Is British Airways Worse Than Ryanair These Days?

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Any glance at the Google news feed for British Airways suggests its PR department might not be winning many awards soon… but is the level of criticism justified? To take it to extremes: Is British Airways worse than Ryanair these days?

British Airways worse than RyanairBritish Airways worse than Ryanair

Your initial reaction might be something along the lines of “that’s ridiculous – things aren’t great with BA, but they’re not that bad!”.  Following the latest batch of BA cutbacks though (and a focus on improved customer service at Ryanair), I think it’s a debate worth having.

British Airways worse than RyanairBritish Airways worse than Ryanair

I’m going to put (some) of the case against BA here to kick things off, but where the conversation goes from there is entirely up to you! It’s happening on the forum already, so get yourself over there and join in now!

Let’s have a quick run through the greatest hits (or rather, misses…):

British Airways worse than Ryanair

Ryanair, on the other hand, have been on a relative charm offensive in the last few years – we’ve seen:

Is British Airways worse than Ryanair? – what do you think?

I know I’ve only covered one side of the argument here, but I’m not actually looking to push my own personal view too strongly either way, but rather get the conversation started.

The aim of InsideFlyer UK is much more about providing a place for everyone interested in travel to share their thoughts and engage with each other, than it is about blog writers issuing decrees from above. I hope we’ve managed to do some good work with that in the last ~ 18 months, but I think there’s still a lot more to be done as the site continues to grow.


Bottom line

If readers seem to enjoy the discussion, we will look at running similar ‘controversial’ and/or topical discussion pieces every week or two.

If you’re not already a regular commenter or forum user, this is a great time to join in. Everyone is welcome and I can promise you’ll receive a friendly reception!


  1. GnarlyOldGoatDude says

    My knee-jerk response is “of course not”. I’m a die-hard anyone-but-Ryanair person, which is a shame as Ryanair are nearly always 50% to 75% cheaper than my alternatives (and BA are 50% to 75% more expensive).
    Unfortunately, they’ve burned their bridges as far as I’m concerned. I will not try them again after the way they treated me last flight (18 months ago….so already into their “charm offensive”).

    However, if even Air Malta are trolling BA about their retrograde service levels, something must be wrong.

    • Joe Deeney says

      Yes, I’m certain Ryanair still have lots of problems and could improve in innumerable ways. I know quite a few other people who have completely sworn off them because of horrendous experiences (mostly historical to be fair). I’ve been lucky enough to avoid anything bad myself so far, but we’ll see how I feel if and when something does happen!

      I think part of the issue is about expectations – I’m still positively surprised when Ryanair is ‘ok’, whereas I expect BA to be good and am more likely to be irritated if it’s not.

      Haha, yes being trolled by Air Malta isn’t likely to ever be a great look…

  2. peter says

    Let me add to the BA’s list of sins:

    – charging extra for paying with their own branded amex card
    – targeting Avios redemption flyers and 2-for1 companion voucher holders for downgrades
    – regular industrial actions and disgruntled staff
    – trying aggressively to avoid paying out delay/cancellation compensations (I had a nine month dispute, five letters, several calls and after upsetting me for so long they reluctantly paid the whole amount at the end)

    • Joe Deeney says

      Oh yes, there’s certainly more – my personal pet hates are how long the waiting times are when you call, and the frequency with which the LBA-LHR flight seems to get cancelled at the last minute for reasons not covered by the EU compensation regulations.

      Combining the two together is a sure way to start the day (and your trip) on the wrong foot – a 6am text ‘regretfully informing’ you the flight has been cancelled, followed by 60+ mins on the phone and a panicked taxi to Manchester (which you end up having to claim on insurance because BA are so reluctant to sort it) could dent even the sunniest disposition….

  3. Norman Anderson says

    For obvious reasons BA are dropping out. Especially when the new boss says if we can’t find a idea to save money every day then we are not doing our jobs.
    Which makes me worry and think how safety will get cut and then it is a matter of time for a major accident for people to walk away from BA and go elsewhere.

    I fly one last time with BA long haul to BKK in May I hope they can change my perception as I would like to come over from Thai airways to BKK 4 times a year.

  4. Jake says

    My GIB to LGW on Monarch with the extra legroom option was far more pleasant and 40% less expensive than my LHR to GIB on BA. There was at least 4 more inches of pitch up front on Monarch.

    • Joe Deeney says

      Very good point – with the money saved by flying Ryanair/Monarch etc, you can often easily buy an extra legroom/exit row seat.

      • Craig Sowerby says

        It’s sad in a way. A few years back an informed analysis would often show BA to be cheaper than the low cost carriers, once you factored in checked luggage, seat selection, food/drink, boarding pass printing B.S. etc.

        Now that BA charges for most of the above, they usually come out more expensive. Good for IAG’s shareholders I suppose. Bad for all of the muppets who can’t do math and just book the very lowest headline cost and then keeping paying…

        • Joe Deeney says

          Good for IAG shareholders short-term certainly. Longer term I’m not at all convinced this is a winning strategy – fundamentally their cost base is higher so competing primarily on price (which is where the current trajectory will likely lead them) just doesn’t seem smart. On the other hand, I don’t run airlines for a living, so what do I know!

          • Craig Sowerby says

            Yep… if it were up to me I’d still be using a Nokia phone or maybe a Blackberry, and taking photos with Kodak film. Times change and those who sit on their laurels end up extinct.

            BA’s problem probably isn’t commoditising the back of the bus, it’s not offering a proper premium product (both short and long haul) to people that genuinely want to pay for premium. Eventually they’ll lose the top end to a better product and the low end to a cheaper cost base.

  5. Christin Hamilton says

    B A do not offer a very good service my husband and I were separated even though we up graded and on the home flight we weren’t given seat no at all told to wait until everybody had boarded before they could see what seats were left even though we had booked 6 months in advance I WILL NEVER FLY BA AGAIN

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