Friday, July 31, 2009

Last supper for British Airways?

One of the flagships of modern aviation is in big trouble. In order to save money, British Airways will stop serving meals on flights less than 2 1/2 hours. Is this the last supper for this great airline?

I have had the joy of flying BA many times, but the last years I have stopped flying British Airways. The reason is not the food served on flights or not, but rather the fact that I will have to travel through one of London's chaotic airports, and in particular London Heathrow. I do not know whether this is the main reason why customers quit flying British Airways, but for me it is.

I am planning my annual trip to the US this September. When booking I have got favorable air fares, but using Heathrow as transit on my Transatlantic voyage is out of the question. I have ruled out both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic as airlines from Oslo to Boston for this reason. Even with 1 1/2 hour transit time, I have often experienced exhausting runs through several security checks on my way from one Heathrow terminal to another.

I think it is commendable that British Airways has kept its serving on short flights until now. On board Scandinavian Airlines travelers on regular economy would have had choose to purchase their meals on shorter flights for a long time. I do not think that has made any difference for travelers choosing this company or another, even though SAS is still struggling in the war of the skies. If this small detail will be the difference between life and death for BA, I agree with the management. Let the guests pay for their food instead. I would think it sad if this should be the last supper for this great airline.

On a British Airways flight from Boston to London in the year 2000, I was seated by a British woman that had been stranded in US for several days, from her US destination back to London and her cat. The reason? Fierce thunder storms had meant several cancellations of connection flights, not due to any danger, but in fear of law suits from passengers frightened of flying. I am not fond of flying myself, and as we hit severe turbulence on our way up, I got frightened and told her so. She looked at me defiantly and said:
"- This is British Airways, and we fly through this!"
Let us hope that this will sum up the determination of British Airays to stay afloat. But please - offer us that want to fly you better and more efficient airports as transit!! That would mean much more than a simple meal on short haul flights.

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(Photo: Wikimedia Commons and Arpingstone)

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