27 May 2009 Apologies for the long absence. Have travelled to spread the word to – amongst other places – Berlin and Edinburgh. Not that it was enjoyable. Am distinctly uncomfortable about flying these days. Primarily because of climate change, but also because travel can be very unpleasant. Reading of British Airways’ results, reminds me why.
Gradually both plane and train operators expanded their business or first class departments and squeezed their economy passengers. As a result both airline and train travel economy class have become almost unbearable. Thankfully I am short, but how do those taller than 5.3″ survive in those cramped, claustrophobic cabins? The fact is that we, economy class passengers, were treated with contempt by both airline and train operators. More and more space was handed over to a minority – the rich and privileged.
British Airways is now paying a price for this once profitable policy. As Nils Pratley remarks in the Guardian “BA’s reliance on bankers and financial types crisscrossing the Atlantic has been brutally exposed. The reliance itself is not exactly news, but the scale of it is still being appreciated. HSBC’s analysts showed that “premium” revenues account for just over half of BA’s total income. In terms of numbers, these passengers amount to only 11% of the total. In terms of customer groups, finance and banking passengers contribute more than 40% of BA’s revenue. When a sizeable slug of these travellers is removed, the effect is dramatic.”
Thus BA’s latest massive £401 million pound loss, reminding us that the impact of the failure of bankers continues to hurt every corner of the economy. Never mind, BA can now join their economy class passengers. Our backs and knees have been hurting for much longer.