Features

British Airways recruited Michelle Mone OBE to launch what it describes as its biggest ever summer schedule starting this weekend, launching new routes and offering more seats than ever before to summer holiday destinations across the world.

Michell Mone modelled pieces from Ultimo’s 2014 swimwear collection.

Michelle Mone in a BA British Flag swimsuit

Very patriotic

Very nice obviously, but perhaps a little chilly on a long flight methinks..

mone

Airlines and celebrities go hand in hand these days it seems, and the leveraging the celebrity brand is an important part of any airline which aspires to be a premium brand. In the first of a series of articles on the topic of airlines and celebrities, we are looking at celebrity chefs who are linked to the airlines.

Keith Floyd - legend

Keith – the one and only

It is fair to say that airline food does not enjoy a brilliant reputation, but some airlines are striving for better, particularly in their premium cabins and they have bought in some big hitters to help with the menus, with the likes of Richard Sandoval, Marcus Samuelsson, Nobu and others. BA has also explored the concept of height cuisine – food tailored for being consumed in a high altitude environment.

There is actually nothing new about airlines working with superstar chefs but more recently the idea has gained momentum. Singapore Airlines tapped Gordon Ramsay for their International Culinary Panel back in 2006, and Air France began working with Joel Robuchon in 2010.

Here are 10 airlines with celebrity chef offerings.

British Airways
Innovative chef Heston Blumenthal partnered with BA on a series of Olympics-inspired menus. Items like mackerel rillettes with sourdough croutes, and were served on all flights in all cabins.

Qantas
For over 15 years Neil Perry has overseen onboard dining for the Qantas fleet while running six successful restaurants in his native Sydney. Perry’s inflight menus are served in all Qantas cabins.

American Airlines
Richard Sandoval and Marcus Samuelsson are serving up unstoppable action on AA. Premium class offerings on international routes include halibut with sweet potato puree and corn salsa. On domestic routes Samuelsson’s New American Table program has tasty classics like fresh turkey sandwiches and a killer breakfast biscuit.

Air France
Alain Ducasse, Joel Robuchon and Guy Martin are among the stars who have created inflight menus for Air France. In February 2013, they unveiled a menu by Bocuse d’Or winner and two-Michelin star chef Michel Roth. Dishes like grilled pollack with Menton lemon confit, and pan-fried scallops in a white truffle-rich tartuffon sauce – yum!.

Qatar Airways
Doha-based Qatar Airways launched the Culinary World Menu, a global program featuring a rotating cast of menu items by bold-faced names like Nobu Matsuhisa, Tom Aikens, India’s two-Michelin-starred Vineet Bhatia and Lebanese chef and tv personality Ramzi Choueiri.

Delta Airlines
MIA’s own Iron Chef and James Beard Award–winner Michelle Bernstein creates menus for long-haul international travelers in Delta’s BusinessElit. Her five course tasting menus include items like pomegranate-glazed lamb and grilled beef tenderloin with chimichurri.

LAN
Hector Vergara handpicks the continent’s best bottles for the in-flight wine list on board LAN, the national carrier of Chile. Vergara stocks LAN flights with New World wines like Chilean Carménère and Argentinean Malbec, as well as lesser-known bottles like a 2008 Syrah from Chile’s coastal Valle de Casablanca region.

Japan Airlines
In Tokyo, Chef Seiji Yamamoto’s blend of molecular gastronomy and traditional kaiseke has earned him three Michelin stars along with fans like Ferran Adria and Wylie Dufresne. First-class passengers on Japan Airlines’ international flights can sample Chef Yamamoto’s menu, which may be Wagyu beef or a snow crab tart topped with delicate roe.

South African Airways
South African chef Reuben Riffel reportedly did not eat in a restaurant until he was 15. Now he also creates meals for South African Airways, which are served alongside over 70 stellar South African wines in Premium Business Class.

United Airlines
In 2007 United asked Charlie Trotter to design inflight menus for transcontinental flights out of its North America and he created first and business class meals such as mustard-braised pork medallions, and crispy short rib wontons with Thai chili sauce.

British Airways is bringing a celebration of film to customers at 35,000ft, to coincide with the EE British Academy Film Awards, taking place on Sunday 16 February.

To ensure the tens of thousands of customers in February don’t miss out, the airline is showing a selection of nominated films on board and those returning from abroad will be able to enjoy an exclusive 25 minutes highlight show on board selected flights the next day.

In honour of the upcoming Awards, the forthcoming nominated films will be showing on board: Behind the Candelabra, Blue Jasmine, Despicable Me 2, Gravity, Pacific Rim, Rush, Star Trek (Into Darkness) and The Butler.

 

Seatback tv in British Airways World Traveller cabin

In flight entertainment

From March, customers will also be able to enjoy a number of additional films, including Philomena – some scenes from the movie were filmed on board British Airways flights. It is nominated for several Awards including ‘Best Film’, ‘Leading Actress’ (Judi Dench) and ‘Adapted Screenplay’. It follows the story of a journalist who reads about a woman’s search for her son, taken away from her decades ago whiles she was forced to live in a convent.

Richard D’Cruz, British Airways’ in-flight entertainment and technology manager, said: “We offer customers hundreds of hours of the latest Hollywood blockbusters, classic and world film. We have also extended our in-flight entertainment programme, so customers can watch TV and movies from the moment they board, to the minute they land, on long haul flights.

 

“As the Official Airline partner to BAFTA, we fly stars to the Awards and work together to select the best films for our customers to enjoy. This month we are showing eight nominated films, as well as previous BAFTA-winning films including ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ and ‘Slumdog Millionaire’.”

 

British Airways customers can plan their entertainment before they fly, by visiting
ba.com/highlifeentertainment. The site allows customers to plan their films and download a schedule planner, as well as share content with friends on social media.

 

Sir Mick Jagger’s selection kicks off a pack of celebrity musicians to create their favourite world music playlists for British Airways’ in-flight entertainment. From March 1, Songlines regular My World playlists and Top of the World compilations will be available on select BA flights.

Fliers will be treated to Jagger’s selection, including Salif Keita and Fela Kuti in March.

Then Rufus Wainwright¹s top tunes will feature in April, as well as tracks from new albums by Angélique Kidjo, The Gloaming and Mostar Sevdah Reunion.

The airline has struck up a partnership with Songlines magazine via its in-flight entertainment provider, Spafax, to supply the world music playlists based on its celebrity interviews and Top of the World selection of new album releases.

first class at sunset

Hmmm… I fancy a bit of music now where are my headphones..

Richard D’Cruze, British Airways’ in-flight entertainment manager, said: “Who better to introduce our travellers to the current best and up-and-coming artists on the music scene than legends like Sir Mick Jagger?

“We believe these play-lists will prove really popular as we know our customers love to be brought new entertainment when they fly with us.

For many of us, flying offers some rare down-time and the perfect opportunity to listen to different music.

Many customers tell us they note down the music on-board and then go on to explore and enjoy more of that artist’s work.

The partnership with Songlines enables us to tap into their vast expertise to deliver a great experience for our customers.”

BBC Two announces British Airways series

BBC Two has announced a new fly on the wall documentary series about British Airways. The three-part series will feature unprecedented access to British Airways, exploring many aspects of the airline from behind the scenes.

Two British Airways pilots under tailfin

Its not as easy as it looks..

The documentary will explore subjects from training new recruits to the future of the organisation and, the BBC says, will be the most in-depth analysis of British Airways in 25 years.

Emma Willis, Head of Commissioning, Documentaries BBC One, Two and Four, states: “From Transport for London to Keeping Britain Alive: The NHS In a Day, BBC Two has got to the heart of some of Britain’s most important organisations. This three-part series will capture the immense complexities of a business that powers the nation and will offer a unique insight into British Airways’ future.”


The BBC over the years..

Nick Catliff, Managing Director for Lion Television, says: “It took a long time to persuade BA to give us access but we are now in the thick of filming. BA is a business of course but it’s also an iconic British institution with a unique culture and history. This is just the right moment to be going to the heart of BA as it handles difficult transformational changes and introduces new planes, flies to new destinations, trains new staff and deals with everything from cyclones and bird strikes to demanding first-class passengers and fierce competition.”

The series will air in 2014 and will consist of three sixty minute episodes. It will be executive produced by Nick Catliff, Managing Director for Lion Television, and Samantha Anstiss, Commissioning Editor for the BBC.

We look forward to it.