BA Shows How Quickly Reputations Can Nosedive

They say it takes a lifetime to build a reputation and a moment to lose it. BA has had a good go at damaging its brand over the past couple of years and the result is stark.

Out of 65 airlines researched for a league table on reputations, the national flag carrier now comes in at 55.

The airline's pilots are on strike today and tomorrow, and threatening more action before the end of September. The result is 24-hour news coverage of empty check-in halls all around the world, particularly the ghost town of Terminal 5 at Heathrow, where one would usually expect to see a sea of travellers jetting off all around the globe.

Today's action follows previous action by cabin crew. More recently, however, passengers have been grounded by an IT glitch, and in 2017, a power cut.

That is not to mention a GBP183m fine for not protecting half a million users' data from a cyber attack.

Sadly, the airline has become an occasional laughingstock over reliability. It seems that at least every year, passengers are beset by a massive issues, whether that be IT systems going down or staff being involved in a dispute of some sort. 

Fortunately, I have not been directly involved, but the media is full of stories from people who cannot make weddings and whose holiday dreams are shattered, and so on.

The story always appears to be that the BA customer services hotline is too busy to take all call and that leaves passengers deeply frustrated. 

I guess most people don't know whether the pilots or the airline are in the right over how fair the new pay deal is. What they do know is that when their plans are ruined and there's not a simple way to rebook or simply click to accept a flight on a rival airline, then the brand's good name takes a nosedive.

It's a shame to see because, ultimately, it's a brand most Brits have a lot of love for, and so it could go back to the days of being universally respected. 

To get there, though, it's got a hell of a reputational damage limitation to do. As a writer quipped the other day, it really should stop going on about a hundred years of history and focus far more on getting its brand, and IT system, right for today. 

When I'm planning work trips BA would always be my go-to airline but, I have to say, I'm now not so sure. At the back of every traveller's mind there's now a risk of delay or cancellation attached to BA that wasn't there just a handful of years ago.

It's very sad to see this happen to the national flag carrier. 

1 comment about "BA Shows How Quickly Reputations Can Nosedive".
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  1. David Beck from Retired, September 9, 2019 at 11:27 a.m.

    I stopped flying BA in the 1980s after realising that the reputation was all hype. At the time I was doing 20 odd flights a year, mostly to Europe. My policy changed to; fly the carrier going home, for flights out of the UK and typically use the same carrier coming back. During that time I also stopped flying KLM as they had a tendency to leave my baggage in AMS. Now I have the luxury of only flying for "pleasure", Virgin to North America, EasyJet to Europe, Avianca to South America.

    BTW, can someone tell me how a Spanish owned airline is supposed to be British?

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