Why British Airways is slipping in customer satisfaction ratings

With British Airways days away from celebrating their 100th birthday, it could have done without the chaos caused by another IT glitch.

The airline has had a series of IT issues in recent years.

BA spent £80 million compensating the 75,000 passenger affected by the systems outage two years ago, and it faces a fine of £183 million after 500,000 of its customers had their data hacked last year.

BA chaos at Heathrow Airport in 2017. Credit: ITV News

The airline is in the process of investing £6.5 billion in the business, much of it on new aircraft.

Some of it will presumably be spent on improving the resilience of IT systems but BA won’t say how much.

The IT problems are embarrassing and expensive but, what’s striking, is they haven’t appeared to significantly damage British Airways’ fortunes.

Last year BA made more money - almost £2 billion - and carried more passengers - over 46 million - than the year before.

However, BA’s reputation is suffering.

  • Why BA's fortunes have been descending

In 2014 British Airways was the sixth most popular short-haul carrier, but according to a survey of passengers by Which?, it’s now slipped to 15th, which makes it almost as unpopular as Ryanair.

BA also has relationship issues with its staff, ending up in disputes with its cabin crew and, more recently, its pilots, who are threatening to strike later this month.

British Airways promotes itself as premium airline, but in recent years it has had to cut costs to stay profitable in a very competitive market.

All perfectly sensible and necessary, except that now experiences aren’t matching expectations.