I flew BA for the second time last month, and for the first time on a long haul flight. I flew with them to and from New York City - a route that I would normally use Virgin for - but I chose BA as they were offering a better deal at the time. In hindsight, I should have paid that little bit extra and stuck with Virgin.
Whilst not wanting this review to act as a comparison to Virgin, I must compare some aspects of the service as Virgin is the only other company I have flown to the USA with. The first thing I must compare is check in. With Virgin, it has always been quick and effortless. BA seemed quite the opposite - we queued for about 45 minutes, and the ladies on the desk seemed painfully slow at getting everything sorted. Perhaps this was just a busy time for the company, so we didn't let it annoy us.
In terms of the seating, it wasn't as comfy as I was used to (I flew economy by the way) but still adequate, with a decent amount of recline. We were lucky that our seats were on the front of the row, so we got a little extra legroom by chance.
The in flight attendants were helpful and accommodating. In my opinion, they weren't quite as good as Virgin, much like some of the other aspects of the flight, but they were still good. The in flight entertainment was disappointing. There seemed to be a good selection of films available, but my TV kept cutting out. They managed to fix it a few times, only for it to cut out again within 20 minutes. Finally, after about 3 hours of the flight, they managed to get it working, and I enjoyed one film before we landed.
I wasn't impressed with the in flight meal at all. I'm celiac, so I never expect much from an in flight gluten free meal, but this one was unpalatable to say the least. The main meal was a bland concoction of rubbery chicken and rice in a strangely coloured sauce. 'Afternoon tea' was plain GF rolls and cheese, which I really couldn't bring myself to eat - I'm thankful I brought high protein snacks on board with me to keep me going.
In terms of the flight itself, we left about 20 minutes later than expected but we made that time up during the flight. The journey was smooth, experiencing light turbulence once; but all in all the pilot was very good.
To summarise, BA offer a comfortable flight experience with a good on board service. They are a reliable company and you should be confident they will get you to your destination in good time. For me though, Virgin offer a service that is far superior, so I will be sticking with them in the future.
I used to think of British Airways as the go to Airline when you wanted just a little more luxury in your life than Easy Jet - to be fair, nobody wants to deal with that last minute scramble for seats on a budget airline - but I have recently discovered that British Airways is far more comfortable and enjoyable than just the "one better than the worst" experience that was expecting.
Upon boarding a British Airways flight I was delighted and pleasantly surprised to be greeted by an enthusiastic and friendly hostess who took the time to show me to my seat, placed my bag in the overhead compartment for me (as I'm a little too short to reach for myself) and assured me that any additional services that I required would be available shortly.
As this was my first long haul flight on my own, this was a reassuring and warm service which I truly appreciated.
I was also pleased to discover that the seats were extremely comfortable, despite being notably older and worn than those on a Virgin or Qantas flight, and that they reclined to an acceptably horizontal position without significantly interfering with the passengers behind you. This allowed for a more comfortable sleeping position without the crushing guilt experienced on more budget flights whereby you feel as if you are sleeping on the person behind you's lap!
Each seat also came equipped with an individual screen which was large, easy to use and contained a pleasing variety of games, flight information, films and television shows. This kept me entertained throughout my flight and whenever any technical difficulties arose (this only happened to me once but I did notice it happen to those around me a few times during the flight) and attendant was quick to respond to my needs and fix the problem efficiently.
Overall, I would conclude that my flight on BA exceeded my expectations and was just as comfortable, enjoyable and well staffed as as other, more expensive services such as Virgin or New Zealand Air.
I was so disappointed to read recently that British Airways are now charging for hold baggage. I never thought I would see this from such a great British Airline. Most people hold them in high regard but this will change as they will now be "just another run of the mill" low standard airline like Ryanair and Easyjet. SO people will probably turn to other airlines, as I know we will. We always opted for British Airways as we knew that the price quoted WAS as it said, all inclusive but British Airways are now going to be one of the run of the mill bog standard airlines, what a shame for our great British company. WHAT A LET DOWN
In the past year I have flown BA on several flights - three times across the Atlantic along with several domestic flights on the airline.
It wasn't always thus - for many years British Airways were too expensive for transatlantic flights - although my very first flight to the US was on BA I didn't actually get round to flying them there again until 12 years later. Similarly the regular BA flights I used to take from London to Brussels when my husband worked there in the late 90s ended up giving way to cheaper alternatives courtesy of Eurostar and the now defunct Virgin Express airline.
Moving back to Scotland is the main reason I find myself flying them again. There are only a couple of airlines which fly direct to the US from Scotland and they charge a lot of money for the privilege. It used to be I turned my nose up at connecting elsewhere for a flight but with the advent of Terminal 5 at Heathrow I have changed my mind and have flown enough sectors on BA over the course of the past year that I now have enough status to make them more attractive than the opposition.
British Airways is the UK's national flag carrier but as regional departures have shrunk over the years they are sometimes described as "London Airways" in light of the fact all their long haul flights depart from either Heathrow or Gatwick. The airline has domestic connections within the UK to Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Manchester and Jersey.
The airline has been in existence in its present form since 1974 and is one of the few airlines in the world which fly to all six inhabited continents. The fleet is served predominantly by Boeing aircraft such as the 747 and 777 on long haul routes with Airbus being more predominant on short haul routes. British Airways is a member of the One World Alliance which means many of their flights codeshare with operators such as Qantas, American Airlines and Cathay Pacific.
Most long haul routes operate into and out of London Heathrow but there are exceptions with destinations served at Gatwick. These seem to be more leisure oriented routes - such as Male and Orlando - and there are also domestic and short haul routes serving the airport's North terminal.
Domestic flights operate using a single class cabin, whereas short haul flights have Club Europe seats at the front for business travellers and Euro Traveller for the economy section. The one exception to the domestic one class rule is the London Gatwick to Jersey route, which includes a Club Europe cabin. Flying long haul aircraft will either have a four class formation comprising of First, Club World, World Traveller Plus and World Traveller (Economy) or a three class formation which omits First.
The aircraft has a four star rating from Skytrax which is pretty good for a European carrier although I have to say I think this is perhaps a little on the generous side.
As a full service airline what you pay when you buy a ticket covers almost everything, included checked baggage, airport check-in and drinks on board. All domestic flights that depart before around 9.00 am offer a cooked breakfast to all passengers and you do get fed if you fly Club Europe. The only thing BA charge extra for is the option to choose where you sit before online check-in opens, and this can be irritatingly expensive - £30 per person per sector adds up quickly for instance. The only way to avoid these charges is to have status with the airline.
Check in can be done online and there are several ways to get a boarding pass - you can print one at home, print one at the airport or save one to your phone. Baggage allowances are generous - even in economy you are allowed one cabin sized bag and a smaller bag along with one checked bag. Both the cabin bag and the checked bag can weigh up to 23 kilos but be warned - you have to be able to put your cabin bag in an overhead locker yourself - if you can't a member of cabin crew won't help you and it will have to be checked in. Baggage allowances are more generous in premium cabins and if you have Silver or Gold status with the airline.
Over the past year I have flown British Airways on 18 different flights and in several different cabins. The airline has fairly regular sales and you can pick up bargains if you are aware of these sales. I took a 3 night break to Boston for instance which cost just £450 including 3 nights at a Sheraton hotel in the city. The flight we took was in World Traveller connecting at Heathrow Terminal 5 and I was fairly impressed with the World Traveller cabin although I must be honest and say the seat pitch on offer of 31 inches is a bit on the tight side.
The seats however are fairly comfortable and the headrest enables you to position yourself reasonably comfortably. World Traveller also has personal seat back TVs and on this route we did have AVOD entertainment which meant we could watch films at our leisure. Be warned however not all aircraft have the AVOD system meaning video is shown on a loop and if you miss the start well you'd better hope you've got time to watch it all second time around.
Service on BA is brisk and efficient but not particularly warm. It's certainly far more polite than anything you get on a US carrier (with the exception of Southwest Airlines who are so laid back they are horizontal) but isn't a patch on what you can expect on airlines such as Qatar or Etihad.
Food in World Traveller is generally adequate but nothing special, with the usual choice of chicken or beef available. Drinks are free but the airline is pretty stingy with the drinks trolley. I don't drink alcohol when I fly but even getting a soft drink during quiet periods can be a bit of a challenge. I get round this by always taking a bottle of water on board with me which I don't mind when departing from the UK but paying almost $5 for a bottle of filtered water in the US is annoying but sadly a necessary evil I find.
My daughter and I flew a couple of times in World Traveller Plus and I must admit this is a much nicer cabin. You get much more legroom with a seat pitch of 38 inches, a slightly wider seat and a smaller cabin with dedicated cabin crew. A fairly recent addition to World Traveller Plus is meals from the Club World cabin, served on china plates with metal cutlery - a vast improvement on the plastic and cardboard offering you get in World Traveller. The seats have a leg rest and a foot rest so it is easier to get comfortable in this cabin. The only downside about these seats is the head rest - it can't be adjusted sideways and as a result isn't a patch on the head rest in the seats at the back of the plane.
The downside about the BA cabins are they are starting to show their age and on one flight in particular the seats were very shabby and I struggled to get my leg rest to operate without the intervention of a member of the cabin crew. The airline is refitting many of their long haul aircraft but it's a slow process and certainly in comparison to airlines such as Lufthansa or Emirates, BA's fleet is old.
On short haul the cabin neglect is more evident. I flew in and out of Heathrow several times and the planes were by and large passable but the fleet used to fly in and out of Gatwick is, frankly, a disgrace. The leather seats are well past their sell by date - although in light of the service I experienced using Gatwick I would suggest it's the entire short haul fleet that's past it's sell by date.
The short haul flights I took in and out of Heathrow were, with one exception, on time. I can forgive the one delay we experienced because snow was involved. Flying into and out of Gatwick was a different kettle of fish with six out of six sectors flown all delayed. This is, I think, unacceptable and it's something BA need to address before I would seriously consider flying long haul via Gatwick with the airline.
British Airways' frequent flyer scheme is called Executive Club and I joined when I knew I was flying to Boston. What I didn't realise when I joined was my daughter could have an account too - so I set this up a month later. You start on the Blue level and work your way up collecting tier points on each flight through Bronze, Silver and Gold. I was amazed how quickly we reached Bronze, which enabled us to use Club Europe check-in desks and also to book seats free of charge 7 days before departure as opposed to 24 hours before departure as a blue member or non-member.
Once you reach Silver the benefits are greater, with free seat selection from booking and even better access to BA lounges - and partner airline lounges around the world. The lounges vary depending on where you are - at provincial airports they offer comfortable seating and free wifi but a very limited selection of food. Go to Gatwick and there's a much better array of food and showers you can use if you have a long layover between flights.
You also earn Avios points with BA flights through the Executive Club and these can be redeemed against flights or against upgrades on paid for flights. You get a 25% bonus on Avios points when you are Bronze, and this rises to a whopping 100% bonus once you hit Silver and Gold. As a result you can quickly amass a fairly decent pile of points to put towards reward flights. The only problem is availability can be difficult to find on long haul flights but I've used them on domestic flights without any problems finding seats for 9,000 Avios and £27 each.
Avios points can also be earned if you buy duty free onboard or via the BA eStore, which is worth using if you shop online regularly.
BA has become my first choice of airline these days due to the competitiveness of fares from Scotland across the Atlantic and the fact it's been fairly easy for me to get status with the airline, which makes the experience more pleasant due to perks such as Fast Track through security, and being able to use business class check in which helps alleviate the queues you find yourself standing in when travelling.
Connecting at London is generally a breeze - although it has to be said it's much nicer at Terminal 5 at Heathrow than at the North Terminal at Gatwick in my opinion. I remember when Terminal 5 opened there were some very serious teething troubles but they are a thing of the past and the only other airport I like to transit through as much is Newark New York due to ease of use and choice of eateries and shops.
When things go wrong BA generally will help you out although customer service staff at Terminal 5 can be a little abrupt. The only real issue I've had was a bag which had been checked in not arriving until 24 hours after we did. Fortunately I am the sort of traveller who always ensures there's clothing for both myself and my daughter in each suitcase so the inconvenience factor wasn't too bad.
The cabin crew are, for the most part, helpful and professional. The professional part is what I like best about BA trained crew as when I fly want to be in the hands of experienced staff who take their job seriously and I also like how there is a good mixture of both male and female crew of varying ages which is in stark contrast to when I flew Virgin Atlantic with a cabin crew which consisted almost entirely of very young, giggly girls.
Long haul economy seating isn't brilliant but it's bearable and beats any charter airline I've ever flown for legroom. If you can get a decent fare for Premium Economy in the sale it's worth it I think - but remember that's something that comes down to personal priorities and if you'd rather spend the cash when you get there. The little touches you used to get such as amenity kits in economy are long gone (you do get them in Premium Economy) but you always will get a pillow and blanket for overnight flights and you won't get charged to use a headset either.
Overall I like them and so long as the fares remain as competitive as they have been in comparison to United Airlines' flights to the US I will continue to use them regularly.
British Airways long haul flights are expensive, but in this world, you get what you pay for. It is said that an economy flight meal per passenger costs around £50. Although the average ticket on British Airways cost upwards of £600, £50 on a meal plan is a great return that not many other airlines provide. There are many rewards for travelling with British Airways such as the overall service, the quality of the planes, the quality of leg room provided and the size of the chairs.
British Airways is the flag carrier for British aviation and it is arguable in the top 5 in the world, and so it should be with the quality of everything it provides.
British Airways' main hub is in Terminal 5, Heathrow Airport. Terminal 5 is the newest and the most advanced terminal in Europe providing everything for the flying passenger. The shopping options is almost like a being in a shopping centre and this is all provided for the British Airways customer.
Other airlines can get you to your destination just as fast, but the experience of flying won't feel the same. If you are going on holiday, enjoy flying with British Airways and have the full holiday experience being flown in comfort.
If you are travelling for business, fly business style and enjoy your trip with British Airways.
There are so many airlines to choose from these days with all of the compare prices sites and what not. So we decided to make choosing an airline slightly easier this year for our USA holiday and went straight to British Airways after a family recommendation, this member of the family swears by British Airways for the best service and prices. He travels often so we took his word for it and booked our direct flights to San Francisco.
Booking the flights using BA's website was very easy and the website was easy to use. I just had to have a quick peek at the other airlines prices even though we were set on choosing BA as our airline, the prices turned out to be very good and they were not very much more expensive than any other airline and the flight times were ideal for us. We chose to fly back from Las Vegas and this was also easily arranged through the website with the same easy booking procedure.
The day had come rather quickly of our departure and we very excitedly headed to Heathrow Airport having already booked our seats using the British Airways website which was very painless. Check in was very smooth and the staff were very helpful and seemed generally friendlier than most other airlines that we have travelled with in the past. Usually we'd end up arguing with someone for having a case slightly overweight and the airline wanting to charge an extremely high price to complete the check in. I don't travel very light and neither do the rest of our family resulting in every case being slightly over the allowance of 20kg, oops! However the staff members were extremely helpful and did not seem too worried about the extra weight and happily let us off without any extra charges, hooray! Needless to say we were already extremely happy with the service and it seemed worthwhile choosing BA as our airline :)
Once we had boarded the aircraft which was a Boeing 747 we were very happy with the seating in economy class - or cattle class as some call it. It was obviously a rather old aircraft and it looked slightly tatty but it did smell clean and it was perfectly comfy with each seat being rather wide with the normal flip down tray table and armrests. These seats had something that I had not seen before, little flip down head supports on the side of the headrests to allow comfy sleep on the long haul flight, very handy for those that can actually sleep on an aircraft, I certainly cannot! Luckily there was also an in-flight entertainment screen built into the seat in front which was to keep me going on the 11 hour flight ahead.
The boarding process was painless and we even had a free newspaper to take on board with us, this was accompanied by a travel pack with a toothbrush, toothpaste and a blanket which I thought was nice. We certainly did not get a pack like that when we travelled to Orlando a few years back with Travel City Direct. The blanket was fabulous quality and I actually kept this to use at home, it was a rather large blanket comparable to ones that you buy in the shops, good on you BA ......
Once everyone was boarded the departure seemed slightly rushed compared to other airlines that I've flown with but there were no concerns. We departed about 15 minutes ahead of schedule and headed skywards for the very long flight ahead, we were constantly updated on the flights status by the captain himself and the crew were very friendly.
I had heard good things about the food on board of BA's flights and only three hours into the flight our food was served. There were only two choices, beef or lamb and beef was the obvious one for me as I'm not a fan of lamb. It was served with the usual bread roll and pudding as with any flight and looked no different to any other airline food I had eaten in the past. I'm not sure if other people I've spoken to about BA's inflight meals have experienced a different dining experience to myself as mine was rather standard, nothing special. It was just about edible and I was starving so it went down quite quickly, however I certainly would not want it again. The beef dinner was a rather strange one; the cook had obviously chucked a whole beef dinner into a blender and turned the thing on.... For a few hours! The meal was also served with tea or coffee but it seemed that the airhostess serving the passengers on my side of the plane could not be bothered to fill the coffee pot and insisted we all had tea, family on the other side of the plane were happily given coffee on request.
Drinks were served throughout the flight and the attendants had set up a little snack bar in the middle of the plane with drinks and snacks for us to help ourselves, this seemed a good idea to me and there was a good selection. Any drinks were available free with request and the attendants seemed happy to help and they were very professional. There was a rather long spell of turbulence that sent many of these drinks 'flying' into economy class and causing a slight mess but I guess that could not be helped.
The 'small bathrooms' as the crew called them were like any other toilet on an aircraft, just about big enough to shut the door behind you and the usual mirror, soap etc. The toilets were extremely clean and there were no odd smells around the area, also the crew members were often seen cleaning and checking the toilets regularly which is a good sign.
The inflight entertainment system was much better than I had ever expected and it had hundreds of TV programs and movies to watch, all of them were free and easy to access. The normal head phones were given out by the flight attendants and collected at the end of the flight. Usually airlines have a strange connection for the entertainment system so you often cannot use your own headphones; this is not the case with BA so feel free to bring along your own quality headphones for the journey. My only slight complaint about the entertainment was that there were no games on there at all, children obviously want to play games but luckily my little brother had his own games with him to keep him quiet. The entertainment system also has a touch screen which can be a pain for the person in front if the user is slightly heavy handed. The gentleman behind me was one of these users and he was hitting it so hard throughout the flight that I actually thought my head was going to fall off, luckily he fell asleep rather quickly and I could rest a little more. Unfortunately he decided to fill in the 'On screen surveys' halfway through the flight and I received another few hours of head bashing! :(
After a lot of turbulence and rough flying conditions the crew handed out the Visa waiver forms for us British residents to enter the USA legally, they were very informative and helpful and gave clear instructions on what to fill in and they were happy to lend pens to us.
I was impressed with the overall service that BA offered. It was nice to go on a flight and not be pestered with duty free catalogues and the crew trying to sell items continuously throughout the journey. I could be getting confused with short haul flights here but that always seems to be the case when we book with a package deal.
The seats were comfy and that made my journey slightly easier with having back problems from a recent accident involving falling off a wall. They were very supportive and I believe that they were very good considering we were flying economy.
After a long flight it was time to land in San Francisco and the disembarking was just as easy as the boarding. I definitely found BA to be very professional and helpful but I would not rate them all that much higher than all of the other airlines and travel companies that I've used in the last couple of years. The flights were almost identical to other operators and the only real improvement over other airlines were the ground crew and check in. The flight went well, meals were average and entertainment was rather good so I cannot complain really. We also arrived ten minutes early into San Francisco which was nice, a slightly longer holiday for me!
The return flight was almost identical to the outgoing flight except from the crew being even more helpful and professional, the American check in staff were also great and even friendlier than those at Heathrow.
I would definitely recommend that you consider BA as your airline for your next holiday but if you find a better deal with another company I would not put BA at the top of the list, they are good but not much different to most other operators. I think a four star rating is very fair.
Thank you for reading
I have been on British airways a few times in the past year for long and short distance flights (UK to France and America.) I have only ever flown economy class but I have been impressed with being a customer of BA so thought I would write a review about them.
Booking a ticket online couldn't be easier. When you go on the British Airways homepage on the left hand side you'll see a red box which will allow you to choose.
Create a trip - Flights, cars, Hotels or experiences
Depart date (with one way option)
Return date (with my dates are fixed option)
Flight class - economy, premium economy, business/club and first class
Ticket type - lowest price or flexible
Then select passengers and click get flights.
Then you will be given the date you want to fly and the cheapest price as well as the days around it. To continue with your booking scroll down and click continue. You'll then be given a list of flights on that day and there prices select and book. Simples. (some prices of flights can be expensive the flights i was looking to buy was going to be more then half the price if I wanted to leave one day later)
Once you have paid you can check online and choose your seats (24 hours before flight free of charge).
You must enter your passport details on the "my booking" page and print off your itinerary.
I checked in at Heathrow and couldn't believe how simple it was, there are electronic screens where you enter your booking number (from itinerary) follow a few steps then the machine will print your boarding passes. Take you luggage to the luggage handlers and you're done to get through customs it took me around 10 minutes to do this.
If you have any questions the email service for British Airways is fast I got a reply within one working day and the answer to my question was very informative and understanding.
The British Airways staff are always smiling and in a happy mood and are more then happy to help you with any issues you may have.
During my short distance flight (around an hour) the air hostess were very friendly and upbeat, they were polite and helped with any problems. They served free refreshment and a sweet or savoury snack. There was not really any in flight entertainment unless you had your own headphones to plug into your seat to listen to some music.
During my long distance flight (around 6 hours) the air hostess was once again very friendly, upbeat, polite and helpful. The in-flight entertainment was amazing, I had a TV in the beck of the seat in front of me which gave me a selection of the latest music, films, radio, and TV there was more then enough content to last a 24 hours flight and longer.
There were 3 sets of refreshments during the journey one about an hour into the flight of a snack and a drink, a meal in the middle and around an hour from landing another snack and drink. The snacks and meal were very tasty. It also has to be said that on my flight you can have as many drinks as you want this includes wine (drink responsibly).
I really enjoy flying with British Airways and I have booked more flights with them, I would recommend this company to anyone as they make your journey easy and they are very upbeat.
Hopefully you had insurance? Never leave valuables in your case, insurance cover requierments! However Ba staff never handle your luggage them self's, it's via a second party. Heathrow has been known in the past as thief - row!I have used Ba for 25yrs never had an issue with them! Fingers crossed for my next flight:
Flew with them from Glasgow all the way to Los Angeles last summer, brilliant service from start to finish, upgraded on the way back aswell!Food was superb and the cabin staff from Heathrow to LAX and back went above and beyond at all times.
never ever flying with them again as when i arivved in my location (barbados lovley lol) i found my suitcase had been opened by the staff there and my presents 4 my otherhalfs family had dissapeared also my other halfs suitecase was broken into even tho it had a secured padlock on it they managed to break tha padlock nothing was taken from his suitcase but they tried to reatach the padlock badly i feel my privacey was invaded and there was absolutly no need as my luggage had passed thru tha scanner with no issue they had no right to go through my thing and then to top it off steal from me dnt fly with them and if u do dont put anything valuble in your suitcase put it in ur hand luggage allthough nothing expensive was taken it really dissapointed me as they were gifts from my home town thank you
May I say from the start that I was a flying virgin and therefore have nothing to compare British Airways with. However my companions were far more experienced than me and were amazed at the service we recieved.
We booked on the internet and the whole process was easy to do. Costwise there may have been cheaper options but we did not want a week's package and were happy with the £195 cost for a five day holiday. This was then followed up by a number of emails from BA keeping us informed and eventually inviting us to book our seats and check in on line. For £10 extra each way we reserved our seats on the emergency exit rows (fantastic leg room) and then checked in 24 hours before our flight - this saved all that queueing at Gatwick. We thereforefore strolled through the whole process effortlessly with just the minimum of queueing to drop our bags off (generous allowance of 23kg) - leaves more time for that duty free shopping airside.
The flight was called on time and departed on time. The plane was clean and the attendants were both friendly and professional. Even the tone of the pilot was reassuring and the take off was smooth. Whilst on board we were offerred complimentary drinks and snacks - it was only a short flight to Italy - and the eventual landing was smooth.
As I said I was a flying virgin but would certainly fly BA again - in fact I am thinking of going to Salzburg with them next year. My more experienced companions commented on how smooth the flight was and how they would prefer to fly with them rather than some other operators - one of our party is terrified of flying and has never had such a good flight.
The return flight was just as uneventful. I was told lots of horror stories about BA but also that I was going on the best airline. I tend to agree with the latter.
My experiences with British Airways has been very inconsistent to date. This year for our holiday to Switzerland, we ended up flying part of the way by BMI and the other half (from London Heathrow to Geneva) by British airways. At the time of booking, there were numerous threats of strike action by staff, and about company losses, and so I was sure to take out my holiday insurance early this year.
We didn't book BA out of choice, and rather it was the best deal at the time for the dates we wanted to travel. I was perfectly happy with travelling by BA, because of previous extremely efficient experiences, including our honeymoon, where we got upgraded for free both going and coming from Canada. We could not have been treated better, and the service at the time was excellent. We raved about BA to many of our friends, not just because of the free upgrade, but just the efficiency and friendliness of staff. The food, of course, was superb.
I wasn't expecting to get a free upgrade this time around, with such a short flight, but I did expect the same service. What a disappointment this time round. Boarding was all completed on time, check in staff were pleasant, but the food was pathetic.
On the way to Geneva, we had caught an afternoon flight, and in stipulated on our ticket, that there would be a snack. We must have been deluded by thinking that this would be more than it was. We were offered something to drink, plus a tiny packet of potato crisps, and I mean tiny. It wouldn't have filled a fly. Staff were not particularly friendly and didn't really feel they were too worried about customer satisfaction. Maybe this is general economy, but our previous flights in economy with BMI were very different.
On our return journey, check in was done at the computer, before baggage was dropped off. Staff at the baggage drop were not friendly at all. We also noticed whilst queueing to drop off our baggage, that the Geneva flight to London with BA was offering upgrades to business class from over 200CHF each, not exactly a bargain! The food on the way back on the plain was horrendous, and not what you expect from a world renowded airline. This time, we were flying at breakfast time. We already had a croissant and coffee at the airport, unsure of what to expect, after our experience flying out. Staff brought round a choice of beverages including tea, coffee and orange juice. Both my husband and I opted for the tea. The milk cartons that were provided had milk that was completely frozen inside of them. We had to just our little plastic utensils to hack it to pieces. We didn't bother getting the air steward as he was, by this stage, much further down the plain. The food however was worse. It sounded nice, a smoked salmon and cream cheese oat roll, but it tasted awful, since yet again, the roll was icy cold and the salmon and cream cheese were in a round blob in the middle frozen as well. Thankfully we had had something eat previously, as this really wasn't edible. Not too many people around us ate their roll.
You could easily has felt that this was simply related to that particular flight, but it was interesting to find that my parents you had also travelled with BA this summer, had the exact same thing - frozen meals.
I don't know whether BA are trying to cut costs, but for anyone who pays to specifically travel with BA (unless Business class) I would start looking at other airlines. I certainly won't want to pay more for BA in the future, and will only travel with them if they prove (like this year) to be the best value for the journey and dates desired. I have had much more consistent and efficient servie from BMI, and would now rather pay more for them than BA. Service is going downhill fast.
If the memory serves me right, my first flight with British Airways was more than 35 years ago.
I lost count of how many flights I made with this airlines since my husband used to work for a Bank in London and spend around 20 weeks abroad every year on business. I accompanied him on some of these, on average 3-4 per year, and in addition to this, we flew with the airmiles he got.
British Airways have gone through different periods, but I still repute them a very good airline, mainly because of their network.
The only area where I found they lack presence is French speaking Africa.
Their flights are actually not so expensive if they are booked well in advance. When we redeemed miles for free flights, we still had to pay for the taxes and we realized that if we were able to plan well in advance, the actual fare was not much higher than what we would pay with the miles only.
Service is completely different in business and in economy. I flew mainly in economy, but I had few occasions were I was in business. Each time I went with my husband, he let me stay on his seat in business instead of him. While in business the staff is literally all over you, in economy you feel that some time asking one extra can of water, as I normally do, because I need to drink frequently, is not always equal to being served with a smile on their face.
If service remains good, in general terms at least, there have been few occasions where I felt let down. Once they broke the handle of my suitcase and they declined to refund or replace it, on the basis that I could still use the suitcase, which was true, as long as I lifted in a very unhealthy way, as opposed to pulling it up from the handle.
On another occasion, coming back from Prague, we were delayed 3 hours. On that occasion I was coming back alone, since my husband would then continue his business trip and therefore I did not have access to the executive lounge. For 3 hours we got nothing to eat, nor to drink, and initially we had been told the delay would only be 30 minutes. This is because they thought they could fix earlier a technical problem with the doors. Although it is one off, I remember I was very much upset by the way they handled the whole thing. I think my husband complained, but because I was the passenger, I only got an apology, while normally in these circumstances they give you free miles if you are a frequent flyer.
Still, although I have been rambling a bit, I prefer British Airways to other airlines.
My luggage was delayed for 3 hours cos BA refused to pay their luggage handlers overtime. Then 100s and 100s of people ended up on heathrow in the middle of the night. Nobody from BA was to be seen, people were waiting hours to talk to customer service. I had to queue more than an hour to get a cab and BA couldn't care less. We've transported you to Heathrow and that's what was on your ticket, was their response. Puh, what a bunch of ###!!!
I should start this by saying that I feel very disloyal for not being a supporter of the UK's flagship airline - but I have to say that my experience of this airline has not been positive. I've flown with British Airways a number of times now (close of 10 times) and although I'd rate them as "ok" I always expect so much more from one of the world's biggest airlines.
In fairness, British Airways do have a fairly comprehensive route map for popular holiday and business locations, particularly in Europe and North America. In other regions of the world, BA will fly to to key hubs in South America, the Middle East and Africa, although this coverage is much more patchy.
I've always found booking to be fairly trouble free on the www.ba.com website and confirmation of flights is promptly sent to your email address. When you're booking, you can also choose your seat and meal preferences.
When booking online its been ticketless and I've just needed to take my booking number with me to the airport.
I find the prices at BA vary considerably from very reasonable to completely ridiculous - and there seems to be no rhyme or reason to explain the massive variations in price. For example, I flew to Gibraltar last year for about £135 which was cheaper than any other airline at the time. Alternatively I wanted to fly to Madrid around the same time and the price quoted was almost £500 (far more than any other competitor).
For prices they are certainly worth looking at - but shop around and compare before finalising booking.
You can check in online (which I have done) but I found this to not be that advantageous as the bag drop line at the airport was just as long as the check-in queue. Check-in at the airport can be slow, but staff are courteous and helpful.
I've only flown in economy with BA and so I can't common on the the other cabins. However, I've generally found the seats to uncomfortable with not very much leg room. They seem to hold the mentality of pack as many customers in as possible and don't worry too much about their comfort!
The entertainment on long haul flights is pretty good and comparable to that on Virgin (which I hold as the Gold standard). Usually there are several blockbusters which are new-ish releases. You have your own screen so you're in complete control of what you watch and when you watch it. There are games, TV programs and a comprehensive music selection to keep you entertained.
Food and drink on long haul flights are all included in the cost of the flight. It is fairly standard airplane food....nothing to get excited about and if you pick around enough you'll find something that's edible enough to eat. They do cater for different special diets but you have to prebook. I have to say that the drinks trolley doesn't come around that often, but if you walk to the back of the plane there are drinks always on offer there.
The cabin crew are "okay". I have tended to find that they are courteous but that they're not necessarily friendly and that they do what they have to do - but they don't give you the idea that they love their job!
As far as service is concerned, I have found BA cabin crew to be generally polite, but not overly helpful on short hall flights. However, the 6 - 8 long haul flights were different, as the crew were really quite helpful - although those flights were far from being full.
This is where I feel BA fall down. It seems to be that only a few months go by where there isn't some cabin crew strike or something affecting the flights. I've been delayed more times than I care to remember - and often without explanation. And now the cabin crew are on strike and causing mayhem yet again....and this is why I will never opt to fly BA again!