I hesitate to write another story about British Airways, but as a lot of my readers are based in the UK, or credit their frequent flier miles to the Executive Club, I felt it was warranted.
Today’s news is a further costing cutting measure, that will diminish the already poor customer experience.
For many, many years, British Airways have had a cabin crew base in Sao Paulo, Brazil. These crew live there and work the flight to London and back, providing well needed language skills for lots of Brazilian customers on the flight.
However, today it was announced that British Airways are closing their cabin crew base there, and all staff will be made redundant.
A few months ago, they did exactly the same with the cabin crew base in Buenos Aires. The last flight with crew based there, was but a few weeks ago.
Further, British Airways are in consultation with the unions representing the ground crew in the US, to sack all of them as well, and move them over to outsourced handling agents.
This means that all of the incredible staff at places like San Francisco and JFK will be lowest common denominator SwissPort or Menzies drones, who really don’t care about customer service or getting people to where they need to go.
Over the years, I’ve had some fantastic service from the teams at the US airports.
- Special Services at SFO moved me from the 284 to the 286 as the “early” flight was running so late the 286 left first
- The team at JFK proactively moved me to an earlier departure, as the 182 was running two hours late
- The BA team at LAX liaised with AA to help me and six friends through a 25 minute connection from T6 to T4
That’s just a few instances that I can think of that have recently come to mind.
If that wasn’t bad enough, there are rumours that Steve Clark, their Executive Vice President in the US has now been sacked by the airline.
This is due to him allegedly misappropriating $19m worth of funds during dealings with a ground handling agent, GSI. Apparently British Airways has advised staff that he doesn’t work for them any more.
Next for the chopping block are the UK based call centres in Manchester and Newcastle. They’re due to be outsourced to Capita.
The Sunday Times also recently ran a long story about all of the negative changes that are happening at the airline, entitled ‘ABBA – Anyone But British Airways’. This came only a day after a LinkedIn article that went viral, highlighting a lot of the same issues with cost-cutting.
I’ve written about this previously here at the Ginger Travel Guru too.
Add to that:
- Their “Mixed Fleet” cabin crew are on strike. Again.
- British Airways are spending millions on leasing Qatar Airways aircraft to cover for the strike, ironically if reports are to be believed, providing a far better service.
All in all, I simply don’t get it. Alex Cruz professes to be investing in the premium experience, investing in the product to the tune of £400m.
However they’re sacking staff; cutting their single best asset to deliver what’s left of the product and paper over the cracks. The outsourcing they have embarked upon appears to have now been (and I stress allegedly) at senior manager’s direct gain.
It’s all so sad and deeply unnecessary. Those BA crew either in Sao Paulo, Mixed Fleet currently on strike, the awesome ground staff in the US, and the UK call centres from a personal perspective, you make flying the airline awesome. Please don’t give up.
To the management, please listen to passengers. Work on delivering the best customer experience with the best staff that you have. Minimum wage, third party drones can’t deliver a premium experience and will end up costing you more in the long run.
Will there actually be anyone left?