British Airways: digital transformation

Taking content experiences to new heights

Two years ago, BA High Life – the award-winning inflight magazine that Cedar has created for British Airways since 1973 – made its move online, providing travel inspiration during the pandemic while the skies were still. 

In 2021, as the UK emerged from lockdown, we knew that digital innovation was the way to encourage customers from armchair to air.

A customer-led approach

As British Airways’ content agency, our challenge was complex.

Even with Covid lockdowns in the rear-view mirror, people were still reluctant to commit to flying. And with in-flight magazines removed amidst continued hygiene concerns, we needed to develop a new digital proposition to improve the customer experience onboard and drive sales.

Our mission was to shift High Life from a top-of-funnel digital magazine read on the ground to a content hub that could also be enjoyed in flight.

The pivot wasn’t only necessary to reach customers – it was business critical.  

Improving IA and UX design 

Reviewing the site’s information architecture was crucial, with new content categorisation and more intuitive navigation really connecting readers with the content they wanted.

We improved homepage exit rates and content discoverability by refreshing the user experience and design, surfacing more ‘clickable’ content further up the page and adding dynamic panels for a ‘newsroom’ feel.

And to really encourage scroll stopping, we added more curated panels and rebooted our headline strategy. 

Inflight entertainment

A new creative strategy was developed to persuade onboard audiences to ditch their Netflix downloads and read High Life instead. 

Our award-winning travel inspiration was supplemented with in-depth articles about British personalities such as Emma Raducanu, practical tips for flying and behind-the-scenes stories about the inflight experience.

Interactive widgets were also used to entertain customers in the air; quizzes that revealed where you should go for your first post-pandemic break, and flip-card games for kids. These delivered above-benchmark engagement (+40pp), also pushing flyers further down the funnel, with click-through rates up 20 per cent.

A frictionless experience

As a tool for brand warmth and engagement, the platform has thrived. In the second month alone, we grew our audience by 50 per cent, with more than half (59%) of readers saying the magazine directly improved their BA customer experience.

The IA and homepage transformation have taken the friction out of the on-site experience, with 99% of users getting to clickable content (up 10pp from 80%), and a -6pp reduction in that critical homepage exit rate. 

And the all-new High Life digital hub is now driving direct revenue for BA – people clicking through to book a flight or holiday in the same session. Read. Click. Browse. Book. Pretty incredible, considering most people take weeks, if not months, deciding where to go. 

Sources: Google Analytics, Hotjar, British Airways reader survey


more people engaging with High Life digital*

*June 2022 vs June 2021


more page views per session*

*High Life Sept 2022 vs Sept 2021


positivity rating of the content experience*

*Up 15pp from previous period