February 2017 | For years, Lufthansa has been one of the very few airlines – if not the only one – to offer passengers waiting for their flight at the gate complimentary coffee, tea (image), and newspapers at main airports around Germany, including its Frankfurt and Munich hubs.
Or as Lufthansa has stated in the past: “Offering hot beverages to passengers prior to departure is a long Lufthansa tradition. Lufthansa first began offering hot coffee and tea from large thermos flasks in the mid-80s and the first automatic vending machines serving freshly brewed coffee were installed at airports in 1993.”
However, similar to any other full service carrier around the globe who is looking to rationalize every cost item, Lufthansa has to rethink these kind of free amenities. Instead of cutting costs by simply terminating the free hot beverages and print newspapers the airline has come up with a smart alternative that taps into trends such as ‘paid premium’ and digitalization.
Coffee at the gate
Following trials in the first half of 2015 at selected gates at Frankfurt and Munich airports, Lufthansa a few months ago partnered with Nespresso to bring the ubiqituous coffee capsules to the gate area.
The premium Nespresso coffee doesn’t come for free though. Passengers can choose from regular coffee, espresso, cappuccino ior latte macchiato (the latter with fresh milk), each at the cost of 2 euros. For those passengers who might consider bringing their own coffee pods: For the business market, a different pad-shaped system of Nespresso pods exists which are not interchangeable with the consumer capsules.
According to Lufthansa, a total of 20 Nespresso Coffee Points have been placed throughout Frankfurt and Munich airports so that passengers from different gates can access the machines. Read full article »
THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON FLIGHTCHIC
January 2017 | SAS will open a new city lounge at Stockholm’s Grand Central station, which offers flyers all the exclusivity and comfort of membership in a private club.
The opening of the new club follows the successful launch in June of last year of the first SAS City Lounge, located in the heart of Stockholm’s business district, in Stureplan.
Stockholm Grand Central
The new 600 square meter lounge is located at Stockholm Grand Central station, approximately 150 m from the Arlanda Express airport train, and offers the same private-club service as the original SAS city lounge, also opened in partnership with No18 Office & Lounge.
Guests enjoy free WiFi, reception and concierge service, open work spaces and telephone rooms, as well as complimentary coffee and tea. Meeting and conference rooms are also available to rent.
“The positive reaction to the first SAS city lounge in Stureplan underlined the growing demand for such services, and how much customers appreciate the exclusive membership-club feeling and the opportunity to do their work when and how it suits them,” the airline states in its announcement.
New ways of working
The new lounge’s proximity to direct train and bus services to Arlanda is intended to be more convenient to business and leisure travellers alike, and keeps step with the airline’s focus on satisfying productivity flyers. The service model appeals both to traditional business travellers and entrepreneurs, including freelancers who can make the most of comfortable temporary offices to hold their meetings in the city.
“We continuously aim to improve our offer to our frequent flyers. Inspired by other membership clubs around the world, we now offer people who fly with us frequently opportunities to meet, work effectively or simply relax in a comfortable environment,” says Stephanie Smitt Lindberg, VP Customer Journey & Loyalty, SAS. Read full article »
December 2016 | As the flag carrier of a country that prides itself on its culinary excellence, Air France in the past years has been creative in promoting its onboard cuisine.
Besides partnering with many Michelin star chefs (like many carriers do), the airline regularly invites a chef to join a flight to personally introduce a new menu to passengers in Business and First.
A few years ago, Air France also toured with a food truck around Manhattan handing out free samples of its inflight meals to the public.
Now, in an ‘on trend’ initiative that builds upon the popularity of food delivery services such as Foodora, Deliveroo, GrubHub and Uber EATS, Air France has launching the ‘Bon Appétit’ campaign in Montreal.
To coincide with the grand opening of his new L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon restaurant in Montreal, Joël Robuchon – known as the chef with the most Michelin stars in the world – has partnered with Air France and delivery app Foodora to give Montreal residents the chance to have a free three course meal delivered directly to their homes.
The offer runs from 9 to 15 December 2016 and each day 10 menus are made available via Foodora. Those who want to order the gourmet menu have to use a discount code (BONAPPETIT) to have the 3 course meal – which is priced at CAD 95 – delivered for free. All dishes are prepared in the chef’s new restaurant which opened to the public on 7 December. Read full article »
December 2016 | Taking a cue from Starbucks’ mobile ordering service, as well as fellow down-under airline Air New Zealand’s coffee ordering service, Qantas recently introduced a new service at its lounges across Australia that invites lounge visitors to order their barista-made coffee via their smartphone.
In an effort to offer peace of mind to busy travellers who have navigated traffic and queues at security before having to line up again in the lounge to get a barista-made coffee, Qantas has partnered with Skip, a free app that helps customers “skip the queue” by ordering and paying for coffee and food.
In the Qantas Clubs alone, baristas brew over 1,000 cups of tea and coffee every day. In an average week the Sydney Qantas Club sees the biggest demand for coffee, with 6am to 7am being the peak demand time.
The mobile ordering service has been available since July 2016 and the Skip app can be used to order coffee at Qantas Clubs and Business Lounges at Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney domestic airports.
Qantas passengers using the Skip app can also select the time they want to collect their coffee and receive a text message when their order is ready. In addition, touchscreens have been installed around the lounges so those who aren’t Skip users can order before walking up to the bar.
According to Skip general manager Bill Bizos during the soft launch most people preferred downloading the app to using kiosks. Read full article »
November 2016 | Routes with a large number of business travellers travelling back and forth on the same day for meetings are a very lucrative market for airlines.
Examples of busy business corridors include New York and Boston, Chicago, Washington, as well as Los Angeles and San Francisco in the USA, London and Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt in Europe, Tokyo and Osaka and Shanghai and Hong Kong, Beijing in Asia. Besides strong competition between airlines, these shuttle routes also face increasing competition from high-speed rail services.
We have reported before how Delta aims to increase frequent flyer loyalty on routes between New York and Boston, Chicago, Washington, as well as Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle by improving the amenities on the ground and on board.
Now JetBlue has set its eyes on the lucrative shuttle market. At the end of October, the airline lauched its first shuttle service between New York LaGuardia and Boston Logan offering 6 daily return flights.
Having stepped up competition in the transcontinental market in 2013 with its new A321 aircraft that feature the Mint Business Class, as well as amenities like an inflight snack station, JetBlue stated it plans to inject more competition into the Boston-New York airline ‘shuttle’ market, which is currently being dominated by Delta and American Airlines.
According to investment publication The Motley Fool, the airline shuttles have lost customers to rail travel since Amtrak debuted its high-speed Acela Express service between Boston and Washington in late 2000.
“Travel between Boston and LaGuardia is ready for a little JetBlue reinvention,” said Jamie Perry, VP Marketing, JetBlue. “For years, one of the northeast’s busiest travel routes has been plagued by high prices and a lack of creativity. Our Boston-based business customers and anyone who has been forced to pay up or make the long drive will love this new option.” Read full article »
November 2016 | Recently, a growing number of online travel agents and airlines have partnered with third-party data providers TripAdvisor and Routehappy to help customers learn more about the quality of their flight.
By sharing candid details of the passenger experience airlines could move beyond commodity pricing and beyond competition solely on fares, instead giving customer fact-based metrics about their products which would justify a higher fare.
There is an important precedent for this change in consumer mindset in the hospitality sector. Today’s informed and savvy travellers are making their hotel choices based on ‘reputation pricing’ —the correlation between a brand’s online reputation and the premium it can charge. This shift from ‘sticker price’ bookings to bookings based on the quality of the experience has been one of the big positive effects of TripAdvisor on the hotel industry.
Rate My Flight
Social and digital frontrunner, KLM is taking transparency to the next level by sharing the feedback it gathers directly from passengers with customers who are looking to book a ticket with the airline.
After extensive experimentation, KLM started showing star ratings and reviews in the search flow of the KLM website in June of this year.
Customers searching for a flight can see the actual reviews from previous passengers who have flown that flight in the past, based on reviews collected from KLM passengers using the airline’s ‘Rate My Flight’ feature. Read full article »
THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON FUTURE TRAVEL EXPERIENCE
November 2016 | Known for its highly interactive, 3D ‘geotainment’ moving maps – which are featured on the IFE systems onboard airlines such as Air France, KLM, Virgin Atlantic, Norwegian and Finnair – FlightPath 3D showed Future Travel Experience at the recent APEX EXPO in Singapore how it can now help airlines tap into “aircraft-to-door” ancillary revenue opportunities with its new ‘In-flight Travel Planner’, which is supported by multiple patents.
Book airport transfer
As Duncan Jackson, President of FlightPath3D, demonstrated to FTE, passengers can enter their final address (hotel, home, etc.) into the moving map in order to access myriad personalised features.
For instance, rather than simply displaying the estimated time of arrival at the destination airport, the In-flight Travel Planner can draw upon historical or real-time traffic data to provide an accurate time of arrival at the passenger’s final destination.
Partnerships with the likes of Uber and SuperShuttle also allow passengers to view and book ground transportation options while they are flying to help make the arrivals experience more seamless.
After booking their ride in-flight, passengers receive an SMS upon landing to confirm their booking and pick-up location. Read full article »
THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON THE DESIGNAIR
November 2016 | Aeromexico has taken delivery of it’s new Boeing 787-9 and with it, a brand new Classe Premier product designed for the long-haul routes the aircraft will fly. Adorned with the Quetzalcoatl one-off livery, the aircraft will surprise its passengers both outside and now inside too.
With the airline currently offering a 2 x 2 x 2 configuration on the current 787-8’s that Aeromexico fly, this new cabin is a giant leap ahead in passenger comfort and space. The new seats now are configured in a 1 x 2 x 1 configuration with every passenger now receiving aisle access, a first for the Mexican carrier.
The 36 seats by B/E Aerospace have been upgraded from the side-by-side Diamond range to the new Super Diamond range, which offer increased passenger space and privacy, similar to those found on Qatar Airways 787s and feature 18inch touchscreen hi-def screens and also now live TV channels.
As well as a large spacious business class cabin, the entrance way at Door 2 has been completely redesigned by New Territory, spearheaded by Luke Miles, the same creative director that reimagined much of Virgin Atlantic’s inflight product over the last decade. So it is no surprise to see a communal walk-up bar space re-emerge on this aircraft.
New Territory’s design for the onboard social space (known as ‘Espacio Premier’) however, has taken a departure from the more prescriptive bar space with limited seating to a more welcoming kitchen-style environment which is more intuitive and less disruptive to the natural LOPA of the aircraft. Read full article »
THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON FUTURE TRAVEL EXPERIENCE
October 2016 | EVA Air has become the first Asian airline to adopt the RIMOWA Electronic Tag, the first fully integrated mobility solution for luggage.
RIMOWA Electronic Tag, which is already used by Lufthansa, will be implemented system-wide by fellow Star Alliance carrier EVA Air from 1 December. The exclusive announcement was made at Future Travel Experience Asia EXPO 2016 at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. RIMOWA also hosted an after-show event at its Marina Bay Sands store to mark the occasion.
The RIMOWA Electronic Tag suitcase features an embedded digital bag tag, which can be updated by passengers using the airline’s app. Passengers can submit data from their smartphone with just one tap, via Bluetooth, to the RIMOWA Electronic Tag and the e-ink digital display is updated with exactly the same information that would appear on a paper bag tag.
Dieter Morszeck, President & CEO of RIMOWA, said: “We are proud to be working with such a strong and experienced partner as EVA Air. The launch of RIMOWA Electronic Tag in Asia represents another milestone on the road to digitalisation in the travel industry.”
While EVA Air joins Lufthansa as an early adopter of the pioneering RIMOWA Electronic Tag solution, a number of other airlines are currently trialling the solution ahead of potential implementations in the near to medium term.
THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON THE DESIGNAIR
October 2016 | Emirates has unveiled their newly renovated business class lounge in Dubai International Airport’s concourse 2 after two years of work. At a cost of USD 11m the newly renovated space includes three new dining and drinking experience areas.
The new offering is in addition to the seven other locations within the vast lounge with gourmet cuisine prepared by on-site chefs and a complimentary full bar service, which includes premium wine, spirits and champagne.
The new spaces are all prime examples of brand experiences that are opening in lounges around the world, such as Etihad and Six Senses, Qantas and Rockpool or Air France and Clarins. Emirates has recently partnered with Costa Coffee, Voss water and the long-lasting relationship with Moët Hennessy is now also reinforced in the lounge experiences as well as onboard.
In the new lounge Costa has brought a ‘Barista experience’ to the lounge around the clock, with flat whites, Italian coffee blends and signature pastries on offer to passengers needing a strong wake up mid-journey. Read full article »
September 2016 | Connectivity and digitalization are revolutionizing the airline passenger experience, most notably by empowering passengers to manage their journey by providing them with real-time information and on-demand services.
Tapping into the mindset of today’s connected travellers, Singapore’s Changi Airport has developed interactive art installations at its terminals in an effort to “engage, excite and encourage visitors to explore Singapore in and beyond the airport.”
Motion Silhouette Wall
Located at Terminal 2’s Departure Transit Lounge, the Motion Silhouette Wall uses motion-sensing technology to respond to movements in real time. Animated backdrops of Singapore landmarks such as the National Stadium and patterns change as passengers in front of the wall move and interact with the animation.
Dots Portrait Wall
Located at the other side of the installation and using the same motion-sensing technology, is a Dot Portraits Wall where passengers can make a monochromatic portrait of themselves taken at different spots of Singapore, such as Gardens by the Bay and Merlion Park. The finished image then appears on the screen in a black and white flip-dot display.
Passengers can send these portraits by e-mail to themselves as a ‘memento’ or can be forward to friends and family. Read full article »
THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON THE DESIGNAIR
August 2016 | When airlines such as Qatar Airways have announced recently they are working on brand new Business Class seats and Emirates is working on new First Class suites, it was a surprising twist to see Delta, a US carrier, to leap-frog the Gulf-based competition with an adapted Thomson Aero Seating product by UK-based design agency Factorydesign.
Business Class ‘Suite’
The new Delta One Suite is the first Business Class cabin in the world to feature a sliding door for each suite – a feature normally saved for First Class passengers. The doors are a key part of Delta and Factorydesign’s collaborative efforts to improve customer comfort and privacy. The industrial design consultancy worked in close partnership with Delta and seat manufacturer Thompson Aero Seating throughout the design, development and engineering process to achieve this.
The word “cabin” is important in this announcement, as JetBlue’s Mint product offers 4 mini-suites on their aircraft featuring sliding doors, however, the rest of the seats don’t offer this level of privacy.
The seat may look familiar, and follows the traditional 1 x 2 x 1 staggered forward facing design that Delta has already adopted in many of its long-haul aircraft. In fact the product has more in common with SAS’ new Thomson Vantage XL seats that the London based design firm also worked on.
The ability to add doors was driven by the A350’s extra width, explains Factorydesign’s senior designer Ryan Graham. “The high degree of customisation possible with Thompson’s seating platform enabled us to sit down and look at the potential we had when putting it onto a wider aircraft.”
“People like to have some privacy, and the feeling of ‘owning their space’, and this is exactly what the door provides. It is a major step-forward in Business Class travel. In the creation of the new Business Class Suite, Delta and Factorydesign extracted and interpreted the DNA of the Delta brand to create a unique three-dimensional product.” Read full article »
Image by Andreas Spaeth
August 2016 | Aircraft manufacturers are creating new passenger-friendly cabin environments by re-thinking the fuselage structure and introducing more spacious cabins with larger windows and improved cabin pressurisation, among other innovations.
Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner and Airbus’ A350 cabins, as well as Airbus’ new AirSpace cabin exemplify this new design thinking for widebody aircraft. On narrowbody aircraft, Boeing’s SkyInterior cabin delivers cabin improvements, as does Zodiac Aerospace’s ISIS (Innovative Space Interior System) cabin featured on Delta’s A320-family aircraft.
Now these cabin improvements found on Boeing and Airbus aircraft are coming to regional aircraft with Bombardier’s new CSeries regional jet.
As Aviation Week put it nicely: “Aerospace is driven by innovation” is a timeworn slogan used by industry executives and enthusiasts. Yet there hasn’t been a clean-sheet aircraft in the single-aisle segment for 28 years. To an outsider, this would seem odd—particularly as single-aisles comprise 70 percent of mainline jetliner production. Bombardier corrected that anomaly this month when the C-Series entered service with Swiss. After flying in the C Series and digging deeper into its design and systems, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is bringing significant value-creating technology into the market.”
Larger windows, wider middle seat, mood lighting
The CSeries aircraft contains a high usage of composite materials, is quieter, features larger windows, and the cabin features large, rotating overhead storage bins, allowing each passenger to stow a sizeable carry-on bag overhead.
The combination of the bigger windows and the higher ceiling make this smaller single aisle aircraft feel more spacious, while mood lighting can brighten up the space even more. The aircraft also features two spacious lavatories. Read full article »
August 2016 | In the past two and a half years, 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 – called ‘Always Getting Better’ – to appeal more to business travellers.
“This is not a PR stunt,” said CEO Michael O’Leary at the launch of the initiative, describing the Always Getting Better programme as a “transformative” evolution and a “fundamental change” in the way both he and Ryanair do business. ‘”If I’d known being nice to customers would have been so good for business, I would have done it years ago.”
Rate My Flight
As part of the third phase of the program – which focuses on digital innovation – Ryanair earlier this year added a ‘Rate My Flight’ feature to its app. Passengers who want to rate their flight have to download the regular Ryanair app, allow for push notifications, and are send the survey through the app upon landing.
The Rate My Flight survey asks passengers to evaluate each element of their flight, from boarding through food and drink provision to crew helpfulness and overall service standards. Ryanair says it uses the feedback to tweet and improve its offerings as much in real time as possible.
The ‘Rate My Flight’ intiative was trialled in March and went live in May of this year. Ryanar has just published the first feedback results, based on more than 8,800 passengers who used the ‘Rate My Flight’ function during June and July.
More than half of respondents (53 percent) rated their overall experience as ‘very good’, 36 percent rated their experience as ‘OK’ and 11 percent rated it as ‘poor’. Crew friendliness received the highest positive rating, with 63 percent scoring this ‘very good’.
At the other end of the scale, boarding received the highest number of ‘poor’ responses, with 14 percent saying they were unhappy with the boarding process.
July 2016 | Airlines have long relied on awards and recognitions from industry watchers and major publications to reassure customers of the quality of their products and services, in very much the same way that professional critics and ratings firms have put their seal of approval on restaurants and hotels for decades.
But the rise of the internet has disrupted that ‘expert-review’ dynamic. The active participation of consumers on ratings sites which evaluate everything from films to books to consumer goods to services, and of course travel, suggests that today’s consumers trust popular opinion over ratings which could be perceived as an extension of marketing and advertising (a.k.a ‘the experience is the marketing’).
TripAdvisor is now looking to shake up the airline industry the same way it has hotels, by launching airline reviews. The sixteen year old travel review site has accrued over 350 million individual travel reviews covering 6.5 million hotels, restaurants and attractions and has now expanded its TripAdvisor Flights service to let customers grade and review airlines around the world in much the same way that they would review a night’s stay somewhere.
These reviews are then combined with an external rating of the amenities on a particular route, such as the type of seat offered and whether there are power ports and wi-fi available to flyers, to give it an overall ‘FlyScore’ which will rate the quality of an itinerary on a 1 to 10 scale.
Consumers can sort their flight search results by price, duration, the ‘FlyScore’, or a blend of factors categorised by TripAdvisor as “Best value of time and money.” TripAdvisor expects to refine the system, introducing further enhancements this year.
According to The Economist, “History suggests the firm has a good chance of making an eventual impact. If it does reach its potential, it might just encourage flyers to change their buying behaviour. If customers are willing to pay, say, $30 more for a seat rated as excellent compared with one that is terrible, then maybe airlines will pull out of their race to the bottom. A world in which carriers compete for the quality of the reviews they receive, as well as the price they offer, would be a better one.” Read full article »