British Airways’ 2020 – Twenty Resolutions For The New Year And What They Mean For Customers

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British Airways has published a list of twenty new years resolution for the year 2020 that promise some significant improvements including an urgently needed renovation or at least refresh of their lounges.

Pledges include the carrier taking delivery of new aircraft, deploying the new Club Suite and new First Class Seat on more routes and a “refresh” of the BA Lounges at Heathrow, Edinburgh and Berlin.

British Airways had a rocky year with strikes, IT issues and their fleet gaining a reputation for being filthy rather than being the proud carrier it once was.

According to it’s last press release of 2019 the airline is looking forward to set a more positive note for 2020, promising to step up customer service and improvement initiatives.

After celebrating its momentous centenary year in 2019, British Airways is now looking to 2020, with 20 New Year resolutions that are every bit as exciting as the achievements of 2019.

I have highlighted the (in my opinion) most important improvements per their list:

  1. New destinations – the airline has already announced nine new routes for 2020 including the Kosovan and Montenegrin capitals Pristina and Podgorica, Perugia in Italy, Antalya, Dalaman and Bodrum in Turkey, San Sebastián in Spain, Rhodes in Greece and Portland, Oregon, and it’s promising even more new destinations for customers to come.
  1. New aircraft – the airline is due to take delivery of more than 20 new aircraft in 2020, including 787-10s and A350s which are up to 40% more fuel efficient than the aircraft they replace.
  1. Club Suite – more aircraft will be flying with the airline’s new business class seat, Club Suite, which offers privacy via a suite door, 40% more storage space and a 1-2-1 layout with direct aisle access for all passengers.
  1. Caring for the environment – from January British Airways will be offsetting all its domestic flights, customers travelling further afield can offset their individual emissions. The airline will be making additional announcements about sustainability throughout the year.
  1. First – customers can expect to see more aircraft fitted with the airline’s newest First seat, currently available on its 787-9 aircraft.
  1. World Traveller comfort – in addition to enhancements made in 2019, customers travelling in the airline’s economy cabin will experience refreshed bedding.
  1. Designed by Savile Row tailoring expert Ozwald Boateng OBE, new uniforms for a new decade will be revealed.
  1. Food for thought – the airline is introducing new menus across its network thanks to new partnerships with gourmet caterers Do&Co at Heathrow and Newrest at Gatwick.
  1. Lounge luxury – the airline’s lounges at Heathrow, Edinburgh and Berlin will be refreshed to ensure customers are relaxed ahead of their flights. The Elemis Spa at JFK will also be re-designed and re-launched. 
  1. Connectivity – the majority of eligible aircraft will be WiFi ready by the end of 2020.
  1. BA.com – expect a newly re-designed Manage My Booking experience enabling customers to navigate to information and services in a more intuitive way.
  1. Appy days – customers using the British Airways’ app will benefit from a slicker design and additional functionality improving the experience as they make and manage their bookings.
  1. Robots – British Airways is trialling new autonomous wayfaring robots at Heathrow to help customers navigate through the airport.
  1. 3D printing – the airline’s tech experts will continue their trial of printing non-essential aircraft parts like tray tables, to ensure flights are able to depart on time and without seats going out of service.
  1. Concorde – British Airways Premier Card and Gold Guest List Executive Club members will be looked after by new Concorde teams when they travel through Los Angeles, New York JFK, London Heathrow, Delhi, Los Angeles and Mumbai. 
  1. Customer service training – thousands of British Airways’ airport hosts worldwide will receive additional training to provide a service that goes above and beyond expectations.
  1. Executive Club – the airline has committed to making continuous improvements to the Executive Club with new partners and exciting deals throughout the year
  1. Flying Start – British Airways celebrates the 10-year anniversary of its Flying Start charity which has so far raised more than £24m+ for good causes in the UK and overseas.
  1. Internships – from summer, British Airways will become the first UK airline to offer paid summer internships to future aviators.
  1. Documentary – customers will have the chance to watch the 2019 documentary about British Airways, British Airways Access All Areas, 24/7 on board long-haul flights.

There is common phrase, namely “more aircraft” that is being mentioned over and over again without going into actual numbers. More aircraft will feature Business Suites, more aircraft will have new First Class. More aircraft [the majority] will be Wifi ready by the end of 2020. What can we really expect from this?

Likewise BA is talking about new “bedding” for their World Traveler Economy Class. Assuming they’re talking about blankets and pillows which is really all there is the term bedding is adding a rather fancy tone to it which will hardly reflect in daily service.

The most important point will be be a lounge refresh at Heathrow, Edinburgh and Berlin where the facilities have been in a dire state of decay for several years already. Furniture at the Berlin Tegel lounge is falling apart and I remember footprints and severe damages in the washrooms / shower stalls at Heathrow. Can’t really comment on the Edinburgh lounge but I imagine it being pretty bad as well.

Conclusion

The step to improve the most basic things is a way in the right direction. British Airways should literally clean up their act and fix their IT department, clean the aircraft properly and replace the worst ones and permanently upkeep the lounge facilities. Working with their caterers and giving them more leeway (budget) is also urgently needed as even in premium classes the food leaves everything to be desired.

We shall see throughout the next year how much of this will become reality and if the promised improvements really stick.

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