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EXCLUSIVE: Here are the British Airways plans for new service improvements in 2022

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In an internal email to staff, British Airways has outlined a number of service improvements that you can expect to see onboard during 2022.

We may do a further article later once we have had the official briefing from BA.

EDIT: We now have a second article up which covers the official announcement. Click here to read it once you’ve read the summary below.

Is it enough? See what you think.

British Airways customer service improvements

Here are the headline points:

  • BA admits that ‘there’s still a lot of work do’ despite improving customer feedback scores, driven by Club Suite
  • will be improved to allow more customers to amend their reservations without calling
  • Staff numbers are being increased at customer contact centres, and new telephone systems introduced
  • A new document checking process will be introduced before the Summer peak to make check-in easier
  • World Traveller Plus passengers will get a dedicated check-in area for the first time
  • A baggage tracing app will be launched, allowing passengers to see where there luggage is and to facilitate the easier return of delayed baggage
  • A plant-based menu will be introduced to BA lounges
  • The Skyflyers programme for children will be relaunched
  • Club Europe meals will change in March, with a greater variety of options promised
  • World Traveller meals will change in May with ‘additional items’ promised for both meal services
  • Club World will see ‘new enhancements’
  • More drinks will be loaded to end the current shortages due to low supplies, as well as additional spare meals to allow more customers to receive their first choice

More to follow when we get the official announcement. I don’t want to pass judgement until we have seen the detailed proposals – there is, for example, no mention of going back to serving meals in premium cabins course by course, even though most other major airlines have already done so.


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Comments (139)

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

  • Richard G says:

    Seems like a whole lot of very little.

    The online adjustment of booking is realistically just what we had pre COVID, and the call centre stuff is the absolute minimum I’d expect. WTP check-in area is just… what? There’s barely any advantage for silver / club world members so I just don’t see how they’re going to make things better for WTP over WT.

    • Russ says:

      I agree. So far it appears a bit thin for J class. Aimed more at premium economy pax perhaps?

    • Rhys says:

      The original email suggests that more is happening. I imagine a lot of bigger news has been kept under wraps so as to avoid it being leaked.

      From a PR perspective, it doesn’t make much sense to announce 30 things at once and let the real good stuff get buried when you can announce each one individually and increase your positive press coverage.

  • James says:

    Any new on a new complaints system or improved compensation as they removed avios as compensation which was vital for those items that didnt fall all the way into cash compensation territory?

    • SH says:

      Think the BA answer to that one is that they hope you’ll stop complaining!

  • Frankie says:

    I’d love to see Club World’s meal enhancements to just be a revert to 2019 standards for a start. Not everything dumped on one tray.

    • Rhys says:

      I do seriously wonder why this hasn’t been done yet.

      • Nick says:

        Rhys, really, have you been asleep? This is very well documented. CW service remains one-tray because of the shortage of crew – if flights are going one or two crew down, there just aren’t enough to deliver the full service properly or efficiently. On the longer routes there’s a legally mandated rest period for crew which must be achieved or the aircraft has to divert and land early. They are recruiting and training as fast as they can, but are finding it very challenging. I won’t go into the ins and outs of how they could make it more attractive… am sure other posters will jump in with that.

        • secretsquirrel says:

          Two days rest for 11 hour flight for crew. I was advised this by crew on my flight last week.

          • ChrisC says:

            Well that depends on the route but I think Nick was referring to a rest period during the flight

            But I don’t see how why that sould affect service given the meals are served at the start of the flight when all crew will be available at the busiest time of the trip.

        • Rhys says:

          How high are load factors though?

          • Nick says:

            Some flights are completely full – and in any case you can’t start bringing in different routines based on load factor, this causes inconsistency that customers hate even more (not to mention what you do if loads suddenly jump because of misconnects or whatever).

            Ignoring the A380, CW cabins are up to 76 seats. If there are two fewer crew, running 76×3 for starter, hot and dessert separately, plus drinks and tea/coffee, soon adds up. If this pushes into legally-mandated break time the service has to be curtailed. Not to mention how long it could take on a night flight where customers just want to eat quickly and then sleep. It’s like those trolleys all over again.

            I’m not saying any of this is ok, or how it should be done – it absolutely isn’t. But think of it from BA’s perspective – there are serious challenges and this is the simplest way to ensure a consistent (if poorer quality than ideal) service flow. The alternative right now is to cancel flights.

    • Kim says:

      Flew Swiss Business JNB-ZUR this week and it’s the same – meal all on one tray. Busy cabin, three crew, lights out asap. Not just BA struggling.

      • Rhys says:

        They were doing 3 trays in September so likely to Omicron absences I guess.

        • Rob says:

          SWISS was doing proper meals in December 2020 (2020, not 2021) when we flew them long haul.

  • meta says:

    Seems like not all options will be coming back. Only the possibility to amend and I bet it will be heavily restricted. So if you want a refund, you have to call, if you want a re-route when redemption flight is cancelled you will have to call as the online option will probably restrict it only to dates when there is a reward seat available. They are buying new phone systems for what purpose if the pressure is going to be down due to online options?

    Other improvements – they should commit to going back to exactly how it was pre-pandemic. Who remembers welcome drinks, printed menus in CE? Also nothing about improvements in F!

  • ChrisC says:

    “ will be improved to allow more customers to amend their reservations without calling”

    They have been promising this sort of improvement for years and whilst they have done some things it’s just not been enough.

    If they had done this years ago then the last couple of years would have been much easier for a lot of passengers to rebook and a lot less stress on the phone lines and their staff.

    • Nick says: is getting an entire new platform. They’ve been told they can’t release anything without also including servicing functionality, so in theory it will get better.

      On the downside, it’s currently planned at 5 years to build, even without delays, and no one at all expects it to be a smooth implementation.

      The head of leaves next month and is not being replaced, so it will get worse before it gets better.

    • Tinsley Tim says:

      Knowing BA IT, the “amend their reservation without calling” will probably also include the passenger not actually wanting the amendment😂

  • Mark says:

    I’d like to see the return of pre-flight meal selections. Not sure how many people took it up before, but you’d think that would be helpful in ensuring more people get their first choice (or at least have the opportunity to do so if they take it up).

    • secretsquirrel says:

      @Mark: we always used to select our pre-flight meals after my wife’s terrible experience in Club World where she was offered a Panini as her main meal. This was due to us being seated at the rear of CW and 2 out of 3 main course had run out by the time they got to us.

  • Jamesp21 says:

    Finally a change to Club Europe meals! I’m sick to death of that chicken salad.

  • Phil G says:

    I would be happy with a clean seat and cabin. Last 2 flights in a club suite we covered on crumbs and rice.
    And more than one drink being served on a 7 hour flight.

    They would be better serving a M&S microwave meal than trying to convince us the inedible crap we get at the minute is fine dining

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