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CO-WRITTEN / PARTNER | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Fly in the lap of luxury with British Airways

British Airways soars far above its peers when it comes to ensuring unrivalled service for its customers. With its convenient flight schedules, luxurious airline lounges and top-of-class cabin amenities, British Airways is the airline of choice for travellers who seek unmatched comfort and personalised service.
As its centenary approaches, British Airways is spending £4.5bn on an aggressive modernisation plan to further enhance customer experience. “We need to reach our special milestone stronger than at any point in our history, so we continue to modernise and lead change,” says British Airways chief executive Alex Cruz.
“Our £4.5bn investment plan is a proof that we are determined to take this next step on the journey, to stay ahead of the competition and improve the experience of British Airways’ customers in whichever cabin of the aircraft they choose to fly,” he adds.

Excellence honed by time
British Airways is a true pioneer in Hong Kong’s aviation market. The airline has been flying to Hong Kong for over 80 years, and currently offers amenities and services that other carriers can only hope to match.

Passengers can expect even better service with the airline’s ambitious investment plan. Over the next five years, British Airways will take delivery of 72 new aircraft, unveil new interiors for its existing fleet, open up new routes, roll out best-quality Wi-Fi for all short-haul and long-haul flights, provide in-seat power for customers in all cabins, and upgrade catering for its long-haul economy customers. British Airways is also investing £600m specifically in Club World, its business class service. These include catering upgrades, and a partnership with the White Company for luxurious bedding - plus, from 2019, a new seat with direct aisle access.

“We are known as a premium airline committed to customer choice and one that is a byword around the world for British know-how and excellence. Our values as an airline are special and timeless: our essential Britishness; our proud history of innovation; our expertise and professionalism; and our personalised service that puts quality and reliability first. These things make up our DNA. As we modernise, we must always look to preserve and strengthen them,” says Cruz.

All flights from Hong Kong arrive at its hub airport: London Heathrow Terminal 5, which is regularly voted as the world’s best airport terminal. Its loyalty programme, Executive Club, offers great benefits such as lounge use with complimentary catering, priority seat selection, check-in and boarding for members. Meanwhile, its Avios scheme gives members points when flying or shopping to spend on future flights.

“We are the only airline to operate the Airbus A380, the world’s largest commercial aircraft, non-stop between Hong Kong and London,” says Noella Ferns, British Airways’ executive vice president for Greater China. “Our convenient flight schedule with our two flights every evening from Hong Kong, which arrive before the business day begins in London, enables our customers to make the most of their working day.”

By summer 2018, British Airways will be flying 264 routes, 38 more routes than two years ago – an increase of 17 per cent. It has recently added new routes to holiday destinations such as Brindisi in Italy, Nantes in France, and Zakynthos in Greece.

Going the extra mile
British Airways truly goes the extra mile to ensure that end-to-end convenience for its valued customers. For instance, it has recently launched a partnership with The White Company, a British luxury lifestyle brand to provide a double-sided pillow, a super-soft woven blanket with satin trim, a luxury duvet and a padded mattress to its customers in Club World business class.

Business class customers flying from London Heathrow to New York JFK will also enjoy a new restaurant-style dining experience. Travellers will be able to select their choice of freshly prepared starters and desserts from new display trolleys, which will be served by the crew on to new table settings. The airline has also added Graham’s Six Grapes, the Port favoured by Sir Winston Churchill, to its business class drinks menu starting August.

Since April 2017, customers in all cabins have started to enjoy the latest generation Wi-Fi services across its long-haul network. Short-haul Wi-Fi services have also commenced, with the aim of having 90 percent of its total fleet connected by 2019.

“Customers will be able to use their own devices to browse the internet, access email and check social media. In addition, they will have the ability to stream video content from popular sites such as Netflix and YouTube,” Ferns notes, adding British Airways is the first airline to offer connectivity using Europe’s first ever 4G high-speed inflight network.

British Airways is also aggressively revamping its lounges across the world’s major airports, starting with the new complex at Gatwick Airport’s South Terminal. With sweeping views of the runway, the new First and Club lounges have 40 per cent more floor space than the airline’s former lounge in North Terminal.

An investment of HK$860 million (£88 million) is planned on lounge facilities in the US. New York’s JFK Terminal 7 will receive over HK$508 million (£52 million) worth of investment over the next two years; a refurbishment of the First and Club World lounges as well as improvement to the customer experience at check-in, security and the boarding gates.

Boston’s new lounge has already opened to coincide with the Airbus A380 starting on the Heathrow-Boston route. The facility is 30 per cent larger than the previous lounge, has direct gate access and stunning views over the stunning Boston skyline.

“The British Airways motto, ‘To Fly. To Serve’ means we do everything with our customers in our hearts. It has always been this way, and it will always stay this way. We will continue to do all that we can to provide the best possible service to our customers from around the world,” Ferns says.

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