British Airways talks quality at Taste of Travel, WTCE
March 27, 2019
Sajida Ismail, head of inflight product brand & service at British Airways will present a Taste of Travel session on: Elevating premium service to new heights. Join her and our former editor, Jo Austin, at the Taste of Travel theatre during WTCE at 2.15pm on April 3. Here we preview issues that will be discussed in her session.
What are customers looking for from inflight catering?
Our customers are looking for good quality meals, a variety of dishes and – most importantly – a great taste that works at 35,000ft. Those traveling in First want the onboard experience to be tailored to their needs. In our First cabin we have an a-la-carte dine anytime menu that allows the customer to eat at their leisure and customise their journey depending on whether they want to work, relax or dine. We constantly rotate our menus focusing on fresh seasonal ingredients with a focus on British provenance.
What major changes have you noted?
Over the last few years, I have noticed a rise in customers requesting vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free dishes. I have also seen customers moving away from heavier meals such as red meat and selecting lighter dishes. This said, we still know that some of our customers do like to indulge in comfort food while traveling, and this is why dishes such as pasta are still hugely popular and regularly feature on our menus. Social media has played its part as well, creating instant ‘food influencers’ over the past few years.
What changes coming?
I think people are seeking an ‘experience’ when they travel and they select their destination with this in mind. I predict there will be a lot of innovation within food to provide these ‘experiences’. I also think we can expect to see a focus on sustainability and the provenance of food as our customers are rightly very discerning – and becoming more so.
How is technology enhancing onboard services?
We are currently rolling out connectivity across our long haul and short haul fleet which will allow our crew to connect their tablets to the internet. We hope this will enable crew to resolve issues in the moment and ensure a seamless customer journey. The opportunities are endless and technology allows us to be dynamic and proactive in our approach to enhance customer service. Our philosophy is to provide exceptional, intuitive and personalised service, that makes each journey unique and technology enables us to deliver on that promise.
Tell us about the new menu catering partners
We currently partner with some great food experts across our network. We recently announced partnerships with Do&Co at Heathrow and Newrest at Gatwick. We are working closely with the teams to develop new exciting menus for our customers.