What Hath Brexit Wrought? British Airways Business Class Cutbacks

It will be years before Britain leaves the EU, if it leaves at all, and if it does there’s any number of scenarios for what that could look like. But the mere possibility, post non-binding referendum to do so, is having significant effects on the UK economy.

Nowhere will this be felt more than in the movement of people, goods, and money. So London’s financial sector stands to be harmed by the potential to lose access to European trading areas and London-based British Airways will face revenue pressure from diminished business travel.

While fuel prices are low and world airline profits are high, British Airways appears to be preparing for the apocalypse with reported changes to business class service:

  • No more choice of starters for business class main meals. This is supposedly a one-month trial, to see how passengers react to tomato, mozzarella, avocado salad or nothing.

  • No more ice cream in ‘Club Kitchen’ self-serve midflight snacks.

  • Access to arrivals lounge for flights arriving before Noon only.

British Airways used to have a great business class product, now it has a great value product. The value proposition is that they sell it ‘cheap for business class’.

Expect to see more business class sales, stackable with AARP $400 discounts and 10% co-brand credit card discounts.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. If anything, Brexit will bring 1000s and 1000s of consultants flying in J…

    These moves are more about cost-cutting/bottom-line-growth. BA wants to have the best PE sold as J in the industry.

  2. I would have thought that the immediate impact of Brexit would be more business travel as the disentanglement is complex and needs lots of effort to achieve.

  3. Any word on renewing the AARP benefit? It looks like C and F fares have been removed and we only have until 7/31 for Y and Y+.

  4. Not sure why this would be attributed to Brexit. Deeply discounted J class sales have been going on for many months. And not just to the UK, but also to Asia, South America, and many EU countries. All of this started well before the Brexit vote.

    Almost 2 years ago Lucky was saying that BA’s FC is one of the best J classes out there. Seems that while many airlines are getting rid of the FC cabin, BA is turning FC into an excellent J, and Bus class into a top notch PE.

    Not to mention it’s fine with me if they get rid of the ice cream in the Club Kitchen, just as long as they leave the half bottles of Taittinger in there. 🙂

  5. Just looking at the photo of the BA Business Class seats makes me cringe. So cramped, narrow seat, and no privacy – they should change the name to Business Cattle Class.

    I flew BA Business Class transatlantic once and SQ Business Class transpacific twice (777-300 ER) in the past 12 months and the difference is breath taking, just breath taking. It’s like comparing a lowly Holiday Inn Express standard room with a Ritz Carlton Junior Suite.

    It disgusts me that BA does not care that they are offering their customers an inferior product. And now they want to save a few pennys by reducing their business class perks. What a sad downhill spiral.

  6. Are the seats still lie flat? That’s all I care about.

    If the fares are truly cheaper, then the rest is window dressing. I. Don’t. Care. about an appetizer. Ice cream is overrated and rarely tastes good on a place anyway. If I land after noon, chances are my hotel room will be ready by the time I get to the city.

    In fact, I’d much rather have lower business fares that any of the above – as long as the seats are flat.

  7. Just can’t give up on the delusion that Brexit won’t happen can you? Really should stick to your area of expertise – award programs.

  8. To me, the most important benefit of flying business is a lie-flat seat to get some sleep. If the flights are going to be much less expensive, I’d be fine with no food, drinks, or amenity kits.

  9. @Eric we don’t know what form Brexit will take, or how long it will take to get there. I’d suggest that I have the far better side of the bet than someone claiming UK will be out of the EU entirely in 2 years.

  10. Beachfan wrote “I would have thought that the immediate impact of Brexit would be more business travel as the disentanglement is complex and needs lots of effort to achieve.”

    There is currently so much uncertainty on what the future holds, and the timelines associated with it that businesses have put plans and projects on hold. Here’s three things that happened as a result of the Brexit result:

    Singapore’s United Overseas Bank has stopped offering mortgages on London properties, several investment funds stopped investors from pulling money out of UK-focused property trusts and Virgin Group lost a third of its value leading to cancellation of a contract worth 3,000 jobs.

    The list goes on!!!

  11. BA should take the leap it needs:
    Become a great 2-class airline with a degree of honesty (sorely lacking) to their customers
    Ditch current F & J seats and go the way of QR
    Their food in F, other than the cheese course out of LHR and the great wine list, has deteriorated beyond belief and is now in the “shameful” zone
    If this state of affairs continues, a tragic end to a once great airline

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