British Airways Uses Google Earth to Improve Online Sales

British Airways Reservations in Google EarthAccording to Forbes, British Airways has collaborated with Google to use the Google Earth application to improve sales. If you go to the UK British Airways home page you can get to this page which describes how you can “Discover the World with British Airways and Google Earth” and download the British Airways Layer . At the moment, this is bit of a marketing exaggeration – what you get is a collection of placemarks (not a layer or even a network link). So, the file will appear in your Places pane. However, the file (a little large at 390K) does contain a large number of placemarks with useful destination information and pricing. It includes both airfares and hotel information and pricing, and links are provided to make actual reservations and purchases.
Interestingly, if you use GE 4 Beta you will get a set of 3D models which show the price for airline tickets to each major city. The font for the price is in “clouds” style. In the screenshot here you see the price as £269 to New York from London Heathrow. Clicking on the icon gives prices from other UK airports.

They should definitely make the file a network link. Otherwise folks will have to go to the web site every time they want to check for current pricing. A network link would enable people to save the British Airways “Layer” and have it automatically update with current data. Also, I think the 3D price “clouds” are the reason the file is so large. If they put the prices as a network link they can be loaded based on when the cities are viewed making the file much smaller (especially important since GE 3 users can’t even see these models).
According to Forbes, British Airways wants to increase online sales to 50% of their business. Using Google Earth is certainly an interesting move – it will take some more work to make this a more robust GE online reservation system. It is rather forward looking of British Airways to make such a move.

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.


  1. The file almost brought my GE 4 into a halt! However, I think it was very clever for British Airways to use Google Earth.

  2. Jimmy Lemon says:

    Just seen the ad on TV too. Makes Google Earth look very nice! Especially the end shot!

  3. British Airways has introduced a Google Maps Mashup on
    Click on the ‘Discover hotels on Google Maps’ link.

  4. Just i want to suggest BA should uses plugin at !

  5. whats up with british airways and Detroit

  6. Guess they would have to use many other instruments too – if they continue to neglect customers the way they have been operating of late. Used to be my favorite airline till they damaged my new bag and have not as much as bothered to record the complaint in their main system. And all they give you is a number where you hear machine messages that your file is not found. And that too for four months!!!!!!!!!!!

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