Jamaica flight among first to feature new British Airways cabins

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

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British Airways yesterday unveiled its brand new World Traveller Plus (premium economy) and World Traveller (economy) seats, and the flight from London Gatwick to Kingston yesterday is among the first to feature the new, revamped cabins.

According to the carrier, the new World Traveller Plus and World Traveller cabins, which have been fitted with elegant new seats with 50 per cent larger entertainment screens, will roll out across its fleet of 10 long-haul aircraft based at Gatwick.

“The World Traveller Plus cabin in the fleet's three-class 777s will be doubled from 24 to 52 seats, while the Club World cabin will be reduced from 40 to 32 seats.” At the same time, the World Traveller Plus cabin in the fleet's four-class 777s will see an additional 12 seats.

“The six three-class Boeing 777 aircraft will be completed by winter 2018, with the four four-class variations finishing by summer 2019.”

The new seats, the airline explained, have been developed by its in-house design teams, in collaboration with a leading seat supplier.

“Great attention to detail has also been paid to how the customer uses their seat, with the World Traveller Plus design featuring a new leg and footrest, as well as an improved, fully adjustable six-way headrest to suit customers of all heights. The new seat also has a cocktail table at the front and in-arm tray tables. In response to customer demand, the size of the World Traveller Plus cabin will double,” British Airways said.

“The World Traveller cabins have also been fitted with the newest, most enhanced seating, which feature a six-way headrest with adjustable ears for added comfort and movable middle arm rests, which is particularly useful for customers travelling with children,” the airline added.

“The new in-flight Panasonic entertainment system — which has the capacity to offer four times as many films, TV and audio — has been updated with larger HD screens and gesture control to navigate the interface, like using a tablet,” British airways said.

The airline also said that the screen size in World Traveller Plus has been doubled from six to 12 inches, while in World Traveller it has been increased from six to 10 inches. “New USB sockets are available at every single seat, allowing all customers to charge a range of electronic devices during their flight, and World Traveller Plus seats also have an additional power outlet socket for UK, US and EU plugs.”

Every cabin has been fitted with bespoke lighting which can be set to reflect the time of day, helping to lull travellers to sleep at night and wake them in the morning so that they arrive at their destinations feeling fresher because the effect of jet lag is lessened.

“We are one of the very few global airlines that offers a choice of four cabins for customers to travel in, and World Traveller Plus appeals to a broad mix of both leisure and business travellers,” the release quotes Sean Doyle, British Airways' director of network and alliances.

“In response to demand, we're increasing the size of the cabin so we can offer more of these popular seats to our customers, while keeping the cabin intimate and retaining the expert, attentive service that our travellers love,” he added.

British Airways said that these improvements are the latest in its continued investment for customers, and pointed out that in January it announced a multimillion-pound investment in World Traveller catering with the introduction of more, better-quality food and greater snacking options throughout long-haul flights.

“A total of 600 million will be spent on Club World, with an emphasis on improved catering, the introduction of bedding from The White Company and a new seat in the future. Furthermore, all customers can look forward to the latest generation Wi-Fi across British Airways' long-haul and short-haul fleets over the next two years,” the airline said.

The carrier said that over the last five years its operation at Gatwick has seen 40 per cent more customers travelling, with passenger numbers increasing from 4.4 million to 6.2 million.

The release stated that civil aviation authority figures show that British Airways is the most punctual of the three large short-haul carriers flying from London. At the 15-minute level and at Gatwick the airline outperformed easyJet's punctuality by 13 percentage points and Ryanair's by nine percentage points in 2017.

At Gatwick, British Airways has also increased the number of routes it serves by more than 50 per cent. In 2012 the carrier flew to 48 different destinations, whereas now it serves 74.




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