NEWS & OFFERS: How is BA performing?, Iberia new business class, and 25% off Marriott

British Airways Heathrow strikeBritish Airways Heathrow

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After a quick weekend break to Champneys Forest Mere, I’m now catching up with Friday’s news! Thanks also to all those that have sent in reader reviews over the weekend. It will take a couple of weeks to work my way through them all. The reviews will be published between now and mid-September. Results will be published 30 days after the last entry is live on the blog. 

 

IAG results – how is BA performing?

BA’s parent company IAG declared its results on Friday; overall, it was good news. Iberia and Vueling led the recovery, which led to a pre-tax profit of €73 million for the second quarter. That’s up from a loss of more than €1.12bn in the equivalent period of 2021. They are expected to make a full year of operating profit. However, IAG cut its yearly target for passenger capacity across all of its airlines to 78% of 2019 levels, down from previous guidance of 80%. This is most likely due to staffing issues and lack of capacity at airports. BA has cancelled 18% of their flights for the summer timetable since May. 

It wasn’t all bad news for BA shareholders, though, as BA made their first operating profit since Covid with a profit of £54 million for the period. Personally, I think that they will get a nasty shock soon as high prices, poor service on board (particularly Club World), and unreliability start to bite, and previously loyal customers look elsewhere. 

IAG stated that “The Group is pro-actively addressing its customer service processes and systems to help build customer trust in our brands and to help ensure that our customers choose to fly with the Group’s airlines”. Other than some improvements to bring First and economy back to pre-Covid levels, I am not seeing massive improvements, with Club World due to stay the same until October, so I think they are kidding themselves here.

It was felt that British Airways, normally one of the leading airlines for profitability within the group (after Aer Lingus), was holding the group back. “In response to the challenging operational environment at Heathrow, British Airways’ capacity was limited to 69.1% in quarter 2 and plans to increase to c.75% in quarter 3,” said IAG’s chief executive Luis Gallego. 

I think that blaming it all on Heathrow Airport is not entirely fair, given the issues BA had before this with multiple cancellations due to lack of their own ground staff and cabin crew. However, this week BA has been forced again to stop further bookings on most BA short haul services until 8 August due to Heathrow’s passenger cap. 

The presentation stated that premium leisure travel has fully recovered, but business travel is around 60% of 2019. 

It is expected that more Avios partners will be announced during the second half of 2022, which is good news. 

It’s interesting to see that BA’s staff absence rate is 6% vs the normal 4-5%, which is not hugely different. They are still nowhere near the staff numbers they need to recruit. Another 1,400 staff have been recruited, but they are still an astonishing 3000 short for 2022 according to London Air Travel. That’s before any extras needed for 2023! 

There was also an interesting note out the fact that BA had outsourced their referencing, leading to a wait of 100 days on average! Yet their own new in-house system takes 40 days. It does make me wonder when BA will realise that trying to save a few bucks often results in a much worse service – just look at their IT!

 

Iberia new business class and JFK news

Picture from IAG presentation

Within the IAG presentation, it was also noted that Iberia would be getting a new business class product with a door. Iberia’s latest business class on its A350 is pretty good anyway with a 1-2-1 layout but there is some room for improvement. You can read all of Iberia’s aircraft types business class reviews here. 

It appears that Iberia’s new A350s from late 2023 will see the introduction of a new business class suit, better entertainment, and wider economy seats. The picture in the presentation suggests that these are Recaro’s CL6720 seat which is the same as on TAP’s A330-33neos. However, these will also have a door.  

The same Recaro seat without the door

It was also mentioned that British Airways and Iberia will co-locate all flights at New York JFK with American Airlines at Terminal 8 from
December 2022. You can see more about BA’s move here. 

 

Save up to 25% off Marriott

The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina

The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina

Marriott has a new offer on longer stays where you can receive 15% off standard rates when you stay three nights, 20% off when you stay between 4 and 6 nights or 25% off when you stay seven nights or more. The offer is valid at participating hotels and resorts in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.  You must quote promotional code UK8 to receive the offer. 

The Westin Turtle Bay Resort & Spa, Mauritius

The Westin Turtle Bay Resort & Spa, Mauritius

There’s not a huge list of hotels, but there are some decent ones participating:

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  • Renaissance Sharm El Sheikh Golden View Beach Resort
  • Hotel Banke Opera, Autograph Collection Paris
  • Sheraton Berlin Grand Hotel Esplanade
  • Westin Berlin
  • Sheraton Rhodes Resort
  • Matild Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Budapest
  • Grand Universe Lucca, Autograph Collection
  • W Rome
  • The Westin Excelsior, Rome
  • JW Marriott Mauritius Resort
  • The Westin Turtle Bay Resort & Spa, Mauritius
  • W Amsterdam 
  • Warsaw Marriott Hotel
  • Sheraton Lisboa Hotel & Spa
  • Cape Town Marriott Hotel Crystal Towers
  • The Westin Cape Town
  • The Westin Palace, Madrid
  • The Westin Abu Dhabi Golf Resort & Spa
  • Habtoor Grand Resort, Autograph Collection, Dubai
  • The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina
  • Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Waterpark

You can find the offer page here. 

16 Comments on "NEWS & OFFERS: How is BA performing?, Iberia new business class, and 25% off Marriott"

  1. Were there any details provided of the costs incurred as a result of EC261 payouts?

    I’d be interested in a breakdown that showed details grouped by long/short haul, type (delays/cancellations) and nature (duty of care, rerouting/booking, etc)

    For me, it would be fascinating

    • They don’t go into that level of detail but yes that would be interesting. I’m guessing it’s a lot!

  2. Corinne stevenson | 2 August 2022 at 10:25 am | Reply

    I have flown 4 BA business flights so far this year. The staff on first two weren’t good ,staff on second two were brilliant..more experienced and very welcoming and provided a good service. BUT the food on all flights was awful…burnt in a couple of cases and I wonder why I bother with BA? The worst was from Boston to Heathrow…I was hungry as most of the food was inedible.Even the snacks weren’t much help! Suggest people take supplies with them in case.They need to get that sorted asap and make it a premium service again or I am off to other airlines!

  3. I am ceasing my BA Gold membership as of next year; 1500 tier points, bad service and high prices are making me move on; I am going to try Star Alliance; firstly I have two years to renew my membership with Turkish Airlines; I must say LHR T2 TAP Airportugal left me a bitter taste in my mouth when I have flown to FAO via Lisbon; but I have enjoyed the Senator Lounge at Lufthansa Lounge. It was as good as BA First class lounge without the table service. One thing I have noticed is that the clientele is different from Oneworld; My last flight with BA from GRU to LHR back in March was disappointing; the announcement that they were short staffed on the flight and that thing might take longer than usual was a recipe for disaster; there was no goody bags; no cutlery on the meal tray at dinner at breakfast ; staff was getting ages to serve drinks; no welcomed drinks and I have almost flown without bedding; when they charge over £3500,00 for a seat and give that sort of service I just wondered if it is worth the bother.

    • I think people should vote with their feet. Assuming I don’t need the tier points I go with the best value option. Not necessarily the cheapest but the best service for the least money.

  4. HSvP with a smile | 2 August 2022 at 12:16 pm | Reply

    Hallo. Michele. You mention poor service in Club World.
    Other my colleagues have tried to raise attention to this on a post a couple of months back. I can only say that nothing has changed and now you and your readers are noting this. A very significant reason for this is that we have a different way of allocation of where will work where on a flight. There is not need to mention how it works here but it is enough to say that
    1 ) It happens that this new system can prevent those with the most or most valuable experience from working in that cabin or just those who like to give world class business service.
    2 ) The long length of time that can pass by until someone works there again doesn’t help to keep up with what is happening in club. We have so many service variations and we are lumbered with so many aircraft variants (in the terms of configuration) that it is hard enough in one own time to stay fully up to speed with that rather the service and the service items
    3 ) It leaves people who don’t want to be in that cabin forced to work there.
    4 ) Management say that because we have a company iphone with the service standards somewhere in it that is enough to be “the best in the business.”
    5) Yes some people find the new system fair because no more seniority depends on the choice but in my experience from Qatar Airways where I worked 5 years and 3 years at Lufthansa before that doesn’t mean that Club World will get the right people in it.
    6) Only in social media may there be some adjustment because BA is deaf to hear from those who disagree the system.
    Thank you.

    • Thanks for the info. I think we all understand that crew are in a difficult position and comments are not aimed at them but as you say the systems BA insist on. They don’t ask customers the correct questions, so they get incorrect answers.

      It’s interesting that a new survey has been sent to high value customers. I can’t imagine anyone singing BA’s praises right now! Let’s hope they take notice.

      • Michelle, I have two very good friends who are long standing crew members – one is a CSD (or whatever they are called now) and the other a premium class crew. Interestingly, the premium crew refuses (along with her trained friends) to crew the premium cabins – the complaints from customers is so bad they would rather work in Economy for an easy life …

        • The CSD is now an IFM, and there are no premium dedicated crew. The position allocation system allows for a choice depending on how far up the rotating alphabetical system you are. It makes no allowance whatsoever for having the right people in the right place to deliver the service the individual is most skill at. The only focus is satisfying former worldwide crew who have lost seniority as seniority doesn’t exist any longer into a system that generates some fairness. It is a minefield of problems for everyone other than BA administrators. Made my last flight for BA the other day, I am going back to my original airline to be rid of the idiocy of BA. What a disappointing company.

      • Michael Andrews | 4 August 2022 at 5:48 am | Reply

        Michele,

        Back in May when we were discussing poor service and inexperienced staff working in Club World/ First, you said you were having a meeting with a senior manager from BA. Did that ever happen?

        • Yes and no. I met with the PR team but the senior manager was not present. BA were going to produce a statement in response to crew but it didn’t happen and the person has left BA now. Once their replacement is announced I will try again. I do think BA has their head very firmly in the sand on how customers and crew currently feel.

  5. Hi Michele. I read your reply to HSVP about poor service in Club World.
    Would be able to expand on that?
    Let’s agree that the food is a separate area to talk about although what HSVP says of course has a direct impact on catering quality when it goes into the cabin during the service.
    I am cabin crew and I would like to know honest views.

    • As an example BA expect crew to hand run everything on long haul in Club. Given the galley on the A350 and the shortage of crew you may think that using a trolley may allow BA crew to give a better service by speeding things up and allowing them to do things like drink top ups which are often lacking now. However BA had asked passengers something along the lines of would you rather not have trolleys and have things hand delivered. What they don’t ask is – are you prepared to wait longer and/or have less service in order to not have a trolley. You can’t ask questions in isolation

      • Helen's Sorry But.. :) | 2 August 2022 at 10:33 pm | Reply

        IFCE argues that the one person down in Club is acceptable during one tray service. While the service time is quicker, of course, the timing is really only down to about 20 min shorter of what airlines with well planned services offer with a full service. (I read and chat on a forum about this.) When full service resumes, apparently October, I would expect to see service times inch nearer to 3 hours on 777-300 with 76 club and the 56 on the A350 because of the rotation of crew out of practice or familiarity and as you mention, the hand running method. A published service standard a “here you go” does not meet the requirement to be world leaders in service providing so long as there is inconsistency and poor vision in every corner of the product.
        Delivery managers will not allow us to go back to a trolly service, saying that the club suites-v-aisle dimensions are too tight and can cause inconvenience to customers trying to get to the toilet. Welcome to aviation people. That is just one excuse. They refuse point blank to consider the multiple pleas from crew to deal with the fact that the size of many club cabins (BA is premium heavy as you know) does not compliment with the chosen delivery method. Hand running kills interaction and hospitality and is intrusive to those nearest the galley who must deal with the toing and froing more than anyone else even with suite doors. At one point I heard them blaming the (now gone) individual who designed and spent a fortune on “transforming club world” which flopped. Choices were made to change the style of the club bars (no longer miniatures etc) and glassware (which takes up significantly more space in the galley) further reducing any chance of a really efficient service.
        Top ups as you mention are not routinely offered but if I am honest, even with a full crew (which is only one extra person in Club) there are so many times when I stop myself and admit how much nicer or better I could have been during the service but the endless challenges and the product or service equipment failings get in the way of what I am there to do, and what I really do love doing. Sorry, but one has to be honest sometimes. We are not supported by our own system in ways that really matter to “Excellence In Flight” (sorry Korean Air!) But if enough frequent travelers rebel, then yes we have a platform to work off.

  6. I travel First occasionally for leisure and Club World for leisure and business. Food in the last year has been consistently poor albeit slowly improving.

    Currently in Vancouver, looked up the BA lounge for the return trip – closed. The Plaza lounge has dreadful reviews.

    I have stuck with BA to maintain Gold for all the well known benefits. But my patience sorely tested.

    As many have said here and else where, they take Gold level prices and provide a Bronze advice. They need to realise they will loose customers.

    Amazed we got here at all – albeit their loading of a 380 is enough to put me off flying on 380’s.

    I think BA will hemorage customers soon if they are not careful. Our simply, I don’t trust them not to cancel my flights.

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