British Airways ‘turning into Ryanair’ as first class passengers are the latest to lose perks

British Airways

British Airways has come under fire from both staff and customers as concern grows that cutbacks at the flag carrier are damaging its “elite” brand.

Disgruntled cabin crew have provided a list to management of recent changes they say are diminishing the carrier’s reputation, the Sunday Times reported, including the loss of first-class perks, such as free amuse-bouches with customers’ first drink, no more fresh flowers in the first class toilets, and the downsizing of complimentary washbags.

One cabin crew employee, who has been with the airline for 12 years, told the newspaper staff were “embarrassed by the state of the product. The only thing not being cut is the prices”.

Alan Smith, a BA shareholder and frequent flier, said management was turning the airline “into Ryanair”.

“As a frequent and loyal BA customer, my patience with the ever-growing cost-cutting activities is growing thin,” he said, adding that on recent flights he felt aggrieved having to pay for wine, put up with a faulty entertainment system, fewer menu options and a reduced baggage allowance.

He also described BA’s fleet as “ageing and at times aesthetically ugly”.

BA staff said that shawls, blankets and slippers, once provided to all first class passengers, are now only given out on request, while there is now a reduced choice on the aircraft of magazines and spirits. One flight attendant summed it up as: “No more Drambuie.”

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