This website requires Javascript for some parts to function propertly. Your experience may vary.

British Airways digital experience transformation case study Design Studio
British Airways

Translating 100 years of service into a digital future

The challenge

As Britain’s flag carrier airline was nearing its 100th anniversary, it had a desire to look ahead to the next hundred years.

British Airways reached out to DS with the challenge to stand out in a crowded and competitive market – with new carriers disrupting the industry and long-time providers competing for space.

At the heart of the BA brand is the promise ‘To fly, to serve’. We worked with the BA team to translate 100 years of service to the digital world – transforming the brand’s digital experience across the board, adding value to every customer's journey and ultimately giving people a reason to fly BA.

The process

To get a full picture of the heritage and essence of the brand, we immersed ourselves in the world of BA. We went to the archives, spent our days at Heathrow, did a secret shopper flight, met teams and partners across the whole business and signed up for a museum tour.

We set up the ‘Garden Shed’ (where all great British innovations happen) – a prototype room in our London office, where, with the BA digital team, we explored the many ways we could translate the BA brand into meaningful experiences across every customer’s journey.

A vision for digital

We collaborated with BA to co-create a digital vision to take them into the future. Underpinned by five principles universal to any experience, the vision connects teams and activity across the business, and inspires a better experience for BA’s customers.

The world of flight

The execution of this vision took the form of a rigorous digital toolkit that informed the redesign of key elements across BA’s digital ecosystem.

At the heart of the toolkit was a new design language "The World of Flight" - a flexible design system with a distinct approach to interaction, motion and navigation inspired by effortless journeys through the sky.

We looked to create a design language that brought together the lightness of flight with the precision and refinement of BA's aviation heritage

Alex Johns
Executive Creative Director, DesignStudio

BA service re-imagined

The first step was to overhaul, working through millions of pages to radically simplify the information architecture. We took inspiration from cabin crew training programmes, and insights from SEO partners and internal teams to ultimately restructure the information architecture around the core needs of BA travellers rather than the business structure. 

The content strategy, art direction, experience and structure of core pages were redesigned – from the functional to the inspirational. This resulted in higher value content that customers could find more easily, further amplifying the reasons to fly BA.

Join up the journey

With the vision and toolkit in place, we embarked on a multi-year journey with BA to realise the vision across the most important journeys for their millions of customers.

We overhauled the flight buying experience – introducing a new iPad app with the new design language and sales experience; reworking the core sales flow on; designing a content strategy and new look and feel for ‘travel ready emails’ that took you from purchase to lift off, delivering the right information at the right time; changing the Manage my Booking process creating a calmer, more elegant, more BA way to access and control your flight information.

We also saw the new digital design language bring new life to the experience  – from phone screens to checking in at the terminal.

The work with DS has been one of the cornerstones of our digital strategy and customer experience transformation. DS' ability to bring world class design skills and methods, together with their highly collaborative approach that has brought the best out of us as a business and have delivered a phenomenal set of outcomes, including double digital improvement in KPIs in digital channels.

Jack Smith
Director of Digital, British Airways


Several elements of the thinking and design, from the re-imagined post booking experience to the design language in T5 are now live and creating memorable and meaningful brand moments that amplify and reflect the BA promise across their customer's journeys, but this is just the beginning.

The digital vision and holistic toolkit has given BA the tools and a newfound confidence to move forward with its digital design. Equipped with this new set of capabilities that the business has been able to continue to utilise in the long term as they look to improve on their digital experience.

As BA look to fully roll this out across their ecosystem this marks a transition into an ongoing user centred testing process that continues to drive improvements to both the design system and the implemented experience which carries on today.