We all know that both Brexit and President elect Trump have been a seismic shock to the political establishments, global stock markets and commerce in general. But nothing prepared us for the crusty backlash that emerged when British Airways announced it was to end its inclusive food offering on its short-haul economy class.
Judging by comments I have read, by what are clearly genetic mutations of Victor Meldrew, the only thing that has stopped mass protests of people pitching up at runways across the country is the fact that British Airways have very cleverly partnered with another iconic British brand, namely, M&S. A stroke of marketing genius from British Airways, but extremely off putting for the Victors of this world who really wanted to yell, “I don’t believe it.”
But rather than get embroiled in the intricacies of whether the contents of said offerings are truly British, both in production or contents, what would Victor classify as a truly British sandwich? Let us turn our attention to a much bigger revolution of which “Sandwich Gate” is but a ripple on the shore. I use the word revolution, for this is what the travel industry is currently engaged in. BA’s recent change is but a very small step towards its ultimate streamlining, which it must undergo to keep ahead of the fierce competition within the industry.
Strange that if you go to a mainline railway station in the UK, you either have to use a machine to buy your paper ticket, which will only give you the best price for your journey on page 26 of its menu, or you have to queue up in the 21st century ticket offices that are manned by incredibly knowledgeable and friendly people. Compare this to the fact that you can book, check-in, collect your boarding pass (electronic) and deposit your bag at the fast bag drop, to fly from one side of the world to the other, and all you have on you is your mobile phone.
British Airways are what we in the trade call a ‘legacy carrier’, they are an amalgamation of different airlines and brands that have been cleverly crafted into one. In achieving this, BA have inherited many customs and practices which the new boys on the block, such as the no frills carriers, don’t have to wrestle with. And yet BA have to compete vigorously in this marketplace hence the need to change.
Within the airline industry there are still three different main operating systems that distribute all of the airline content and inventory, namely Amadeus, Galileo and Sabre - without these systems nothing would move. One of the issues is that in essence they all use slightly different languages to achieve the same end.
If you’re an airline that wants to distribute a new product or service, potentially you have to write code in multiple ways in order to deliver it. British Airways, along with other leading airlines, are at the forefront of a huge investment programme in a system called NDC, which stands for New Distribution Capability. NDC is a new uniform set of standards, which will govern how their products, information, schedules, fares and other personalised offerings will be communicated and distributed. It is envisaged that NDC will do everything the three existing systems do today but quicker and smarter, as well as being scalable for tomorrow’s requirements.
As a leading global travel management company, we currently have under development our parallel systems and once fully integrated with NDC, it will be a game changer in end-to-end worry-free business travel.
Before you travel, you will be able to order your choice of fi lm, your choice of meal, choose a Wi-Fi option and, if economy is getting full, you could be offered, or bid for, an upgrade whilst en route to the airport.
As you board you’ll receive a text to confirm your bag is loaded, as you disembark you’ll receive a text to tell you which carousel your bag will be on, your driver will receive a message to say you have arrived, and the system will tell you exactly where he will be waiting with a photo of him - nice and secure.
While you’re in the car, our system has informed your hotel that you’re en route, you’re checked into your hotel room and will receive your electronic door key to your phone, (no more trudging back and forth to reception trying to get your door key to work). You exit the car and go straight to your room.
In the meantime, we have sent your corporate risk manager communication to say you have arrived and our systems will pinpoint on the world map precisely where you should be. We have reassessed any risks and updated both you and your company on any change in status. This is the travel that is just around the corner.
So move over airline food we never wanted! Victor has been consigned to the garden centre coffee shop with his gnomes…“Can you believe that.”
Together with our enlightened and forward-thinking airline and travel partners we are offering you a glimpse of tomorrow’s worry-free end-to-end travel experience, today.
If you’re as excited as we are, we should be talking so give me a call or email me on John@Uniglobepreferred.co.uk