British Airways Pretends to Be a Premium Airline and Uber Plays With Drivers’ Minds

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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, 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. Actually, Gary, you’re being too kind with your repeated through justified criticism of British Airways. Poor cabin and phone service, glitchy website, charging a good deal extra $$ for business class seat assignments, charging a great deal extra $$ for award bookings…the list of ways in which it’s an inferior airline goes on and on…

  2. These are all interesting. The ID theft story is a good read but the author tries to make it seem like it is all a race issue which it mostly isn’t. It also doesn’t tell us if her married or maiden name is Lisa Davis.

  3. Agree with @Steve: your characterization of BA’s business class is incorrect, it is a far worse experience than what you portray.

    Earlier this week I flew BA on a paid business class ticket to Continental Europe (I chose BA because my family was on the same flights on awards), and they managed to leave my bags behind at LHR. They had a whopping 51 minutes between my actual arrival time (per their data) and the scheduled departure time of the connection, and a whopping 56 minutes if you include the delay at departure, but they incompetently didn’t transfer the bags.

    No paging us about the bags misconnecting at arrival, so we had to wait until all bags were unloaded to learn they were left behind. Nothing premium here.

    A BA flight from LHR arrived 2.5 hours later — OUR BAGS WERE NOT ON IT. BA provided no proactive update.

    Another BA flight from LRH arrived a further 2 hours later (4.5 hours total) — OUR BAGS WERE NOT ON IT. BA provided no proactive update.

    BA kept the bags overnight in LHR and finally put them on the morning flight. BA finally provided a proactive update, but then BA scheduled the bags to sit at the airport for a further 3.5 hours before having them picked up for delivery, a delivery that put the total delay at 20 HOURS.

    My company paid over $5,243 and BA can’t even transfer the bags in 56 minutes at its main hub, and, failing this, put the delayed bag on the flight immediately after — or even start the delivery as soon as they finally arrived at the airport. Premium pricing requires premium attention — BA falls far, far, far short of this, and showed a complete utter disregard for our group of business class passengers (and utter operational ineptitude) just this week.

  4. @Tony while that is an indeed horrid situation, you should have compensation rights under EU law for delayed luggage, plus your corporate credit card should have baggage delay insurance built in as well.

  5. While I do agree there are many things that are inferior about British Airways’ product, where they shine is in their ability to make a profit. Look at the “premium” carriers out there – have any of them really figured out how to maximize the revenue from each aircraft in the way that BA has? And has anyone really got the network or frequency of flights to premium destinations that BA has, while still remaining profitable?

    An inferior J class configuration that is almost always full, at a (sometimes) slightly lower price point than the others, to places that people want to go, seems to be an excellent formula for success. Watch many other airlines follow….slowly, but surely.

  6. With all that is wrong about *many* airlines today, your almost-weekly tirades against British Airways are a bit over-the-top. Is there an agenda here?

  7. @David I think I criticize United, Delta, and American more often than BA — but as you see from other comments, consensus is that I go to easy on BA which is currently in the process of getting worse and spinning it as better.

  8. LOL – why go easy on BA?

    Their just par service has deteriorated, they have eliminated free meals and beverages on short haul, now charging, including for even water I am understanding, as well as charging premium service customers for services that were previously provided to continue that level of superior service and to retain their customer base. I will see how it goes when I use them for trans-Atlantic and inter-European travels next month.

    Perhaps their new CEO Alex Cruz is trying to replicate the Veuling low cost model, from whence he came; and not make even an attempt to continue the BA tradition of above average, or even premium service, to differentiate BA from its competitors.

    Who is he speaking to, or who is giving him advice? Certainly I have been using them exclusively for my (only) annual overseas trips and have never had a post-travel survey request.

    Please keep up your reporting on shortfalls from their previous amenities and services, hopefully so it keeps BA on top of their self-inflicted problems. This is your livelihood – and we rely on bloggers like you to raise issues with all carriers – do not let us down!

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