British Airways is trialing something new at London Gatwick on short haul flights, crew give planes a light clean during the time between flights instead of paying contracted cleaners.
COST-cutting British Airways bosses are letting planes take-off with just a “light clean” and toilet waste-tanks unemptied.
Crew members are being paid an extra £10 if they give the plane a quick tidy before departure, saving cash on paying contracted cleaners.
Crew will be paid an additional £10 per flight segment, and the new standards mean that “a jet’s sewage tank is not always emptied. Instead they fly if it is up to a third full. In addition BA planes can now depart with just 50 per cent levels of drinkable water used for making tea and coffee.”
British Airways considers this a test to “see whether passengers notice the planes are not as clean as normal.”
Will Blue Lighting Help Hide The Dirt?
Crew cleaning planes between flights is hardly a new idea. When Southwest Airlines was forced to return one of its four planes in 1972, they invented the “10 minute turn” to shorten the time between flights and maintain their schedule using only three aircraft. Flight attendants and pilots cleaned planes during those 10 minutes. And of course on every flight, crew come around picking up trash from passengers prior to landing even if they’re not going back through the plane once on the ground to look for items left at seats, on the floor, or in seat pockets.
Financially troubled airlines often reduce cleaning and fly dirty planes. They also defer maintenance. A decade ago United decided it was cheaper to compensate passengers than replace burned out reading lights.
British Airways has been on a tear to limit costs. They first introduced fares that didn’t include checked baggage (Hand Baggage Only fares), and applied these rules even to elites who normally receive an extra checked baggage allowance. They have started charging for inflight food and drink in intra-European economy — even for hot water if you bring your own tea bag. And they’re reducing space between seats from an already-tight 30 inches to offer less legroom than Ryanair.
Will This Trial at Gatwick Spread to Heathrow?
Some readers thought I was unfair a year ago when I asked if I had flown British Airways Club Europe or Spirit Airlines.
Perhaps a new idea for a fee is to require that all passengers clean the area around their seats themselves, or they can pay £5 to have a flight attendant clean for them. A £5 fee per passenger would be a revenue stream rather than incurring £10 per flight attendant per flight!