New venture opens up China to BA passengers

British Airways has signed a joint business agreement with China Southern Airlines, for travel from 2 January 2020.

The agreement will benefit customers of both airlines by opening more destinations between the UK and China, with a greater choice of flights and enhanced frequent flyer benefits. It will allow the airlines to cooperate on scheduling and pricing, providing customers with more flexible flight options and an attractive range of fares.

British Airways customers will be able to travel more easily on a combined route network which will develop over time thanks to both airlines’ move to the new Beijing Daxing International Airport. The joint business will initially see the two airlines code-sharing on all direct flights operated on mainland routes between London and six Chinese cities. This will expand to both airlines’ extensive domestic networks.

Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said:

We are delighted to announce this joint business which will bring the UK and China closer together by providing British Airways and China Southern Airlines customers with a wide range of benefits. The agreement reinforces our commitment to boost tourism and business travel between the two countries and we look forward to strengthening the relationship further.

Paul Baker, Sales Director of Global Travel Management said:

This is an excellent opportunity for businesses travelling to the Chinese capital or to Shanghai, Guangzhou, Sanya, Wuhan and Zhengzhou. Because this arrangement between British Airways and China Southern will mean 31 direct flights a week between London and these six Chinese locations.

This deal builds on British Airways’ move to Beijing Daxing Airport – for more about this, see our news story here.

Customer benefits will include greater opportunities to collect frequent flyer points, the ability to book through both airlines’ web or app-based platforms, enhanced lounge access and access to high-quality Chinese and British products and services on board and on the ground.

If you’re looking to fly to any of these six locations in China, contact your GTM Account Manager to find and book the best fares.

British Airways invests millions on reimagined and improved menus on flights from Gatwick

British Airways has made a multi-million pound investment in its catering on flights from London Gatwick, with “reimagined and improved” food across its short- and long-haul cabins.

Now available on all flights, the catering brings in new menus featuring new dishes and recipes as part of the airline’s £6.5bn investment for customers. The new food has a focus on provenance with the provider, Newrest, working closely with suppliers in the south of England to source the best quality ingredients.

Customers can enjoy the benefits across all long-haul cabins – World Traveller (economy), World Traveller Plus (premium economy), Club World (business) and First – as well as Club Europe (business) on short-haul. 

A range of Marks & Spencer products continues to be on offer to Euro Traveller customers.

Carolina Martinoli, British Airways’ Director of Brand and Customer Experience, said:

This is the latest development in continuously improving our catering. We’re incredibly proud of this new offering, and we hope our customers enjoy it as much as we have enjoyed developing it.

Paul Baker, Sales Director of Global Travel Management said:

British Airways flies to more than 70 destinations from Gatwick, offering a variety of routes to suit both business and leisure travellers. So it’s great to see an improved selection of great, locally-sourced food being served on routes from London’s second airport.

As part of its £6.5bn investment for customers, British Airways has refreshed its Boeing 777 fleet at Gatwick. So, as well as Panasonic in-flight entertainment on 10″ (World Traveller) and 12″ (World Traveller Plus) screens, offering more choice of movies, television and audio programmes, British Airways passengers now have choices from superbly-improved menus.

If you’re flying on business from London Gatwick, contact your GTM Account Manager.

United Airlines aims to put and end to jet lag… with an app

United Airlines customers now have a new, scientific way to battle jet lag through a first-of-its-kind partnership with Timeshifter, an app that outlines the best time to see and avoid light, sleep and enjoy caffeine to adjust quickly to a new time zone.

All MileagePlus members receive access to a free Timeshifter jet lag plan and Premier 1K members receive a complimentary subscription with unlimited plans. The app is targeted at customers flying across three or more time zones and will be a helpful tool for them to manage their jet lag as they travel throughout United’s global route network.

Vice President of Loyalty and President of MileagePlus, Luc Bondar said:

We want to do everything we can to help improve the experience of travelling across time zones, whether it’s a business trip to Tel Aviv or a vacation to Tahiti, our customers should arrive feeling fresh and ready to hit the ground running.

Timeshifter takes all the guesswork out of avoiding jet lag and instead uses science and algorithms to design a customised, step-by-step trip across time zones. I was a believer the first time I used the app and I think our customers will love it too.


Timeshifter was developed by top researchers in sleep and circadian neuroscience and is aimed at customers crossing three or more time zones. The app uses an algorithm to customise plans for customers based on a number of factors including normal sleep pattern, flight details and individual preferences, creating a personalised jet lag alleviation plan.

MileagePlus members will receive a free jet lag plan for a flight plan of their choosing in addition to the complimentary trial Timeshifter offers customers for a total of two free flight plans. MileagePlus Premier 1K members will be able to sign up for complimentary annual subscriptions for unlimited access to jet lag plans when they travel.

Paul Baker, Sales Director of Global Travel Management said:

One of the worst aspects of travelling on business is the horrendous effect of jet lag. United Airlines’ partnership with Timeshifter is a great way for passengers to prepare for and to mitigate and reduce the effects of jet lag.

I would encourage any Global Travel Management customer flying on United with the appropriate MileagePlus membership level to try out the app. Jet lag is worth avoiding!

United flies some of the longest routes in the world, including the two longest flights operated by US carriers; and this month, United will become the only airline to fly direct between North America and Cape Town. I will be interested to see how well our United customers alleviate jet lag on long haul trips using Timeshifter in the coming months.

If you’re planning to fly on United, speak to your GTM Account Manager to secure the best fares and we will make sure your Miles are accrued directly to your MileagePlus account.

easyJet makes net zero carbon emission commitment

easyJet has announced that it will become the world’s first major airline to operate net-zero carbon flights across its whole network.

The airline will achieve this goal by offsetting the carbon emissions from the fuel used for all of its flights. easyJet will undertake carbon offsetting through schemes accredited by two of the highest verification standards, Gold Standard and VCS.  They will include forestry, renewable and community based projects.

The airline will continue to support innovative technology, including the development of hybrid and electric planes, working with others across the industry to reinvent and de-carbonise aviation over the long-term. The aim will be for easyJet to reduce the amount of carbon offsetting undertaken as new technologies emerge.

easyJet and Airbus will cooperate on three distinct work packages set to define the impacts and the requirements necessary for the large-scale introduction of next generation sustainable aircraft on infrastructure and every-day commercial aircraft operations.  




easyJet has been supporting Wright Electric over the last two years, which is aiming to produce an all-electric ‘easyJet sized’ plane which could be used for short haul flights.

easyJet will also aim to stimulate innovation in carbon reduction by supporting the development of technologies which will enable hybrid electric and  electric planes and championing advanced carbon capture technologies. We will look to use these technologies as well as sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) as they become available and commercially viable.

Since 2000 easyJet has reduced the carbon emissions for each kilometre flown by a passenger by over a third (33.67%). Initiatives have included introducing light weight carpets, trolleys and seats, single engine taxiing and removing paper manuals from aircraft.

In 2013 easyJet established a public target to reduce its carbon emissions per passenger kilometre.  The target was strengthened in 2015 to a 10% reduction on carbon emissions per passenger kilometre by 2022 on its 2016 performance.

Johan Lundgren, easyJet’s CEO, said:

Climate change is an issue for all of us. At easyJet we are tackling this challenge head on by choosing to offset the carbon emissions from the fuel used for all of our flights starting today. In doing so we are committing to operating net-zero carbon flights across our network – a world first by any major airline. We acknowledge that offsetting is only an interim measure until other technologies become available to radically reduce the carbon emissions of flying, but we want to take action on carbon now.

easyJet has a long tradition of efficient flying – the aircraft we fly and the way we fly them means that easyJet is already more efficient than many airlines. However, our priority is to continue to work on reducing our carbon footprint in the short term, coupled with long-term work to support the development of new technology, including electric planes which aspire to radically reduce the carbon footprint of aviation. 

I am therefore delighted that we have also announced a new electric plane partnership with Airbus. We will be working together to identify the detailed technical challenges and requirements for electric and electric hybrid planes when deployed for short haul flying around Europe.  We hope this will be an important step towards making electric planes a reality.

We also need governments to support efforts to decarbonise aviation. In particular they must reform aviation taxes to incentivise efficient behaviour, fund research and development in new technology and ensure that early movers such as easyJet are not penalised.”

Speaking about easyJet offsetting the carbon emissions from the fuel used for all of its flights, Jonathon Porritt, Co-Founder of Forum for the Future, said:

This is an exciting development from easyJet, which is obviously taking the issue of climate change very seriously. But as is now widely understood, carbon offsetting can only be a bridge to future technological developments, and it will be important to seek out each and every way of reducing carbon emissions. Beyond that, the whole industry needs to come together more effectively to decarbonise this critical sector just as quickly as possible.

If your next business trip takes you to a city served by easyJet, contact your GTM Account Manager to search for and book the best fare and to manage your whole trip.

New American Airlines mobile app feature uses secure passport chip technology for faster international boarding

American Airlines passengers now have a simpler way to check in for international flights as the airline has introduced passport scanning to its mobile app.

American Airlines claims to be the first airline to offer passport chip scanning that securely transmits passport information directly from the NFC chip embedded in the passport. This allows passengers to head directly to the gate for international flights, without having their passports rechecked by a customer service agent.

American Airlines’ mobile app now enables passengers
to scan their passports by NFC to speed the check in process

Maya Leibman, American Airlines’ Chief Information Officer said:

We are continuously adding features to our app to make travel easier and worry-free for our customers. Mobile passport scanning removes a time-consuming step, providing our customers with a smoother check-in experience for international flights.

Currently, customers departing on international flights who check in on the app, have their passports rechecked at the airport. This step is required even if the customer has uploaded a photo of their passport via the mobile app. With this new enhancement, the customer will be prompted to enter their passport information and then scan their passport with an iOS or Android device. The app provides easy-to-follow instructions for the process.

Paul Baker, Sales Director of Global Travel Management said:

This is a great use of new technology by American Airlines and fixes one issue: wasted time at airports waiting to check in. American Airlines’ 130,000 global team members serve more than 200 million customers annually. So any technology that speeds up the process and removes hassle for passengers has to be a good idea. I am looking forward to trying it out soon.

Mobile passport scanning is the latest in a long line of new customer features American Airlines has implemented to the airline’s app to make travel easier for customers. Other recent introductions include boarding notifications, Siri shortcuts and a dark mode option. American has also rolled out additional services to improve the travel experiences, including biometric international boarding, virtual 3D aircraft tours online, a redesigned self-service kiosk menu that simplifies the check-in process and an improved family seating approach, which ensures adults and kids under 14, when travelling together on the same reservation, are seated together.

Contact your GTM Account Manager next time you need to fly on American Airlines.

British Airways rolls out First Contact Resolution Programme worldwide

British Airways is rolling out its First Contact Resolution Programme across every airport it operates to, following its successful launch at Heathrow last year.



British Airways is extending its First Contact Resolution programme to colleagues around the world following a successful roll out at Heathrow

First Contact Resolution empowers airport hosts to use their expertise, initiative and judgement to solve customer queries on the spot, without waiting for management approval. This allows them to provide instant solutions and peace of mind for customers and send fewer issues to Customer Relations colleagues. 

All staff worldwide are now being further empowered to use their skills and initiative to do the right thing for any customer at that moment.

Sumer Adlakha, British Airways’ Customer Service Manager in Delhi, Mumbai & Maldives said:  

The new approach has been welcomed by the whole of our airport team and our customers. It gives us the ability to own and resolve a problem without having to ask customers to call or email our Customer Relations team which is time-consuming for them. They’ve told us they love that our agents are using their own knowledge and skills to resolve issues and particularly enjoy the personal touch we are able to give in each situation.

Tom Stevens, British Airways’ Head of Airport Operations said: 

We’ve seen a fantastic response to the First Contact Resolution programme at Heathrow, which is about going back to basics and emphasising the age-old concept of ‘treating others as you would want to be treated’.  The roll out worldwide will provide consistency for our customers, giving everyone the unique and personal attention that they deserve, wherever they are in the world.



First Contact Resolution enables staff to assist and resolve any customer issue at the airport rather than refer travellers to Customer Relations teams

Paul Baker, Sales Director of Global Travel Management said:

From time to time, travel plans go wrong. GTM is always on hand to help if plans need to be changed at the last minute. But sometimes passengers need the kind of immediate assistance that can only be provided at the airport. So it’s great that passengers know they can rely on the knowledge and skills of British Airways staff and that First Contact Resolution is being rolled out, worldwide.

The roll out of First Contact Resolution is a part of British Airways’ £6.5 billion investment in customer experience over five years. This includes taking delivery of 73 new aircraft including A350s and 787s, refurbishing long-haul aircraft with new cabins, introducing new, redesigned lounges, new dining across all cabins, new bedding and amenity kits for First, Club World and World Traveller Plus, best quality on-board WiFi for every aircraft and access to power at every aircraft seat.

The next time you need to fly on British Airways, contact your GTM Account Manager.

British Airways has become the first airline to use next-generation AI and video technology to improve punctuality

British Airways has introduced advanced neural networks, known as artificial intelligence, to its airside operation at Heathrow Terminal 5 to help its people ensure every flight departs safely and on time.

Currently, when customers disembark an aircraft, British Airways’ ground staff manually check and record the details of eighteen different activities that need to be completed before the plane can depart for its next flight – including thorough cleaning of the aircraft interiors, unloading and reloading of catering, luggage and cargo and refuelling. An issue affecting just one of these tasks has the potential to disrupt the entire process and delay the flight’s departure.


Customers flying from Heathrow Terminal 5 can expect a faster getaway as British Airways employs latest artificial intelligence and wearable tech for staff preparing aircraft to depart

Now, using a network of cameras set up around the aircraft stand by technology start-up Assaia, artificial intelligence is employed to compare live footage of the complex turnaround process with the proposed schedule. If the technology detects any issues that could put the aircraft at risk of a delay, an alert is sent to the manager in charge of the turn within seconds via a smart watch, informing them of the issue and empowering them to take action to get the flight back on track.

In this first stage of the trial, British Airways and Assaia have installed four cameras on three stands at Heathrow Terminal 5 and as well as reducing delays, the airline is also able to collect data on every aircraft turn to help make its entire operation more efficient.

British Airways’ Director of Airports, Raghbir S. Pattar, said:

British Airways operates up to 800 flights a day to and from Heathrow; we run a highly complex operation so efficient turnarounds are critical to ensure all 145,000 customers travelling through our home hub every day enjoy a punctual departure.

We are the most punctual of the major short-haul airlines flying out of London and our commitment to introducing the latest technology to complement our outstanding customer service is how we will maintain our position at the top. We’re excited to introduce even more smart, tech-based solutions in 2020.

Max Diez, CEO, Assaia International said:

Our entire team is really excited to be working with British Airways – an airline that is prioritising innovation and sees the value of AI-powered solutions. We’re eager to work with the airline to maximise the potential that the technology has to improve operations

Paul Baker, Sales Director of Global Travel Management said:

As part of British Airways’ £6.5bn investment for customers, this innovation is set to reduce one of the airline’s passengers’ biggest issues: punctuality. It’s great to see the deployment of innovative solutions that will improve the passenger experience.

Global Travel Management is a pioneer in the use of cutting-edge technology to improve our customers’ experience. So we know that the investments British Airways make in AI, as well as wearable tech, driverless airside vehicles and biometric technology will continue to make passenger journeys smoother, easier and more hassle-free.

To book flights on any British Airways route, worldwide and to secure the best fares, please contact your GTM Account Manager.


Intelligent software captures every moment from when aircraft arrive at the airport until they depart to help spot areas to improve punctuality

Neymar, Lewandowski and Cafu star in Qatar Airways’ new football-themed safety video

Qatar Airways has turned a pre-match team-talk into an entertaining safety video that will be shown on board flights before the end of the year. Featuring football legends past and present, the video delivers important safety information with the help of personalities from the airline’s ongoing partnerships with AS Roma, Bayern Munich and FIFA.

The film stars Brazilian footballer Neymar Jr, Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski and AS Roma legend Cafu, who are led through the in-flight safety routine by a comedic double act of coach and kitman played by British television regular Jason Thorpe and comedy actor Ross Hatt.

Directed by Peter Lydon, who co-wrote the script with award-winning creative agency 180 Kingsday, the six-minute film is designed for Qatar Airways’ global, family audience. Mirroring the airline’s latest advertising campaigns, the film seeks to add a playful spin to a vital part of the in-flight experience.

Qatar Airways Senior Vice President Marketing and Corporate Communications, Ms Salam Al Shawa, said:

At Qatar Airways, safety is priority one and we want to ensure everyone, including our most frequent travellers, watches our safety briefings. The wonderfully creative concept from 180 Kingsday will capture our passengers’ attention whilst providing a fun, light-hearted video to get the in-flight entertainment underway. The level of quality and attention to detail in this video is paramount and I am sure the content will both inform and amuse our global passengers of all ages.

Kalle Hellzen, Executive Creative Director at 180 Kingsday, said:

Humour has been shown to increase memory, so there seems to be no better way to communicate such important information than by making it fun. As always, the world of Qatar Airways enchants.

Paul Baker, Sales Director of Global Travel Management, said:

In-flight safety videos aren’t always the most entertaining or interesting.  But Qatar Airways has produced a great video, especially for football fans.  When you next fly on Qatar, look out for some of the world’s best-known football stars. 

And, while you’re on-board, check out Oryx One, Qatar Airways’ in-flight entertainment system.  It offers passengers up to 4,000 entertainment options from the latest blockbuster movies, TV box sets, music, games and much more. Passengers flying on Qatar Airways flights served by its B787, B777, A350, A380, A319 and select A320 and A330 aircraft can also stay in touch with their friends and family around the world by using the airline’s on-board Wi-Fi and GSM service.

Qatar Airways was recently named ‘Airline of the Year’ for the fifth time by the 2019 World Airline Awards, managed by international air transport rating organisation Skytrax. It was also named ‘World’s Best Business Class’, ‘Best Business Class Seat’, and ‘Best Airline in the Middle East’.

Please contact your GTM Account Manager to book flights on Qatar – whether you’re travelling on business, or just for the football…

New name revealed for West Coast Main Line rail company

Avanti West Coast will be the name of the new InterCity West Coast rail franchise, FirstGroup and Trenitalia have revealed.

From 8 December 2019, FirstGroup and Trenitalia will take over the operation of InterCity West Coast rail services. The service will link London to cities and towns across England, North Wales and Scotland, serving as a “vital economic artery bringing cities and people closer together”.

The Avanti West Coast logo, created by design agency forpeople, is a bright orange triangle, symbolising the geographic extent of the 400-mile long route that serves cities like Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow as well as London and North Wales.



Avanti is Italian for “Forward!”

Under the new West Coast Partnership, First Trenitalia is committed to delivering a range of passenger enhancements for InterCity West Coast services and passengers will benefit from more trains, more seats, simplified fares and more frequent services.

56 Pendolino trains will be completely refurbished with 25,000 brand new seats, more reliable Wi-Fi and improved catering. By 2022, there will be 263 more train services every week to more places and a fleet of new trains introduced.

Fares and ticket types will be simplified with mobile tickets and smartcards introduced. Stations will be improved with refreshed waiting rooms, better customer facilities, more car parking spaces and greater accessibility for those who need it. 

Speaking at the launch of the new brand, Steve Montgomery, Managing Director of First Rail, one of the UK’s most experienced rail operators, said:

We’re looking forward to taking over the franchise and we are very pleased and proud to be working with Trenitalia, a strong partner who is committed to playing an increasing role in UK rail and has many years of expertise in the high speed sector in Italy.

We are committed to our customers and over the next few years, we will work with our industry and local partners not only to invest in, and improve, rail services on the route, but also to attract more people to rail and connect communities across the country.

Paul Baker, Sales Director of Global Travel Management, said:

These exciting investment plans on the West Coast Main Line will be a huge benefit to a lot of passengers.  And, with improved Wi-Fi and better catering, rail will become an attractive option for business travel between London, the north west of England and Scotland.

At Global Travel Management, we are looking forward to the feedback our clients give us on this new rail operator and we are excited to be able to add Avanti West Coast to the range of domestic and international rail services we provide.

You can book rail journeys on GTM Online or by contacting your GTM Account Manager.

British Airways and Aston Martin gear up for take-off


British Airways customers experienced flying eleven miles high at twice the speed of sound, with Concorde halving the time of transatlantic crossing and flying faster than a rifle bullet. And now, in its centenary year, and on the anniversary of Concorde’s final flight, British Airways has announced a partnership with Aston Martin, and will celebrate with a limited-edition sports car that honours the supersonic aircraft.

The luxury British car manufacturer has created the DBS Superleggera Concorde Edition. Launching in October 2020, each vehicle will feature titanium from compressor blades that were used across British Airways’ supersonic fleet.


The iconic Aston Martin brand fuses the latest technology, exceptional hand craftsmanship and timeless design to produce models including the Vantage, DB11, Rapide AMR and DBS Superleggera. 

Each model will have a unique Civil Aviation Authority approved registration number and British Airways’ iconic Chatham Flag tailfin has been incorporated into the striking design. The exterior features a bespoke painted livery in the airline’s red, white and blue colours, and a black tinted carbon fibre roof emblazoned with Concorde’s streamlined silhouette. The paddle shifters will be made from the original Concorde metal and a Mach Meter graphic will be embroidered on the driver’s sun side visor; some of the many carefully judged design features that have been incorporated to celebrate the remarkable achievements of this aircraft.

Strictly limited to just 10 examples and priced at £321,350, all will be available to purchase exclusively from Aston Martin Bristol.

On November 26, 2003, Alpha Foxtrot, the last ever Concorde to be built, touched down for the final time at RAF Filton, which is just three miles from where the cars will be sold and home to one of the 10 Concordes that were made in Britain.

Parts of the proceeds from the sale of each individual car will be donated to the Air League Trust, a not-for-profit organisation that teaches under privileged children how to fly and work in engineering. In June 2020, British Airways and Aston Martin Bristol, in partnership with the Air League Trust, will run a week-long scholarship programme for young people at Cranfield University – funded by proceeds from the cars.

Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said:

Concorde was one of the most iconic designs of a generation and will always be a hugely important part of our heritage. In our centenary year we are thrilled to partner with Aston Martin, another British brand with an established history of exceptional design and engineering, and we hope to inspire another generation of aviators and engineers through this exciting partnership.

The bespoke inspection plaque will be signed by Alex Cruz and Aston Martin Lagonda’s CEO, Dr. Andy Palmer, before the limited-edition cars are handed over to their buyers next year.

The Aston Martin and British Airways Air League Scholarship programme will offer up to twenty 17 to 18-year-olds a five-day scholarship and up to 100 14 to 16-year-olds a one-day engineering experience.