Seeing a click-through ad for BA's new business-class seats recently made me think back on my recent painful experience getting from Damascus to Copenhagen via London. It would be convenient for BA to think that the only bits of this trip that they are really responsible for are at the service deks and in the air. But in fact I am judging BA on the whole experience between booking the tickets and arriving at my destination. Particularly at Heathrow, where BA have a dedicated terminal so no excuses, they own the entire dismal offering, in my view. And dismal it was. On that trip just over seven hours were spent in the air in a BA seat - six hours were spent in airports - much of that time at Heathrow T4 in a transit queue for security and another hour at Copenhagen dealing with lost luggage. I have yet to narrate the story to anyone who now does not speak about BA's appalling reputation for losing luggage.
If I thought that BA were investing as much thought, money and design time on what their customers experience on the ground I wouldn't feel so jaded at their ads for new seats. As it is, flying with BA involves too much of an abysmal customer journey on the ground for the great service in the air to compensate. It would be nice to think that BA executives regularly put themselves through what their customers experience, but I doubt it. And in my opinion this is what will eventually bring BA down.