British Airways TV documentary review: smooth glide or bumpy ride?

British brands are notoriously shy about giving media a genuine insider's view but when it's done right it can showcase a human side to the business.

British Airways: formerly reluctant to participate in a fly-on-the-wall documentaries
British Airways: formerly reluctant to participate in a fly-on-the-wall documentaries

The three-part series about BA, ‘A Very British Airline’, has the potential to hero brand personality and allow them to re-connect with their audience.

Let’s face it, three hours of prime time TV coverage has all the ingredients to deliver a perfect brand story, though it depends on how the programme makers choose to shape their footage?

Did the first episode last night make an impact in BA's favour? I’m not sure. Last night, there were no scoops or exclusives, there was nothing salacious or scandalous. This was a real opportunity for BA to showcase a very British personality, but unfortunately it fell somewhat short of the mark.

In a highly competitive industry, with all airlines offering the same (or better) class of airlines, destinations and prices, BA rightly recognise that their point of difference is their service and staff.

This episode positioned BA as fastidious, and obsessed with the detail – a fantastic proof point when looking at the engineers, but when it comes to customer service it appears BA are creating a cadre of robots scared of deviating from the manual for fear of a snapshot.

The only real character on the show was Jade, a big personality struggling to measure up to the exacting standards required of cabin crew. On Twitter certainly, people seemed to sympathise with the lengths the cabin crew have to go to, to appease flyers spending the equivalent of their yearly salaries on a single flight.

In either case, regardless of my opinions, the public will vote with their remotes – the number of people interacting socially last night wouldn’t have been enough to fill up the cheap seats on a A380.

I would be interested in seeing how big an audience this first episode attracted, and if they can maintain these viewing figures for parts two and three. After all, public sentiment at the end of the series will be a true measure of its success.

Frankie Cory is CEO at Mischief PR

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