By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com
2 March 2013 | Delta Business Class customers will soon be able to have a more comfortable sleep as the airline has teamed up with Westin Hotels to create an in-flight version of Westin Hotel’s ‘Heavenly Bed’ pillows and comforters.
Dubbed ‘Westin Heavenly In-Flight Bedding’, the branded amenities will be available from June on for passengers on US transcontinental routes and between Atlanta and Hawaii. Passengers on flights longer than 12 hours also will receive a lumbar pillow. A few years ago, the hotel group had a similar agreement for a brief period with United Airlines on transcontinental routes in the U.S.
Says Joanne Smith, Delta’s SVP In Flight Service, “In recent surveys, customers have told us that the most important part of the in-flight experience is sleep. The new Westin Heavenly In-Flight bedding product is just one of the new amenities Delta is introducing to ensure customers achieve a restful, rejuvenating in-flight experience.”
The Delta x Westin tie-up is part of a series of investments in several other products and services to revamp the in-flight sleep experience. By the end of 2013, 70 percent of all Delta aircraft will have flat beds and by early 2014, Delta’s entire widebody fleet is scheduled to be complete.
To create a more restful cabin environment, flight attendants also are now proactively adjusting for appropriate lighting based on the time of day and streamlining cabin announcements to decrease noise disruptions. Delta has also introduced an ‘Express Meal’ service that features lighter fare and a one-step delivery process on all international flights departing after 9 p.m. and flights between JFK and London’s Heathrow Airport, and will add a so-called ‘white noise’ channel on its IFE system. Delta declined to say how much money it was putting into the new sleep strategy, describing it as a “substantial investment, in the hundreds of millions of dollars,” which would also cover the installation of flat-bed seats.
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By Brian Pillsbury
8 June 2012 | Delta Air Lines has again earned a top 5 finish on our ranking of most innovative airlines, thanks to a number of ongoing and innovative investments that, in Delta’s words, have the aim of “building a better airline, not just a bigger one.” On the heels of its 2008 acquisition of Northwest, Delta’s consumer rankings suffered as passenger complaints increased. Airline mergers and their associated integration activities typically impact negatively customer satisfaction. However, Delta’s response to that in the form a USD 2 billion dollar investment program (which runs through 2013) put in place to improve the quality of its products and services deserve particular attention in our view.
As part of the multi-billion quality improvement program, Delta is focusing significant attention on the training of its customer-facing staff. The enhanced training programs and seminars are being targeted to the roughly 11,000 Delta passenger service agents and supervisors who are the day-to-day face of the airline to the travelling public. It has been over a decade since Delta undertook such a large-scale training effort, and the renewed focus on service standards comes in light of Delta’s poor customer satisfaction scores in industry surveys in recent years.
Responding to passenger feedback for a more personal touch on the ground, Delta has already revived its ‘Red Coats’ service agents. In their role as a ‘super’ passenger service agent, the Red Coats’ primary mission is to fix customer problems. Easy to spot in busy airports thanks to their trademark red blazers, the Delta Red Coats carry hand-held computers that allow them to handle an array of issues on the spot, such as helping customers make flight connections, issuing new boarding passes or providing food vouchers when necessary. Over 800 agents are currently deployed airside at airports across the US, as well as at Delta’s Asian hub at Tokyo Narita.
Expanding on its customer service footprint in the social networking space, Delta became the first airline to offer dedicated customer support via Facebook, as it brought the ‘Delta Assist’ Twitter service to the social network in March 2011, providing real-time travel assistance. To better serve its Spanish language customers, it also launched the @deltaassist_ES Twitter channel in the fall of 2011.
Delta was also the first airline to roll out mobile bag tracking capabilities via its Delta app for smartphones, allowing passengers to track their checked baggage in real-time. The airline also quietly introduced a premium service in partnership with the German automaker Porsche at its Atlanta hub for its highest-tier Diamond Medallion customers. Selected arriving passengers are escorted from the plane to a waiting Porsche luxury vehicle for a ride to their cars in the parking lot or another terminal for a connecting flight. Porsche has provided the vehicles to Delta free of charge, but has placed information about the car models in the vehicles and in Delta Sky Lounges at the airport.
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12 March 2012 | While many airlines around the world offer their premium passengers a complimentary door-to-door transfer by luxury car from their home, office or hotel to the airport, a handful of carriers (including Air France, Lufthansa, SWISS, Qatar Airways and Oman Air) also provide their most valuable customers a limousine transfer from the airport terminal or airline lounge straight to the aircraft. Portuguese carrier TAP, meanwhile, offers its passengers a paid option (euro 110 to 140) for a fast track through security at the airport and a transfer by private car to the aircraft, as part of its Personalised Assistance program.
For airlines looking to enhance the ground experience for their premium passengers, but who have limited funds to invest or do not want to charge separately for the service, Delta Air Lines has come up with an innovative solution. Delta and German automaker Porsche have partnered at Atlanta Hartfield-Jackson Airport to shuttle some of the airline’s most important passengers to and from the aircraft in one of six Cayennes or two Panameras. For example, arriving passengers are escorted to a Porsche and chauffeured to another terminal for a connecting flight or to their cars in the parking lot.
Porsche has provided the vehicles to Delta free of charge, but has placed information about the car models in the vehicles and in Delta Sky Lounges at the airport. The partnership is a good example of the ‘tryvertising’ trend (coined by trendwatching.com and featured several times before on airlinetrends.com).
The premium service is available for select Diamond Medallion — those who fly more than 125,000 miles a year — members of Delta’s Skymiles loyalty program. Says spokeswoman Chris Kelly Singley: “For Delta, it’s a way to surprise and delight high-value customers.” According to Delta, the service is targeted at passengers with tight connections, or passengers not based in Atlanta who might find the airport confusing and difficult to navigate, and, time-permitting, other high value customers who “we might not have thanked recently according to our records.” Says Delta’s Singley: “Delta occasionally grants perks to let those high-value customers know it is paying attention to their travels. The gestures are a way to show Delta’s appreciation of their business. “It’s a quick and easy way to make life easier. Sometimes, it’s the small things.”
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11 November 2011 | Airline crew are one of the most important assets an airline has. Witness Southwest, who is actively encouraging its employees to make a difference, and describes them as someone “who dares to make mistakes; dares to be different; finds a way to utilize people’s special talents; and lives a little on the edge” (examples include a Southwest pilot who held his plane so a passenger on his way to a funeral could make it, or the airline’s famous rapping flight attendant David Holmes).
Airlines such as Cathay Pacific and SAS are also putting their employees in the spotlight. Cathay’s ‘Meet the Team’ campaign has been running for some years now – and recently took some hitting- and introduces a dozen of the airline’s staff through profiles and behind-the-scenes stories in print ads, YouTube videos, on Facebook, and via an iPad app.
On a similar not SAS has just introduced ‘The Face of SAS’ on Facebook, which highlights several of its employees every week as the airline’s Facebook profile-picture, as well as present themselves and what they do at SAS. In SAS’ words: “We believe that our employees are our single most important asset. Here’s your chance to get to know them – and SAS – a little better.”
SAS also publishes an annual ‘SAS Crew Guide’, a ‘crew-sourced’ guidebook consisting of recommendations by SAS cabin crew and pilots for accommodation, shopping, dining, sightseeing and nightlife in many of the cities served by SAS. The 350-pages guide also contains 13 personal profiles by individual crew members and their favourite cities and is sold online for EUR15 (or 4,410 SAS Bonuspoints) as well as in select bookshops in Scandinavia, the UK and the U.S. The New York section of the SAS Crew Guide is also available as a free iPhone and Android app. Read full article »
13 June 2011 | Delta Air Lines and airport food and beverage operator OTG Management have teamed up to modernize the food and beverage offering at Delta’s Concourse G in Terminal 1 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International (MSP) Airport. As part of the plans, Delta will upgrade its current food and beverages offerings with 12 new local restaurants and several fresh food markets (images here), and similar to Delta’s New York JFK and La Guardia terminals, seating will be equipped with iPads which passengers can use to order their food and beverages to have it delivered to their seat by a server in less then 10 minutes.
OTG Media Bar
Delta and OTG will also introduce the ‘OTG Media Bar’, a virtual newsstand where Delta passengers can rent an Apple iPad, loaded with the content of their choice. At what looks like a traditional magazine stand, except it will be filled with Apple iPads, passengers can flip through the iPads to see what publications, movies, and music they like, download the content of their choice, and then rent the device for their trip. Once the passenger reaches his or her final destination, a pre-paid postage box received at time of rental is used to return the iPad. This concept of returning rented goods via the mail has been popularized in the U.S. by DVD subscription service Netflix in recent years.
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22 May 2011 | Delta Air Lines and airport restaurateur OTG Management have announced a new concept at Minneapolis-St Paul Airport (MSP) that taps into two major consumer trends: a growing interest in local and healthy food and the popularity of personal digital devices such as the Apple iPad.
Local food and iPads
At its Concourse G terminal at MSP Airport, Delta will upgrade its current food and beverages offerings with 12 new local restaurants and several fresh food markets. Chefs from the ‘Twin Cities’ will work with local farmers and producers to create a sustainable, health-conscious approach to dining. Restaurants will include Custom Burger – which uses regional farm-sourced meats – a Minnesota Beer Hall serving locally produced beers and Cibo Gourmet markets that emphasize local and artisan foods.
Similar to the food ordering concept introduced by Delta and OTG at New York JFK and La Guardia airports in late 2010, passengers at MSP Airport will be able to order their food and drinks at seating areas equipped with iPads located at the gates and have their orders delivered to their seat.
Delta and OTG will also introduce the OTG Media Bar, a virtual newsstand where Delta passengers can rent an Apple iPad, loaded with the content of their choice. The devices will be available at Cibo Gourmet markets located through the terminal and customers can download publications, movies, music and apps to enjoy during their flight. Those with their own iPads will be able to download material as well. Once the passenger reaches his or her final destination, a pre-paid postage box received at time of rental is used to return the iPad. This concept of returning rented goods via the mail has been popularized in the U.S. by DVD subscription service Netflix in recent years.
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26 April 2011 | Online tracking and tracing of packages shipped via parcel delivery companies such as FedEx and DHL has been possible for years, and has even spread to services like pizza delivery. For example, Domino’s Pizza ‘Pizza Tracker’ lets customers track their pizza from the moment they place the order until it leaves the kichen en route to them. Examples from the airline industry include Yapta, which offers alerts when fares drop for specific flights or hotels, and FlightStats, which notifies passengers on flight delays and cancellations. Says consumer trends agency trendwatching.com: “Tracking and alerting is the new searching, as it saves consumers time, makes it impossible to forget or miss out, and thus ultimately gives them yet another level of control.”
Delta checked bags tracking
In a move to make the baggage process more transparent for customers, Delta Air Lines is now bringing ‘tracking and alerting’ to checked luggage. The airline has just launched a new ‘Track Checked Bags’ service in order to give passengers a sense of confidence that their luggage has made it to the same aircraft. As Delta scans the bag tags during each part of the journey, passengers can track their baggage in real-time as it makes its way through the Delta system. Available for domestic flights, Delta passengers can go online – for example via their smartphone – to track their checked baggage with the bag tag number that they received at the time of baggage check-in.
Furthermore, as Delta has equipped all its 549 mainline domestic aircraft with GoGo’s in-flight Internet – and is currently installing the service on 223 Delta Connection jets as well – passengers may even check up in the air whether their bag has made it on their flight.
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21 February 2011 | These days most travellers carry multiple electronic devices (e.g, laptop, smartphone, iPad). Once they arrive at the airport and are waiting for their flight, for many their main need is a comfortable place to sit, Internet access and a source of power for their electronics to stay charged.
As power outlets at airports are often hidden in uncomfortable places, Samsung Mobile spotted an opportunity and in recent years in cooperation with JC Decaux has installed free branded charging stations at airports in the USA, Europe, and most recently at Tokyo Haneda Airport. On a similar note, airline alliance Oneworld introduced ‘Oneworld Charging Stations‘ at airports in Europe and the U.S.
Today, at many airports a ‘recharging infrastructure’ seems to be more or less in place as several examples from North America show. For example, Minneapolis St Paul Airport has a Raddisson Hotels ‘Recharge Area’, Las Vegas Airport sports a Verizon-sponsored ‘Recharge Zone’, while in Canada, Toronto Airport’s ‘FlyAway Power Stations’ integrate seating with a desk, WiFi and power outlets. At Boston Logan Airport, seats that incorporate a power outlet are marked with a clear charging icon.
Adding to this, airlines such as Southwest and Delta offer respectively ‘Powerstation’ and ‘Relax and Recharge’ counters at several arports in the U.S., and Delta is currently installing ‘Delta re-charging stations’ in gate areas at 19 airports across the U.S.
Meanwhile, developments in wireless re-charging have advanced rapidly in recent years. For example, battery brand Duracel now offers a ‘MyGrid’ charging pad (In Duracell’s words: ‘drop & go charging’) for around USD 60. Several airlines and airports have also jumped on this novel technology and are currently rolling out wireless charging pads at airports and in lounges.
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17 January 2011 | Delta has earned its 4th place because of its massive USD 2 billion investment program (through mid-2013) to upgrade its ground and inflight experiences, as well as introduce some innovative services. Having completed the integration of Northwest, which it acquired in 2008, Delta has shifted its focus towards drastically improving the customer experience, stating that “addressing gaps in customer product, technology, facilities and fleet is key to generating superior revenues and returns.”
In-flight: Full-flat seats, Premium Economy, Wi-Fi
Since September 2009, Delta has been upgrading its long-haul business class to offer full-flat beds. By June 2011, half of its long-haul fleet will be upgraded and by mid-2012, Delta will offer full flat-bed seats on its fleet of over 100 trans-oceanic aircraft. The airline will also be the first customer to install Panasonic and Weber’s integrated lightweight touchscreen IFE and slim carbon fibre economy seat on 16 former Northwest B47-400s in mid-2011.
Furthermore, Delta will reportedly introduce a Premium Economy cabin in 2011. Since the gap between the carrier’s premium and economy class has increased because of its upgrade to flat-beds, there is room for a value-for-money alternative in between. The new class is likely to resemble United’s Economy Plus or KLM’s Economy Comfort offerings, which are essentially normal economy seats with increased leg room.
In November 2010, Delta completed the installation of inflight Wi-Fi on all 549 mainline domestic aircraft, the largest number of ‘connected aircraft’ by far. The carrier also recently announced plans to add Wi-Fi to 223 regional jet aircraft operated by Delta Connection carriers. Last but not least, Delta just revealed it is considering an order of 100 to 200 narrowbody aircraft — possibly with options for 200 more — to replace its aging domestic fleet, with deliveries to begin in early 2013. Read full article »
3 December 2010 | Delta Air Lines and airport restaurant operator OTG Management have just launched a novel restaurant concept at New York JFK Airport. Rather than make travelers leave their departure gates to go to a restaurant, Delta passengers can order food and drinks via a custom application on one of 200 Apple iPads installed at dining areas near the gates. A server then delivers the food to the customer’s seat. Food can also be taken to go or brought onboard.
Prior to completing their order, customers using the new dining stations will be informed of their meal delivery time to ensure their order is received before their flight departure time. The orders will be delivered by OTG servers in approximately 10 minutes or less. The iPads are affixed to the booths and counters at the gates and also offer other applications that allow travellers to check flights, read articles, play games, etcetera. OTG says the wireless Internet connection for the iPads is free, there isn’t a time limit on customers’ use and travelers don’t have to buy food to use the devices. The newly designed gate dining areas accommodate single and group travelers with most seats also outfitted with power outlets for charging electronics.
The iPad dining stations located at JFK’s Terminal 2 (gates 21 and 22) feature food from Croque Madame, a French-inspired dining concept developed by Michelin Star-winning chef Andrew Carmellini from New York, while Terminal 3 (gate 15) offers cuisine from Bar Brace, an Italian dining concept from New York restaurateur Jason Denton. The chefs composed their respective restaurant’s menus and will continue to consult on the eateries.
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1 November 2010 | As people are bombarded with marketing messages, real-life interaction with products and brands (a.k.a. experiential marketing) has become increasingly valuable for airlines to get their message across. Last month, we wrote about the Southwest Airlines ‘porches’ in New York and Denver, while Delta Air Lines has opened a series of ‘SKY360 lounges’ at sports venues as well as film and culinary festivals in the U.S. to let the general public experience its product.
SKY360 lounges at sports venues
As part of a recent marketing push into New York, Delta has become a major sponsor of the New York Mets and the New York Yankees baseball teams. The add an extra dimension to the sponsorships, Delta has opened a ‘SKY360 Suite’ at the New York Yankees stadium, and a ‘SKY360 Club’ at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets. Both lounges (video here) are located directly behind home plate and are accessible for baseball fans in the premium seat sections. Delta also regularly invites its most valuable frequent fliers to the SKY360 lounges.
The Delta SKY360 venues feature a dining room, a cocktail and wine bar (which serves Delta’s signature in-flight cocktails), and the seats have in-seat waiter service. TV screens air live games in addition to Delta content, and there is a computer terminal available for baseball fans that would like to sign up for Delta’s loyalty program. In 2011, Delta will also open a ‘SKY360 Club’ at the Madisson Square Garden in New York.
Atlanta-based Delta in April 2010 also opened a SKY360 Lounge at the Atlanta Braves baseball stadium, and a ‘Delta SKY360 Legends Club’ in March 2010 at the Minnesota Twins ‘Target Field’ stadium in Minneapolis (home of Northwest Airlines, which was acquired by Delta in 2008). This SKY360 Club at Target Field features a concierge desk staffed by Delta employees outfitted in the airline’s signature ‘red coats.’
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1 September 2010 | Freshly prepared a-la-carte restaurant dining is mainly a service offered by airlines such as Lufthansa, Air France, BA, Qantas, and Etihad to passengers in their dedicated First Class lounges. A select number of airlines, such as Virgin Atlantic and Cathay Pacific, serve full breakfast and meals to all guests in their airport lounges, while BA and BMI offer passengers the option to dine pre-flight so they can sleep longer in the air. In general, however, full-service airlines offer their premium passengers just a light self-service buffet service on the ground.
Responding to passengers requests for more substantial meal options in its lounges, Delta Air Lines has just opened a new café concept at four Delta Sky Club lounges at New York JFK Airport. The new full-service cafés offer made-to-order breakfast, sandwiches, salads, small plates and desserts for purchase, as well as premium beverages. Meals are USD10-15 and premium drinks USD12 and bring another source of ancillary income to Delta. The café include dedicated seating areas within the lounge, but visitors also can order from the menu and dine anywhere in the lounge. Delta emphasizes that it continues to offer members the same selection of complimentary snacks and beverages in its lounge.
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13 August 2010 | Delta Air Lines has become the first airline to allow Facebook users in the U.S. to buy flight tickets without having to leave the social network. Dubbed ‘Ticket Window’, users can select different search criteria and then view results from within the application, including route options, aircraft type, times and inclusive prices. Once a fare is selected the user can enter the usual passenger and payment details and the booking is complete. Facebook members can also share their travel plans with friends on the social network. Delta says future releases will contain more social elements, such as coordinating group travel more easily.
Delta says it plans to expand the Ticket Window functionality to other sites, including online banner ads to allow full booking capabilities within the airline’s advertisements. Says Bob Kupbens, Delta’s vice president eCommerce, “Our customers are spending more time online and are looking for new ways to connect with us. “We’re now bringing Delta to our customers rather than the other way around.”
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American Airlines equips customer service agents with mobile ‘YADA’ device to help travelers on the spot
2 July 2010 | At a time that airlines are finding more ways to reduce face-to-face contact with travelers, customer service agents are reappearing at airports in the U.S. Equipped with handheld devices, they are trained to be pro-active, showing up without waiting to be called upon. We have reported before on Delta Air Lines’ ‘Red Coats’ service agents (now numbering 800 agents at 13 airports across the U.S.), and United Airlines’ ‘LineBuster’ device (rolled out at Washington and Denver airports after an earlier trial at Chicago O’Hare).
American Airlines (AA) began experimenting with a mobile device — called Your Assistance Delivered Anywhere (YADA for short) — in July 2009 at Boston Logan airport to prevent long lines at check-in counters and self-service kiosks. The YADA handheld let’s AA staff check real-time flight status, provide connecting information, display maps of other airports and print boarding passes and baggage tags for customers checking in. The device, the size of a large cellphone, is attached to a small printer that hangs from the belt of the airline employee. Read full article »
1 July 2010 | ‘Puff & Pie’ is a bakery chain owned by Thai Airways Catering. Until recently, the 81 outlets across Thailand primarily offered a wide range of bakery items and beverages served onboard Thai Airways (THAI) and produced by the airline’s catering facilities. THAI Catering has just announced it will expand the product range at the Puff & Pie bakery chain in an effort to generate additional revenues to its regular airline catering operation.
Puff & Pie will offer a range of Thai and Chinese take-away meals, seven kinds of ready-made curry sauce and five styles of salad dressing, which are also used in THAI in-flight meals. The products will be sold under the airline caterer’s new ‘Eurng Luang’ brand and will initially be available at its Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket Puff & Pie Bakery shops. THAI says it is aiming for the business traveler who had a good in-flight culinary experience, but has no time to prepare quality Thai food at home. Read full article »
21 June 2010 | British Airways has teamed up with CitationAir, the private jet charter subsidiary of Cessna Aircraft, to offer its passengers a private jet connection within North America and the Caribbean. The new PrivateConnect service pitches itself as a ‘no-frills’ private jet service. Passengers can book online and ‘pay and go’ with a credit card, avoiding the need for upfront fees and long-term commitment that is usually associated with fractional ownership of private jets.
The service is available to anyone who has flown with BA in the past 12 months, members of BA’s frequent flyer programme, as well as employees of the airline’s corporate clients. BA customers can also use PrivateConnect to fly within North America if they haven’t arrived on or are due to depart onto another flight. Costs range from USD6,000 to USD10,000 per jet per hour depending on the type of aircraft. Chauffeured transport will be on hand after clearing customs to drive customers between their British Airways flight and CitationAir private jet. BA currently flies to 19 destinations in America.
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3 June 2010 | Delta Air Lines has partnered with capsule hotel Yotel to provide arrivals facilities for premium passengers at London Heathrow’s Terminal 4. Eligible travelers arriving into Heathrow on Delta flights from Atlanta, New York-JFK, Minneapolis or Detroit will be able to freshen up in one of Yotel’s 32 cabins. Facilities of the 7 to 10 sqm grey, white and purple pod-like cabins include a handmade bed, a bathroom with monsoon rain shower, a work area with free Wi-Fi, a flat screen HDTV, iPod docking station, and mood lighting. Guests can check-in using an automated kiosk.
Delta recently announced an USD1 billion investment through mid-2013 to upgrade and harmonize its ground and in-flight product. The airline is currently upgrading its long-haul business class and since September 2009 offers full-flat beds on all trans-atlantic flights to London. Says Delta: “We’re already offering a good night’s sleep to London thanks to our full flat bed seats, but our premium travellers expect the convenience of an arrivals facility after a long-haul flight. Our partnership with Yotel offers passengers a convenient, private and comfortable space to change before an important meeting, or freshen up before getting on the road.”
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18 May 2010 | Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials, which would otherwise go to landfill, into new products or materials of better quality. Companies like Tierra Ideas in the U.S and WornAgain (slogan: “Every product has got a story to tell”) in the UK work with large corporations to create fashionable upcycled products. The benefits are three-fold: waste is recycled, companies add an eco-friendly touch to their brands, and many consumers like the story behind the upcycled product.
Tierra Ideas just announced its new 2010 ‘Aero’ bags collection in partnership with Delta Air Lines. Delta has donated worn and retired seat covers, blankets and curtains from its aircraft as well as from all Northwest aircraft that were refurbished when Delta acquired Northwest in 2008. After separating the fabrics by pattern (frequent fliers will recognize the different Northwest and Delta patterns) Tierra Ideas has turned them into messenger bags (price: USD219), laptop sleeves (USD55), and duffle bags (USD62).
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17 December 2009 | In order to recognize their highest-value customers, several major airlines maintain unpublished programs that operate as ‘top tiers’ to existing frequent-flier plans. These über-elite tiers are often by invitation-only and offer VIP-perks such as personal concierges, exclusive express check-in lines at airports, access to high-end lounges even when the customer flies economy, and personal escorts to help travelers make tight connections.
Airlines don’t discuss the selection process to get in these programs, and only say that a small number of passenger are invited based upon their annual spending in addition to mileage earned. For example, United Airlines’ 6-year-old Global Services program is granted to no more than 20,000 of United’s estimated 1 million elite Mileage Plus members. Says a United spokesperson: “It’s like the American Express black [invitation-only] Centurion card: We try to keep the mystique.”
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10 December 2009 | Qantas has just rolled out an inflight recycling scheme on its domestic routes. The airline is asking passengers to assist by separating their recyclable items for collection by the cabin crew, and place all other items in a special bag. Qantas says its onboard recycling initiative gives passengers the opportunity to reduce the environmental impact of their journey. With the new program the airline plans to recycle approximately eight-and-a-half million bottles, cups, tumblers and cans per year from its domestic services. Qantas says it already recycles newspapers on board (nearly 500 tonnes a year in Sydney and Melbourne) and glass and plastic bottles, papers and cans are recycled in Qantas Club lounges. Overall, Qantas aims to achieve a 25 per cent reduction in landfill use by 2011.
Qantas’ inflight recycling initiative follows earlier trials by Virgin Blue in which cabin crew were trained to separate recyclable waste from food scraps and other matter while collecting passengers’ rubbish before landing. A few years ago the airline also installed recycling bins at Sydney Airport.
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26 November 2009 | At a time when airlines are finding more ways to reduce face to face contact with customers at airports, as they are expanding the number of self-service options with do-it-yourself baggage check-in and self-boarding turnstiles, customer service agents seem to be reappearing at airports.
During this week’s Thanksgiving holiday rush in the U.S, United Airlines is equipping United service agents with so-called ‘LineBusters’ devices at Chicago O’Hare airport. The handheld touch-screen device displays which customers have been automatically rebooked on another flight after a cancellation or missed connection. Agents in the post-security area will pro-actively approach customers standing in line to determine if they are better off going directly to a kiosk to print a boarding pass, thereby reducing the line and the time spent waiting for information. Read full article »
10 November 2009 | Inflight Wi-Fi seriously took off in the past year in the U.S, with about 600 domestic aircraft currently equipped with inflight broadband (for the majority provided by Aircell’s GoGo). To make the flying public familiar with the new service, GoGo and U.S. carriers have been handing out complimentary promotional codes, so passengers can try the service first for free. AirTran gives passengers that buy one inflight Wi-Fi session their second session for free. And GoGo and Delta offered free Wi-Fi on National Breast Cancer Day (October 31), donating USD1 for each free session that day to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
While these one-off offers might get some passengers interested to pay between USD6 and USD13 to stay connected in the air, airlines and advertisers are teaming up to offer inflight Internet for free. Part of a trend, dubbed ‘Free Love’ by trendwatching.com, brands pick up the tab to offer passengers free inflight Wi-Fi. Everyone wins: travelers get free access, brands are able to reach an audience in a new way and airlines are able to build awareness about the Wi-Fi service via a new channel. Read full article »