British Airways today (Tuesday, November 3) announced the most comprehensive range of new services and benefits ever for passengers flying longhaul on “economy” tickets.
More than £150 million is being spent by the airline on its new World Traveller service with a range of industry “firsts” on the ground and in the air. The aims are to offer greater comfort, increased flexibility and more value for money, to take the hassle out of flying for those travelling on business and to make it more relaxing for families and others on holiday.
* New scientifically designed seats with adjustable headrests and footrests and more knee room, described by a leading specialist as improving comfort levels “beyond all recognition”.
* Personal video screens for every passenger, with at least 12 channels, including a dedicated children and family channel.
* New menus and catering equipment, including meals created by TV celebrity chef Brian Turner and an ingenious double-decker tray.
* Help-yourself snack bars.
* A whole new approach to looking after families and children including a “Feed Kids First” policy, the first airline creche, baby buggy service and on-board “treasure chest” offering free toys and games.
* New interior designs for aircraft, using bold colours and fabrics to give a brighter, fresher look.
* A hassle-free trip through the airport, with telephone check-in and the first fast bag-drop service for business travellers.
* In-flight comfort kit with phone cards and vouchers for discounts and preferential treatment at Planet Hollywood restaurants.
Bob Ayling, British Airways’ Chief Executive, said: “We have listened hard to our customers and are providing them with what they want - not glitz and hype, but lots of real practical improvements. Together they will make a marked difference and add more fun and enjoyment to their travels whether they are flying with their family, on holiday or on business.
“This is not just about one element - like seat back video - but the whole package from the minute someone books a flight to when they step off the aircraft.”
An extensive research programme lies behind the changes. This included “shadowing” families from around the UK on their journey to pin-point exactly how their trip could be improved. Focus groups and in-depth one-to-one interviews were also held with a whole range of existing and potential World Traveller passengers of all ages, gender and professions.
The under 12s were directly involved in the development of their children’s product, as British Airways took them to a Windsor summer camp to find out what would make “their best flight ever”.