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BA

Flying BA in 1989 Compared to Today

Was the earlier generation better off when it comes to flying?

Most people would answer yes. The author of a recent Telegraph article doesn't hide his enthusiasm for nostalgia either.

Only the Eighties could forgive a dish like Chicken Annabel's - served with curry sauce and a garnish of bananas and mushrooms.

According to Oliver Smith, BA had better prices, better food, fun crew uniform.

The latter argument aside—it's laughable—, judging food on a premium class menu doesn't say much about the general state of travel.

Toothpaste must have been an amenity. (source: BA, Telegraph)

Toothpaste must have been an amenity. (source: BA, Telegraph)

If you want to focus on the front-cabin experiences, just think about the seats: where were the lie-flat beds in Business in 1989? Today's BA's Club World would make most past First pale. The product has evolved. Wake up.

If prices is your beef, applying some common sense like, say, inflation, would do you good. The author quotes the LHR-JFK route at GBP 257 in 1989, 399 today.

257 is equal to …GBP 590 (in 2013 prices, the latest I could do a calculation with). In 1989 prices, you'd get the flight for just 170 quid!

Same goes for Business and First. It's less expensive today, full stop.

There's a lot to say about the state of travel today. Some truly negative—the security hassle, the economy seats, etc.

But let's not get carried away with a misplaced elitist nostalgic narrative. Way more people can fly today that in the entire history of flying. No matter what you think about the privatization of carriers or the emergence of low cost carriers, the fact remains: it has opened the skies to more people than an elite. 

That's just amazing in my book. 

Oh, and in 1989, smoked salmon had a different taste indeed. Tar and nicotine were added by your fellow passengers.

Double Win for British Airways in Conde Nast's Readers' Travel Awards

The Conde Nast Reader's Travel Awards 2014 are in and BA gets all the honors.

It gets the two 1st places for world's best airline, in the short-haul and in the long-haul categories.

It was already topping the ranking last year for former.

In the long-haul category, Virgin Atlantic is seeing a big jump, from 6th to 2nd, showing once more that it understand product—remains to be seen what will happen now that it is modifying its routes to adapt to Delta's strategy. 

Emirates goes from Gold to Bronze, which is not totally surprising: with massive growth, it's tough to maintain a lead in customer service (though they do amazingly well!). It's also becoming less generous with upgrades, and that might impact its perception (who doesn't love a free upgrade?).

In the short-haul category, Turkish at #2 is once more showing that it is the airlines that's rising faster than any other. It's impressive how, in a few years, the image and the product of the company has totally be altered. It's a true world-class contender and I'm loving it.

Unsurprisingly, Alitalia is gone in the rankings, edged by such low-costs as Monarch. EasyJet maintains its 10th place (and, having flown with them recently, deservedly so).

Here are the full rankings:

Best Airline, Long-Haul

  1. British Airways
  2. Virgin Atlantic
  3. Emirates
  4. Singapore Airlines
  5. Etihad Airways
  6. Qatar Airways
  7. Air New Zealand
  8. Cathay Pacific
  9. Thai Airways
  10. Air France 

Best Airline, Short-Haul

  1. British Airways
  2. Turkish Airlines
  3. Lufthansa
  4. Swiss International Air Lines
  5. Aer Lingus
  6. Air France
  7. Jet2
  8. Monarch Airlines
  9. SAS
  10. easyJet 

FAQ: What Happened to MH17

The NYTimes is doing an excellent job summarizing the questions and answers related to the crash. 

I particularly liked how they're displaying what other airlines were doing in the last week over Ukraine. Air France and British Airways were seemingly already avoiding the airspace, while KLM, Lufthansa or Thai Airways hadn't altered their plans (it has changed since).

Flight paths (image credit: NYT, from FlightRadar24 data)