First class passenger shares footage of ‘unacceptable’ conditions on £4,000 British Airways flight


Have YOU had a bad experience on a flight?

  • Send pictures to kaya.terry@mailonline.co.uk   

A first-class passenger who was left ‘horrified’ at the ‘unacceptable’ conditions on a £4,000 British Airways flight is urging travellers to fly with other airlines.

Jarvis Marcos, 37, was flying first-class from Mexico to London with his girlfriend, Kamara Harding, 33, when he experienced the ‘shockingly bad’ standards – which included dripping water from the air-con and ‘sticky liquid’ on tray tables. 

Unimpressed Mr Marcos called the 11-hour trip the ‘worst experience’ he’s ever had on a plane after he boarded the jet back in August. 

Posting a video of his experience on his TikTok account, Mr Marcos mocked British Airways and compared the air-con leak to the ‘onboard showers’ on Emirates planes. 

Mr Marcos’ testimony is the latest in a growing line of PR disasters for British Airways – following spiralling job cuts, the infamous IT debacle and technical issues aboard flights in recent years since its merger with Spanish airline Iberia in 2011.

BA, which once labelled itself ‘the world’s favourite airline’, slashed its employee count by more than 8,000 and offered some staff a 50 per cent pay cut to remain on the books last year. The airline was famously struck by high-profile IT failures in 2017 and again in 2019 which cost the company millions and left thousands of disgruntled travellers stranded.

Internally, the airline has been taken to tribunals over alleged sexual discrimination and for disciplining staff with PTSD. BA was disgraced further when it was uncovered that five of its pilots used racist language in emails in 2019.

Amid mounting fury from passengers, BA then confirmed it was removing the customary drinks trolley offered to customers aboard its long-haul flights in August – instead forcing travellers to order through an app. Compounding their misery, the airline’s owner, IAG, recorded record-breaking annual losses of more than £6.8billion this year as the pandemic decimated passenger numbers further.

‘Horrified’ luxury passenger has vowed to boycott British Airways after sharing ‘unacceptable’ footage of conditions on a £4,000 first-class flight

He experienced the 'shockingly bad' standards during the 11-hour trip, which included dripping water from the air-con and 'sticky liquid' on unclean tray tables

He experienced the ‘shockingly bad’ standards during the 11-hour trip, which included dripping water from the air-con and ‘sticky liquid’ on unclean tray tables

Mr Marcos (pictured travelling on a separate flight) said the journey was the 'worst experience' he's had on a plane after he experienced a catalogue of issues during the flight back in August

Mr Marcos (pictured travelling on a separate flight) said the journey was the ‘worst experience’ he’s had on a plane after he experienced a catalogue of issues during the flight back in August

He called the food 'overcooked' and 'stale', and was stunned when the airline offered him just £150 per person voucher as compensation

He called the food ‘overcooked’ and ‘stale’, and was stunned when the airline offered him just £150 per person voucher as compensation

Unimpressed Mr Marcos claimed the tray tables (Pictured) were not cleaned properly and were left with a sticky residue, which he found particularly worrying given the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic

Unimpressed Mr Marcos claimed the tray tables (Pictured) were not cleaned properly and were left with a sticky residue, which he found particularly worrying given the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic

Mr Marcos, who flies upwards of 100,000 miles a year, runs a luxury travel review website and travel agency – and flies in first or business class reviewing airlines and hotels.

However, the luxury traveller was left particularly disgusted at the ‘stale’ and ‘overcooked’ in-flights meals and unclean seats, which he called ‘unacceptable’ following the Covid-19 pandemic. 

History of British Airways: How airline founded in 1919 and once dubbed the ‘world’s favourite’ has been hit by string of PR disasters in recent years 

  • August 1919 – Aircraft Transport and Travel Limited, a forerunner of BA, launches world-first daily service from London to Paris. 
  • March 1974 – British Overseas Airways Corporation, British European Airways, Cambrian Airways and Northeast Airlines merge to form British Airways
  • February 1987 – BA is privatised as part of wider plans by the then Conservative Government
  • December 1987 – BA expands with the acquisition of British Caledonian 
  • October 1992 – Group expands again after purchasing Dan-Air for nominal fee of £1 
  • January 2011 – Spain’s Iberia Airways merges with BA, creating new International Airlines Group
  • July 2016 – New IT system rollout backfires and causes two-hour queues at Heathrow Airport 
  • Summer 2017 – BA cabin crew commence weeks of strike action over pay dispute 
  • September 2018 – BA flights are delayed at Heathrow Airport after ‘IT failure’ 
  • February 2019 – British Airways suspends five pilots after the Mail on Sunday uncovers racist and derogatory language used in internal staff emails.
  • May 2020 – BA confirms 12,000 planned job cuts are to go ahead in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic 
  • October 2020 – BA boss Alex Cruz steps down 
  • October 2020 – BA fined £20million by Information Commissioner’s Office relating to 2018 personal data leak 
  • August 2021 – BA scraps the on-board drinks trolley and instead tells customers to order via an app

In addition, the metal framework of his seat was visible through the padding and it didn’t recline fully into a bed due to an apparent malfunction.   

Mr Marcos claimed the journey would have cost £4,000 without his air miles and he was left stunned when the airline offered £150 per person e-vouchers to him and his girlfriend – stating they’d dealt with the case ‘fairly and appropriately’ and wouldn’t be offering further compensation.

On social media, Mr Marcos juxtaposed his BA video with footage of his first class flights on Emirates to show off the difference in quality – including bottles of Dom Perignon champagne and ‘mounds of caviar’. 

Following his experience, he is now urging other people to choose a different airline for their first-class travel.

British Airways apologised and said their aircraft goes for maintenance on a regular basis and they are investigating why Mr Marcos’s experience ‘clearly didn’t meet their usual high standards on this occasion’.

Mr Marcos, from West London, said: ‘There were large gouges missing out of the seat itself and the surrounding of the seat.

‘Chunks of leather had been gouged out to the point where you could see the metal skeleton of the seat underneath.

‘The seat also didn’t fully recline into a bed despite that being something they advertise as part of the service, because the mechanics of the seat were broken.

‘The seats also clearly hadn’t been cleaned, which especially during covid is just not acceptable.

‘There were crumbs in the storage cubby holes and streaks of a sticky liquid on the tray tables which had dried on and not been cleaned.

‘The air conditioning above my girlfriend’s seat was leaking and dripping water onto her which is also particularly unacceptable during Covid, as that’s what filters the air.’

BA’s fall from grace has been marked since the company’s takeover by Spanish Iberia Airways in 2011 to form International Airlines Group (IAG).

The group rolled out a new ‘cost effective IT system’ in 2015 that crippled a number of flights between 2017 and 2019, costing the company more than £100million.  

‘IT glitches’ were reported at nearly all major UK airports and caused hundreds of thousands of passengers to be left ‘stranded’.

BA was eventually fined £20million by the Information Commissioner’s Office after personal details of some 400,000 customers were accessed by hackers in a 2018 data breach. 

The Mail on Sunday also uncovered a slew of evidence of racist and derogatory language being used by five BA pilots in 2019 – including one message from a captain who used the N word when speaking with an ethnic minority colleague. All five were suspended by the airline.

More recently, the company has been at the centre of a range of discrimination tribunals – including sex, gender and disability discrimination and harassment.

Alex Cruz, the Spaniard who was BA’s chief executive until October 2020, stepped down after a trouble tenure which saw job cuts, industrial action from cabin crew and an abundance of IT system failures. 

Mr Marcos took pictures of the ripped seats (Above) and was left stunned by hefty £4,000 price tag that British Airways are charging customers for the 'appalling' conditions

Mr Marcos took pictures of the ripped seats (Above) and was left stunned by hefty £4,000 price tag that British Airways are charging customers for the ‘appalling’ conditions 

Mr Marcos showed how the seats were ripped in all different places (Above) and revealed they had 'large gouges' missing in places

Mr Marcos showed how the seats were ripped in all different places (Above) and revealed they had ‘large gouges’ missing in places

Mr Marcos, 37, (Right) was flying first-class from Mexico to London with his girlfriend, Kamara Harding, 33, (Left) on the British Airways flight

Mr Marcos, 37, (Right) was flying first-class from Mexico to London with his girlfriend, Kamara Harding, 33, (Left) on the British Airways flight

Luxury traveller Mr Marcos has visited 61 countries in his travels while experiencing and reviewing a range of first-class cabins and resorts.

He claimed that British Airways have always been ‘bottom of the barrel’ when it comes to the first-class flight experience compared to other airlines.

But he said nothing could have prepared him for the ‘state of disrepair’ of this particular plane as well as the overall ‘let-down’ service.

He claimed the ‘broken-down’ plane is nothing like the luxury advertised by the flight giant and is urging travellers to fly with other airlines.

In addition, Mr Marcos claimed the food wasn’t up to scratch, being ‘stale, swimming in oil and thoroughly overcooked’ despite the hefty price tag.

The email Mr Marcos received from British Airways (Pictured) regarding the £150 per person vouchers he will be receiving as compensation

The email Mr Marcos received from British Airways (Pictured) regarding the £150 per person vouchers he will be receiving as compensation 

He added: ‘BA always seems one of the worst airlines when it comes to first and business class – the bottom of the barrel.

‘It’s just the Dreamliners that have this problem and BA said they are aware of an issue with the seats.

‘The problem is that they tend to do the longer routes because that’s what they’re designed for so you tend to do the longest flights on the most broken down planes.

‘They offered me £150 per person as compensation for all of the issues we had which implies that that experience was only £150 away from the ideal experience that BA would hope you would have.

‘It’s unacceptable. There’s no reason why a paying customer in any cabin should expect a seat that isn’t clean or has air conditioning dripping on them.

‘What makes it particularly bad is that first class is advertised as being this supremely luxurious experience but that’s not true.’

After posting about his experience online, Mr Marcos said he received messages from other fellow first-class travellers and friends who claim to have had similar issues with British Airways flights.

One former passenger even said he’d sat in the exact seat shown in his TikTok video back in January, suggesting passengers have been experiencing the same ‘state of disrepair’ for at least seven months.

Have YOU had a bad experience on a flight? 

Send pictures to kaya.terry@mailonline.co.uk 

The luxury traveller now vows to fly with other first-class carriers wherever possible and to advise clients of his to avoid British Airways, particularly for special trips.

He added: ‘I have to look at it from the view of potential clients who could be on a once-in-a-lifetime trip like their honeymoon.

‘The thought of somebody saving up all of their money and spending it on BA is horrifying.

‘I would strongly recommend against picking BA as your airline for a once-in-a-lifetime experience unless you want that once-in-a-lifetime experience to be the worst experience you’ve ever had on a plane.’

British Airways said the health and safety of their customers was their top priority and that their aircraft go for maintenance on a regular basis, while they have invested £6.5billion in their fleet, inflight cabin product and catering.

A spokesperson for British Airways said: ‘We’ve apologised to Mr Marcos and are investigating what went wrong, as his experience clearly didn’t meet our usual high standards on this occasion.’ 



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