If you love shows about airline operations, there’s an awesome show in the UK right now entitled “A Very British Airline.” It revolves around British Airways, and is actually much more insightful than I was expecting.
You’d think that if British Airways gave BBC “behind the scenes” access that they’d have them only show the good things, but it actually doesn’t necessarily cast BA in a great light.
Here’s a 30 second trailer about the TV show:
The issue is that while the show is available on BBC’s website, you have to be in the UK in order to watch it. However, it appears as if the first two episodes have been loaded onto YouTube, so you can now watch them online.
Here’s the description of episode one:
British Airways is one of the UK’s most visible brands, selling Britishness as a mark of quality. But in the last decade, the business has faced financial crisis and today, more people fly Easyjet than BA. As the airline reaches a turning point, the BBC’s cameras have been allowed unique access to its inner world, from top level decisions to the daily challenges of a global operation.
This episode explores how the airline tries to persuade people to spend more to fly, revealing the world found behind the ‘millionaire’s door’ at Heathrow Terminal 5, a lounge, restaurant, spa and champagne bar reserved for those select few who are happy to part with small fortunes to fly in the airline’s First Class.
Also this episode, a look at how the airline is playing catch-up with some of its rivals as it brings its first A380, the world’s biggest passenger plane, into service. Plus, the programme follows 18 anxious new recruits on their journey to become cabin crew with British Airways. With exacting standards of dress, behaviour and knowledge, not all of them will make it through the 6-week training course, designed to uncover who is – and who is not – BA.
And here’s the description of episode two:
For 50 years London to New York has been the most glamorous and profitable route in BA’s long-haul network. This was the route made famous by Concorde, and even today BA’s JFK terminal caters for more of the rich and famous than anywhere else.
This looks at the heart of BA’s New York operations to discover what it takes to keep the 28 flights a day running smoothly on this all important route, even as the worst winter on record causes cancellations and delays.
At the other extreme, BA is opening a new route to the Chinese city of Chengdu. China is a key new market, but BA is well behind its rivals and having to learn fast how to cope with the unique challenges of operating in mainland China.
Back at Heathrow, the cabin crew trainees reach the moment of truth. Will they all make it through the course or will some of them learn the hard way that they aren’t quite what BA considers the right stuff?
My thoughts on “A Very British Airline”
I love this show, and especially enjoyed the second episode. Among other things it covers operations at JFK, and follows around the station manager for a day. That guy is just awesome. It’s also interesting that they apparently call the Concorde Room at London Heathrow “millionaire’s door.”
I couldn’t help but laugh at the lady looking for scratches on their newly delivered A380s. I think it’s time she check out the rest of their fleet, especially the planes with old first class, which are more or less falling apart.
If you’ve seen one of the first two episodes, what do you think of the show?
(Tip of the hat to Chris)