Innovative airlines 2011: #11 Asiana Airlines

Completing our ‘11 innovative airlines’ list is Korea-based Asiana Airlines, the ‘Airline of the Year 2010,’ and one of the just six ‘5-star airlines’ in the world. Asiana has been covered several times on, for example because of its introduction of thoughtful services like ‘PreMom’ and ‘Happy Mom,’ which make life easier easier for expectant mothers and families travelling with infants. Since 1999, Asiana also offers a ‘coat storage service’ at Seoul Incheon Airport during the winter season for passengers travelling to sunny destinations.

Cabin crew as differentiator
Other innovative services from Asiana include an onboard chef and sommelier, introduced in November 2010, as well as a sushi chef on select flights to Los Angeles. During summer holiday season of 2009, Asiana cabin crew offered in-flight make-up services and performed magic shows for kids. In fact Asiana’s service standards are so well regarded the airline was asked by the Korean government to share its service expertise with Korean restaurants in Japan, China and the United States in a series of education seminars.

Seats and AVOD upgrade
Besides its focus on the softer human-side of the travel experience, Asiana in June 2010 started an USD70 million upgrade program, introducing new flat-bed seats in Business Class – which reduced the number of business-class seats from 32 to 24. The upgrade program also includes a new AVOD IFE system on both long and short-haul aircraft, making Asiana one of the few airlines to offer free AVOD on short-haul flights. 

Although the airline is currently facing some serious liquidity problems due to an overly ambitious acquisition by its parent company Kumho of a logistics company, Asiana just announced it will buy six A380s as it challenges larger rival Korean Air on intercontinental routes. Deliveries of the A380s will begin from April 2014, and Asiana in 2016 will also receive the first of 30 A350s it has on order.

Asiana extends ‘Happy Mom’ service with ‘PreMom’ package for expectant parents

Last year, we reported on Asiana’s ‘Happy Mom’ service, which aims to make life easier for families traveling with infants by offering dedicated check-in counters at the airport, and free breast feeding nursing covers, baby slings, and car seat-like baby seats in the air. South Korea-based Asiana Airlines says the Happy Mom service has proved to be very popular so it decided to extend the service to couples who are expecting a baby. 

PreMom Service
Started at November 1st 2010, Asiana’s new ‘PreMom’ service aims to solve the inconveniences that expected mothers face at airports and inside cabins during traveling. Services of the PreMom package include an exclusive check-in counter at the airport to minimize waiting time and an electric cart service to transport expectant mothers (and companions) to the departure gates 50 minutes before takeoff. 

At the gate priority boarding is offered in order to give pregnant women the maximum amount of space to move through the aisles of the aircraft. Onboard, front row seating is also provided to minimize the walking distance and to allow for easier access to the toilet. Asiana also hands out sleeping socks to keep expecting mothers warm and to help their blood circulation. A brochure with information on cabin stretching and airline regulations for travelling when pregnant is also handed out. Finally, Asiana Airlines has developed a special priority tag so checked luggage will be delivered more quickly upon arrival. In a clever commercial move, the socks, brochure and luggage tags are sponsored by Korean baby brand PreBebe.
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Smart tray table cover designs help keep kids busy inflight

A new range of smartly designed products is helping to ease air travel easier for parents traveling with kids. Dubbed ‘inflight entertainment for kids’, these sleeve-style play centers can be slided over any airplane seat tray table, turning it into an activity center, so infants can be kept busy when in flight. 

For toddlers aged 6 to 24 months, the Air Play is a double-sided tray table cover activity center that is designed to fit over most airplane tray tables. It has different features on each side so that a child can play whether the tray table is down or stowed in its upright and locked position. The brightly colored tray cover’s activities include a crinkle strip, repositionable geometric shapes, different color ball beads,  an oversized buckle, button and zipper, as well as a peek-a-boo mirror; a photo album, and a mesh pocket that contains a soft dog character rattle toy. The Air Play Tray Table Cover retails for USD29.99 (EUR22.50/GBP20) and is available through online retailers such as and Babies R Us.
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Asiana’s ‘Happy Mom’ service helps make life easier for flying families

South Korea-based Asiana Airlines is rolling out a new service to make life easier for families traveling with infants. Asiana’s somewhat traditionally named ‘Happy Mom’ service lets young families use dedicated check-in counters at the airport, and onboard the airline provides free breast feeding nursing covers, baby slings, and car seat-like baby seats. 

More specifically, on the ground Asiana provides what it calls the ‘3E services’ – Express Check In, Express Boarding and Express Baggage – to allow young families to shorten the waiting period at airports. Acknowledging that mothers face difficulties in feeding their infants onboard (usually, feeding takes place in the toilets or the galleys of the aircraft), Asiana provides breastfeeding covers, which allow mothers to remain in their seat, and at the same time have some privacy when feeding their baby. For parents with infants that are too large or heavy (often babies older than 6 months) to fit in a bassinet, Asiana  in association with Agabang, a Korean manufacturer of baby products, developed an infant sling, so parents can sit more comfortable with their baby during the flight. Parents of older toddlers can also request a baby safety seat to be installed, so they do not have to bring their own.
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