Advantages A good standard of service
Disadvantages Current cut backs in service provision.
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Who are British Airways?British Airways is the National carrier of the United Kingdom although some might say after the ethnic painting of the tail incident and Margaret Thatcher covering the awful design with a tissue, this painting incidentally cost millions of pounds and was a completely ridiculous idea. Richard Branson’s Virgin airways may be considered a massive competition to BA. BA has a very comprehensive destination system flying to all continents and they are part of the one world alliance with a wide variety of connecting flights to those destinations they do not cover.
There are various options of booking your flight including the following ways.
How to book your flight.
It is quite a comprehensive site offering you the opportunity to book complete holiday packages including airport transfers and local tours. There are also local destination guides on line which are quite useful to read. Flights & hotels, flights only, hotel accommodation, airport parking, car hire.
There may be several flights a day to or from your destination with different prices. It also shows you different prices for the days either side you wish to travel if you are conscious of cost. For example early morning flights maybe more expensive than flights mid day. Monday or Friday may be more expensive than going mid week.Once you pick your outward flight it then goes on to the return flight and you can choose the time of your return flight. The single fares are added together to give you the total cost of your flight which includes all airport taxes. You will be quite surprised at how much the taxes are for each leg of the trip. I believe the consumer is being ripped off unfairly in the so called name of green taxes bearing in mind that aircraft these days are more fuel efficient and less polluting and carry more passengers.
You also have the opportunity of making a further payment to offset your carbon footprint for taking that flight or adding extras such as insurance hotel bookings or car hire.When you are satisfied that you have the correct flights and the fare is suitable its time to book it. You can either pay by debit or credit card. Personally I would recommend paying by credit card then you have the added reassurance of getting your money back if the airline went bankrupt although I think it is safe to say that despite the current trend in airlines folding BA is not as likely to cease trading just yet and hopefully they wont and will ride the current economic storm.
Once your payment has gone through you are given a booking reference number to quote when you check in to book your seat or on arrival at the airport if not checking in on line. You are then sent a confirmation email with your reference number and flight details on it.One thing that is quite annoying with British Airways is the fact that you can not choose your seat until 24hours before your flight. You have to be quite quick as most passengers are doing the same thing to ensure that the seat they want they are able to choose. Despite the fact that you could have booked this seat up to nine months prior to your trip you still could end up not sitting where you want. I can not understand why BA doesn’t allow you to choose your seat when booking as other airlines allow you to. However it has just been announced that British Airways are going to start charging for you to be able to do this ranging from £10 for European flights to £60 worldwide or long haul flights. I think this is a bit of a cheek bearing in mind many airports let you book your seat free from the time of booking at no extra charge no doubt this will start the other airlines doing the same thing.
Once you have chosen your seat, you can check in for your flight and print off your tickets which have a bar code on them. This enables you to turn up at the airport and go to the fast bag drop and go straight through to security to airside. If you are travelling club class you will also pick up a lounge pass to enable you to enter the lounges.At the airport.
I chose to travel in club Europe so I was entitled to use the club lounges which are very comfortable and relaxing prior to your flight. I had printed off my ticket so I just had to turn up at the fast bag drop. Alternatively there are separate checking desks for club passengers where they will issue you with fast track ticket through security and a lounge pass. There is usually staff on hand to help and advise if you are using the self check in facilities at the airport.There is a pretty decent luggage allowance but remember the extra charges can be quite high if you go above these weights. Due to the high security levels remember that no liquids or creams over 100 mls are allowed as cabin baggage and it will be removed from your bag and confiscated if it is found this includes sharps such as scissors too. Liquids brought airside are ok. Do not forget to carry any essential medication in your hand luggage as you will not have access to them if they are in the hold. IF you are diabetic and use syringes you must let the check in staff know and if possible take a letter from your GP just to cover yourself.
Check in times are anything up to three hours for long haul flights and may be slightly less if checking in business class or first. However if travelling to the airport via the M25 I think it is prudent to get there as early as possible due to potential delays as there are plenty amenities within the airport to have a drink or shop even though the prices are a little higher than norm. It is better to be early than too late to check in.Fast Track is good because you are able to pass through security very quickly because there are rarely any queues there. You still have to go through the same procedures but it is much faster.
The lounges are very relaxed and have an assortment of refreshments appropriate for the time of day you are using the lounge. It is very peaceful in the lounge. There is internet access and the choice of reading materials to read prior to departure. Wash rooms which are very clean to freshen up in before you flight. You have to keep an eye out for your departure on the monitors as no flight announcements are made. The same standard can not be said of overseas lounges but on the whole most lounges are fairly comfortable.
Prior to take off you may be offered a pre flight drink of orange juice or Champagne depending on which class you are flying. No prizes for guessing which I chose!! After take off we were served a hot meal which by airline standards was very acceptable and nicely presented. We were offered more to drink which was all complementary.The cabin crew were absolutely fantastic and were a credit to British Airways. They were friendly and welcoming, very professional and nothing was too much trouble for them. I have also flown to New York and Bangkok recently with BA and the service is still consistently of the very high standard as expected throughout the BA fleet. Good reliable and comfortable service.
On long haul flights you are given a comfort pack which compared to other airlines I do not think it is of very high quality. In the little pack there are flight socks tooth paste and brush an eye mask and some lip balm eye moisturiser and a wet wipe towel.I would ask that people are polite to the cabin crew these girls and boys are not airheads who just dish out tea and coffee they are highly trained and may be in the position to save your life should there be an emergency. I know I may sound a little biased as my daughter is cabin crew and some of the incidents I have heard of include passengers fighting and treating the crew as if they are dirt. I have seen this myself especially from business class passengers who are so far up themselves that it is unbelievable and remember this aimed at those business class passengers the majority of whom many are not even paying for their flight their company is. Also the way the passengers leave the cabins is a disgrace do you treat your own home in the same manner? I think not. Long haul passengers are the worst in my opinion. All my flights I have taken I have paid the full going rate.
The inside of the planes are clean and the seats were either leather of material depending on which route you are flying and which class and are very quite comfortable. My one issue with British Airways is the leg room in economy which is only 31 inches in Economy which I feel is not good enough especially if you are flying long haul. You get 38 inches leg in Premium economy, 55-80 inches in business class including a fully flat bed and finally 80 inches plus in First and a fully flat bed.There was no entertainment system on the plane to Venice as it was just a short flight but on the long haul flights there was. The selection of films is quite good and there should be some programme or film to suit you. They are changed regularly so if you are a regular flyer there may be something to interest you. There are also interactive games to play via the screen for example backgammon or scrabble which you may be matched with another passenger on the flight. There is an in-flight magazines which passed away some of the time and also an in-flight catalogue listing the various duty free products on offer. We were offered the opportunity to buy from the BA catalogue but did not buy anything.
British airways executive club.
The return flights were of a similar high standard although there was an hours delay in Venice due to air traffic control problems over France and also massive thunderstorms apparently however the time was made up on the return flight and we arrived pretty much on time. When you have been abroad for some time there is a sense of relief and pride when you see a British airways plane in some distant airport. Many people knock BA but personally I think you know what you are getting as the standard of service is fairly consistent obviously this depends on the crew, their attitude and the attitude of the passengers themselves. I have also flown on other airlines who it can be said offer a similar high standard of service and in fact give British Airways a run for their money and even more so they should never be complacent because there are some decent airlines out there too.
Would I recommend B A.?
The price you see is the price you are going to pay unlike some of the budget airlines who invariably can work out more expensive and charge you for things that are included in BA’S price. For example check in at the airport will cost you an extra £40, booking fee £10 if paying by debit or credit card, in-flight drinks or food are chargeable. Some of the low cost airlines use out of town airports which may be over 40 miles away from the destination advertised. Luggage for the hold is also charged on some budget airlines.So all in all is BA good value for money? I would say yes and I would urge you to fly the flag with British airways.
Bon voyage and happy flying.Thank you for reading my review I hope it is of some use to you.
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