Get Away With Fran

August 6, 2009

British Airways and cheese, please

A story I read while in London the other day had me saying noooo. You see, I am a fan of British Airways because a) it’s a good airline with convenient flights from Boston b) it offers easy connections through Heathrow – and the new Terminal 5 – to other parts of Europe and beyond, and ┬ác) they serve “cheese and pickle” sandwiches (chopped cheese and chutney).

Now, apparently, my sandwiches are going away. The Times of London reports that cost-cutting has led to the decision not to serve the sandwiches any more on short haul flights. OK, I get it, who really needs a snack when you’re only traveling an hour or two from London to paris or Venice? And apparently cutting the snacks will save the carrier some $36.9 million.

At least I can still get my treats on the overseas flights. Speaking of which, while BA has been getting press for its less than stellar financial performance, I can report based on my experience this week that you’d never known there were any issues based on encounters with the airline’s staff.

When I checked in at Heathrow for my flight to Boston, I hardly waited in line (even though the flight was full). The clerk told me there wasn’t a gate assigned yet, “but when you get through security perhaps you can relax with a lovely cup of tea.”

I took her friendly advice.

On the flight itself I was upgraded last-minute to Club World business class (whether I was just lucky or whether little fairies called in advance with my name, I will never know). The service was simply superb. The seats – really compartments with privacy screens and flat beds – were wonderfully comfortable. Putting on the noise cancelling headphones and watching first-run movies while eating a tasty meal put me in another world.

And BTW, press reports in the UK also have BA offering last-minute upgrades at the airport, for instance about $150 to move from economy to World Traveller Plus premium economy (with more legroom), so ask when you check in.

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