By Marisa Garcia
16 May 2016 | Schiphol has partnered with online furniture shop MADE.com and opened several branded waiting spaces, giving passengers comfy living room oases at the bustling H- and M-piers.
These piers host low-cost carriers serving the airport. The MADE partnership was a good opportunity for Schiphol to spruce up the more austere terminal area, pleasantly surprising passengers.
MADE also gets to reach shoppers who might like testing out its more affordable high-design furnishings.
With a head office in London and an office in Shanghai, China, MADE minimises its overheads by selling online, and groups orders of the same item together to gain efficiencies from repetitive production. It does not own its factories, instead building close working relationships with independent factories and designers.
Rather than pay for permanent retail spaces, MADE has opened several pop-up showrooms, featuring a changing selection furnishings where customers can take away fabric samples and create wish-lists. The company recently opened its fourth European showroom at Amsterdam’s Overtoom street.
“Schiphol is the perfect partner to create a innovative and unconventional shop area,” says Damien Poelhekke of MADE. “Both Schiphol MADE are pushing a limit, in a new learning environment. So we go together on a journey to discover the customer of the future.”
For Schiphol, the pop-up terminal showroom was an opportunity to trial an alternative retail space model, while giving passengers something unexpected which would enhance their travels. Read full article »
By Marisa Garcia, FlightChic
25 April 2016 | For mommies (and daddies) flying KLM on a quick business trip and leaving kids behind, bed time is a difficult time.
But KLM has come up with a charming way to soothe the little ones missing their parents with a special night light which lets them pretend to be on the flight.
The new KLM Night Light, was designed specially for the families of business travellers, KLM explains.
It’s a mini aircraft with a light behind each window of the Night Light, marking each night the traveller will be away. The lights turn off one by one as the days get closer to the return flight, with all the lights off by the morning of the big arrival back home.
KLM says the light also represents the airlines commitment to punctuality, ensuring parents get back home when promised.
KLM’s BlueBiz loyalty programme who book tickets via KLM’s BlueBiz website before 1 May, could win one of the the KLM Night Lights the airline is giving away with this promotion, and others can buy a KLM Night Light for € 33 (or 13,200 miles) in KLM’s online shop. Read full article »
By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com
13 April 2016 | At last week’s Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg many of the innovations on display centered around passenger experience themes such as connected and empowered passengers, IFE&C as open platforms, further optimized Economy seat designs, mood lighting on steroids, and immersive Business Class seats.
We’d like to single out one smart design concept that is an indication of how the industry continues to take existing innovations to the next level. Case in point: Geven’s Piuma Sofa seat, which will make its debut onboard an airline’s A330 later this year.
Back in 2010, Air New Zealand surprised the airline industry with its innovative SkyCouch, a row of three standard economy seats that can be changed into a single, horizontal space by removing arm rests. The seats have large flip-up cushions that fill the space between the end of the seat and the next row of seats.
At this year’s AIX, Italian seat manufacturer Geven unveiled a working prototype of a further evolution of the ‘SkyCouch’ design, the Piuma Sofa.
The Piuma Sofa enables rows of seats to be rapidly converted by detaching the headrests and attaching them to the seat base to widen the space and create a flat area suitable for sleeping on. A mattrass cover can be placed on top of all seatbases to improve comfort. Geven says it takes less than 30 seconds to convert three or four seats into a ‘sleeper sofa’ and the headrests are released by the cabin crew using a physical key. Read full article »
This article also appears in the March/April 2016 edition of Onboard Hospitality Magazine
By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com
24 March 2016 | As ancillary revenues have become a major revenue source for airlines – if not the lifeline for many – airlines are thinking of more ways to derive revenue from all phases of the customer journey. For example, a growing number of full-service airlines now monetizes seat selection and checked luggage, while some offer Economy passengers the option to pre-order paid gourmet meals on long-haul flights.
Another revenue opportunity lies in making the onboard retail offering more appealing. Or as trendwatcher James Woudhuyzen put it in a straightforward way in Onboard Hospitality Magazine: “Sell things people actually want to buy, so when the flight attendant announces ‘Duty Free Goods’ it isn’t in a tone that shows she fully expects zero sales.”
Try before you buy
One tactic that airlines may consider is the concept of ‘tryvertising’. Coined years ago by trend research agency TrendWatching, the idea is to take product placement to the real world by integrating products into the daily life of consumers so they can make up their minds based on their actual experience with the products.
Hotels were among the first to embrace this ‘tryvertising’ approach. Most of the major hotel chains now have an online store selling everything from bubble baths to beds. The concept received a boost when Westin in 1999 introduced its Heavenly Bed, which received very positive reviews from guest who often inquired whether they could purchase the bed they had just slept in. Recognizing that its hotels could also serve as a showroom for mattresses and other comfort items, Westin says it has sold over USD 135 million worth of Heavenly Bed-related goods in the past 15 years, including 100,000 mattresses and 175,000 pillows.
A similar concept is the Almost@Home Lounge at Helsinki Airport. Visitors of the lounge can purchase any item – artwork, furniture, glass and tableware – found in the lounge that takes their fancy, making it a ‘tryvertising’ space for home decoration. Read full article »
18 March 2016 | Expectations of airline passengers are not only shaped by how well an airline performs versus its direct competitors. They are also fuelled by standards set by experiences that consumers have in other industries, as innovative products and services in one industry raise the bar for all industries. This means airlines and airports need to tune into the customer from a holistic perspective when designing the passenger experience.
At this year’s Passenger Experience Conference – which is part of the annual Aircraft Interiors Expo/WTCE in Hamburg – AirlineTrends delivered a presentation about ‘Digital Innovation and the End-to-End Passenger Experience’. Below is the outline of our talk, illustrated by a few examples of how airlines are tapping into the changing consumer behaviour and expectations of today’s connected travellers.
As smartphones make it quick and hassle-free to order goods online, flag a taxi via Uber, or what have you, the on-demand economy has generated a sense of entitlement to fast, simple and efficient experiences as it taps into consumers’ appetite for greater convenience, speed, and simplicity. For example, analysis from Uber shows the longer Uber has been in a city, the less willing to wait for a car everyone becomes.
In the food and beverage industry, Starbucks’ new pre-order app has become a very popular time-saving service, while airport restaurateur OTG has installed thousands of food-ordering iPads at half a dozen U.S. airports.
And a growing number of airlines – including Virgin America, Air New Zealand, Japan Airlines, Norwegian, Azul – allow passengers to order meals, snacks and drinks via the in-seat IFE system in between regular meal services, while Qantas and EVA Air offer passengers the option to purchase duty free via the Panasonic eX3 IFE systems. Passengers onboard leisure carrier TUI Netherlands can even order drinks and duty free via their own smartphones. Read full article »
By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com
12 March 2016 | As the U.S. election season rolls onward, the rhetoric has become nastier and lines become increasingly divided, JetBlue’s latest ad is a tongue-in-cheek reprimand of the increasingly polarized American political environment and aims to show how far compromise and consensus can take you instead.
Reach out across the aisle
At the end of February the airline organized what it called a ‘social experiment’, offering 150 unsuspecting passengers the chance to travel on any of its 20 domestic or international destinations for free. But before they could take off on the trip, there was one catch – JetBlue asked strangers on the plane to “reach across the aisle” to make an unanimous decision, meaning every single passenger had to agree on the destination before their six-hour flight from Boston landed in Phoenix.
A four-minute video (over 1 million views) documenting the micro event shows passengers discuss – should they go domestic or international? What if they didn’t have passports? – and vote, with some passengers even taking to the intercom to espouse the merits of their favourite destination.
The options were eventually narrowed down to Costa Rica and Turks and Caicos Islands, with Costa Rica emerging as the winner after 90 minutes. As the announcer says at the end of the video, “If people compromise and come together, all parties can win.”
“JetBlue is one of those brands that is very comfortable being involved with the bigger conversation,” MullenLowe executive creative director Tim Vaccarino told Adweek. “This being one of the most polarizing political climates in history, we saw an opportunity to make a comment about what’s truly possible when we all work together.”
“We’ve seen so much news coverage lately that paints the picture of a society becoming increasingly polarized and politicians incapable of working together,” said Elizabeth Windram, the airline’s director of brand management and advertising. “This video is our way of questioning that assumption.”
9 March 2016 | In the past 20 months, Ryanair has been busy upgrading its products and services, stepping up its digital innovation activities, as well as opening routes to main airport hubs in an effort to appeal more to business travellers.
Now, in a surprise move, Ryanair has taken its drive upmarket to a whole new level by launching a corporate jet service, using a customized Boeing 737-700 which is available for corporate or group hire.
The B737-700 features 60 reclining leather Business Class-style configured in 15 rows in a 2-2 with a 48-inch seat pitch and include “fine dining catering facilities.” The Business-only 737 will be staffed by Ryanair pilots and cabin crew and has a range of up to six hours, making it “ideal for private corporate, sports team or group travel”, Ryanair said. Ryanair’s standard B737-800 aircraft feature 189 seats in a 3-3 layout.
The Irish low cost airline says it has been attracting more business people since overhauling its model in the wake of two profit warnings in 2013. As it already caters for around 25 million business travellers per year and has now set up a dedicated corporate jet team at its home base in Dublin.
A spokesman said the plane can be hired by the hour, with the “competitive” rate depending on the arrival and departure airports. According to The Guardian, a 60 seater private jet from London to Geneva would cost about £33,000 – or £550 a head – for a return trip.
Carol Cork, sales and marketing director at private jet hire firm PrivateFly, told The Guardian that Ryanair had got the timing right, with the Euro football championship in the summer coming up. Asked if Ryanair would accept bookings from stag and hen parties, a spokesperson said the carrier was “happy to provide quotes for any groups.”
While, Ryanair is the first low-cost carrier to launch a corporate jet charter, airlines such as Korean Air (16 or 28-seat 737 Business Jet), Emirates (19-seat A319 Executive Jet) and Qatar Airways (40-seat A319 Premium One) offer similar charter services using a Boeing 737 or an A320 family aircraft, although these feature a more ‘uber-premium’ cabin.
By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com
1 March 2016 | Tackling the airport security bottleneck is one of the main priorities for airports and airlines around the world with technology playing a major role in initiatives such as IATA’s ‘Smart Security’ program and Air France-KLM’s inventive biometrics-based ‘Happy Flow’ project.
However, as a broad rollout of these advanced solutions is still some time away, several airports have come up with creative ‘low-tech’ approaches in order to help passengers navigate security faster.
For example, back in 2008 the US Transport Security Adminstration (TSA) introduced a scheme that let travellers self-select their security lanes based on their familiarity with checkpoint procedures. Modeled on signage used at ski resorts to rate a slope’s difficulty, travellers could choose between ‘black diamond’, ‘blue’ and ‘green’ lanes. However, the system was terminated several years later.
A few years ago, Pittsburgh Airport tested an interesting idea called ‘Express Security Lane’ which was reserved for passengers travelling with only one carry-on bag, while Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau airport provides an online service, called SecurXpress, that allows passengers to be assigned a time slot to pass through security screening, rather than queuing up at a random time.
Female-only security lanes
Another way to segment passengers at the security check has recently been introduced by Beijing Capital International Airport, which in early February opened female-only security lanes in the run up to China’s Spring travel season.
The new service at Beijing Capital aims to help speed up security checks by 15 percent at the airport, which is one of the world’s busiest. Airport officials have analyzed that, while normal lanes process 120 to 130 people per hour, female-only lanes can process 20 more people per hour.
The reason for this is that in China female passengers can only be checked by female security officers. Civil Aviation Security Check Regulations specify that “Pat-down procedures should be completed by officers of the same sex; when the traveler is a woman, only female officers can carry out the check.” Read full article »
By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com
8 February 2016 | In a time when the personal device (smartphone, tablet) is becoming the digital controller of just about every surrounding device (think Sonos, Google Chromecast, or Philips Hue), Panasonic’s new Waterfront concept seat – unveiled at last month’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas – demonstrates ‘the art of possible’ when the personal devices gets integrated with the aircraft seat.
The Waterfront seat is the result of a partnership between Panasonic, B/E Aerospace, Formation Design Group and TEAGUE and follows last year’s JAZZ IFE/seat Economy concept.
According to Panasonic, the objective with the new seat is to “take care of a passenger’s wellbeing in a more holistic way.” Using B/E Aerospace’s Super Diamond seat as platform, the Waterfront seat features a full privacy door, which “gives a First-Class feel within the confines of a Business Class footprint,” as RGN puts it.
Other features of the Waterfront include customizable LED lighting (the interface has been coupled to hundreds of individually controllable full spectrum LEDs across the entire seat) and climate controls that adjust the temperature in the suite. Passengers can recharge their devices using one of the AC and USB ports or just place it on a wireless inductive charging panel.
Personal device as remote controller
The centerpiece of the Waterfront suite though is a 24-inch high-definition 4K touchscreen monitor placed in a seamless edge-to-edge glass structure, which can connect to a passenger’s smartphone app.
According to Australian Business Traveler passengers will be able to control the in-flight entertainment system AND the suite’s environment from their phone or from a supplied 7″ tablet.
The integration of the personal device and the Waterfront tech system is done via a technology called ‘light ID’, which has been developed by Panasonic and which uses a LED as the light source so that smartphones can read optical ID signals containing various kinds of information. According to Panasonic, the airline would provide the wireles controller application for passengers to download. Read full article »
By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com
2 February 2016 | SWISS just took delivery of its first new B777-300ER aircraft. One of the things we like about SWISS’ new flagship interior is the creative touch that the airline and design agency Priestmangoode have added to the galley areas.
On most widebody aircraft, the first impressions passengers get when entering the aircraft at the so-called ‘door 2’ is the sight of an industrial-looking galley area. In an effort to create a more welcoming environment, a growing number of airlines are adding design touches to this door 2 area.
As aviation journalist Marisa Garcia from FlightChic puts it: “Of course, airlines still buy the generic and utilitarian galleys, but the trend is towards cabin monuments serving a second life as welcome zones or customer social areas, at least for wide-body aircraft. Beyond looking pretty, putting this functional space to work as an element of the passenger experience is smart design thinking.”
Recent examples include Finnair, which for its new A350s has come up with a clever (and economic) solution by installing galley screens that are lowered when passengers are boarding and which feature a striking photo of Finland’s nature.
On the other end, Etihad has gone all out with the creation of a ‘welcome lobby’ on its A380s, which features dark wood fretwork panels, screens and doors and recreates the feeling of entering a boutique hotel.
SWISS, meanwhile has added rollable screens that cover the working areas in the galley and the galley walls feature an illuminated welcome panel, as well as an illuminated world map in an oak wood finish. According to the airline it has treated the entrance to its new B777-300ER “like a reception with a welcoming entrance that that mirrors that in the reception of the SWISS lounges at Zurich airport.” Read full article »
By Ryan Ghee, Future Travel Experience
28 January 2016 | JetBlue has announced a major A320 cabin restyling, which will include the introduction of what it calls a “fully connected in-seat experience.” New 10-inch, high-definition, Internet-enabled in-flight entertainment (IFE) screens, more than 100 live television channels and in-seat power outlets and USB ports are among the key features.
Android-based ‘connected’ IFE
JetBlue becomes the first airline to sign up for the new streaming television IFE system from Thales – called STV+ – which is built on the Google Android platform. The carrier said in a release this opens “unlimited possibilities for custom app and widget development, live content streaming, audio-and-video-on-demand, and personal device pairing.” In addition, the IFE system offers access to content stored locally on the aircraft.
The new IFE experience represents a major upgrade to the existing standard-definition, 5.6-inch screens and 36 channels of live DirecTV that can currently be found on JetBlue’s A320s.
Passengers will also have gate-to-gate access to the Fly-Fi connectivity service, meaning they can browse the Web and even stream movies on Amazon Prime before and during take-off and after landing.
The cabin redesign will also incorporate a number of features introduced on the A321s in 2014, including the B/E Aerospace Pinnacle seats with moveable headrests and LED cabin lighting. The reconfigured A320s will feature 162 seats – 12 more than at present – but the carrier will maintain a 33-inch pitch. Airbus’ Space-Flex v2 galley and lavatory module will also be introduced on the A320 and A321 all-core aircraft. Read full article »
By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com
24 January 2016 | With mood lighting now being a standard feature on new aircraft deliveries, several airlines have also started to retrofit LED lighting into their older cabins. Furthermore, besides taking a ‘generic’ approach towards mood lighting – that is, recreating sunset on evening flights and sunrise in the morning – airlines are also looking to extend their brand inside the cabin by developing signature lighting schemes.
Examples of airlines that have taken a forward-looking approach to mood-lighting include Icelandair and Finnair, who have developed custom Northern Lights scenes that pulls in shades of blue and green that dance through the cabin. Virgin America is known for its iconic purple and red mood lighting, while sister airline Virgin Atlantic has given its various mood lighting settings names like ‘rose champagne’, ‘purple haze’ and ‘amber warmth’.
Says Daniel Baron, founder of Tokyo-based design agency LIFT Strategic Design, “Airlines should use mood lighting as an integral part of the brand presentation, or as association with origin. As the systems become more sophisticated and available on more aircraft as line-fit items, more meaningful differentiation with the lighting, i.e., not just as a novelty, will become the norm.”
Next-generation mood lighting and projection
A new video from Boeing – who made mood lighting one of the prominent cabin features of its 787 Dreamliner and 737 Sky Interior – shows how cabin lighting is further evolving beyond mood lighting to include project technology and high-definition animations that bring the cabin to life.
“Airlines could use these lighting enhancements on the walls and bulkheads to display information about the destination or to project scenes that get passengers thinking about where they’re going,” said Mike Sinnett, Boeing’s VP of Product Development. “These ceiling projections could be scenes found in nature or helpful information for passengers projected on the walls and bulkheads,” he said. “The possibilities are endless about how this technology could be used.” Read full article »
By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com
20 January 2016 | Many airline passengers lament the traditional loyalty program format, which has become somewhat antiquated and can take forever to produce any useable benefit. But in a new loyalty tie-up with Aussie health insurance provider nib, Qantas is demonstrating that it understands how to engage people in a digital world.
Beginning later this year, Qantas Frequent Flyer program members can purchase Qantas Assure, a range of health insurance products powered by nib. Those who sign up can also earn Qantas Points faster than with flying alone, because they will collect points for achieving fitness goals.
Qantas Assure customers will be able to download an app to a number of different wearable and mobile devices.
Using the app, members will be able to choose from a variety of daily or weekly targets depending on their lifestyles, with the number of frequent flyer points earned increasing with the size of the target. The app will monitor (by counting steps, for example) the customer as he or she progresses through the challenge and reward completion with Qantas Points that can be used on flights, upgrades, hotels, car hire, at the Qantas store, and more.
Eventually, points will be able to be earned for other forms of physical activity beyond walking and running. Qantas says its Assure plan will start with health insurance, but will expand to other types of insurance in future.
Popularity of fitness trackers
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Qantas said there were estimates around one-quarter of Australians now own a fitness tracker, but fewer than one in five Australians took the recommended 10,000 steps per day.
Qantas Loyalty chief executive Lesley Grant said the idea behind Qantas Assure came from members saying they wanted to be rewarded for leading a more active lifestyle. About half of those polled during research said they would be more active if they were rewarded. Read full article »
This article also appeared in the December/January 2016 edition of Onboard Hospitality Magazine.
By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com
15 January 2016 | Consumer behavior is changing. Smartphones make it quick and hassle-free to order goods online, or flag a taxi via Uber. This always-on, on-demand economy has generated a sense of entitlement to fast, simple, and efficient experiences as it taps into consumers’ appetite for greater convenience, speed, and simplicity. For example, analysis from Uber shows the longer Uber has been in a city, the less willing to wait for a car everyone becomes.
In the food and beverage industry, ordering and paying for food and beverages via tablet devices has become the new normal at casual dining chains such as Applebees and Chili’s across the USA, while airport restaurateur OTG has installed thousands of food-ordering iPads at half a dozen U.S. airports.
And a growing number of airlines – including Virgin America, Air New Zealand, Norwegian, Azul and Finnair – allow passengers to order meals, snacks and drinks via the IFE system in between regular meal services, while passengers onboard leisure carrier TUI Netherlands can order drinks and duty free via their own smartphone.
Skipping the queue
Saving consumers even more time, Starbucks this fall rolled out an order-ahead mobile application across all of its 7,000 stores in the USA, as well as across 150 Starbucks locations in London. As soon as people have ordered, the app gives them an approximate pickup time, and Starbucks estimates customers can save between 10 and 15 minutes using this option. A similar service is being tested by fast food chains McDonalds and Wendy’s.
At multiple airports in the USA, passenger can pre-order meals from airport restaurants, using mobile apps such as Grab, AirGrub and HMS Hosts’ B4 You Board, which saves them having to queue up for food and drinks, and provides some peace of mind for those who are running late for their flight.
Passengers using these pre-order apps select an airport restaurant, place an order, pay and schedule a time to pick up their meal. When they arrive at the restaurant in the departure hall the freshly made meal is waiting to be collected. Orders can be placed days in advance, or even when passengers are queuing at the security checkpoint. Read full article »
24 December 2015 | At airlinetrends.com we continuously monitor the global aviation industry for product and service innovations launched by airlines in response to cultural, technological, and economic changes that influence airline customers’ needs and expectations.
The top product and service innovations we have selected to be among the most innovative concepts that have been launched this year reflect how airlines are becoming more creative in the design of new products and services as more airlines are embrading hospitality, design and technology as ways to differentiate the passenger experience.
Many of the examples on our list contain a major digital component, as the rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets, the option to be connected anywhere and anytime, and the self-service mindset of connected travellers, has created a huge momentum for airlines to come up with innovative products and services.
By enabling passengers to stream content from Netflix and Amazon Prime onboard respectively Virgin America and JetBlue, satellite company ViaSat is also putting pressure on the current IFE content supply chain. ViaSat’s Don Buchman explained: “There was evolution happening and now it’s revolution. It’s similar to how the iPhone changed the mobile market. Amazon and Netflix are not traditional IFE players, but things are changing.” Read article »
Ryanair said it wants to become the ‘Amazon for travel’, with its new website to leverage personal data to offer customers hotel bookings and TripAdvisor-style reviews. Says Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary, “We now have an opportunity with the new website to build Ryanair.com not just as the airline’s website but as a kind of Amazon for travel in Europe.” Read article »
KLM’s ‘Happy Flow’ aims to revolutionize the airport process and uses facial recognition technology as the basis of a single passenger token, removing the need for passengers to present their passport and boarding pass at multiple stages of the airport journey. Read article »
Finnair has been the first European airline to take delivery of the A350 and has come up with a series of innovative features, such as a ‘Space Alive’ mood lighting concept, a ladies-only lavatory and free wifi in Business, duty free pre-ordering via the inflight portal and an IFE-based visual ‘flight stages’ timeline. Read article »
Brazil’s Azul, which can be regarded as the Brazilian equivalent of JetBlue, recently launched its new A330 cabin, which includes a fully fledged Business Class cabin, Sky Sofas in Economy, a walk-up bar, and the option to order F&B via the in-seat IFE system. Read article »
Netherlands-based leisure carrier Arke (part of the TUI Group) has launched a trial in which passengers can use their own devices to order beverages, snacks and duty free items. Cabin crew receive the orders made by passengers on their tablet devices. Read article »
Transavia allows passengers to download movies and TV programmes to their own electronic devices before their flight. As soon as the passenger boards the aircraft, the pre-downloaded content is activated and it is then automatically deleted at the end of the journey. Read article »
In today’s always-on, on-demand economy the notion of pre-ordering food and beverages has evolved from a rather dull thing to do towards a smart move that is about convenience and getting the things you way you want. Examples from forward-looking airlines and airport F&B outlets. Read article »
China Eastern has launched an airline-specific version of Microsoft’s ‘XiaoIce’ – an intelligent personal assistant – which on Wi-Fi equipped aircraft allows passengers to socialize with other passengers, contact the crew (who are equipped with tablets) and send post-arrival pick-up reminders to people on the ground. Read article »
Taking a cue from Starbuck’s , Air New Zealand now lets flyers order barista-made coffee via its smartphone app the minute they walk into one of the airline’s Koru Clubs around New Zealand. Read article »