British Airways. Goodbye old friend. Did you ever really care?

I have been flying with you for more than a decade. I have travelled tens of thousands of miles with you and always defended your honour when friends and colleagues said you’d lost your way.

I was loyal. Not anymore.

I’ve held an Executive Club Silver Card for several years. It’s been in valuable. Not because I like the free food and drink in your lush lounges, but because I’m busy and I appreciate shorter queuing when passing through airports.

It’s saved me time when travelling for business and saved my sanity when travelling with my young family. That, in itself, was enough to keep me loyal. Heck, I even paid the premium to fly the family with you (rather than a budget carrier) over summer just so that I could have smooth passage through the airport.

But last month you took my card away. You wrote me a letter. I went into a blind panic. At first I thought you’d made a mistake as I’d carefully calculated that I’d flown enough and collected enough points to retain the card for another year. But no, I’d miscalculated. I’d missed target by 30 points.

Yes, 30 measly points. To put that into context, just one of my regular round-trips is 140 points. 30 points was nothing so I thought I’d call your Executive Club team to beg for leniency. I wish I’d hadn’t. It made me even more depressed. I was stonewalled. No apology, compassion or thank-you for the previous decade of loyal flying as an Executive Club member; just an entry-level Blue Card.

Really British Airways?

But OK, I know rules are rules; so how about just applying a little common sense to your marketing? You know who I am, you know my travel habits and you would have known that my silver card (and my loyalty) was at risk in advance of the expiry date.

So how about just letting me know? How about telling that me that I’m due to miss the target and suggest I take my wife on a city break to earn enough points to retain the silver card? I’d have done it like a shot. I’d have kept my card, you’d have earned revenue from two additional tickets and my wife would have been overjoyed at the seemingly spontaneous act of romance.

Everyone would have been happy. That would have been a customer experience to rave about.

But no. That’s perhaps a little too sophisticated for your Executive Club team. Instead you just wrote me a letter and welcomed me to the ‘demoted’ Blue Tier. Why didn’t you just send me some salt and instruct me to rub it into any open wounds I had?

So that’s it. My loyalty has now vanished.

My loyalty over the years, (and my being an advocate of your brand) seems to mean nothing to you. I realize now that I was just another number. All of that rhetoric about customers value was just baloney wasn’t it?

Your 2009/10 Annual Report describes your Key Strategic Goals.  You talk about wanting your customers to recognize that your service is worth paying a little bit more for; that you deliver outstanding customer service at every touchpoint and that you want to use your deep understanding to be the airline of choice for long-haul customers. I hope your shareholders swallowed this up because you are no longer my airline of choice. I have other long-haul business options and I no longer see value in paying a premium for flying my family with you.

It’s a shame.

So long old friend; but you know where I am if you want to talk and patch things up.


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