Friday, August 12, 2005

Unimpressive BA

British Airways, the world's largest national airline, had operations at the world's busiest international airport, its hub at Heathrow, crippled yesterday by a sympathy strike by its Heathrow grounds-crew protesting the firing of fellow union members by another employer. Worse yet, BA lacked the organization and the means to help the 70,000 passengers stranded by the strike.

The Monk became sorely unimpressed by BA's crews and organization (with one exception -- a helpful staffer) last year when he and the Monkette2B traveled back from Edinburgh to the US through Gatwick. The plane for the Edinburgh-London leg of our trip arrived late, had a LONG turnaround prep for departure (so much for learning the ten-minute turnaround techniques of Southwest) and actually LOST time in the air despite favroable weather conditions. We missed our connection back to the US and had to go on American (which worked things out much better).

And in the chaos and the rush, The Monk missed his opportunities at the duty free!

Anyway, there was a time that the major national European carriers like Air France, BA, KLM and Lufthansa (Alitalia and Olympic, by contrast, were and remain poor) seemed to be the picture of efficiency, good service and relatively pleasant (to The Monk's knowledge, this is still true for Lufthansa -- mark this post b/c The Monk said something nice about Germans). Seems that competition, poor management and a disconnect from the customers is hurting air service worldwide, not just in the US.

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