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British Airways Plots Return to Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur And Announces a Host of Passenger Pleasing Improvements

British Airways Plots Return to Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur And Announces a Host of Passenger Pleasing Improvements

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British Airways has confirmed that it is preparing to return to both Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur later this year with flights to both popular Asian destinations commencing on October 28 and November 10 respectively.

The route resumption announcement was made on Monday afternoon as British Airways revealed a number of long-awaited passenger improvements, which include the introduction of free Wi-Fi messaging, a new First Class suite, updated short-haul seating, a working website and mobile app and new premium airport lounges.

British Airways suspended flights to most destinations in Far East Asia at the start of the pandemic in early 2020 and the airline has been slow to restore its network going East, instead preferring to concentrate on building its transatlantic dominance from London Heathrow.

Several factors have weighed on BA’s reluctance to return to Asia, including low yields and a shortage of both suitable aircraft and pilots needed to operate these ultra-long-haul routes.

CEO Seaon Doyle has, however, now confirmed that the airline will return to Bangkok will a three weekly service from leisure orientated base at London Gatwick, while Kuala Lumpur will be served with a daily service from London Heathrow.

Doyle made the announcement while showing off the fruits of its widely touted £7 billion investment in the passenger experience at an event in London on Monday.

The bulk of that investment will be spent on replacing old aircraft but BA is now detailing how it will spend the remaining cash to address some of the many complaints that frequent flyers have with the airline.

Doyle has promised a new website and mobile app that work, with improved self-service functions and the ability to automatically send hotel and food vouchers to customers during disruption.

The website is already in Beta testing and is expected to launch to the wider public later this year. This will be around the same time that BA takes delivery of new shorthaul Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft with updated seating featuring both USB-A and USB-C power outlets.

For the time being, it looks like the new seats will only be installed on as-yet-to-be-delivered aircraft, while a retrofit programme hasn’t been confirmed.

Doyle was able to show off the new seats to select members of the media on Monday afternoon, but a prototype of a new First Class suite, which will now debut on refurbished Airbus A380s in late 2025, remains under wraps.

Images of a new premium airport lounge concept were also in short supply, but the new look will debut in Dubai when BA moves to a larger space later this year. The new look will also be coming to Miami, where a new lounge is set to open in 2025.

Some of the most immediate improvements that passengers will experience, however, include the introduction of free messaging over Wi-Fi, which will go live in April for all members of the British Airways Executive Club.

The airline also says it is investing huge sums to improve its operational reliability and on-time performance and passengers should expect to experience improvements in this area over the coming months.

View Comment (1)
  • Let’s hope they decide to retrofit the already delivered NEOs with the new seats and cabin. Having a consistent cabin across their shorthaul network will help in the long term – improved passenger experience and quicker / easier boarding process. We’ll have to wait and see what the plan is for Gatwick, as Euroflyer are operating CEOs for the foreseeable future.

    It would be great if BA got on the front foot regarding cabin baggage. They know which flights will be operating with a NEO with the new cabin (although there could be a last minute aircraft change), so take steps in the email sequence and app to educate people how to load cases into the new bins. The app could contain a mandatory must-watch video and notification prior to boarding reminding passengers.

    We all hate the faff & kerfuffle involved with excessive amounts of cabin luggage. The more passengers that get it right in storing their cases, the more valuable minutes saved in getting the aircraft ready for an on-time departure.

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