Biz Traveler

Creature Comforts

Tartan blankets. Full-sized pillows. Cozy pajamas. Hot cocoa. From the sound of it, you'd think these are travel luxuries found only in the finest hotels. But can you believe this kind of royal treatment can now be enjoyed on several major airlines?

As we've reported, the battle to attract more business travelers continues, and it seems no creature comfort is too cushy for the airlines to offer. Among the most notable new programs for business travelers: By midyear, British Airways plans to revamp the entire first-class sections of its 747, 777 and DC-10 planes into 14 individual units. Each compartment contains a "buddy seat" for conducting a meeting. In addition, travelers can change into comfortable pajamas and relax on full-length beds with pillows and blankets. Or you can peruse the personal video entertainment system located in a sideboard, while feasting on a la carte meals served any time you choose.

"We want to pamper the premium passenger, yet also offer them ways to be more productive," explains Sandy Gardiner of British Airways.

The Brits aren't the only ones getting into the act. In October, Continental launched its "concierge service" for European travelers in its Business First program. A cordial concierge acts as a liaison in the airport between passengers and the airline, calling a few days before the flight to ask if the traveler requires any special services, such as seat requests, special meals and so on.

In addition, through TWA's Trans World One program, business travelers can get first-class seats at business-class fares and can sleep under wool blankets or cozy comforters on new seats that recline nearly flat.

What's next-10-course meals and individual bathrooms? Stay tuned.

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This article was originally published in the February 1996 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Biz Traveler.

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