British Airways isn’t best known for its sense of humour – although some passengers may think its often derided sub-par Business Class seat is a cruel joke. But in recent months, the airline has been trying to shake off it’s rather staid, old-fashioned and some might say humourless side
In September, BA launched a brand new safety video which finally showed the airline’s funny side. Celebrities including Gillian Anderson, Thandie Newton, Sir Ian McKellen and Gordan Ramsey took part in a series of ‘auditions’ directed by Emmy winning actor, Asim Chaudhry.
The video, which also stars Rob Brydon, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Warwick Davis, Jim Broadbent and singer Jess Glynne (plus a special guest appearance by Rowan Atkinson playing the part of Mr Bean) has been generally well received by passengers.
And the best part is that it was all for a good cause – Part of a drive by British Airways to highlight its in-house charity called ‘Flying Start’ and a partnership with a UK-based fundraiser called Comic Relief.
British Airways says the partnership helps “children living incredibly tough lives around the world.” The airline frequently sends specially trained staff called Flying Start Champions to help in projects around the world, including Ghana and Nigeria.
Well now, BA has decided to bring back Asim Chaudhry as the loveable but useless director in a spoof safety video which most definitely won’t be making it onboard a flight anytime soon (hopefully). It features a host of new celebs who attended a special fundraiser to celebrate Flying Start reaching a milestone £17 million in donations since 2010.
Famous faces including Lenny Henry and Claudia Winkleman as well as James Nesbitt, Gary Lineker, Shane Richie, Sarah-Jane Crawford and Alexander Armstrong make fun of the airline safety demonstration. Helped by some of BA’s cabin crew.
Even the airline’s chief executive, Alex Cruz makes an appearance – and on this occasion, he even shows some personality. Perhaps trying to make up for a recent speech at the World Travel Market in London where Cruz was criticised for his monotone and “boring” delivery.
During the speech, Cruz described British Airways as a “premium airline”, announcing a £4.5 billion investment to improve the passenger experience for everyone.
Cruz said at the event: “We want to be the airline of choice for everyone. Every customer matters – short-haul or long-haul, economy or premium. So we must have an offer that is attractive to everyone.”
British Airways has said the £4.5 billion figure is on top of an existing £400 million investment to improve its Club World, business class product. An extra £200 million will also be pumped in to bring its Business Class offering up to scratch.
Much of the money is going to go towards 72 new aircraft set to be delivered to the airline in the next few years but cash has also been earmarked to install new interiors on 128 existing aircraft, provide in-seat power for all customers and upgrade the food and beverage options for Economy Class passengers by early next year.
More information about the Flying Start charity, including ways you can help the organisation can be found here: ba.com/flyingstart
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.