First-class airline tickets are expensive. Prices can easily reach $US15,000 a flight, and that’s not even for the really opulent first-class suites that have become more prevalent on the most prestigious carriers.
Those go for as much as $US30,000.
Just for the sake of comparison, Mercedes-Benz is offering its CLA sedan — an entire car — for $US29,995.
For that kind of money, passengers in first class expect a fine glass of champagne, in-flight entertainment, and an environment free from … dried-on stains and thick layers of dust.
That’s why a YouTube video posted by British journalist Owen Thomas last weekend was so shocking. (CNN originally reported Thomas’ experience.)
In the 29-second video — which has garnered more than 1 million views — Thomas documented his “filthy” first-class experience on board a British Airways jet from London to St. Lucia.
Thomas grows increasingly annoyed as he shows off the “cheap, motel-esque” dried stains and deep layers of dust that encrust his very expensive seat.
“This is British Airways first class and it is absolutely filthy,” the enraged journalist says in the video. “You see the marks on here you can just scrape off with you finger.”
“It’s when you open your seat, the real horror begins. This is first class. This is British Airways first class. It’s disgusting,” Thomas added.
British Airways didn’t let the video pass without comment.
“We have contacted our customer to apologise. We are very sorry that on this occasion we have fallen short of our usual high standards,” a representative for the airline told the Telegraph.
“We pride ourselves on delivering a relaxing and pleasant experience in first class, and are taking immediate action to address this issue.”
Thomas’ encounter with what looks like a fairly offensive level of filth is alarming, given that BA has built a solid reputation in recent years for quality service, especially in the first class cabins. After all, the airline’s motto is “To Fly, To Serve.”
But this incident seems to be the exception rather than the rule. British Airways is a Skytrax four-star airline, and reviews for the carrier’s service are generally positive.
And besides, it’s not as if YouTube is jammed with videos about poorly cleaned first-class seats — on BA’s planes or anyone else’s.
Here is the complete video:
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