British Airways is to add additional in-flight amenities and services to passengers travelling between London Heathrow, Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
Passengers travelling in World Traveller Plus and Club World will be offered slippers. Passengers travelling in all cabins will be offered Twinings green tea, the option of chopsticks for eating meals and bilingual menus.
In the grand scheme of things, these are fairly small changes. It’s also not unusual for BA to offer additional in flight amenities on certain routes for cultural reasons. Slippers have long been offered on flights to Tokyo and bilingual menus are common on many routes.
However, it does point to an effort to do better in China where BA has had mixed success. BA’s route from London Heathrow to Chengdu was suspended this month and BA faces very strong competition from Cathay Pacific on the London – Hong Kong route.
Over the past fifteen years, Finnair has been steadily, but surely, building a niche as the European airline that provides the most efficient link between Europe and Asia via its hub in Helsinki.
In 2000, Finnair served just three destinations in Asia. Now, it serves 15 destinations. Finnair also serves a number of cities without direct links to London including Chongqing and Xi’an in China and Nagoya and Osaka in Japan.
Unfortunately, this has yet to translate into long term profitability for the airline. On Friday, Finnair joined the list of European airlines to issue a profit warning.
However, the airline is committed to its strategy and aims to double revenues from Asia by 2020. This week, Finnair revealed the interiors for its new Airbus A350 aircraft which will replace its quad-engine Airbus A340 aircraft and ply routes from Helsinki to Asia from mid 2015.
The airline has 11 firm orders for Airbus A350 aircraft, and a further 8 options.
The aircraft will initially be deployed on flights to Shanghai, Bangkok and Beijing in 2015. Hong Kong and Singapore will be served by the A350 in 2016.
This seat provides both a fully flat bed and direct aisle access for all passengers, which is increasingly becoming standard for business class cabins. Finnair’s seat will also include touchscreen in flight entertainment and AC and USB power sockets. There will be a total of 46 seats in the cabin.