As part of their cabin overhaul, British Airways announced the improved amenities available in their premium economy cabin. But will the new amenity kit and menus be enough to win over regular trans-Atlantic flyers? Moreover, when will the policy changes at British Airways calm down?
In one short week, British Airways passengers in the premium economy cabin flying out of London Heathrow Airport (LHR) will receive a refreshed experience as part of an $8.25 billion customer experience investment. First found on the FlyerTalk forums by rockflyertalk, the British flag carrier announced their new amenity launch, anchored by a new amenity kit.
Starting on July 1 on most flights, premium economy passengers will receive a new host of benefits. The new experiences include a new quilt and cushion, along with a new menu with the capability to order meals 24 hours before their flight.
British Airways’ New World Traveller Plus Experience
The new experience is part of the airlines’ overhaul of the entire consumer experience from the top down. Earlier in 2019, the airline announced a new “Club Suite” seat for the Airbus A350 fleet and an improved experience for first class passengers.
For the World Traveller Plus cabin, the carrier announced an improved amenity kit with material made of recycled plastic bottles. Inside those kits is everything the traveler needs for their flight experience, including an “eyeshade, soft socks, a pen, a toothbrush and toothpaste and lip balm from the Scaramouche & Fandango range.”
During the flight, World Traveller flyers will be offered new pillow and quilt combination, with the herringbone pattern synonymous with the airline’s design. The carrier claims the “stylish” new offerings are more comfortable than previous offerings.
When it comes time to dine, flyers can order from a custom menu starting 24 hours before their flight. In addition to having a guaranteed secured meal, passengers can also select a new group of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. The new beverage options include classics like the Gin Fizz and Bloody Mary, or a non-alcoholic Citrus Twist “mocktail.”
How FlyerTalkers See the New Changes
FlyerTalkers are torn about the new changes. While some welcome the new amenities in the premium economy cabin, others are frustrated by the airlines’ slow updating process.
“Not only is this lipstick on a pig for the customers on rust-bucket 747s and 772s, its not even lipstick at all,” writes FlyerTalker drakepassage. “Those ‘cocktails’ are currently available in economy today, you just have to ask for it. You can even get them for free on short-haul BA CityFlyer flights. A blanket is a blanket, if BA introduced them with no fanfare as a tiny ‘surprise and delight’ gesture it might have been cute – but this marketing drivel is ‘scum of the earth’ territory.”
“I like the design of the bag and also that its made from recycled bits,” rockflyertalk wrote about the new offerings. “That’s a good thing, surely? Its also nice to have a proper kit for this cabin. I’m not sure of the quilt, but you can’t tell much from the photos. I look forward to trying it all at some point.”
FlyerTalker THEIOB was more thankful for the update. “Was not aware – thanks! Looks like a nice touch,” they write.
Changes Among Changes at British Airways
The new passenger investment comes as British Airways has been quietly instituting policies behind the scenes. In May 2019, the price to select a seat on the flag carrier’s business class cabin increased to between $75 and $115 each.
In addition, many known personalities are quietly pulling away from social media after an alleged internal policy change. Dave Wallsworth, known as “Captain Dave” on Twitter is an Airbus A380 pilot for the airline, but announced he would be leaving social media “due to various issues.” Jon Ostrower of The Air Current also noted on Twitter that the alleged policy change has forced many British Airways pilots to leave their accounts.
6 monthly simulator check passed. 😄✈️ Certified to fly again. However, due to various issues I wanted to let everyone know that I will be temporarily closing my twitter and insta accounts later this week. But as Arnie once said, I’ll be back. Thanks for your continued support.😄 pic.twitter.com/I0eiCdw6KA
— Captain Dave (@DaveWallsworth) June 23, 2019
Needs to be said: @British_Airways has an absurd, short-sighted & draconian social media policy for its pilots. They are ambassadors for your brand and this industry, which badly needs trusted voices to explain how the world of flying works every day. I hope they’ll reconsider.
— Jon Ostrower (@jonostrower) June 26, 2019
On their website, British Airways has a loosely published social media policy, which includes guidelines including “Do not use swearwords or inappropriate language which may offend,” and “You may not post any advertising, spam, selling and links to external sites.”
In addition to improving the customer experience, the carrier appears to be working hard to improve the employee experience as well. According to airline crew blog Paddle Your Own Kanoo, airline chief executive Alex Cruz recently told employees: “There truly is only one thing that will stop us from becoming the best airline in the world: us.” The rousing speech comes as the blog reports around one-third of employees told the carrier they were making “the right choice for customers,” while less than one-quarter of workers allegedly “felt recognized for the contribution they made.”
What is your take on the changes at British Airways?
[Images: British Airways]