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Still the world's favourite airline? April 28, 2014

Usually when large companies use social media to promote themselves it's the cue for everyone and anyone who feels they have ever been wronged by that particular organisation or has an axe to grind to come out of the woodwork and remonstrate publicly about it… Inevitably resulting in open-season on the unfortunate organisation's carefully constructed corporate image. So when I was recently perusing the British Airways YouTube channel I was surprised at the warmth and general high regard in which the company was held in what is usually something of a bear pit. I hesitate to use the phrase 'national treasure' but there was a definite fondness for the UK's national flag carrier.

So often when a company becomes a national institution, it is not just the fact that they have a good product or offer a great service (although obviously this is crucial) but also to how the brand is marketed. Lots of people (myself included) remember fondly the classic British Airways adverts from the past; from the acclaimed 1989 ad, featuring a cast of thousands emerging from the sea to the strains of The Flower Duet by Delibes (if you don't recall this particular track, Google it and I guarantee that if you are over a certain age it will immediately make you think of British Airways) and forming a face in the desert, to the 2012 Olympic 'Stay at Home' campaign where they entreated you not to fly and you could watch a 747 travel down your street.

The most recent entry into their canon of iconic adverts is the 'To Fly. To Serve' campaign which is not only rooted in the brand's long history but also sets out their credo that service is at the heart of everything they do.

It is a mantra amongst trendy advertising types that to be successful an advert has to contain a fundamental truth about the product. So on a recent trip to Barbados I was able to judge whether British Airways' proposition stacked up.

I was travelling in the World Traveller cabin, which given that it is their economy service, you might think would be the hardest to discern the 'To Fly. To Serve' ethos... up front in the land of wall-to-wall fully flat beds and hot and cold running Champagne it is probably easier to push the personalised service than it is amongst us hardy travellers in the back, but I ended up really impressed. A slick check-in, a seat with lots of leg room, excellent food and complimentary bar service, great entertainment options, a gentle landing ahead of schedule on both outward and return journeys... job done, what more can you ask? Plus the cabin crew more than lived up to the promises made by their marketing by being the epitome of professionalism, yet friendly and approachable, and we were never made to feel like second class citizens despite being in the economy cabin.

When I was lucky enough to travel in World Traveller Plus, British Airways' premium economy service, it was less a case of a revolutionary difference from World Traveller, more that lots of little improvements ended up greater than the sum of their parts; you get even more leg room and a larger seat, plus a cosier and more intimate cabin. We also shared main courses with Club World which was a treat. Chatting to my colleague Ana who travelled in World Traveller Plus recently, her experiences were similar. “My most memorable experience is the 'sanctuary' feel of the cabin….its quietness made the 8 hours really pleasant. I also enjoyed the wider seat – for once I managed to have a dinner on the flight without any of the awkward movements. The extra leg room and foot rest made the whole experience comfortable.”

Now, I've only been lucky enough to travel in Club World once and I had to break my ankle to achieve it. Perhaps the greatest compliment that I can give is to say that in my opinion it is worth breaking your ankle for (BA marketing team - you can have that strap line on me). From the fully flat bed in its own little pod, to the wine list and fantastic food it really is the way to travel and will ensure that the journey is truly part of the holiday. Louise from our Reservations team concurs (and unlike me, she didn't even have to self harm to turn left): “Well where do I start! The cabin crew will do anything for you except help you in to your PJs. The pink Champagne was so lovely I had to drink a whole bottle (nearly), the large fillet steaks for dinner were delicious and of course had to be washed down with a lovely glass or two of Malbec… Then a well-deserved recline of the seat to snooze it all off is my idea of heaven in the air. So basically a great choice of food, snacks and drinks, all of a superior standard, is what I like best, and of course the superb service, comfort and feeling like a princess tops it all off nicely.”

Unfortunately I've never been lucky enough to travel in First but British Airways themselves have provided this helpful little film to enable you to see what you're missing... So, in the words of the great Jim Bowen: “Let's have a look at what you could have won”:

For full details of each of British Airways' cabins have a look at our Airlines page or call one of our team for more details.

Karen's Slice of Heaven

Recent weather in


Huvafen Fushi


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