Anyone who’s been through an airport or boarded an airplane has played airline CEO in their mind at least once. Couldn’t they just do “this”? Why don’t they do “that”? Truth be told, running an airline is extremely complicated. Planes take years for delivery, seats are almost worse, good catering is hard to come by and crew and staff issues can be a nuisance. British Airways is going through a transitional time, and though many new ideas were announced this past week, there are five other issues I feel are worth considering…

On Board Benefits For Credit Card Holders…

Credit cards are an incredible source of revenue for airlines, making them money without even flying planes. People are frustrated by the devalued Avios currency, the complexity involved in using a 2 for 1 voucher properly and that’s lead many BA customers to question why they hold their credit card. In a rare instance, British Airways should follow suit with US Airlines and offer on board, journey benefits for cardholders. A free checked bag for everyone on a reservation made with card and a 20% discount for buy on board when paying with card would be a good start. These benefits would go a long way in beating the short haul cuts while giving excellent new reason to carry their precious money maker…

Make Double Avios (Miles) For Any Seat Available To All…

A benefit of becoming a British Airways gold card holder is that you can force availability onto any flight departing more than 30 days out by using double the miles required. British Airways should extend this benefit to all Executive Club members. Few people have the miles or desire to spend double the (already high) amount of Avios needed for a “free” flight, and this would be seen as a very friendly move to their Executive Club members, while also being one that really doesn’t “cost” them anything. It could be a real win win. 

Free Meals For Executive Club Elite Frequent Flyers…

My bones shake as I again suggest that British Airways should again copy a US airline, but there are (just) a few things they get right. American Airlines offers complimentary meals to top tier elite frequent flyers on all flights in economy. Delta hands out complimentary drink vouchers when you attain elite status. These benefits are small concessions to the people who genuinely put serious money in the airline pocket on a yearly basis. It’s not “easy” to attain Gold, or Silver for that matter, and this would be an extremely compelling way to dissuade passengers from flying other airlines, as all follow suit with “buy on board”. 

Leapfrog Competition With An Extraordinary Business Class Seat…

British Airways has suggested there will be less of their fleet in the future offering First Class seats. First Class is a bit of a dying breed and therefore business is the new focus for many airlines. Rather than catch up to the times, British Airways should use the spirit of innovation and the larger coffers it has at it’s disposal to announce a game changing seat, something like the Qatar Airways Q Suite that will knock competition back to the stone age. The QSuite doesn’t fit British Airways business model of a dense business cabin, so I’d politely suggest a custom, futuristic version of the B/E Aerospace Apex Suite, pictured here, and here. This seat retains six across, while offering incredible in flight entertainment, room for sleep and direct aisle access. With their newly announced soft touches it could BA big winner… (get it?).

Invest In Human Customer Service To Compliment New Excellent Tech Investments…

British Airways investment in passenger experience technology is fantastic. Automated boarding gates speed up boarding and wait times while self service bag drop kiosks beat out low cost competition. No one on earth however praises British Airways customer service dealings. The airline is known for refusing any and all customer service claims on first pass. British Airways should invest in capable, empowered front line employees who can make things right when a passenger with a legitimate concern emails. Invest in people, because no one likes their customer service being handled by an automated response. No one.