How should Air China improve the service received by its most loyal customers?

24 frequent flyers, employees & experts

1country: China

The Opportunity

Air China is the flag-carrying airline of China and one of the ‘big three’ mainland Chinese airlines. The company’s flight operations are based primarily at Beijing Capital International Airport. intO was appointed to work with Air China’s service designers, alongside its architecture partner, with the objective of redesigning the brand experience for the airline’s most loyal customers. Our role was to forge better understanding of customer attitudes and behaviours towards business and first class flights, and Air China’s VIP lounges and services. 

Our Approach

intO recruited 16 VIP customers from different tiers of Air China’s loyalty program, in order to run in-depth interviews about their end-to-end experience. Four detailed interviews were also conducted with international design experts from the air travel and luxury hotel sectors. The project was disrupted by travel restrictions enforced by the 2020 pandemic, so all interviews were managed remotely. As Beijing Capital International Airport was closed to visitors during this time, our ethnographic fieldwork in VIP lounges could not be implemented by intO’s local researcher in China. However, we overcame the challenge by swiftly recruiting and briefing airport employees to film the experience of these physical spaces. 

Business Impact

The data collected was co-analysed and distilled with the service design and architectural teams, and proposals were made that defined the ideal customer journey and design direction. Finally, design workshops were devised and facilitated to align and co-create the new design vision that was revealed in 2022. 


Photography provided by Arch-exist 存在建筑