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British Airways has begun selling the champagne flutes, fine china and slippers it uses in its first-class cabins, reflecting the impact of Covid-19 on its business as it operates a reduced fleet.
The bespoke items, which have been mothballed in storage because of the pandemic, are a mixture of new and secondhand, some of which have circled the globe hundreds of times in the airline’s premium First Class and Club World cabins.
The unusual move comes as coronavirus continues to batter the airline sector, and just a month after BA’s owner, International Airlines Group (IAG), slashed its flight schedule for the rest of the year and posted a €1.3bn (£1.16bn) loss for the third quarter.
As a consequence, BA has found that some of its inflight crockery and glassware is surplus to requirements. There is also an inventory pile-up caused by fewer flights, and therefore fewer breakages. Customers and collectors are being invited to buy items such as William Edwards plates, soup bowls, cups and saucers, all introduced on planes only 18 months ago.
BA said the sale allowed buyers to create what the airline called an “authentic first-class flying experience at home over the festive period”. Day blankets – a snip at £9 – have already sold out, although Club World slippers used on flights to and from east and south-east Asia fare still for sale at £10.
Also available are bespoke metal bread baskets, champagne flutes, coasters and even a Club World casserole dish. However, Alice Temperley-designed amenity kits and first-class pyjamas are excluded from the sale.
Limited edition items such as insulated metal boxes for transporting hot food and bin trolleys from its Boeing 747 jets – now retired from service – are also part of the sale.
Carolina Martinoli, the director of brand and customer experience at BA, said: “We know that these special items will fly and we are delighted to be able to offer them in time for Christmas to give people the opportunity to make it memorable during a difficult year.”
The airline has also sold off £2.2m worth of valuable art from its collection – including Bridget Riley’s Cool Edge – after appointing Sotheby’s to value the works.
Rob Burgess, the editor of Headforpoints.com, a UK frequent-flyer website, said: “This is not the first time that BA has sold off excess stock … but this offers the airline the chance to raise some additional funds given so few people are flying right now.”
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Selling off the china: BA puts bespoke items from first class on sale | Business