To be ahead of its competitors, an airline changes its interiors to a deep shade of blue to give its passengers more sleep

By Blessing Johnson (Staff Reporter)

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Published: Fri 6 May 2005, 4:04 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 6:21 PM

With tough competition in the market, comes the scramble to offer the best to customers and this is doubly so in the airline industry with cut throat competition driving prices into the netherworld and services exceeding customer expectations.

One such airline is British Airways, which is going all out to pamper its customers, especially its Club World (Business class) customers offering the very best in comfort and privacy, with an all new seat and colour combination to aid in the most relaxed flying experience.

British Airways was showing off its new seat at the Arabian Travel Market, where City Times caught up with Steve Harrison, British Airways’ Area Manager for Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia for a lowdown on what exactly their new Club World is all about.

Harrison, who is six foot two inches, sits in the seat and flattens the bed to show us exactly what kind of comfort is being offered by the airline.

What's new about the Club World class?

The Club World seats were there for a number of years but when we went to our customers for feedback on how they felt about the seats and the comfort levels, they suggested a few changes, which were subsequently incorporated in the overall package. We've made the foam in the seats equivalent to a premium household mattress, a larger and fluffier pillow and a thicker blanket and sheet. So it's more the enjoyment of the creature comforts of foam. We've also made the cabin a deep shade of blue and also beautiful pictures of Britain in a blue tone, the seats are also in a deep blue colour, the divider between seats is also of the same shade. So the whole package is a serene and peaceful one.

Is it all about foam and colour?

No, we've changed some service routines too, particularly on night flights from this region to London, where the crew meal service is still given to each customer but with the lights dimmed, so those people who want to go straight to sleep can do so. More than 45 per cent of the respondents in our survey said that they get upto 100 minutes more sleep on board the aircraft as a result of the changes in the seats and the service routine.

How well does it compare with other airlines in the region?

We're very fortunate in the Middle East as we're the only airline offering flat beds in the business class. There are a few airlines who say they have flat beds but have varying degrees of incline whereas ours folds completely flat. We're unique in many ways, in the Middle East we have four cabins of service. Club World, which is the business class, World Traveller Plus, which is a premium economy cabin, World Traveller and First Class. So in First Class and Club Class we have truly flat beds.

What are the changes in the lower classes of travel?

All the economy seats have seat-back videos and we have a new cabin called World Traveller Plus, a premium economy cabin which has a larger sit pitch and wider seats in a separate cabin. We are the only airline to offer that as of now.

How has the service changed apart from the change in service routines?

In the Club World, we have celebrity chefs who have designed the menus, we have healthy options on the menu, we serve on the finest quality Royal Doulton China ... in short everything to ensure that it's an exclusive service.

Do you have a third party rating for these changes?

The research was conducted with help from NASA.

How have the changes contributed to the increase in passenger traffic?

We have a nine per cent increase in our Club World customers from the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia for April 2004 to March 2005 against the same period the previous year, while we experienced a 17 per cent increase in our business class customers alone from the UAE to London between April 2004 and January 2005 versus the same period the previous year. I'd like to note here that this class has been extremely popular with families.

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