British Airways (BA)
First Class travel at World Club fares
British Airways has announced it is going to offer First Class seats on some of the airlines older Boeing 747s at up to 50% discounts from the winter 2014, before retiring the aircraft model completely. The seats would be sold at business class (Club World), as the ‘hardware’ in the premium cabin in the BA’s older jumbos was not meeting anymore the expectations from the airline’s First Class customers. As a result, business travellers can take advantage of such low air fares that are only half the First Class tariffs.
From 26th October 2014 travellers can buy First Class seats at business class (Club World) fares for:
- Flights from London to Las Vegas,
- Flights from London to Vancouver,
- Flights from London to Phoenix
- Flights from London to Cape Town
However, according to BA, it is planned to offer the First Class seats at a discount “for a short time” only. The offer would end once the 747s is replaced with a newer aircraft equipped with the airline’s newly upgraded First Class. The Airline expects that all the older 747s are to be replaced during 2015.
Virgin Atlantic goes HighTech with Apple’s iBeacon & Google Glass at Heathrow Airport
Whether it is enhanced VIP treatment with Google Glass high tech check-in or the provision of truly personalised travel service, Virgin Atlantic works hard to consistently deliver the ultimate VIP executive travel experience for its customers. The airline latest coup is its trial testing of Apple’s new iBeacon technology. Currently, the Virgin Atlantic is trialling an iBeacon-powered program aimed at VIP leisure and executive corporate travellers at Heathrow Airport, helping them take more advantage of special offers at the airport, save more time and money.
WHAT IS APPLE iBEACON?
Apple’s iBeacon is a technology, which uses Bluetooth Low Energy and geofencing. The new technology enables leisure and corporate travellers a better connected service while they are spending time at the airport.
LEISURE & CORPORATE TRAVELLER BENEFITS
Smartphones with Apple Passbook installed, can receive traveller communication from the iBeacon delivering relevant information to their location, provided they are in the range of the iBeacon device.
- For example, a Virgin Atlantic Upper Class traveller can have their electronic boarding pass directly delivered to the screen of their mobile device ready to be scanned at the security checkpoint. In this way travellers save time and avoid frustration usually caused by the need for keeping track of paper boarding passes.
- In the main area of the airport, the airline considers to use iBeacon to help travellers while they are waiting before boarding their flight. For instance, corporate travellers could benefit from special partner discounts, like the o% commission deal offered by Moneycorp currency exchange unobtainable for other travellers, who are not using the iBeacon-powered program.
At this stage, the airline has only scratched the surface, when it comes to the benefits iBeacon technology can offer travellers booked on Virgin Atlantic flights. Technologies like Apple’s iBeacon or Google Glass are expected to empower the airline to significiantly expand its range of personalised travel services and offers to improve the travel experience. For example, by updating the airline’s Upper Class clients on value added travel services such as an open appointment in the Clubhouse spa. Today, leisure and business travellers are more connected, than ever before, when they travel – and this trend is certainly going to continue. As a result airlines, like Virgin Atlantic, are increasingly using advanced travel technology such as Apple’s IBeacon empowering them to provide a greater customer experience to travellers and put innovation at the heart of the traveller’s flying experience. Apple’s iBeacon technology has seen a rapid adoption since its introduction last year, due to its ability to accurately determine the location of mobile devices. According to the airline’s customer engagement executive Reuben Arnold, Virgin Atlantic is looking to further personalise its offerings as the initiative progresses.
ENHANCED VIP TREATMENT WITH GOOGLE GLASS
The iBeacon pilot scheme is Virgin Atlantics 2nd high-tech trial after the airline has successfully completed its 6 weeks trial testing Google Glass in the Upper Class Wing at Heathrow Airport. From the minute Upper Class passengers got out of their chauffeured limousine service at Heathrow Terminal 3 they were greeted by name from Virgin Atlantic employees wearing the Google Glass technology. The airline staff could start the check-in process straightaway and update the travellers’ with the latest information about their onward leisure or business trip, inlcuding:
- updates with the latest flight times,
- information about on-board seat availability,
- destination details such as the local weather conditions, major events arrival transportation details.
Moving forward, the technology could also inform airline employees about dietary or refreshment preferences of travellers, and more to drive a better and more personalised service.
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