Three start-up companies flew to Texas this week on board a special British Airways mentoring flight designed to help their business to take off. Each company competed to win one of just three places on the flight to Austin to receive one-on-one mentoring from two coaches from the Capital Factory, known as the centre of gravity for start-ups in the United States.

The flight is part of the relaunch of British Airways’ On Business loyalty programme, which benefits both the company and the individual.

The three lucky winners are Antidate, (based in London) which offers a new dating app that puts the girl in control, Whispering Gibbon (Based in Newcastle), whose owner has developed a patent-pending tech system that translates 3D computer imagery into 3D reality and Gym Company Marine (based in Bath), which supplies gym equipment to the marine and oil and gas industries.

They beat hundreds of applicants to take part in the flight on board British Airways brand new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, after pitching to the airline the difference the flight would make to their business.

During their flight to Austin the three winners received a mentoring session with two experienced entrepreneurs and experts at helping hundreds of businesses develop and grow. The winners had their undivided attention for the duration of the ten-hour flight to discuss and solve a business challenge they’re facing.

Andrew Crawley, British Airways’ chief commercial officer, said: “This is a unique opportunity for each of the three companies on the flight to receive brilliant business support through two amazing mentors from one of the world’s best business incubators, the Capital Factory.

Last year On Business saved firms £34m off traveling to do business face-to-face, and the revamped programme enables travellers to choose between an immediate discount of at least five per cent off on selected flights, or On Business points that can be used towards future trips and upgrades.