Qantas lets lounge visitors order their coffee via their smartphone

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

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 »

JetBlue new Boston – New York shuttle service offers free coffee and bagels to take onboard

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images: Harry Spencer, Adrian Leung, InsideFlyer

By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

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.

JetBlue Shuttle
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 »

KLM adds passenger reviews and ratings to flight search results

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By Marisa Garcia, FlightChic

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 »

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FlightPath3D lets passengers book an airport taxi via the IFE flight map

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This article first appeared on Future Travel Experience

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 »

Aeromexico reimagines B787 galley as entrance lobby and self-service area

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By Jonny Clark, TheDesignAir

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.

Super Diamond
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.

Espacio Premier
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 »

EVA Air next airline to roll out Rimowa’s digital luggage tag

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By Future Travel Experience

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.

Emirates partners with Costa Coffee, Moet & Chandon and Voss for in-lounge bars

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By Jonny Clark, TheDesignAir

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.

‘Barista Experience’
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 »

Sign of the Times: Digital art installations at Changi Airport aim to engage today’s connected travellers

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

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 »

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Delta raises the bar in Business Class with new enclosed ‘Delta One Suites’

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This article first appeared on TheDesignAir

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.

Privacy
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 »

SWISS’ new Bombardier CS100 aircraft brings passenger-friendly cabin to regional jets

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Image by Andreas Spaeth

By Marisa Garcia, FlightChic

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.

SWISS CSeries 100
In mid-July, the first CSeries 100 aircraft entered service with launch customer SWISS, and won the hearts of passengers and industry watchers alike.

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 »

Ryanair lets passengers rate their flight via its mobile app

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

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.

Feedback results
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.

TripAdvisor aims to make the airline passenger experience more transparent

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By Marisa Garcia, FlightChic

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 Flights
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 »

Jetstar Asia launches inflight book exchange to encourage holiday reading

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

In an effort to encourage reading among Singaporeans while onboard the plane and during their holiday getaways, Qantas’ Singapore-based LCC Jetstar Asia has launched a book swap initiative.

Billed as “the world’s first flying book exchange” and the “latest in in-flight entertainment,” the Jetstar ‘Big Book Swap’ is a partnership with Singapore’s National Library Board.

On July 30th, Singapore’s inaugural National Reading Day, over 500 books and bestselling titles donated by the National Library Board, MPH Bookstores, Select Books, Book Point and Write Editions will be distributed to passengers at the boarding gates of selected Jetstar flights at Changi Airport Terminal 1.

Book. Fly. Swap.
Passengers will be invited to take the books on holiday, and leave them in the seat-backs on their return flight for another traveller to read en-route to their holiday destination. Passengers wanting to contribute their own books to the flying book club can also get a Book Swap sticker from the Jetstar crew.

The idea for the Big Book Swap was based on a survey of over 3,900 Singaporeans that found that reading was not a priority for most people. 55 percent of the respondents read less than five times a year, with 42 percent stating that the primary reason for not picking up a book was due to a lack of spare time. Despite holidays being a time for people to unwind and relax, only 7 percent usually read while on vacation. Read full article »

Pre-flight IFE: How entertainment apps and kiosks are reshaping the IFE landscape

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By Ryan Ghee, Future Travel Experience

In-flight entertainment (IFE) has long been an integral part of the air travel experience. A wide array of content delivered on a high-spec screen can help to make a long flight a far more enjoyable experience. On the other hand, spending hours on end with no access to entertainment can make for a laborious journey.

Increasingly, airlines that have avoided offering IFE in the past – mostly low-cost carriers (LCCs) and those operating short-haul networks – are starting to take advantage of technological developments to offer entertainment content in various forms. In fact, the landscape is changing so rapidly that travellers are starting to question why some airlines, regardless of their business model or the length of the flight, are failing to offer at least some form of digital entertainment.

Portable, scalable onboard networks – such as those adopted by the likes of XL Airways, Iberia Express, and Arkefly – and which allow passengers to stream content to their own devices in-flight, have quickly gained traction, but some airlines are taking a slightly different approach.

Canadian carrier Air Transat offers a pre-flight content download service, while Transavia also offers something similar, albeit with a different provider.

IFE content at the airport
However, for those who are not quite as organised and don’t manage to download any content before leaving home, other solutions have emerged. If you’re flying with SWISS from Geneva Airport, you can now – well, for the next three months at least – download content to your smartphone or tablet while waiting at the gate or in a lounge.

The new ‘SWISS e-media’ service allows passengers to access a variety of content via a dedicated Wi-Fi network. If you download the SWISS e-media app, you can also download content to watch in-flight. The service has been developed in partnership with SITA, which is also responsible for the installation of ‘EntertainMe’ kiosks at London Heathrow’s Terminal 5. Read full article »

Emirates adds augmented reality touch to its Economy Class amenity kits

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

In an effort to have passengers take their amenity kit with them after their flight as a branded souvenir, airlines increasingly come up with innovative designs. Think amenity kits that can be re-used as a branded tablet case, while for example SWISS offers passengers in Business a ‘winter edition’ of its amenity kit that includes a beanie hat and a neck warmer.

Sign of the times
Well timed to coincide with the current Pokémon Go craze, Emirates has launched the world’s first interactive amenity kit in Economy Class that utilises augmented reality (AR) technology to unlock content on mobile devices.

The kit bags come in six designs inspired by the colours and patterns of six regions in Emirates’ global network – Australasia, Latin America, Middle East, Africa, Europe and the Far East.

Blippar
By downloading the Blippar AR mobile phone app (iOS, Android), and using it to scan the patterns on the bags, passengers can unlock content including activities and health tips for a more comfortable and relaxing travel experience. The content will be refreshed every six months.

The Blippar app is a ‘visual browser’ which enables customers to discover more about the world around them. Customers can point at thousands of objects already recognised by Blippar (ranging from laptops to clothing and food to pets) to get additional information on those items. The content explains the object, the context and other useful and interesting facts – and is sourced from Blippar’s knowledge graph called Blipparsphere. Read full article »