Travel Daily caught up with Stephen Humphreys to learn about British Airways’ latest news, aspirations and plans:
What are BA’s plans for the Asia market?
British Airways is currently focusing on enhancing customer experience by providing a unique on-board experience and service through a SGD696 million (£400 million) investment in our Club World business class.
This includes an exclusive partnership with the iconic British luxury lifestyle brand, The White Company, to provide our Club World customers with a bespoke pillow and pillowcase, super-soft woven blanket as well as a padded mattress to add an extra layer of comfort into luxury.
Customers in Club World will soon be able to enjoy a new culinary boutique dining experience which will allow them to select freshly prepared starters and desserts from a display trolley, to be served on a new table setting. We are also exploring options for a new seat in Club World with direct aisle access in 2019. We will be releasing more details in due course.
We have just introduced a new car transfer service called Premium Transfer Drive within London Heathrow to ensure customers who are at risk of missing their connections are able to catch their onward flights. The scheme applies to customers who are travelling only on UK domestic flights to London Heathrow, and who are connecting on to either a short-haul flight in Club Europe, Club World or First, or who are Silver or Gold Executive Club members.
In April, we have introduced a new exclusive check-in area, the First Wing, for British Airways’ First, Gold Executive Club and oneworld Emerald customers at London Heathrow Terminal 5 in April this year.
What’s selling well in the region?
We offer a diversified range of products across the four cabins on our long-haul fleet, which means we have to continuously find ways to keep up with changing consumer habits and expectations. It is important for us to keep our products and services refreshed to cater to different types of customers.
It is important to listen to what our customers say. For example, we offer our students a generous baggage allowance of up to 69kg and a complimentary stopover in a destination within the UK or Europe because we want parents in Singapore to feel reassured that their children have enough room to take cherished possessions with them as they start the new term abroad
Another example is our British Airways Executive Club, a reward programme that makes air miles work harder for our customers. Our Household Account allows up to six people in a household to pool their Avios and make full use of a collective balance. Other products that do well also include companion fares and upgrade offers for an opportunity to travel in our premium cabins.
We also prioritise our business customers with our On Business loyalty programme, helping SMEs to get more out of their travel budgets. Customers can now earn On Business points with American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia, for redemption of reward flights and upgrades across all three airlines. On Business members can continue to earn personal Avios through the Executive Club, Iberia Plus or Avios Programme.
What initiatives/offers are you running at the moment?
We have great fares selling across Asia at the moment for travel into London and across our European and global networks. Our expansive network covers over 200 destinations around the world, with nearly 60 in Europe and in the UK. For example, in Singapore, we are offering a special package from SGD1,347 per person for a return flight and 4-night hotel accommodation in London.
As we are into the second half of the year, now is the perfect time to start planning for a well-deserved Christmas break or even start thinking about new travel plans for 2018. We have also introduced new destinations on our network for both business and leisure customers, such as New Orleans and Nashville in the US, as well as many exciting routes including flights from London City Airport to Paris, Prague and Reykjavik, which will commence in October this year.
What is the Singapore student offer?
We understand that travelling abroad to pursue further studies is an important milestone for students. That’s why we have always supported students with an exclusive double baggage allowance of up to 46kg for checked baggage. In addition to that, students can also carry a one-piece hand baggage of up to 23kg on board their flight. This means that students flying with British Airways can enjoy up to 69kg of baggage per person, allowing them to pack cherished personal items or even their favourite Singaporean instant meals!
Starting from SGD1,211, our student fares apply to students with a valid student ID, flying to the UK, US as well as Sydney. To offer more flexibility, we do not charge rebooking fees for those booking student fares, in case students wish to make changes to their bookings.
Our student fares also include a complimentary stopover in the UK or Europe, or via Heathrow Express to one of the 16 First Great Western destinations including Bath, Bristol Parkway, Cardiff, Exeter and Oxford.