Brussels Airlines

Business type
6 months


Founded in 2002, Brussels Airlines is Belgium’s largest airline. Following a merger in 2005 with Richard Branson’s Virgin Express, it now operates a fleet of 46 aircraft flying to more than 75 destinations worldwide.

The modern airline industry is an incredibly competitive space with operators all looking to cut costs, lower tickets prices and increase levels of customer service. One of the main areas of competition is what the industry calls the booking engine – the website through which customers buy tickets and choose their seat on the aircraft. A well-designed booking engine can increase sales and significantly influence a customer’s perception of an airline.

Brussels Airlines knew its booking engine needed a redesign, but as a relatively small organisation lacked the in-house expertise to take on a project like this. This led to what became a long-term and successful partnership with renowned strategic design firm Designit.

How design helped

Brussels Airlines briefed Designit to create a simpler and more user-friendly booking experience. To deliver in the short timeframe required, Designit needed to find ways of adapting an off-the-shelf product to provide a great customer experience. They focused first on reinvigorating the look and feel of the digital booking platform and its written content.

The redesigned booking engine created with Designit

This started by creating a fresh tone of voice for the airline. Designit created a set of guidelines for Brussels Airlines so that the language used across the site would be clear, relevant and consistent. These guidelines proved so successful that they have subsequently been adopted across the company’s other communications.

With the help of the designers, Brussels Airlines put research and user needs at heart of their new booking engine. The result was a site that was easier to navigate and which gave clearer information about the fares available.

Watch how Designit worked with Brussels Airlines management on a ‘Disruptive Innovation Weekend’ to generate new ideas

Watch how Designit worked with Brussels Airlines management on a ‘Disruptive Innovation Weekend’ to generate new ideas

Designit also demonstrated to Brussels Airlines how beneficial design thinking can be when applied across an organisation – from strategy to face-to-face communication with customers. This consistency of positive experiences has helped build a favourable impression of the brand – building loyalty and providing value to the customer.

We ran a record-fast implementation for an airline internet booking engine: six months in total to deliver a complete adaptation of an off-the-shelf platform along with the setup of brand new fare bundles.

Xavier Lagardère
Vice President of Online Retail and Distribution, Brussels Airlines


  • 42% higher rate of ticket booking
  • 6 months a record-fast implementation
  • 6 weeks measurable impact within weeks

The changes were implemented to the booking engine over an intensive period of just six months. With the help of Designit, Brussels Airlines succeeded in creating a clear and simple booking experience for the user. Within six weeks of launch, the airline recorded an impressive 42% increase in conversion rate – the percentage of visitors to the booking site that make a purchase.

It was key to work with partners who could extend the team and take the lead on key deliverables. This is a clear strength of Designit who, from the start, took ownership for the online design in a multi-provider collaborative setup.

Xavier Lagardère
Vice President of Online Retail and Distribution, Brussels Airlines

This project became the first milestone in an ongoing collaboration between Designit and Brussels Airlines. Designit subsequently created a digital strategy for the airline and have also recently designed The Loft, a groundbreaking new lounge at Brussels Airport.