British Airways

British Airways which can trace its beginnings back to 1919 became British Airways in April 1974 with the merger of BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation) and BEA (British European Airways).

British Airways cabin crew in vintage uniforms

BA historic uniforms

BOAC was itself created by the merger of Imperial Airways and British Airways Ltd. BEA had a circular journey as it was originally formed as the British European Airways division of BOAC in 1946 and then became an entity in its own right in August 1946.

A survey of 3000 consumers carried out by the Centre for Brand Analysis ranks British Airways as the top brand, beating Rolex and Coca-Cola into second and third respectively.

The Consumer Superbrands ranking has been running since 1995, and the list this year is interesting

Apple took a spanking this year, plummeting from 2nd to 14th, with Microsoft ranking a surprising 6th. Marks & Spencer are still hanging in there at 18th.

So the top Consumer Superbrands for 2014, apparently, are:

1. British Airways

2. Rolex

3. Coca-Cola

4. BBC

5. Heinz

6. Microsoft

7. Google

8. Gillette

9. Kellogg’s

10. BMW

11. Cadbury

12. Andrex

13. Amazon.co.uk

14. Apple

15. Boots

16. Nike

17. Sony

18. Marks & Spencer

19. Shell

20. Mercedes-Benz

Customer Trials Begin On The Digital Bag Tag

Employees of Microsoft travelling with British Airways through Terminal 5 have begun to test the personalised digital bag tag being developed by the airline. We first reported on the tags in June in our story which you can read here.

The Microsoft employees have been chosen to take part in the month-long trial, using a specially adapted version of the British Airways app, to provide essential feedback that will help shape the final product.

The digital bag tag, which contains all a customer’s baggage details, could eventually do away with the need for a new paper tag every time you fly.

Comprehensive testing of the tag has already taken place to make sure it works in a live airport environment and can stand up to the rigours of airport baggage systems and everyday travel.

Glenn Morgan, British Airways’ head of service transformation, said: “The customer trials take us another step closer to making the personalised digital bag tag a reality for our customers. We’re grateful for Microsoft’s support during the trial, which will help us shape the future of checking in for flights.

British Airways digital bag tag

A blue tag

Customers on the trial will use their Nokia Lumia Windows Phone to check in, chose their seat and obtain their mobile boarding pass. Each will be equipped with a specially adapted version of the British Airways app, which automatically updates the digital bag tag with a unique barcode, containing new flight details and an easy-to-see view of their bag’s destination – just by holding the mobile phone over it.

They can then save precious time by quickly dropping their bag off at a dedicated bag drop desk, before going straight through security to relax before their flight, without the need for a new paper tag to be printed and secured.

The digital bag tag has been designed to be used time and time again, with a battery life of up to five years, and will be compatible with all smartphones.

Development of the personalised tag is part of a wider strategy by British Airways to improve the customer experience through the airport, making it quicker, smoother and easier. As part of this strategy trials have also taken place on self-service bag drops, automated boarding gates, porter services, auto check-in, and meet and greet hosts.

British Airways is investing more than £5bn in new aircraft, smarter cabins, elegant lounges, and new technologies to make life more comfortable in the air and on the ground.

Thandie Newton models for British Airways’ first A380 to Los Angeles

Posted on Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Hollywood actress, Thandie Newton (Chronicles of Riddick, Fast and Furious) has launched the countdown to British Airways’ A380 taking off on its “Red Carpet” route.

The A380 superjumbo will depart Heathrow on its first long-haul flight on 24th September, headed for the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles.

Hollywood actress, Thandie Newton, said: “British Airways’ A380 aircraft is like a grand hotel in the sky. It’s luxurious and ultra modern. I feel particularly lucky because I make frequent trips to Los Angeles, and now even a long weekend to LA seems appealing, because the holiday begins as soon as you get on the superjumbo. Who thought travelling could get any more exciting?”

Looking lovely

Looking lovely

Well who indeed?

Thandie is pictured on the aircraft’s  staircase, which leads to the upper deck with Club World (business class), World Traveller Plus and World Traveller (economy) cabins.

Twelve A380s will join the British Airways fleet over the next four years as part of the airline’s £5bn investment in products and services for customers. The airline plans to have the aircraft  flying to Hong Kong from October 22 and Johannesburg from February next year.

Return fares to Los Angeles on the A380 start from £508 return in World Traveller (economy), £888 return in World Traveller Plus (premium economy), £2,092 return in Club World (business class) and £5,904 return in First.

British Airways offers a range of breaks in Los Angeles in the British Airways sale, with a choice of hotels. Three nights at the 3* Clarion Anaheim Resort starts from £549 per person or seven nights at the Andaz West Hollywood, flying on the A380 from £949 per person*. Both offers include return flights from Heathrow and room only accommodation, based on two people sharing for travel in November and December.

British Airways this week announced that it will be commencing services to Austin, Texas in 2014.

The airline will commence flights in early March 2014, initially 5 times a week, before going daily from 5th May.

Austin will be British Airways 3rd destination in Texas, alongside Houston & Dallas, and 21st destination overall in the US, by far the airline’s most important market.

Although far smaller than both Houston & Dallas, Austin is home to a number of leading US tech companies such as ebay, Dell, Google & IBM. British Airways will also be the only airline to offer direct flights between Austin & Europe and, with its extensive route network out of Heathrow, will be able to benefit from extensive feeder traffic for passengers looking to fly to Austin, as well as numerous onward connections for anyone from Austin looking to travel onwards from London.

Even so, what has made this new route possible (and the airport authorities in Austin have made it clear that no financial inducements were offered to British Airways) is the arrival of the 787 Dreamliner. Prior to the arrival of the 787, which made its maiden British Airways flight to Toronto last weekend, British Airways had 3 long-haul aircraft in its fleet. The 767-300 is an ageing aircraft with poor fuel efficiency while both the 777 and 747 are simply too large for such a relatively ‘thin’ route.

The seating layout on a British Airways 787

The new 787-8 series, which will be configured in a 3 cabin layout without a First Class, is up to 20% more fuel efficient than the 767 as well as offering a far more pleasant inflight experience. Although fares on the Austin – Heathrow route are likely to be higher than from either Dallas or Houston, the airline is clearly confident that the convenience of direct flights, and the appeal of the new 787, will create enough demand to justify the new route.

Commenting on the news, Sean Doyle, the airline’s executive VP for the Americas stated: “We are very excited to be bringing British Airways to Austin. This new route presents an important opportunity for business growth across the Atlantic, particularly in the thriving technology sector. We know that London is among the top destinations for international travel from Austin and equally, Austin is home to some of the most important global cultural events. We are looking forward to providing a convenient and high-quality service to new and existing customers.”