Online check-in, the first fully flat bed and farewell to the supersonic Concorde mark the most revolutionary decade in air travel
— British Airways is celebrating the most revolutionary decade in air travel that includes landmark moments such as the introduction of online check-in, the first fully flat bed and a farewell to Concorde. Many of the innovations that are now commonplace across all airlines were first introduced by British Airways. Customers from India have been able to enjoy these new services right from the point of their introduction.
The last ten years has arguably been one of the most eventful and revolutionary periods in the history of air travel. As the new decade commences, British Airways takes a look back at the innovations brought to the skies during the ‘noughties’ as well as some of the company’s fascinating landmarks.”
Below are some of the ground-breaking developments of the last ten years:
1. British Airways launches the world’s fully flat bed in business class (2000)
The start of the new millennium saw a new era in comfort for British Airways passengers with the introduction of the world’s first fully flat business class bed. It was the first time passengers could enjoy a completely flat six-foot bed in Club World (business class). Towards the end of the same year, the new-look First cabin offered improved cushioning, bedding and in-seat telephones and laptop power. In another commitment to innovation and customer service, British Airways will be unveiling its latest state-of-the-art First class suite offering in February 2010.
2. A fourth class (2000)
In the year 2000, British Airways introduced World Traveller Plus, its premium economy product. The airline was the first global commercial carrier to introduce a fourth class of travel back in 2000. The service was aimed at both the cost conscious business traveller and the discerning leisure passenger requiring more space and privacy than in World Traveller. It followed extensive research, which showed that customers wanted greater comfort and quality at an affordable price.
3. Online check-in (2001)
The noughties was the decade of online check-in and in 2000, British Airways launched its online check-in service facility which is now available on over 97% of British Airways’ routes and on all routes to and from India. Over 25,000 customers daily choose to check in for their flight using the online check-in option on ba.com, significantly reducing the time needed and stress encountered at the airport. Cited as the innovation of the decade in a recent survey by the Business and Travel Meetings Show, online check-in enables customers to arrive at the airport with a relaxed mind, ready to travel, simply needing to drop luggage and proceed to security.
4. The retirement of Concorde (2003)
Following a brief return to service in the early part of the decade, in October 2003, British Airways finally announced the retirement of its seven-strong Concorde fleet, signalling the closure of the world’s only supersonic passenger service.
5. Iris recognition technology (2003)
In 2003, the UK Government announced that ground-breaking iris-recognition technology was to be installed at 10 British airports following a successful trial involving British Airways passengers. The technology is now available to passengers travelling through the airports and provides automated clearance through immigration for certain frequent travellers, further cutting down transfer time through the airport. As of April 2008, IRIS is available in Heathrow Terminals 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 as well.
6. ba.com (1995 – ongoing)
The noughties saw the evolution of ba.com to become a one-stop shop for British Airways customers, giving them greater control over their travel plans. The site has become increasingly popular over the course of the decade, with an average 2.5 million people visiting the site each week. Since its launch in 1995, the website is now available in 11 main languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Swedish, Polish, Hungarian, Chinese and Japanese and was voted, “Best Airline Website” at the 2008 Travolution Awards. The website also allows customers to book flights, manage their booking, check-in online and much more. In 2009, the website introduced a dynamic packaging facility, enabling customers to book hotels, car hire, local sightseeing tours, attractions and tickets to create the entire travel experience from one website. The roll out of this facility to different markets continues.
7. Launch of the online boarding pass (2004)
British Airways launched its new online boarding pass in 2004, allowing passengers to print their own boarding pass from home. Today it is available on over 95% of British Airways routes. More that 70% of BA passengers travelling from Heathrow check-in online or print their own boarding pass at ba.com.
8. Sustainable travel (2005)
With climate change increasingly at the top of the global agenda, British Airways was the first airline anywhere in the world to introduce a voluntary scheme enabling customers to help offset the carbon dioxide emissions from their flights. In one easy transaction when booking flights on ba.com, customers donate money which goes towards supporting projects in developing countries and typically focus on providing new sources of renewable energy and in promoting energy efficient schemes. In addition the chosen projects promote energy-efficiency schemes and must also bring social and economic benefits to the communities, in which they are based, often also bringing health benefits from improvements to local air quality. Among the projects supported by the scheme is a wind turbine farm in India that has been awarded gold standard carbon credits – the profits of which are then pumped into vital health, education and environmental projects around the world.
9. Mobile check-in (2008)
In a ground-breaking development of the online check-in facility, in 2008 British Airways unveiled its remote check-in via mobile phones with wireless connectivity.
The free facility is available in 11 languages, without any need to download accompanying software.
By logging on to www.ba.com/mobile using any mobile device with wireless connectivity, customers can now access the British Airways timetable, as well as select seats and check-in for departure or return flights.
British Airways was the first UK airline to offer a remote check-in service in 11 languages and it followed the success of the iPhone Apple application, which allowed iPhone users the opportunity to check-in for British Airways flights via their handsets.
10. Redefining the airport experience – the birth of Heathrow T5 (2008)
Heathrow’s Terminal Five was given the go-ahead in 2002 and opened in March 2008. The terminal redefined the airport experience, seeking to replace the queues, the crowds and the stress with space, light and calm. T5 boasts 100 stylish shops and restaurants as well as the luxurious Galleries lounges, one of the world’s largest airport lounge complexes featuring champagne bars and spa treatments, for premium travellers. In its first year, over 20 million passengers passed through its doors to enjoy an upgraded airport experience and today 92% of British Airways flights at London Heathrow fly from or through Terminal 5.
Mirroring the look and feel of T5′s lounge, British Airways introduced the first luxury lounge, the First and Club Galleries, in Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. Available since July 2009, it was one of the first luxury lounges in an Indian airport offering services such as pre-flight shower facilities and a coffee house.
As British Airways looks forward to another decade of first class customer service, Judy Jarvis, British Airways’ regional commercial manager, South Asia commented, “Ten years ago, the flying experience was very different and it is now difficult to imagine a world without online check-in and websites like ba.com or fully flat beds and the kind of lounge facilities that our business travellers enjoy. How the next ten years develop and the innovations that we’ll see are likely to be even more amazing. Our challenge going forward is to harness these technological advances to refine and improve on the current service; as an example, the potential developments in the world of mobile applications is just one area we are very excited about.
“Likewise, managing our environmental impact is, of course, vitally important and the next few years will see British Airways launching more fuel efficient aircraft, using more sustainable materials and exploring new operating methods ensuring that our commitment to combating climate change is at the forefront of everything we do. “
Source: Press release distribution via India PRwire
Notes to Editor
For more information on the history of British Airways, please visit www.ba.com/heritage
For the latest British Airways’ “ALL-CABIN CELEBRATION FARES” book before January 31, 2010, on http://www.britishairways.com/travel/home/public/en_in
For further information, please contact the British Airways press office:
Dirk Lewis or Nalini Neha, Fleishman Hillard Mumbai: telephone +91 022-4077-9103
About British Airways
British Airways has a worldwide route network that covers more than 150 destinations in 75 countries.
In August 2009, British Airways celebrated its 90th anniversary. The airline has carried more than 1.2 billion customers on its extensive network, and is recognised as one of the world’s elite carriers. It is one of the world’s largest international airlines carrying approximately 36 million passengers around the world every year.
British Airways has been flying to India for 80 years and currently operates 45 flights a week from London Heathrow to five cities: Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. British Airways operates flights to India from London Heathrow’s state-of-the-art Terminal 5 which opened on March 27, 2008 and is exclusive to the airline’s customers and is capable of handling 30 million customers a year.
In September 2009, British Airways was awarded the Best European Airline by readers of Business Traveller at the 18th Business Traveller Asia Pacific Awards.
For further information on British Airways visit ba.com
For more information, please contact:
Dirk Lewis (Senior Account Manager) (L) +91 22 40779103, (M) +91 9004669480