The airline that everyone loves to hate (and no, we’re not talking about Ryanair or Frontier for once) is rolling out the next phase of a programme to transform its premium passenger experience. British Airways is joining the bedding arms race, putting sleep front and centre of its offering for business class passengers in the airline’s so-called Club World product.
As BA’s Director of Customer Experience, Carolina Martinoli explains, passengers seated in the pointy end of the plane appreciate three things above all others: the quality of food and drink, the service provided by flight attendants and the ability to get some quality sleep.
British Airways has already rolled out an improved dining experience in collaboration with renowned in-flight caterers, Do&Co. The Austrian firm which already provides catering services to Five Star airlines such as Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines has worked closely with BA to completely overhaul their food and beverage offering.
But its not just about the menu, which incidentally includes dishes such as Loch Fyne smoked salmon tartare, Best of Heritage beef homemade gnocchi and a double chocolate medley. Do&Co has completely reinvented the way British Airways presents and serves food in Club World – the airline says its part of an effort to deliver “a real restaurant experience in the sky.”
Gone is the tray-based service, replaced with new display trolleys to show off the starters and desserts. New table settings, crockery and glassware make for a radically different experience which has so far gained favourable reviews from seasoned frequent travellers.
Now, the long-trailed upgrade to the airline’s onboard bedding is finally going to be introduced (after a short delay). Starting this week, a new day cushion, super-soft woven blanket with satin trim and a bespoke luxury duvet will be introduced on British Airways flights between London Heathrow and New York JFK. The bedding set will be finished off with the addition of a padded mattress cover and super-sized pillow.
“Our new sleep products have been inspired by insights and feedback from customers and our cabin crew so we’re thrilled to see the designs come to life,” explained Martinoli.
She continued: “We hope our customers enjoy snuggling down on board and arriving at their destination feeling fully refreshed and relaxed.”
The whole range has been custom designed by luxury British retailer, The White Company who will also supply the carriers new amenity kit for Club World passengers. Revealed today, the kits will feature products from The White Company’s ‘Spa Relax’ range of toiletries.
Designed to invoke the same feeling of drifting to sleep during a relaxing massage, the products in the range contain ingredients such as calming lavender, cooling clary sage and soothing peppermint. With an emphasis on creating the perfect environment for sleep, passengers will find a pulse point oil roll-on, facial moisturiser, skin-conditioning cream and lip balm in the kits.
The entire package should go a long way to help passengers forget they’re sat in one of BA’s often derided Business Class seats. Frequently described by business travellers as one of the worst premium seats available.
Not that British Airways is alone in upping its sleep game amongst airlines. At the end of last month, American Airlines launched its own enhanced ‘suite of advanced sleep offerings’ by upstart mattress maker, Casper.
The range from San Francisco-based Casper includes a mattress pad, duvet, pillow, day blanket, lumbar pillow, pyjamas and slippers – although unlike British Airways, AA’s offering will vary depending on route and class of travel.
American said Casper custom engineered the products for the best sleep inflight and both customers and flight attendants who trialled the range “loved it.”
And of course, United Airlines has already rolled out a whole host of sleep goodies as part of its Polaris business class product, collaborating with upmarket retailer Saks Fifth Avenue.
For now, the upgraded British Airways product will only be available between London Heathrow and New York JFK. The airline says more routes will receive the enhanced offering over the next 12-months as part of BA’s £400 million investment in improving its premium experience.