British Airways - BAW

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British Airways - BAW

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Review of "British Airways - BAW"

published 15/11/2017 | Secre
Member since : 23/04/2003
Reviews : 570
Members who trust : 240
About me :
Journalling more for myself than anything else now, so I don't expect reads or rates!
Not for me
Pro They ran on time and got us there
Cons Disappointing Service
exceptional
How often do you travel with this airline
Where did you book
Food Quality
Customer Service
Punctuality

"Cost Cutting but Still Charging Premium"

We did get one Jack Daniels!

We did get one Jack Daniels!

I’ve flown long haul to the States a few times now and have always used British Airways as my initial experience with them was highly positive. Indeed, my second experience with them was positive and if those were my only experiences then this would be a four star review. Unfortunately, we chose British Airways to travel with to our honeymoon and the experience was nowhere near as positive… to put it mildly. I can sum this entire review up by saying that British Airways have clearly been significantly cutting costs and it darn well shows.

Booking

The booking process with BA was admittedly fairly smooth and we managed to book our entire holiday with them, not just the flights. The flights themselves were approximately £900 each I believe, the 14 day tickets to Disney and Universal another £250 each and the hotel around the £1000 mark for the fourteen days. It was additionally fairly simple to book your seats in advance although you did have to pay additional money for this.

It is worth noting however that my fiancé actually upgraded us and paid for the upgrade to Club World. Two days before the flight received a phone call from British Airways saying a mistake had been made and they couldn’t uphold the upgrade. I wasn’t aware of this at the time as it was meant to be a surprise, but two days is appallingly short notice, particularly when we could have cancelled with British Airways if we had known we couldn’t upgrade free of charge when the initial request was made. Scott did get some money back for this but there’s a definite lack of organisation here.
The Planes

The first thing worth noting is that in flying from Gatwick airport, we landed up with a really old British Airways plane on both departure and return journeys. They even changed the plane on the journeys so that when we booked we had the one new British Airways plane at Gatwick, but by the time we got on it we had been demoted to a twenty five year old plane with an old entertainment system and distinctly uncomfortable seats. Even in the front row of the returning plane, there really wasn’t a lot of space… leg room was fine, but I was definitely in cattle class otherwise!

The entertainment system really was very poor. There was a really small variety of films that you could watch and they were not high quality. All of the interactive aspects that we found on our last journey from London Heathrow were conspicuously missing and very noticeable in their absence. On route back from America the entertainment systems clearly had serious glitches and many people were struggling to make them work or stay working. This wasn’t news to the staff and indeed a member of cabin crew made a point of saying that he didn’t think it would be fixed for their next journey.

Our journey to Orlando was significantly more comfortable than our journey back as we managed to snag a double seat at the back of the plane for that. The map of the plane for the return journey was rather deceiving however as we picked front seats in order to get more legroom but on the map it didn’t look close to the toilets. In actual fact we were right by the toilets and so got very little sleep indeed as there were people constantly traipsing in front of us… and some interesting smells.

I really struggled with the seating on the journey back in particular and found my back was absolutely killing me. This was after adjusting it several times and using the pillow and blanket to try and support my back. It was exceptionally difficult to get comfortable enough to doze and I think I managed about an hours worth of shut-eye in total.

The Journey

We’re not doing so well so far, and unfortunately, this review doesn’t get any better. In all honesty, I was fairly appalled by the standard of service British Airways offered us on both flights. These were long haul flights and I would have expected service coming down the aisle approximately once an hour or perhaps slightly less. Well, that was completely wrong. We got offered a drink in the first hour and a wine with our meal, also in the first hour, and then a cup of tea after the meal… not long after the first hour. After that? Sweet zilch.

On route there the cabin crew did come down twice in the remaining seven hours of the flight offering water, but honestly this is not a budget airline and water isn’t good enough. They looked at me askance when I requested something rather more tasty and alcoholic. They also had exceptionally limited stocks; so when I requested a beer near the end of the flight they didn’t have any. I then requested a Jack Daniels and coke and they didn’t have Jack Daniels. I then asked what they did have and ended up with Glenfiddich and coke… which is significantly more expensive whiskey than I was going for. On route back though, we were offered nothing at all in the five or so hours between the tea and breakfast.

I made a specific point of going to the back of the plane and requesting drinks, but I should not have had to do that. This is basic. It was an overnight flight so I don’t expect them to continually pester sleeping guests, but many of us were not sleeping and I do expect them to bring that drinks tray down quietly on a regular basis. These expectations simply were not met and there is absolutely no excuse for this. The outgoing flight wasn’t even overnight. The only possible reasoning is that they are cost cutting and that is not good enough when you are paying a premium price for a premium service.

In addition, it wasn’t just the drinks that were in short supply. They were chronically understocked with food as well so they were trying to palm the chicken coronation off on everybody as they had so few cheese sandwiches to offer. When Scott specifically asked for the cheese – having already been handed the chicken – he was met with a blank, ‘Oh, we haven’t got a lot of those’. The response was along the lines of, ‘I really don’t care, I would like a cheese sandwich, please bring me one.’

When put in combination with the shortages on the drinks as well and the abysmally stingy amount of times they came down the aisle with drinks, this is an extremely disappointing service.

In-flight Entertainment

Now this is actually worth a separate section on its own because once again I have nothing good to say about it. I have already mentioned that we were on an extremely old plane and it had the old entertainment system on it which was unwieldy and low quality. The range on it was abysmal, there’s no other way of putting that. They had a small selection of recent films and then a really, really, really small selection of any other films in the catalogue. Last time I flew long haul there was a huge range of films to watch and that simply wasn’t the case here. As it happens I ended up finding some gems that I would likely never have watched otherwise, but the point stands.

Last time I flew long haul, the in-flight entertainment system was set up so you could filter films by genre for example and there was a wide range of films for each genre. Nope, nope, nope and nope. You had to scroll through everything and whenever you clicked on something it chucked you back to the beginning of the list to start again. The rewind and forward-play was clunky and time consuming as well as difficult to judge when you had got to the section you wanted. The selections for other options like TV programs was equally poor and the headphones provided were astronomically poor quality making it very difficult to understand the films over the noise of the airplane. This again was not the case last time we flew but was the case on both flights this year.

Finally, it’s worth going into detail about the glitches that plagued the system. Every time there was an announcement some of them would cut out completely and have to be rebooted – meaning you had to fast forward using the clunky and unwieldy system. Mine decided to randomly hiss static at me twice although behaved reasonably well for the rest of the flight after I had shut it off and on again. But the system just seemed plagued with bugs and not only was there little that the cabin crew could do about it, there was even an announcement asking people to stop pressing their call buttons if it was in relation to the entertainment system.

To top this off, the supplied headphones were of an exceptionally poor quality making it difficult to hear what was being said on the entertainment system at points over the noise of the plane.
Do I Recommend?

No, and we won’t travel with British Airways again. Next time we book a long haul fight we will either go with American Airlines or Virgin as by the sounds of it you get a significantly better experience and service. It’s a pity because I have had some good experiences with British Airways in the past, but they do honestly seem to be putting cost cutting ahead of passenger comfort. If I had paid for a budget airline, I would expect that, but I didn’t. We paid for a supposedly quality service and it quite simply was not delivered by British Airways. We will not use them again and I would not recommend them to anyone else.

It is perhaps most telling that we were speaking to one of the cabin crew and he made a point of saying that British Airways used to be one of the leading flight companies and offer a quality experience, but that had certainly changed. When your own staff are making that comment to disgruntled customers, you have a problem with your business model. If British Airways want to complete with EasyJet and the rest of the cheap and cheerful flights then they need to lower their prices significantly. If they want to continue at their current pricing model then they seriously need to buck their act up.


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Comments on this review

  • jo-1976 published 29/11/2017
    Are you going squeeze another honeymoon review out?!
  • bettyboo47 published 23/11/2017
    wow!! If I had been there when they told you not to press your call buttons, mine would have been pressed every 5 minutes!!!! long haul without decent entertainment or a cuppa is not good!!!
  • Soho_Black published 20/11/2017
    It does sound as if they need to decide what kind of airline they want to be and commit fully to that choice.
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Product Information : British Airways - BAW

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Country: United Kingdom

Continent: Europe

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Listed on Ciao since: 25/06/2000