Spending time at the British Airways HQ in Waterside, LHR

After a lovely welcome by American Airlines, a little party in the Flagship Lounge at JFK, a shower at the American Airlines Arrivals Lounge in LHR, we were all set to go over to British Airways. We received an interesting email a few days ago from BA, which had a boarding pass in a PDF file. I got seat 2A, I am sure they looked me up from my handle on MilePoint and Flyertalk which is A2A!

Some of us wanted to check out if we could check in at Terminal 5, LHR. Here is what they got Winking smile

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But we sure did manage to check-in on the staff bus of British Airways and find our way to the Waterside HQ of the airline.

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We were checked in using our boarding passes by some very smartly attired British Airways crew.

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After a quick cuppa, we were all set for a few sessions with British Airways executives. And yes, there were about 50 of us out there!

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British Airways gave us an update on their plans for upcoming years and how they were reinvigorating their product and services to bring back the touch. In my opinion, to appoint a person from the hospitality industry with about 25 years in the bag of working with IHG and the Jumeirah group (DXB) should help the airline bring the service element back. Yes, that is Frank van der Post, the MD of Brands and Customer Experience.

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British Airways has been actively working to bring the customer experience together, what we call, convergence in today’s world. They’ve been working to empower the flight attendants to know about your prior experiences with BA and your preferences via iPads that are being rolled out across the board, so that the consistent brand experience can be provided.

They don’t want to be out of touch with being British, but they do realise that flying became a global phenomenon in the 92 years of their existence, and they are harmonising as they go along.

We got a look into the Aviators campaign, and new campaigns coming up from BA in the months ahead, with a lot of behind the scene footage. Also, they are clearly excited about the Olympics being held in Britain in 2012, and are using their national carrier status to the best leverage they can at this one.

The GM of British Airways engineering came over for a quick chat and he did show us a bit of behind the scenes insights. We’d really have hoped for a quick tour around the engineering centre a la the earlier Star Mega Dos but the best we got was some insights via PowerPoint! They did tell us that the BA A380s are going to be on their way next year for fleet induction after which the airline also has a lot of Boeing 787 Dreamliners on order. This crew takes care of the 230 BA planes and another 100 odd planes for other airlines which found their way at the UK.

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Obviously, everyone wanted to know more about the Avios program and the devaluation of the BA Executive Club. So, this was the last item on the agenda for the evening, where Andrew Swaffield, MD of the Mileage company took stage.

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I’ll update more on the thoughts from BA on bringing in the changes in the upcoming post.

About Ajay Awtaney

Ajay is a financial services pro, working to bring order to the chaos of the financial industry on an everyday basis! Beyond that, he dons the hat of India's favourite frequent traveller, trying to help people elevate their travel experience via tips and tricks they never knew before, or introduce them to the world of miles and points. Armed with an MBA from MDI Gurgaon and graduate degree in computer science from the University of Delhi, Ajay brings a systematic and objective approach on the table for his audience in dissecting travel and loyalty programs in India and around the world, and how to benefit from them. Ajay has been quoted in various reputed traditional and online media including The Hindustan Times, Inside Flyer, Bloomberg, DNA India, Conde Nast Traveller, The Telegraph, Mumbai Mirror, Mint, MoneyLife and The USA Today.

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