March 12 2024  |  Airline & Terminal News

British Airways reveals first look at short-haul cabin upgrades

By PAX Magazine Staff

British Airways' updated seats for short-haul flights 

British Airways has unveiled a range of updates to elevate the passenger experience as part of a £7 billion transformation plan this month. Chairman and CEO Sean Doyle outlined his modernization plan at the “In the Skies” showcase in London, committing to modernizing IT, growing pride among colleagues and focusing on sustainability.

“We’re on a journey to a better [British Airways] for our people and for our customers, underpinned by a transformation program that will see us invest £7 billion over the next two years to revolutionize our business,” said Sean Doyle, British Airways Chairman and CEO, said. “We’re going to take delivery of new aircraft, introduce new cabins, elevate our customer care, focus on operational performance and address our environmental impact by reducing our emissions and creating a culture of sustainability. We’re also heavily investing in the development of a new website and app and are laser-focused on transforming our business and fixing any pain points for our customers.” 

Refreshed website and app

As part of its investment program, British Airways has confirmed plans to overhaul its digital user experience with a refreshed website and a mobile app. The two will seek to personalize the passenger experience. The new browser is already in BETA testing with platforms designed to offer a range of new services, the airline said in its press release. Initial changes are expected to roll out by the end of the year.

Wi-Fi enhancements

Passengers increasingly expect to remain connected in the air, so from April 3, British Airways Executive Club Members will be able to send messages free of charge on a single device using the airline’s Wi-Fi. This service will be available on every Wi-Fi-enabled aircraft within two weeks of the rollout date.

Lounge design

British Airways is also opening a lounge in Dubai, which is relocating to a new larger space at Dubai Airport later this year. This lounge will be the first to feature British Airways’ updated lounge design concept, followed by the opening of its Miami lounge in 2025. The Dubai Lounge will replace the existing lounge facility at the airport, offering more space and features for passengers. The airline has also announced lounge refreshes in Lagos and Seattle.

Cabin and seating upgrades

British Airways will upgrade its short-haul seats and cabin interiors on its next generation of A320neo and A321neos, with eight aircraft set to arrive beginning in May this year. The airline is working with the British suppliers from England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The refreshed short-haul Euro Traveller and Club Europe seats will reflect a modern yet classic British interior while the re-designed cabins will be fitted with extra-large bins for overhead luggage.

British Airways is also set to introduce an exclusive First Class suite. The airline expects the seat to make its debut at the end of 2025 into early 2026 as part of its A380 aircraft refurbishment.

Streamlining operations

The airline is investing £100 million in machine learning, automation and AI across its operation, including improvements in bookings, baggage handling and expediting departures. Innovative tools will help the airline achieve these enhancements through analyzing real-time weather, aircraft capacity and passenger connection data to help teams make better decisions. The airline said it has seen improvement in its on-time departures since implementing some of these tools.

British Airways is also investing £750 million in its IT infrastructure to move 700 systems and thousands of servers to the cloud by early next year.

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