the Do&Co catering contract was announced in September 2018
“Cabin crew will get new uniforms designed by Savile Row tailor Ozwald Boateng” – the Ozwald Boateng uniforms were announced in September 2018, to be rolled out for the #BA100 celebrations in 2020 (ahem)
“new flat-bed seats, with a door to the aisle, are being installed in business class” – Club Suite was launched in March 2019
“From this week, First Class passengers flying from Heathrow will be able to recharge before their flights in ‘Sleep Pods'” – this is likely to be a Sean Doyle innovation, but it is a replacement for the Elemis Spa treatments in the lounges which have been scrapped as a cost saving measure
“It has also set up partnership with a company called AirPortr that allows customers to pay £150 to have their bags collected from their home and checked in.” – indeed it has, but the AirPortr partnership with BA was launched at Terminal 5 in December 2015. This contract even predates Alex Cruz, who only became British Airways CEO in April 2016.
It is true that there is some good stuff going on at British Airways at the moment. What isn’t true is the narrative that this is due to Sean Doyle riding in from Aer Lingus to change everything that the nasty old Mr Cruz put in place.
PS. If the phrase ‘thrown under the bus’ makes no sense to you, you can catch up here.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (May 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:
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 30th May, the sign-up bonus on the Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard is doubled to a crazy 50,000 Avios! Apply here.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 30th May, the sign-up bonus on the free Barclaycard Avios Mastercard is doubled to 10,000 Avios. Apply here.
Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard
CRAZY 50,000 Avios for signing up (to 30th May) and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review
Barclaycard Avios Mastercard
10,000 Avios for signing up (only to 30th May) 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.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 13th June, the sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card is doubled to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – and you get £200 to spend at Amex Travel too! Apply here.
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
60,000 points AND a £200 Amex Travel voucher until 13th June! 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.
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 a £200 Amex Travel credit every year 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.