BA forgets to load Club Europe catering. Their reply…

a plane in an airplane

A couple of weekends ago I flew back from Dusseldorf to London City airport on British Airways – well not really BA, rather a wet leased provider Eastern Airways. It was the standard plane that BA uses out of City, the EMB170. However, they clearly have a deal with Eastern as even the safety cards says BA Cityflyer, the sub-brand BA uses for its services from London City.

BA’s flights at Dusseldorf leave from a mini-non Schengen area in the terminal meaning that once you have gone through German immigration, there are just seats and loos, no shops. Plus, once the inbound flights passengers have been processed,  the arrivals immigration closes and so there is no way back to the terminal.

The walk from the shared lounge that BA uses is short, but the bus ride to the plane is long. They packed everyone on to a single bus making priority boarding mean that you get a chance to get a seat on the bus whereas most passengers were standing as the driver weaved his way to the far end of the airport, where the aircraft had been sitting since the previous day.

After a few minutes waiting we boarded and I found that I was one of only two passengers in Club Europe.

After take off – Eastern doesn’t allow the use of personal headphones for take off and landing – I settled in for a short TV episode. After a few minutes the flight attendant appeared and told me that they had not boarded any meals at Dusseldorf. I thought this odd and asked why we had not been told this in Dusseldorf. It appears it was because it might delay the flight. Fairly odd explanation!

I asked for an Orange juice with ice and a coffee instead. ‘No ice, I am afraid’ she replied. The ice had fallen victim to the same catering snafu.

I asked her to write this up and expected to hear from BA in due course. After a couple of days of silence I filled in the online complaint form. Two further weeks of silence. Then yesterday a call. The offer – 4,000 Avios as an apology for not loading the meal.

BA’s compensation is not what it was even a year. A similar problem happened out of London City where cancellations lead to not enough meals being available on a flight to Dublin and rather than picking passengers, the flight attendant just didn’t serve anyone! That garnered 5,000 Avios as compensation.

All around – the initial problem, the rubbish ‘Service Recovery’ as BA terms it – shows how far this airline has fallen in recent years.

I am off to Dublin next week from London City – let’s hope for a better outcome! Oh, and some food.


  1. When something screw up in United’s flight, anyone would ask “why you fly United?”. So here I am, asking “why you fly BA anyway?”

  2. Truth is, BA have never been a very good airline. Back in the seventies, they weren’t as good as Pan Am. In the eighties they weren’t as good as Caledonian. In the nineties, they weren’t as good as Virgin. That said, they at least used to make an effort to be decent in the front of the plane, with a hard and soft product that was, if not best in the world, at least competitive. Now they’re not even competitive. If they didn’t enjoy a near monopoly in many city pairs, I’m not sure anyone would choose to fly them.

  3. Given how little improvement Club Europe offers over Economy, when one of the few differentiators isn’t available a flight they should offer more than 4,000 Avios as an apology, and given the recent significant issues leading rightfully to PR issues, you would think offering Avios as a sorry is an area they wouldn’t cut back on.

    Thanks for sharing, Alastair Majury

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