EXTRA: BA to refresh First seat & Black Friday sale from £851 Club World

BA First Club Europe B787-900 reviewBA B787 First

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TLFL chats to Alex Cruz – from the horse’s mouth

Yesterday I had the pleasure of chatting with British Airways Chief Executive and Chairman, Alex Cruz. Alex has had a lot of bad press but whenever I have heard him speak he has always come across as sharing my vision for what BA should be – a premium airline leading the way. This was the first chance I have had to talk to him directly so we chatted about a few topics. Firstly we were talking about my latest First experience in the BA B787 which I absolutely loved and felt like a big step up from the B777 First I had travelled in on my previous journey (review coming soon).

Alex Cruz

Alex explained that they have been looking at ways to upgrade the current first experience as with the new Club World catering, bedding and next year seats, there needs to be a bigger differentiation between the two cabins. Alex explained that they have developed an enhanced First seat based on the current B787 First seat with a few enhancements. This is great news as the B787 seats feel like a proper First seat with lots of room and storage space and a massive TV screen. Alex has previously said that the new Club World seats may mean taking some room from the First cabin and this would fit perfectly with the B787 First cabin which only has 8 seats.

Alex explained his frustrations at getting new seats fitted which is down to delays by the seat manufacturers, not because BA won’t spend the money as some may have thought. Alex said they were happy to ground aircraft if it meant getting new seats fitted quicker but they can only fit them as quickly as they are delivered.

BA B787-900 Club Europe review

B787 First

Paul, TLFL’s Deputy Editor and resident IT geek asked Alex about the issues they have had with IT and what they had planned. Alex explained that they have now got a great new team working on improving the IT and have also commisioned a new BA app from outside company.

BA Black Friday 2018 sale

2 Club World seats for £2018 – just £1009 each

From now until Monday 26th November, you get two Club World flights for just £2018. This is the offer that BA do every year but usually to much more limited destinations. The travel period is very narrow but if the dates work for you it’s a great offer. Two people must travel together on the same booking and same flights to get the price.

  • Travel Period: outbound -11- 13 Dec or 16 – 18 Dec or 24 Dec – 31 Dec  for each
    transatlantic sector. Inbound – 24 Dec – 31 Dec 18 or 8 – 10 Jan 2019
  • Book by 26 November
  • Stopovers not permitted
  • Minimum stay 3 days

The destinations are:

  • Las Vegas,
  • New York,
  • Austin
  • Chicago
  • Miami,
  • Houston
  • Philadelphia
  • Phoenix
  • San Jose
  • Washington
  • Toronto,
  • Abu Dhabi
  • Denver
  • Fort Lauderdale
  • Tampa
  • Nashville
  • Orlando
  • Boston
  • Montreal
  • Vancouver
  • Beijing
  • Shanghai
  • Seoul

You can book the special companion fares on the BA Black Friday page here.


But can you get it even cheaper?

There are several ways to get these offers even cheaper. Firstly you could try starting your trip in Jersey as there is no APD tax which reduces the cost plus you would get an extra 80 tier points for the trip. The downside is that Jersey flights go from Gatwick which may mean a change of airport.

las vegas at night

Some examples of the prices from Jersey:

  • JFK £860
  • Las Vegas £851
  • Boston £882
  • Phoenix £882
  • Miami £882

The other way to lower the price is to look at adding a hotel or car to the booking which can often lower the overall price (you can just add them for one day using this page ). Or it can mean that you get the hotel for free effectively plus you also get an extra 1 Avios per £1 spent on top of the usual Avios for flights and car hire.

The BA holiday page is here.

Finally, it is worth a look at Skyscanner as some online travel agents are even cheaper than via Jersey but it always pays to do your research on the company that you book through. For example, Seoul is available for £887 from London via Skyscanner.


Two seats to Johannesburg for £1350 in Premium Economy – upgradeablesouth africa

Book two tickets to Johannesburg in BA’s premium economy cabin (World Traveller Plus), travelling between 1 and 12 December 2018 or between 29 December 2018 and 30 September 2019, and receive two tickets for the price of one. Tickets must be bought at the same time, and both tickets should have same travel dates. Even if you don’t fancy flying in World Traveller Plus you could look for Avios availability and upgrade to Club World. This would cost 50,000 Avios peak and 60,000 off-peak (yes that is the right way round). To get this price you must book by 30 November 2018. You can easily check Avios availability using BA redemption finder which shows the whole year and can send alerts.

You can find the special offer page here. 


World Traveller Plus



5 Comments on "EXTRA: BA to refresh First seat & Black Friday sale from £851 Club World"

  1. I am a massive fan of TLFL, and BA (when I earn my status elsewhere) – though Alex Cruz doesn’t inspire any confidence. Every travel writer who meets him 1-on-1 seems to walk away enthused (including Rob at HFP) – he is clearly charismatic – but the substance of what he says is lacking.

    He has some horrible legacy issues to deal with – granted, and you have to wonder how much freedom he has from Willie Walsh; but complaining the pace of upgrades are down to the suppliers?! Pick another seat, find another solution, just stop standing still! The seat is at least two generations behind Singapore Airlines and Emirates as it is – the idea of waiting for it is ludicrous.

    Then to cap-it-off he lauds the third party supplier of a new App as the solution to their “IT” problems? How long before the blame game starts all over?

    Risk IQ did a really good write-up on the 22 lines of javascript that gave away 380k customers’ payment details, it was all down to a javascript library called “Modernizr” called on both the site and (indirectly) the app – perhaps if they didn’t have three different interfaces on one website, and a third party supplier for an app – they could get a technical grip on the situation!

    Instead it seems like Alex and his team just fire the staff and contractors who point out the emperor is a little light on clothing.

  2. Agree with the comments above, I have just returned form the Seychelles with BA, Club Class. Alex Cruz spoke about the enhanced catering in Club, I have just experienced how it should work and how it works in reality. On the outbound the service was terrible, I waited for 3 hours for the meal service to be completed, was not offered any desert, cheese or coffee or any drink after the first hour of service, sat with an empty food tray for over an hour, other passengers were having to take the trays back to the galley themselves. It was terrible.

    On the inbound the service was fantastic, constant service which lasted about 1.5 hours. I was returning with the same crew and I thought why was the service so different, I spoke to the crew, and it turns out that on the outbound flight the aircraft had a 98% load and the inbound had an 87% load, First and Club were full, World Traveller had a lot of empty seats, this meant that a crew member was able to come from World Traveller and help out in Club. Apparently this happens a lot, when World Traveller is full the Club cabin is short staffed, thus poor service as the crew cannot cope. Had I been in a restaurant I would have left.

    I am sure Alex Cruz will blame the crew for not carrying out the service correctly when in reality it is the drive for profit by reducing crew numbers on all flights that is responsible for such poor service.

    The PR that BA spout about a premium service and the new enhanced Club Meal service are just empty word’s, this is not the first time I have had terrible service in Club with the new catering, be honest BA customer service come’s a poor second to profit.

    • When was your flight? The new Club service was changed very recently (last month) as there had been problems with the time it took to deliver it so it should improve now. This was not down to cost cutting but a desire to deliver a better service perhaps without testing it for long enough or listening to crew feedback as much as they should. At the end of the day travel companies are a business and they have to make a profit but I don’t believe that BA are understaffed for the service they provide – if they tried to something like Qatar though it wouldn’t work with the current numbers.

  3. Tom, it wasn’t the usage of Modernizr, which itself is a fine if somewhat dated library, but rather a third party adding 22 lines of code that submitted credit card details first to a site called baways.com before then sending the credit card details as normal to BA. It wasn’t the third-party library that was the problem, as this could have been done without relying on the code in that library, but rather that it was possible for the production BA website to be modified to add malicious source code.

    I agree though that just hiring/firing, when BA has made it clear recently that they had outsourced most IT operations. See https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/british-airways-executive-club/1739886-outsourcing-prediction.html for a fun thread on this from 2016.

  4. Appreciate on re-reading it appears like I was suggesting it was the fault of the Modernizer JS library – didn’t mean that (why I pointed to the Risk IQ article).

    Point I could have articulated better is: a core reason why BA need to have so many, varied references, to more Javascript Libraries than they can count, is to patch together their disjointed, inconsistent web environment! I count at least 3 frameworks on the same domain! The idea that you fix the problem, by outsourcing part of an already fragmented-patchwork-mess of a user interface, is ludicrous.

    Now I do appreciate any competent organisation should be able to track changes in their production code, not to mention pick up on any external domain interactions – but BA should be making wholesale changes after letting down 380k customers – not lauding a new app provider!

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