July 2024

BA – is it the world’s most hated airline?

Do you remember those glorious days when BA used the slogan “The World’s Favourite Airline”? As far as I can see, BA no longer makes this claim. For good reason!

I’ve written before about how I believe that BA’s “Avios” points scheme is a scam as, however many points you collect, there never seem to be any seats available for Avios points on the flights you want. And I’ve had loads of comments from readers, some regular business travellers with mountains of Avios points, who have experienced exactly the same thing.

But given the recent utter chaos at BA – two major IT failures, a continuing strike by cabin staff and terminals bursting with angry would-be passengers, I thought I’d have a quick look at what’s happening to our national airline

Manuel’s Flying Circus?

The problem seems to centre around a Spanish gentleman called Alex “Manuel from Fawlty Towers” Cruz. Manuel (sorry, I meant “Alex”) became Chief Executive of BA in April (maybe April 1st?) 2016. Prior to that Manuel (sorry, I meant “Alex) had spent 10 years running two low-cost Spanish airlines – Click Airlines from 2006 to 2009 and then Vueling from 2009 to his arrival at unfortunate BA.

I don’t doubt that Manuel (sorry I meant “Alex”) has a lot of experience at running low-cost airlines. He now seems to be putting that experience into practice at BA. He’s reduced the number of toilets, size of seats and distance between seats to cram in more passengers; on long-haul flights some meals have been replaced by a miniature Kitkat and a bottle of water; he’s cut free meals and drinks on short-haul flights and replaced them with over-priced M&S sandwiches and bottled water that run out before half the passengers have been served, their planes are old and dirty, seats are often broken, entertainment systems are either outdated or don’t work and he’s cut costs in IT, ‘Customer Service’ and loads of other departments.

Once the “world’s favourite airline”, under Manuel (sorry, I meant “Alex”) BA has been in the news for IT failures, appalling treatment of passengers, lost luggage and collapsing standards of service.

The World’s Most Hated Airline?

There’s a website called “trustpilot” where customers can express their praise of or vent their anger at companies they’ve dealt with. But passenger comments about BA are in a totally different league from comments about other organisations. See for yourself:

Most people commenting about Manuel’s new low-cost but high-priced BA are furious about they way they’ve been treated by BA. But why should this be? After all, in spite of Manuel’s attempts to destroy the airline, BA is still far from the worst airline on the world. Most African and South American airlines are much worse.

I think the issue is that BA is now trying to provide a cattle-market, low-cost airline while still trading on its past reputation for being a serious airline with high standards of service. Most people don’t fly that often and still believe that BA is a proper, top-tier airline. Many choose BA for special occasions – honeymoons, taking their 89-year-old mother on their last ‘trip of a lifetime’ or their family on a special holiday. So they pay BA’s high prices in the expectation of getting what they’ve paid for. They’re then extremely angry when they find out that they’re treated like dirt. They get even more angry when the few people remaining in Manuel’s wrongly named “Customer Service” department are either impossible to contact or just try every trick in the book to get the angry passengers to go f**k themselves.

Laughably, BA’s motto is still (I think) “To Fly To Serve”. Hopefully they’ll soon change that to something more appropriate like “You May Fly, But We Don’t Serve”.

Fly ABBA Airlines

For the moment, Manuel’s cost-cutting, service-cutting, everything-cutting is working. BA’s profits are up and Manuel and his boss, Irishman Willie Walsh, will probably get record bonuses. And this will continue for the next 2 to 3 years. But gradually people will realise how Walsh and Manuel have ruined BA and they will abandon BA for other airlines. There’s already an expression “I’m flying ABBA Airlines” – ABBA Airlines, is not a Swedish airline, it means “Anyone But BA”.

So, you have been warned. The BA of today is no longer one of the world’s better airlines. BA is now a high-priced, low-cost cattle-moving business. Its management and staff loathe their passengers. Service is non-existent. And, if you try complaining, BA doesn’t give a monkey’s. As far as BA are concerned you can p*ss off as there are plenty more people who haven’t realised how bad BA has become who’ll still fly with them.

My advice – fly ABBA Airlines. Life’s too short to spend hours being treated like a piece of human excrement by Manuel’s useless BA.

1 comment to BA – is it the world’s most hated airline?

  • twi5ted

    All airlines are getting worse though in the back and more and more luxurious at the front.

    Friend of mine is BA crew and seem to be treated quite well although conditions are being attacked. But new crew are recruited and kept separated from old crew – they have low pay and are expected to work much much harder with fewer breaks between long haul flights.

    Their average duration of employment is around 2 years because of exhaustion but BA know there is a constant flow of new people willing to undertake the job. Its those new staff that are on strike currently fighting for better conditions not the old contracts. Seems though to be the modern way reflecting unlimited cheap labour.

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