British Airways launch stresses service
British Airways’ OpenSkies focuses on improving customers’ flight experiences
OpenSkies leverages British Airways' technology and economies of scale, but operates independently from its parent. DiLeo likened the approach to an incubator or a lab, saying that if an OpenSkies idea finds great traction in the market, it will probably be adopted by British Airways at large. He credits the backing of British Airways for protecting OpenSkies from the pitfalls common among startup airlines.
“For other premium airlines, there's plenty of appeal in the marketplace, the problem is costs,” he said. “We're operating from a much better cost base because of British Airways. British Airways is in it for the long haul, whereas so many other start-ups have to worry about pleasing private equity investors, who are only looking at short-term.”
In another departure from traditional budgeting, “every single person who works for OpenSkies has a customer satisfaction rating built into their performance evaluations,” DiLeo explained, emphasizing the commitment to customer service.
“British Airways will be measuring how well we're performing financially of course, but it will also measure customer service evaluations,” he continued. “All the selection that went into hiring and all the criteria built into performance evaluations had to do with creating that ‘wow' factor for customer satisfaction.”
OpenSkies team built its product portfolio around a map of customer frustration points throughout the travel process from booking through return flight.
Because of this, the airline boasts lie-flat seats in its Biz class, more legroom in Economy, a maximum of 30 passengers in each class' cabin, personal entertainment units with more than 50 hours of programming, and an extensive wine list.