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British Airways Puts Passengers’ Preferences First   
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British Airways has led the aviation industry with several award-winning innovations including pioneering the world’s first fully flat business class bed, the UK’s first bespoke concierge service that delivers customer’s bags directly from the flight to a chosen destination, and developing sustainable fuel generated from waste, to name a few.

The airline decided to interview its Ghanaian passengers to find out what new features and innovations they would most like to see introduced on the route in the near future, and received some interesting and very practical suggestions.

Amongst these were baggage allowances, inflight catering, self-service check in and more spacious economy class seating.
Moran Birger, British Airways’ Commercial Manager for Ghana, says that listening to its customers has always been central to the airline’s product and service development.

For example it was customer feedback that led to the introduction of the premium economy World Traveller Plus cabin 15 years ago.

“Of course we’re not always able to implement everything we’d like to in every market, but informal surveys such as this one are an important gauge of what we’re getting right and where we might need to focus some more attention.”

Baggage allowances are an example of where the airline has moved to make things easier for its customers.

“We have been offering customers a minimum of two pieces of baggage since 2007, and the excess baggage charges are simple. We even offer a discount if you pay online ahead of your flight,” Birger explains.

Requests that are not always as easy to implement are market-specific preferences, of which catering is a case in point. Although Ghanaians were generally complimentary about the on-board meals some wanted to enjoy a taste of home on board.

“We regularly review our menus and do adjust these seasonally and take care to offer a different menu on the outbound and return legs of the journey to provide as much choice as possible. We have served dishes such as Jollof Rice and the famously delicious Golden Tree chocolate and continue to look for opportunities to augment the menus with local flavours.”

The survey also revealed that many Ghanaians prefer not to waste time at the airport and considered online check-in as the best way to avoid queuing.

A number had asked whether self-service check-in kiosks, such as those at Heathrow, could be introduced in Ghana as an alternative for customers who are not able to check in online. Birger says that this is something the airline cannot implement unilaterally in Ghana and would have to work with the local airport authorities.

“Potentially this is something we could tackle once the expansion and renovation of the airport is complete.”

“The good news is that we’ve already introduced some of the service improvements, such as a tuck box of snacks from which customers can choose after the main meal service.”

In the meantime the airline continues to trial product and service innovations from electronic bag tags to on-board internet. In June this year some Ghanaian customers and football legends, Joe Addo and John Paintsil, took part in an on-board Wi-Fi trial when they watched a live football match on the flight from London to Accra at the height of 35,000ft.

Moran Birger says the airline is looking forward to 2015, as it expect to lead with yet more innovation and top quality customer service.

“At 77 years, we are the oldest airline operating in Ghana, and a lot is expected of us. Our customers here have been committed to us for the simple reason that we have been committed to listening to them and serving their needs. The future is indeed very bright for us both.”

Source: Peacefmonline.com/Ghana

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