BA – HOW LOW CAN GO?
Recently I was writing a review about the drop-in standards and quality on a Club Europe flight London – Bucharest. I didn’t respect any reaction from BA and indeed the airline managed my expectations and never got back to me, even with an acknowledge of my opinion.
Three weeks later I took a Club Europe Amsterdam to London Gatwick and the experience was the same. Even if the flight was shorter the in-flight experience made me to decide to remove BA from my first choices list when flying.
Despite the excellent service on the ground – maybe one of the most efficient, pleasant and smooth check-in ever – the nightmare started when I board the plane. The “very British welcome” was offered by one of the flights attendants busy with his chewing gum and to cover with his back the “Cabin Service Manager” (great title) who was having his lunch annoyed by the arrival of passengers.
The “Cabin Service Manager” – was the perfect image for a BA who lowered the standards at a level where, if passenger will have one, a GPWS will start screaming “TERRAIN, TERRAIN PULL UP!” – scruffy, with no worries about uniform standards and appearance, with shoes like his enthusiasm during the flight kept at home in a box marked “Wear and Tear items”.
The afternoon tea – long time ago the pride of the Britishness of BA service is now a rushed “push the trolley” filled with “cut the corners” sandwiches, “sad and depressed” sandwiches and some rolled eyes when you ask for a Vodka Tonic, or “VT” as the Cabin Service Manager corrected me in a very “informal” conversation.
Funny was the fact that during this amazing “Afternoon tea service” no tea or coffee was offered and when one of the passenger ask the flight attendant a little bit later for some tea to wash down the dry scones the answer was: “It was on the trolley; you need to ask, is too short the flight and we don’t have time to offer”. Great and very customer service orientated answer!
Including the delay – for which one of the pilots apologised with an amazing sample of “wooden language” – the flight was a little bit longer than one hour so I was hoping to get some work done. But no chance. The destiny placed behind me, on row 3 (D and F) tow British Airways flight attendants, both using their travel concession. No, I didn’t check their tickets but I think the entire Club Europe cabin and ½ of Economy find that during their conversation. While the elderly lady was trying to talk about BA from the “old days” point of view, the young flight attendant gave me a very “exciting” analysis of the company from inside spiced with “I don’t give a f***!” attitude of the general population of the Gatwick flight attendants. I am after cruising over the English Channel what the staff think about Walsh and Cruz, the new M&S food on board, work conditions and monthly rosters, everything presented with a loud voice and a “coloured” language which didn’t need a business power point presentation. Great mix between the photos in the in-flight magazine and the conversational background.
When during the service the young flight attendant in his days off (he was on 3F) was offered a tray with the delicious afternoon tea his replay “Give my just champagne, I don’t eat that s***!” made me realise that I paid £400 for that … scone!
I was trying to ask for a glass with water before landing but, the steward on duty, Andrew, was too busy leaning on the empty seat next to me and compare the December schedule with the flight attendant/passenger behind me. I found that during Christmas they have a “cross over” somewhere in Saint Lucia so they can plan some “funny fun”. Later after another 10 minutes during landing preparation (was it not part of their safety duty to check the passenger?) they realised that was a mistake and the St Lucia fun must be postponed as their flights don’t match. How exciting this slice of cabin crew life was … NOT!
A mother with two very young children was requesting to use the lavatory and one of the baby was crying in obvious discomfort but the Terror Service Manager refused it based on “safety reasons” while he was finishing his left-over scone in full view hiding his common sense in his pocket. At disembarkation when the poor boy left the aircraft with wet trousers the two flight attendants in the front were very amused like they just watch a good stand-up comedy show. Really?
When I was discussing my experience with some friends the next day the only replay that I got was “Why did you fly with them?”
And for sure is time for all of us to answer this question.
BA – how low can go ?