How Come We are Loyal to Brands We Hate

I am a loyal British Airways traveler – one look at my frequent flyer mileage points earned will prove that. However, I am a dissatisfied, unhappy, disgruntled, frustrated, angry BA customer and I suspect I am not the only one. In fact, I am willing to bet that there are more like me than happy and smiley BA travelers.

            Ok, here is a disclaimer – I am a first class passenger, I mean literally, but that does not stop them from being rude, uncaring, unhelpful, uppity and as unpleasant as one can be. They definitely give me the feeling that they are doing me a favour by allowing me on-board the first class. I always say a prayer for those traveling in economy.

            Where can I start? I must trudge miles to get to the lounge and then to the departure gate along with the hoi polloi. On boarding, the stewardess makes an exception for first class passengers when she pauses welcoming travelers on-board to escort me personally to my seat. Having passed me on to one of her colleagues who normally orders me to put away all my belongings in the hold above which I can barely reach and she can see that I wear a compression sleeve on my right arm because of my lymphedema (I had my lymph nodes removed some years ago because of a malignancy). This means, I cannot use my right arm to lift my bag up – and manoeuvring my bag to that height with my left arm alone would be a miracle for me. Regardless,  she leaves me to my devices. I have been told that BA hostesses cannot lift heavy trolleys for fear of back problems – interesting because this does not happen in any other airline. Are the Brits getting too soft?

The less said about the food the better, I always carry my own. The coffee is normally cold and the fare unimaginative and unhealthy. Often, the stewards and stewardesses will keep us awake at night with their chatter in the galleys and were I to complain I might not even get my bottle of water. Well the list goes on. So why do I travel BA – there is a simple answer – I live in London, it is a truly global airline and in places it does not fly to it has partners. Normally, it departs and arrives on time and has good safety records.

So it offers me functional benefits, but is it too much to expect good service, good food, and a smile when I am paying through my nose? Should I lower my expectations on those aspects and stop being unhappy because there is nothing I can do, really?

If, however, there emerges a local competitor like Jet to Indian Airlines, I will be the first to jump ship, no doubting that. O2 is another brand like that. But that is another long story.

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