Thomas Cook trials Oculus Rift headsets for ‘virtual reality’ holidays

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This case appears in the September 2014 edition of the Airline Marketing Benchmark, a monthly report by airlinetrends.com and Simpliflying that identifies the latest innovative marketing capaigns recently launched by airlines around the world. Learn more »

We have seen airlines experiment with the latest digital technologies such as Google Glass, smartwatches, and even drones (Easyjet MRO). Besides giving airlines an idea of the feasibility of deploying the latest digital devices into daily operations, the trials also create lot of PR (see also the ‘Innovation is the Marketing’ trend in our free The State of Airline Marketing 2014 report).

Oculus Rift
In an effort to reinvent the travel store experience, British tour operator Thomas Cook has opened a concept store that is leveraging the latest digital advancements to let store visitors immerse themselves in digital content. Promoted as ‘virtual reality holiday’, store visistors store can try on Oculus Rift headsets – a head mounted virtual reality 3D display, which features an ultra-wide field of view and low latency head tracking – that have been programmed to present a 3D, 360-degree vision of tropical paradise, in an effort to help build excitement around the holidays the company offers.

The headset – combined with a newly developed application – translates head and motion movements to the virtual world allowing customers to explore Thomas Cook’s Sentido resort and the interior of a Thomas Cook aircraft, while bespoke audio and fragrance complete the immersive experience.

According to a Thomas Cook spokesperson, “the technology advancements in virtual reality over the last 18 months have made it a real contender for playing a key role in changing the way we can showcase experience-based products to our customers, especially in the high street environment.”

Future plans include offering customers the chance to experience New York City with Oculus later this year, which ties in with the company’s strategic partnership with BrandUSA promoting America’s ‘Great Outdoors’ as well as Thomas Cook’s new flights and holidays to the Big Apple. Read full article »

The Past, Present, and Future of Business Class seat design

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This article originally appeared on TheDesignAir

By Jonny Clark, TheDesignAir

So it isn’t often we think ourselves as that awkward L-shaped brick from classic computer game Tetris, but fundamentally that’s how aircraft seat designers see us. Unfortunately-shaped wedges that have to fit neatly into a rectangular shape.

In a constant fight to give airline passengers more space, more comfort and a better quality experience, the war of the seat configuration continues. British Airways’ latest patent application shows that perhaps the ideal future of front of the plane comfort isn’t as clearly cut as we once thought.

The Past
Originally, in 1999 British Airways brought the flat bed concept to the skies with it’s Club World seat. Seen as a quantum leap in Business Class comfort, with space only considered for the super wealthy, who could afford First Class opulence. Since then many carriers have offered similar comfort, but the forward and backward concept took into consideration the ergonomics of the body, offering more space to the wider upper body. This was done by creating interconnecting forward-backward seats that operated as a singular unit, reducing seat costs and increasing space where it was needed – around the shoulders.

The original club world seat was then fairly quickly redesigned, to what we see on BA’s fleet today. The modern seats offer more privacy, more space, and more technological advancement. But the seat concept is sound, even the older seats can still be found on BA’s subsidiary OpenSkies 757 fleet now titled ‘Biz Bed’.

The forward backward concept was new, and whilst open to initial scepticism, proved a success, and was quickly admired by business travellers, who enjoyed the extra comfort, for little extra price, due to the LOPA (the seat’s real estate on the plane) being hardly compromised compared to the big bucket recliners that the rest of the industry enjoyed. Read full article »

China Airlines’ doubles Business Class galley as ‘sky lounge’ on new B777-300ERs

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Special thanks to Kai-Chin Shih at >talkairlines for providing input for this article.

Airlines operating the A380 superjumbo – such as Emirates, Etihad, Qatar Airways and Korean Air – have been using the relatively large amount of cabin space on this flagship aircraft to feature social areas such as onboard bars and lounges in their premium cabins. The A380 provides 50 percent more floor space compared with the B747, but airlines on average install only 35 percent more seats.

On the B777-300ER – which is replacing the B747-400 as a flagship aircraft – airlines such as British Airways (‘Club Kitchen’), American Airlines (‘Lobby Bar’) and Japan Airlines’ (‘Sky Gallery’) have been reimagining how the galley located in the premium cabin could become the domain of passengers as well, after regular service is over.

‘Sky Lounge’ galley
The latest example of how the galley in the premium cabin can be turned into a social area (on non-US flights where it is prohibited for passengers to stand or group together on board) comes from Taiwan-based China Airlines, which will feature a ‘Sky Lounge’ in the Business Class on its upcoming fleet of B777-300ERs.

Designed by well-known Taiwanese architect Ray Chen – who has been responsible for the design of the flagship store of book chain Eslite in Taipei – the new design of China Airlines’ Business Class cabin aims to give customers a feeling of relaxing in their personal reading space. The texture of persimmon tree grain has been used to decorate the partition walls of the cabin, and the Business seats feature stand-alone reading lamps.

The ‘Sky Lounge’ galley located in the middle of the Business Class cabin of China Airlines B777 (seatmap here) doubles as a self-serve bar and social area. During the flight, passengers can choose to walk up to the lounge to enjoy food and drinks while chatting with other passengers. Read full article »

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Discarded airline materials are upcycled into sports gear, soccer balls and handbags

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

We have reported before on ‘upcycle’ initiatives from airlines, with carriers such as KLM (uniforms), Finnair (seat covers, seat belts, curtains), Delta (seat covers) and Air France (life jackets) giving discarded airline interior materials a second life as stylish bags. The benefits are three-fold: waste is recycled, airlines add an eco-friendly touch to their brands, and many consumers like the story behind the upcycled product. Here a few more interesting recent examples.

Boeing: From carbon fiber to sports gear
Boeing and American manufacturer of sports equipment Russell Brands are working together to incorporate leftover carbon fiber from B787 Dreamliner production in Russell Athletic protective athletic gear. Composite materials make up 50 percent of the primary structure of the 787, including the fuselage and wing.

Boeing and Russell Athletic see significant benefits in using aerospace-grade carbon fiber because the carbon filaments provide a high strength-to-weight ratio and greater durability. Aerospace-grade carbon fiber is thinner, stronger and approximately 10 percent lighter compared to competitors.

An initial collaboration uses the material in Russell Athletic’s new CarbonTek football shoulder pad system. The aerospace-grade carbon fiber is strong, thin, light and durable, Boeing said. In football pads it also offers increased range of motion and secure fit for the athlete’s body.

Boeing says several “elite” college players from Division I universities will be wearing the CarbonTek during the upcoming football season, as well as Russell Athletic’s three pro football ambassadors: Pierre Garcon, Mark Ingram and Colt McCoy.

Southwest: From seat to soccer ball
After a large-scale interior redesign of many of its B737 aircraft, Southwest found itself with an excess of 80,000 leather seat covers — enough to fill the EmpireStateBuilding. “We had this idea of ‘could we do something with this leather beyond recycling it or shredding it? Could we repurpose it?’” says Marilee McInnis, the airline’s senior manager of culture and communications.

Southwest dubbed the initiative “Luv Seat: Repurpose with Purpose” and reached out to potential partners to take the used leather, but found that there were few takers. Read full article »

Air France and KLM latest airlines to introduce ‘geotainment’ flight maps

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

One of the most popular sections of the IFE system is the moving map. Compared with the two-dimensional maps that are still found on the IFE systems of almost any airline, the latest maps now offer the option to deviate from the flight path to look at specific land marks and zoom into ever greater detail – Google Earth style.

Dubbed geotainment, this location-triggered content displays geographical and historical information relevant to the location of an aircraft on, or around, its flight path. Says Boris Veksler, CEO of Betria Interactive – which has developed the FlightPath3D geotainment app: “Travel is exploration. Delivering informative destination ‘geotainment’ services gives the passenger a form of discovery in anticipation of their arrival. It is natural and engaging extension of the moving map.”

The deployment of geotainment-based flight maps is still in its early stages. On its fleet of B787s, Norwegian features a geotainment app on its IFE systems from FlightPath3D on the moving map channel, while Singapore Airlines has become the first customer to sign up for a new ‘geo-entertainment’ product for moving maps developed by Airborne Interactive in association with the Royal Geographical Society.

Delta, meanwhile, in early 2013 added a ‘Glass Bottom Jet’ geotainment feature to its ‘Fly Delta’ iPad app. On flights in North America passengers can use their own device to view the ground below via maps enriched with interesting information on various points of interest near the route. Passengers do have to be connected to the paid onboard Wi-Fi network though.

Air France KLM
Air France and KLM have also become early adapters of the geotainment trend. The airlines have selected FlightPath3D to deliver their next generation moving map and ‘geotainment’ service.

Passengers can follow the flight path as their trip progresses and learn more about points-of-interest during their journey via text and images. They can also choose from several interactive 3D views or use free roaming mode to investigate the world they are flying over. Read full article »

Passengers in Delta’s JFK T4 lounge can order paid meals and drinks via iPads

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

In 2010, Delta and food and beverage operator OTG launched a novel restaurant concept at New York JFK Airport that allows passengers to order food and drinks via iPads installed at dining areas at the gate. A server then delivers the food to the customer’s seat within 10 minutes. The concept has since then been rolled out by OTG to other airports around the USA, including New York LaGuardia, Chicago, Minneapolis St Paul, Orlando and Toronto Pearson.

JFK T4 Sky Club
Last year, Delta opened its new Terminal 4 at New YorkJFKAirport. The new Delta T4 also features a 24,000 square feet Delta Sky Club where passengers can work, relax and dine at one of the more than 400 seats, 50+ work spaces and a ‘Sky Deck’ outdoor terrace (video tour and images of the lounge here and here).

Premium meals and drinks
Responding to passengers requests for more substantial meal options in its lounges, Delta in 2010 introduced a paid dining concept at four Delta Sky Club lounges at New York JFK Airport. The new full-service concept offers made-to-order breakfast, sandwiches, salads, small plates and desserts for purchase, as well as premium beverages. Meals are USD 10-15 and premium drinks USD 12 and the Delta Sky Club ‘Café’ includes dedicated seating areas within the lounge, but visitors also can order from the menu and dine anywhere in the lounge.

Tablet-based ordering
In its JFK T4 lounge, Delta has added a self-service element to its premium meals and drinks offering. Those who want to eat more than what is available on the buffet can order via iPad ordering stations, which is a similar concept to the Delta/OTG iPads that are installed at the public gates. Read full article »

Dutch Railways promises passengers a guaranteed on-time arrival at the airport

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Dutch rail operator NS and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport are trialling an innovative new service, called Schiphol Warranty Service, that provides train passengers – who signed up for the service – a guaranteed on-time arrival at the airport so they will catch their flight.

Travellers who have signed up for the service and have paid the euro 5 fee will be monitored for any disruptions throughout their journey from the NS rail station of departure until the check-in desk at the airport. Passengers have to choose one out of three schedule options suggested by the Dutch Railways which all should transport them to airport arriving at least 2 hours (Schengen countries) or 3 hours (non-Schengen) before departure.

Their journeys will be monitored via an app that will track the participants’ departure station, date and time of the departure flight, flight number, number of people travelling and how many suitcases they carry. NS then will check for any travel disruptions and/or changes along the way.

If anything will go wrong during the journey, the app will notify passengers with alternative routes or any travel advice. If there are no train options available in time to bring customers to the airport, NS will then search for other travel options via bus or taxi.

Then, as soon as passengers arrive at the airport, they will be picked up by customer service staff and escorted to the nearest check-in desk. In worst case scenario, if the guarantee cannot be met and passengers miss their flight, NS then will organise hotel stay and rebooking or refund of the flight.

“If there are any failures along the way, we will ensure that passengers catch their flight, even if it means calling them a taxi,” says Commercial Director of NS Hans Peters.

More than 10,000 NS customers have received a letter inviting them to participate in the trial which takes place between mid-July and September 1st. NS hopes that eventually some 1,500 customers will take part in the programme.

10 interesting airline product and service innovations launched in 2014 so far

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

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 product and service innovations that we report on our website aim to show how airlines can come up with creative solutions with the aim to improve the passenger experience, increase revenues and/or lower costs.

For those who have been too busy to keep track of the latest airline product and service innovations, here the 10 articles that we believe are among the most interesting product and service introductions in the first six months of 2014.

10 product and service innovations first half 2014

1. Air France-KLM’s ‘e-tag & e-track’ turn suitcases into connected devices

Air France, KLM and partners have developed a novel electronic bag tag and baggage tracker that enables passengers to label their luggage at home, drop bags at the fast bag drop and trace their luggage in real-time. The service will be introduced at the end of 2014. Read article »

2. Smart design: Fixed headrest support on Etihad’s new Economy seats

Hidden inside the press storm caused by Etihad’s announcement of its luxurious new A380 comes a smart design innovation of the airline’s new Economy seats. Etihad’s so-called ‘Economy Smart Seats’ feature a ‘fixed wing’ headrest, designed to provide a firm surface for passengers to lean on while sleeping. Read article »

3. Virgin Atlantic launches Google Glass and Sony Smartwatch ‘wearable tech’ trial

Virgin Atlantic has started a six-week trial together with airline IT provider SITA to learn how wearable technologies such as Google Glass and Sony Smartwatch could improve the passenger experience and speed up the check-in process at its London Heathrow lounge. Read article »

4. Chinese low-cost carrier Spring Airlines first to equip cabin crew with Google Glass

Following an earlier initiative by Virgin Atlantic to trial Google’s wearabla smart glass, Chinese LCC Spring Airlines has equipped flight attendants with Google Glasses on a flight from Shanghai to Chengdu, becoming the world’s first airline to deploy the device inside the cabin. Read article »

5. Iberia and airberlin latest carriers to develop smartwatch boarding pass

Airlines are teaming with consumer electronics firms to trial the latest wearable tech. Following the recent launch by Vueling and Sony of the first smartwatch-based boarding pass, Iberia and airberlin have announced their own initiatives, partnering with Samsung and Pebble respectively. Read article »

6. Philippine Airlines introduces ‘layered’ Business Class seat on its A330s

Philippine Airlines is the launch customer of Sogerma’s new Equinox 3D seat, which decrease the default pitch in a full-flat Business Class seat by raising one seat above the other when moving to the bed position. PAL is also the first full-service carrier to remove all IFE screens from its A330 widebodies, including those in Business Class, offering passengers wireless-only IFE&C instead. Read article »

7. India’s low-cost carriers get creative with their buy-on-board food packaging

Along with basic objectives such as protection and preservation, clever food packaging appeals to consumers’ emotions and brings a product alive. Two great examples of attractive and fun packaging can be found in India, where low-cost carriers JetKonnect and IndiGo have come up with quirky buy-on-board ranges. Read article »

8. Servair chefs make a weekly ‘surprise’ appearance onboard an Air France flight

Air France and its catering subsidiary Servair have launched a new initiative which sees a Servair chef boarding a long-haul Air France flight once a week in order to add a culinary touch to the inflight experience, gather direct feedback on the menus served, and train cabin crew on the spot. Read article »

9. China Airlines unveils ‘Family Couches’ on its upcoming B777-300ERs

Taiwan-based China Airlines is the second airline to install Air New Zealand’s innovative Skycouch. Renamed as Family Couch, China Airlines will install the seats – which can be turned into a small bed – in ten rows on the right-hand side of its Economy Class. Read article »

10. Delta upgrades cabin crew from Nokia smartphones to connected ‘phablets’

Following the provision of Nokia Lumia 820 smartphones to its entire crew last year, Delta will replace the devices with with larger Nokia Lumia 1520 ‘phablets’ later this year, saying the new devices are meant to serve as a platform for future, more personalized in-flight customer service. Read article »

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FREE REPORT » The State of Airline Marketing 2014

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The State of Airline Marketing 2014 is a free annual report published by airlinetrends.com and Simpliflying that identifies the latest trends in airline marketing and communication. The report puts the individual cases highlighted in the monthly editions of our premium Airline Marketing Benchmark Report into a broader perspective.
Download the free report here »

Faced with ever more experienced consumers, who routinely ignore the commercials and ads thrown at them, airlines – just like other consumer brands – are finding new ways to break through the advertising clutter to reach and engage consumers.

Besides dreaming up experiental marketing and creative – traditional media-based – initiatives, airlines around the world are equipping themselves with the tools and know-how to conquer the digital marketing revolution, experimenting with new social media platforms and launching mobile campaigns that link the online with the offline world.

In today’s fast-moving environment, it is important not just to be creative and innovative yourself but to be more striking than your immediate competition as well. However, given the speed at which things move in digital media, it is no easy task to stay on top of the latest trends, fads and innovations.

Over the past two-and-a-half years, SimpliFlying and airlinetrends.com have published the premium Airline Marketing Benchmark Report.  Published monthly, the report contains a selection of 15 of the most innovative marketing and advertising campaigns launched by airlines around the world.

Across the more than 350 innovative marketing initiatives [infographic here] that have been featured to date in the reports, we have identified 7 trends that range from onboard micro events to visual culture to people power and creative out-of-home initiatives – and reflect the current state of airline marketing.

VIDEO: 7 AIRLINE MARKETING TRENDS

MICRO EVENTS
Ranging from mid-air fashion shows to inflight bingo and product giveaways, a growing number of airlines are organizing surprise onboard events in order to turn an otherwise unremarkable flight into something passengers will talk about on social media, generating some ‘earned’ publicity for the airline.

COOL TECH
As technology is evolving at a rapid pace and many airlines have problems to think outside the box in order to develop innovative new services, forward-looking carriers are recognizing they better team up with the creative and technology classes to co-create new applications in so-called ‘hackatons’.

VISUAL CULTURE
Tapping into today’s visual culture, the selfie craze has also hit airlines, while airline videos on YouTube videos – from safety videos to commercials featuring football stars to tear-jerking spots – have gone on to become immensely popular. Read full article »

Innovation is the Marketing » BA high-tech neuro blanket tracks passenger’s emotions

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This trend appears in the upcoming edition of our 2014 The State of Airline Marketing, a free annual report published by airlinetrends.com and Simpliflying that identifies the latest trends in airline marketing and communication. Download the free report here »

Unlike investments in new aircraft, cabin interiors and seats, innovations in services in order to improve the passenger experience do not have to have large financial consequences.

It basically comes down to creative ideas, and the current revolution in social media and personal digital devices allows forward-looking airlines to come up with new services that — even though not all of them will be a great commercial success — will contribute to the airline’s brand by creating buzz and a sense that the airline is trying to improve the experience.

BA’s ‘Happiness Blanket’
In an effort to gain more insights into – as well as promote – its onboard products and services, British Airways has conducted an experiment at 30,000ft to find out more about how passengers sleep and rest in the air, in order to help shape services such as timing of meals, types of films shows and seat positions.

The airline asked passengers located in different cabins to cover themselves under a so-called ‘Happiness Blanket’, which is woven with fibre optics, uses neuro-sensors to measure a person’s brainwaves and ‘meditative state’, and which changes colour – from red to blue – to show when they are at their most relaxed.

Additionally, a special headband – the MyndPlay BrainBand – has been used to measure a person’s meditative state on a scale of one to 100. This is then relayed via Bluetooth to LED lights woven into the blanket.

When the number is low it will turn red or when it is near the 100 mark it will turn blue. As well as detecting brainwave activity, it can also monitor a user’s level of concentration and relaxation.

Behavioral response
British Airways will analyze the data from the blankets to make the in-flight experience better. The color patterns will give an idea to the crew on the behavioral response of the passengers to in-flight services such as the timing of meals, the menu, and the movie options. Read full article »

Kids drawings make their way to onboard amenities, aircraft liveries and boarding passes

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This case appears in the July 2014 edition of the Airline Marketing Benchmark, a monthly report by airlinetrends.com and Simpliflying that identifies the latest innovative marketing capaigns recently launched by airlines around the world. Learn more » 

There are few things that put a smile on people’s faces like kids creating imaginative drawings and proudly showing the result of their hard work. Moving beyond the regular (read: slightly boring) children drawing competitions, airlines such as Aeroflot, Korean Air and Jetstar Asia have opted to actually feature the creative results from these competitions on their inflight materials, aircraft liveries and boarding passes, which adds a sympathetic touch and a nice story to their brand.

Inflight event (Aeroflot)
To strike a chord with passengers, Aeroflot celebrated International Children’s Day in a creative way. On June 1st, young passengers flying with Aeroflot on that day took part in a painting exhibit onboard more than 20 long-haul flights.

The kids were given some time to create their drawings using a colouring set from the amenity kits for children. Other passengers were also involved in the action: As the kids were trying hard to make a nice drawings, parents were ready to help, while others were watching the process, eager to see the results.

Having finished their drawings, the little artists then proudly presented their masterpieces to the whole aircraft walking up and down the aisles and were rewarded with passengers admiration and a gift from Aeroflot – a funny inflatable plane.

“For kids it was a good chance to express their impressions of the journey with Aeroflot and for us to let them feel our care and love. The festive atmosphere made the flight unforgettable. It was a truly touching moment to see the kids being the heroes of the day!” reads an Aeroflot statement.

During the first half of June, Aeroflot also organized a ‘Colors of the Earth and Sky’ painting contest on social media. Out of 400 entries, 20 winners were chosen who were awarded with a visit to Aeroflot’s main office in the center of Moscow and their paintings could be used in the design of future amenity kits and other services for young passengers on board.

Aircraft livery (Korean Air)
Another sympathetic initiative is Korean Air’s ‘Draw Your Own Plane’ contest, which has been held several times by the airline. One campaign asked kids in elementary schools across South Korea to make a drawing inspired by South Korea’s heritage, while another event saw kids busy painting at one of Korean Air’s aircraft hangars (images here). The winning creations, chosen out of hundreds of drawings, were featured on the liveries of a Korean Air B747-400 and a B737-800. Read full article »

Cool Tech » American Airlines ‘hackaton’ challenges techies to create the next app

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American Airlines’ Wearable Hackaton case is part of the ‘COOL TECH’ trend that appears in the upcoming edition of our annual ‘The State Of Airline Marketing’ report.

As technology is evolving at a rapid pace and many airlines have problems to think outside the box in order to develop innovative mobile-based services, forward-looking carriers are recognizing they better team up with the creative and technology classes to co-create new applications.

#NewAmerican
Emerging out of bankruptcy protection in 2013, American Airlines has pushed hard to shake off its old image, trying to prove that its new brand image is more than skin-deep. In 2013, the airline organized a hack-a-thon at the annual SXSW event in Austin, inviting more than 60 developers to work with American’s mobile travel API (application programming interface) to see what they could come up with.

At the end of the event a total of 15 apps were created. The winning app entry was ‘AirPing’, a tool that provides live updates to flight changes and delays and estimate travel times to the airport. The app also provides airlines with real-time information on the whereabouts of passengers to better determine how many seats can be provided to customers on standby.

Tech co-creation
According to the airline, it looks to explore new touch points with its customers and partner with developers to bring their technology to market. As AA puts it: “Wearables will give travelers timely, unique data at the right time and place during their journey. New opportunities will also be opened thanks to in-flight Wi-Fi throughout all of American’s aircraft. And, location is always key and it just got big in a micro way with American’s aggressive beacon rollout to all its hub airports.”

At the recent 2014 Air Transport IT Summit, SITA and American Airlines also announced the largest deployment of iBeacons so far at Dallas Fort Worth’s Terminal 4. Starting this summer, a 180-day trial will use 100 iBeacons will involve a group of ‘beta’ passengers before making it available to the general public in the next quarter.

Wearable Hackaton
American’s hackaton at SXSW proved not to be a one-off initiative, as the airline has recently partnered with innovation platform Wearable World to organize the Wearable Hackaton event, which saw 200 creative techies make their way to San Francisco on June 6 and 7 to work directly with American’s development team, hardware and API partners to create the next app for wearable devices such as smart watches and interactive glasses, for trial on American Airlines. Read full article »

How airports are responding to today’s connected travellers with mobile services and tech amenities

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By Hildegard Assies, airporttrends•com

Consumers today want to be online and connected all the time, wherever they are. Travel is no exception, and this is often a time when travellers need information the most. Passengers are increasingly more connected as they travel and are empowered by smartphones. With the majority of air travellers (70 percent at last count) now carying one or more personal devices – a much higher penetration than among the population at large – there is an opportunity for airports to differentiate the airport experience through mobile-based services.

So how have airport operators been doing so far? In this briefing we take a look at how airports are responding to today’s connected travellers with mobile-based services and ‘tech amenities’.

The Intelligent Airport
Mobile technology and ubiquitous connectivity enable airports to continuously interact with their customers throughout their journey and as described in reports such as SITA’s ‘The Intelligent Airport’ [PDF here], mobile will be the game changer enabling airports (and airlines) to create personalised experiences.

According to SITA, ‘The Intelligent Airport’ is an airport which leverages the convergence of three trends: passenger self-service, mobility and collaborative decision-making – to create a smart predictive environment for the most effective flow of passengers and goods through an airport, both during normal operation as well as during times of disruption. Possible scenarios include:

Says Francesco Violante, CEO of SITA, “The rise of self-service and the growing impact of trends like big data, business intelligence, analytics, cloud and, of course, mobility, are making the ‘always-connected’ traveler a reality.” […] “What is clear is that most passengers want information services on their mobiles to help them through the journey, including flight search and flight and baggage status. So it is no surprise that the vast majority of passengers think technology helps when traveling.”

Although the realization of the ‘intelligent airport’ vision is still in an early stage, several forward-looking airports have come up with innovative mobile-based services:

READ FULL ARTICLE AT AIRPORTTRENDS•COM »»

China Airlines unveils ‘Family Couches’ on its upcoming B777-300ERs

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This article originally appeared on >talkairlines

By Kai-Chin Shih | >talkairlines

China Airlines has finally released details on its Boeing 777-300ER Economy Class, which will include normal Economy Class seats and the new Family Couch. Family Couch is a version of Air New Zealand’s (ANZ) revolutionary Skycouch. ANZ licensed the seating type to China Airlines earlier this year, making China Airlines the first airline other than ANZ to install the seats.

Family Couch is a row of three Economy Class seats that together adapt to create a flat flexible space to stretch out and relax in. Passengers can raise the footrests and armrests 90 degrees during inflight and enjoy a comfortable sleep. The experience can be further enhanced with the mattresses, pillows, and blankets provided by the cabin crew.

Specially designed seat-belts, to be attached to the passenger’s seat and the front seat-back (which is the reason why Family Couch won’t appear in the first row) are also handed out by the cabin crew, indicating that unless one buys Family Couch ticket, he/she can’t enjoy the bed-seat. When all the footrests and armrests are raised up, the total area of the seat set will be 64cm wide and 140cm long.

10 rows
This new type of seat will be installed in the ten rows after the first row of Economy Class. However, they will only be limited to the far right section. A three-person ticket for Family Couch can be up to 60 percent cheaper than the fare of three Business Class seats.

Both the Family Couch seats and the normal Economy Class seats are manufactured by Zodiac Aerospace. The seats are slimmer than China Airlines’ current Economy Class seats and can allow passengers to recline up to 118 degrees, compared to the current 106 degrees and seat pitch is 32 inches. Each seat comes with a 11.1-inch high definition personal screen which uses Panasonic’s new eX3 system.
Read full article »

BA to rightsize its short-haul fleet with slimline seats featuring holders

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

Following earlier initiatives by major competitors Lufthansa (168 seats on its A320s) and Air France (178 seats on A320s) to install more slimline seats (from Recaro) on their short-haul aircraft in order to become more competitive with low-cost rivals such as Easyjet (180 seats on A320), British Airways has just unveiled its new short-haul interiors.

On the BA’s existing A320 fleet of more than 40 aircraft, there are various different seats and configurations and at a recent shareholder presentation by BA owner IAG, it revealed that it aims to increase capacity across BA’s Airbus fleet by 6 per cent.

BA executive chairman Keith Williams said: “The short-haul landscape has changed enormously in recent years. To stay competitive and keep offering customers choice, great fares and great service, we are giving our cabins a radical makeover.”

Leather headrests, tablet holder
The new charcoal grey leather seats (manufactured by B/E Aerospace) are slimmer and ergonomically designed to allow BA to squeeze in extra seats for its economy cabins, Euro Traveller. This, says the airline, will allow it to offer more low fares. The new Euro Traveller chairs will have backs designed give more knee space for the customer behind and new eye-level seatback tablet-holders, which are rapidly becoming a standard feature on the latest generation of Economy seats. Read full article »