Another week. Another aviation story generated by social media.
Once again, British Airways was the target of a passenger’s ire.
Television news journalist Owen Thomas flew from London Gatwick to St Lucia in First Class. He was not happy with what he saw in the cabin.
Owen produced a short 30 second film showing dirt and grime around his first class seat.
It was duly uploaded to YouTube, posted on Twitter and picked up by MailOnline (one of the world’s biggest news sites & such is the nature of modern journalism that young journalists rarely get to leave their desks) which gave it top billing (spot the deliberate mistake above!)
— Owen Thomas (@OwenThomasTV) January 18, 2015
It would be easy to dismiss this as another online rant.
Whatever the motivations may have been to post the video online, it is salutary reminder for airlines that first impressions matter and passengers notice the details.
Cabin cleanliness is an operational basic that airlines must not take for granted and British Airways appears to be guilty of this.
On a flight departing from London Heathrow last year we boarded a BA 777 to find a very large red wine stain splashed across the interior wall.
This was not a one off incident. It is not unusual to find items from previous flights left behind in the storage drawer of the Club World seat or down beside it.
Some readers may recall BA faced worldwide negative publicity several years ago when it was one of the worst performing airlines in Europe for punctuality and baggage handing, caused principally by operational problems at London Heathrow.
It took many years for BA to recover from this and some of the negative impressions still linger.
BA is, by the own admission of its parent company International Airlines Group, in a phase of extremely tight cost control.
No cost saving opportunity, even when it amounts to the equivalent of pennies per flight, is deemed too small or insignificant.
We can only surmise that insufficient attention is being given to cabin cleanliness and hopefully the above incident will act as a warning call.