This article was first published in the summer of 2019 as part of a 100 part series on the history of British Airways and its predecessor airlines, Imperial Airways, BOAC and BEA. You can browse the full series of 100 stories in numerical order, by theme or by decade.
Note many articles have been updated since they were first published.
If you were to identify one phase in BA’s history when the airline was at its most confident and ambitious, it’s probably around 1989.
The airline was in no doubt that it had the potential, through its own operations, franchises and interests in other airlines, to become a major player in global aviation. Speaking in 1989, former CEO Colin Marshall set out BA’s ambition: “There has never been a global airline, in the truest sense.”
As you can see from this global advertising campaign from 1989 that also ran in the early 1990s, BA was not shy in blowing its own trumpet in all cabins.
“Fine wines. Premium brands at the bar. Feature films. And possibly the most gracious, attentive service on Earth – now available at 35,000 feet. Economy class in a class of its own ..compliments of British Airways.”
“When it comes to awards, British Airways has won more than its fair share: over 130 top honours in the past five years alone. And every one can be attributed to superior service. Whether it’s complimentary cocktails in Economy Class, fine dining on Royal Doulton china in Club Class, or the time-saving advantages of Concorde – no airline is more dedicated to the concept of service. British Airways meets the most exacting standards. Because far more important than winning awards, is winning you over.”
“As the four Rolls-Royce engines ease you to Mach 2 and the Earth slips away, you realise flying need never be routine. But whatever British Airways flight you’re on, rest assured you’ll enjoy the height of courtesy.”
“Club Class. It changes the face of business travel with amenities like gourmet cuisine, fine wine and a supremely comfortable seat, in additional to the full complement of courtesies you see above. So that you emerge from your flight not only feeling refreshed, but looking the way. Club Class. It’s the most attractive way to fly.”
“From the comfort of your seat in our new Club Class, you’ll enjoy an unobstructed view of stylish glassware, elegant cutlery and Royal Doulton china. And suddenly, business travel takes on a whole new perspective.”
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