A comparison: Traveling in British Airways and American Airlines

In the month of June 2014, I did my first international travel. It was a very unique trip and the memories are surely going to last forever.

I was traveling to Kauai Island through England. So my itinerary included 2 layovers–one at the Heathrow Airport, London (LHR), and other one at Los Angeles Airport (LAX). I started from IGI Airport, Delhi and had to reach Lihue Airport (LIH). When I booked the tickets three months earlier, I preferred booking with British Airways (BA) just because the price was the cheapest.

Now, one of my friends warned me that BA’s service is not up to the mark and I should have booked with some airlines from the US. However, nothing could be done at that time.

But when I actually made the journey, I came to know that my journey from Delhi to London was in BA and from London to Los Angeles was also BA. However, for Los Angeles to Lihue, it was American Airlines (AA). This is how they sell the tickets. On my way back home too, my journey from Lihue to Los Angeles was AA. From Los Angeles to London, it was still AA. Though from London to Delhi, it was BA.

British Airways plane at Heathrow Airport Terminal 5

I observed that the services of BA was far better than that of AA. This is what I wrote about them while traveling from Delhi to London.

My first International Flight!

Now that sounds a bit exciting, no! For me, it was and I tried to live every moment of my journey.

I was told that the services of British Airways are not that good but my experience for the first leg was nothing short of satisfactory.

Iain Williams was one of the crew members and I felt really happy that he was there.

For a change, I found that the cabin crew was male except one mid-aged female. Now, this may force some people to go for another airlines because they are excited to talk to air hostesses but I found it quite interesting. I found the male crew more lively, conversant and caring. In fact, the female looked a bit uptight whenever I asked her for some snacks etc.

I noticed that the male crew tried to gel with the passengers. They were courteous, witty and joyful throughout the journey. I seriously felt that they did not make anybody feel left-out.

BA is always full of Punjabis going to Canada through London, and I noticed that they had crew who could speak Punjabi. This facilitated a lot of old passengers in their journey.

At least during the first leg of my journey, BA fulfilled its promise and won my confidence.

Will update for the next journeys as they happened.

Of course, till then, I was only reporting about BA and not comparing about AA. But when I actually made the journey with AA, they kind of under scored in terms of performance. Some of the points:

  1. The aircraft of AA looked old.
  2. The crew was almost indifferent to the needs of the passengers while BA’s crew was more courteous and gelling.
  3. AA’s flight within USA did not serve even water or any snack for a 5 hour journey. They just assumed that nobody needs it.
  4. BA gave a toothbrush to every passenger for a flight that was more than 8-9 hours. AA on the same route did not give it.

Though these points are not extensive and can’t simulate the exact difference in ambience, I am sure that if I ever get a chance to fly international, I will prefer BA over AA.

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