Update: Well, it’s been a little over a week since I wrote this article, and I’d like to say I am shocked. After the long and painful delay of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, British Airways has finally started taking air passengers again. They have even been posting some amazing new pictures on their Twitter page, and from the looks of things, they are improving.
If you’ve ever been to London, you’ve probably seen the big blue glass building on the corner of the Victoria Embankment. It’s the headquarters of British Airways, and it hasn’t been nearly as much of a headache this time around. The new London Heathrow Terminal 5 will be opening there in three to four years, and the airline seems to be doing everything right—like increasing its flights to Asia, staffing the new terminal and getting rid of its “must avoid” list.
While a lot of people might have thought the worst of British Airways, there have been some signs that it is improving. A recent review of what to expect from the airline in the future has found that the service seems to be getting better. They found that the airline is investing in more aircraft and reconfiguring its system to make it more efficient. A number of the improvements have already been implemented and the airline is not being shy about sharing them with the public.
British Airways Appears To Be Improving, and It Is No Longer On The “Must Avoid” List
on August 21, 2022 by Gary Leff
In long-haul business class, British Airways was the first to provide lie-flat chairs. Although the chairs were not very spacious or private, they were stylish, with blue cloth and brown leather. I preferred the original lie-flat business class seat (‘New Club World’) that I flew on British Airways fifteen years ago over the seats that are currently being phased out and resemble a sea of corporate cubes (‘Next Generation Club World’).
Just How Bad Is British Airways Club World Business Class? I asked five years ago.
- There were far too many seats crammed in. Business class seats on Boeing 777s were eight-across, but coach seats on several carriers were still nine-across.
- They didn’t have access to the internet.
- Catering had to make major cuts as well.
You flew British Airways either because their schedule was the most convenient to London Heathrow, or because they were the cheapest – since they had so many premium tickets to dump into the market, BA was often known as the “low price leader.” You didn’t select British Airways because of its service.
While it won’t be confused for Qatar Airways’ business class, ANA’s new business class, or EVA Airways’, BA’s business class is much superior. On many itineraries, it used to make sense to forgo British Airways in favor of its joint venture partner American Airlines (for nicer seats and semi-functional internet on lengthy flights), but that is no longer the case. British Airways is resuming service.
Ensure that you are flying in the new seats.
British Airways’ new seats are reasonably priced. They’re comparable to American Airlines’ (“Super Diamond”) seats, but with more attention to detail and doors for privacy. The key is to double-check that you’re receiving exactly what you ordered.
British Airways is responsible for this image.
British Airways is responsible for this image.
New seats have been installed on Boeing 787-10 and Airbus A350 aircraft. Some Boeing 777s have this feature as well. Because to aircraft swaps, fresh seats cannot be guaranteed (one Boeing 777 for another, the Airbus A350 you booked changes to something else by the time the date of travel comes around). However, on many flights, they aim to keep all new business class (such New York, independent of aircraft type), so if you book close enough, your A350 or Boeing 787-10 is unlikely to be replaced.
The majority of the fleet now has internet access.
British Airways now offers internet on most of its planes, which was one of the reasons I avoided them in the past. The internet is available on their Airbus A350, A380, and Boeing 777 aircraft. It’s standard on all Boeing 787s. If you’re flying short-haul, you’ll almost certainly have internet access, unless you’re on an Airbus A319, in which case you won’t.
The Quality of Food Is Improving
The food provided by BA catering is currently receiving better ratings than the food offered by American Airlines. I’m receiving a lot of feedback from people who say things like,
The food on BA Do&Co catering last week was amazing. Purposely didn’t book AA
We had lamb shank and the finest mashed sweet potatoes I’d ever eaten when we got home. It was a pleasure to serve you.
Heathrow and the intra-European product are both disadvantages.
To be fair, connecting flights in British Airways’ European business class (Club Europe) are disappointing, with less legroom than Ryanair. Terminal 5 at London Heathrow remains a poor choice for connecting flights, transit security can be a nightmare, and cramming onto a train to get to and from distant gates is inconvenient. The lounges of British Airways might be improved.
Short-haul catering falls short of European standards, but it is better than what you’d get on a US airline for a similar-length trip.
Except for award travel, BA with new seats is now preferred over American.
It seems that the airline is making progress, therefore it’s no longer an airline to avoid unless the price difference is significant enough. I’m really looking forward to my British Airways business class flight.
What’s more, with nicer seats and more functioning wifi than American’s Panasonic, BA now offers superior food as well – for many flights, they’re now the joint venture’s favored airline by a large majority. American Airlines needs to improve its performance.
Of course, you’ll want to avoid award redemptions on British Airways because of fuel surcharges that are often many times the cost of a business class base ticket.
More From the Wing’s Perspective
After a series of major incidents, including the July 2015 rapid descent of one of their jets into the Atlantic Ocean, the world’s airlines were tumbling down on the latest passenger air safety rankings, from the Big Five to the Worst 10. To be fair, the results were based on the previous year’s data, and last year’s rankings give the airlines a lot of credit. But the trend of getting worse is a big deal and has been going on for years.. Read more about british airways customer experience and let us know what you think.
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