Korean Air

New Korean Air ‘Prestige Suite’ indicates a new seating trend in Business Class

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By Jonny Clark, TheDesignAir

Korean Air is the latest carrier to embrace the new B/E Aerospace Apex Business Class suite. Following both JAL and Oman Air, Korean Air has opted for these increasingly popular forward facing private suites, which all offer aisle access and increased privacy.

Just like Japan Airlines’ ‘Sleeper Suites’, Korean Air’s ‘Prestige Suites’ turn into 74 inch long beds. When not fully reclined, the seats are still a comfortable 21.6 inches wide and feature a 23 inch widescreen touchscreen TV with handheld controller too, so there is no need to reach to the screen.

In a bid to improve and align their business class cabin with international standards, the biggest improvement comes from the introduction of a fully flat bed, replacing the older lie-flat seats.

The new Suites will make their debut on a Korean Air A330-300 on the Guangzhou, Singapore and Hanoi routes. Korean Air has a further 38 aircraft on order – six A330-300s, twelve B777-300ERs, ten B747-8is and ten B787-9s – and all will be delivered equipped with these new seats.

The airline also announced they will be looking at introducing a brand new First Class product to compliment the new suites.

The advantage of these seats is that passengers can either fly together or in complete privacy, in a similar set-up to British Airways’ long-standing Club World product. The centre seats align perfectly, whilst the window twin seats are staggered slightly, to ensure each passenger has access to the aisle. Read full article

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Korean Air’s personal grooming training now offers makeup lessons for men

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

While the metrosexual trend, featuring David Beckam as its icon, has been coined by Marian Salzman almost a decade ago and has been declared passé many times before, the South Koreans are having none of it. Being one of the most competitive and beauty-conscious countries in the world (plastic surgery is common practice), South Korea is also one of the most ‘attractive’ markets for male cosmetics, with make up for men being the latest craze.

According to Euromonitor, South Korea is the biggest market for male grooming products, accounting for 18 percent of the world’s male cosmetic market in 2011. Eyeliner and so-called BB cream (a foundation like tinted cream that is primer, protector, concealer and skin regulator all in one) are considered perfectly acceptable for male celebrities and for an increasing number of ordinary men.

Male grooming
CNN now reports that South Korea’s flag carrier, Korean Air, has also gotten onto the male cosmetics bandwagon. Last month, 74 new male recruits gathered at the Korean Air flight attendant training center in Seoul to learn all about skin care, makeup and grooming.

The so-called “image making for service men” made sure all the new staff were well versed in the application of sunscreen (to protect skin from premature aging), skin care (to ensure smooth, clean and blemish free faces) and the correct application of BB cream. In the past, Korean Air’s makeup classes have been available only for its female staff, and this marked the first time its male staff received such lessons.

The airline brought in makeup professionals for the occasion, which was geared towards the airline’s new ground staff. Flight attendants did not receive the makeup training. “We plan on continuing the image-enhancing education, including basic makeup training, in the future,” said Korean Air public relations representative Hyun-mook Cho.
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Innovative Airlines 2012: #1 Korean Air

Korean Air tops airlinetrends.com’s 2012 ranking of the world’s most innovative airlines. The flag carrier of the ‘Land of the Morning Calm’ has established itself as a major hub carrier for passengers travelling between Asia and North America; its A380 flagships have the lowest seat density of any A380 operator and feature bars and lounges branded by Absolut Vodka, as well as a duty free showcase. The airline also operates its own organic farm and offers attentive service amenities such as a coat storage service and a women-only lounge at Seoul’s Incheon Airport, which itself has been voted best airport in the world for the past seven years.

Incheon hub
Sandwiched between the world’s second and third largest economies of China and Japan, Seoul’s Incheon Airport has become a key North East Asia hub, offering more direct flights to Japanese cities than even Tokyo Narita, which is Japan’s main international airport. Furthermore, Korean Air is taking advantage of South Korea’s open skies policies with the US, Canada and China to target travellers flying between East Asia and North America (where it serves 13 destinations). The airline’s short-haul route network spans 23 cities in China and 15 destinations in Japan and the airline generates 56 percent of its revenues on routes to China, Japan and North America.

Because of high oil prices, a weak Korean won and the slow recovery of cargo traffic (Korean Air is the second largest cargo airline in the world after Cathay Pacific), Korean Air made a net loss in 2011. Analysts, however, are optimistic about the airline’s future prospects, noting that “it will benefit from a solid increase in inbound/transit passenger demand especially from Chinese tourists, and increasing exports of consumer electronics and automobile components.” Furthermore – similar to Delta Air Lines’ recent purchase of an oil refinery –Korean Air in 2007 bought a 28-percent stake in South Korean oil company S-Oil in order to secure a stable supply of jet fuel.

Additionally, while many airlines across Asia are currently busy establishing their own low-cost carriers (LCC’s), Korean Air in 2008 launched a low-cost subsidiary – Jin Air – in order to compete with Korea’s high-speed rail network, the growth of domestic budget air travel, and the entry of Chinese and Southeast Asian LCCs. As LCCs in South Korea today account for over 40 percent of passengers on domestic routes, Jin Air is rapidly expanding its international operations. The carrier was the first South Korean LCC to offer services to mainland China and has launched a raft of new international routes in recent months. As it spreads its wings across Asia, Jin Air will also benefit from having a first-mover advantage compared with the relative youth of Japanese LCC’s, while Korean Air may also use its LCC unit more strategically in the future.
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How Korean Air is catering to the growing number of female passengers

Airlines traditionally have been catering to the stereotype male business traveler in his forties, but the growing economic power of women, the greying of society, and the emergence of more travelers from non-Western countries is changing this archetypical passenger. For example, in the U.S. women already make up over 40 percent of business travellers and 50 percent of frequent flyer program members. Although still limited, some airlines have begun to offer specific amenities for female passengers, which go beyond the traditional amenity kit. Lufthansa and Air France publish dedicated lifestyle magazines for premium female passengers with titles such as Woman’s World and Madame, while Asiana offers additional services for expectant mothers, called ‘PreMom’. South Korean flag carrier Korean Air, however, is going the extra mile to cater to the growing number of female passengers, which make up 45 percent of its passengers.

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Dedicated lounge area for female passengers
Korean Air recently opened an expanded Prestige Lounge at Incheon International airport. Among the lounge’s features is a dedicated area for female travellers, which to our knowledge, is a first for an airline.

Says Korean Air’s spokeswoman Mi Hyun Kim: “These days more and more female travellers are traveling around the world. In order to respond to their increasing needs, we have designed a special area fully dedicated to female travellers, which includes a female restroom, sleeping room and powder room. Also, female travellers can taste quality food and snacks and change diapers of their babies without any distraction in this area. In the powder room, there is a dressing table with a large mirror and a chair to help female travelers to do their make-up. In the sleeping room, there are two comfortable couch-type chairs which can be reclined upon adjustment.”

Women-only onboard bathroom
Korean Air is also among a handful airlines in the world that have dedicated bathrooms onboard for use by female passengers only. The airline has been offering this ‘ladies-only’ facility, which is available on long-haul aircraft such as A380s, B747s, B777s and A300s, since 2007. Korean Air’s ladies-only lavatory is decorated with pink coloured wallpapers, has a diaper board for babies and provides extra cosmetics.
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Korean Air’s new A380 to feature in-flight duty free store

The Airbus A380 ‘superjumbo’ provides 50 percent more floor space compared with the Boeing 747, but airlines on average install 35 percent more seats, leaving the remaining space available for roomier cabins and customized areas. Examples include First Class suites (Singapore Airlines, Emirates), onboard showers (Emirates), large bathrooms and changing rooms (Lufthansa, Air France), social areas (Emirates, Qantas, Air France and a staffed bar (Emirates). Currently five airlines operate the A380 and in June 2011, Korean Air will become the sixth airline to start flying the superjumbo (followed by China Southern in the fall of 2011). 

Lowest A380 seat configuration sofar
With just 407 passengers, or 12 in First Class, 94 in Business and 301 in Economy (34” seat-pitch), Korean Air’s A380s will have the least dense A380 configuration so far. The entire upper deck will be dedicated to Business Class with a self-service bar in the front and a full service bar in the rear. First Class will be in the front of the main deck with its own dedicated bar, designed by Absolut Vodka, with the Economy cabin right behind it. 

In-flight duty free store
Korean Air will be the first airline in the world is outfitting its new A380s with a physical duty-free shop. The kiosk will complement the regular duty free cart service and will be  staffed by a full-time sales assistant. The store will display the best-selling items across categories such as liquor, cosmetics, accessories and fragrances and will be open for business for the duration of the flight. First Class passengers will be able to browse the shop and make purchases before anyone else, followed by Business Class and then other passengers. The orders placed by passengers will be delivered to their seats later. Read full article

Airlines take care of passengers’ winter coats until their return

In our recent “Innovative Airlines” report we identified airlines that are putting an effort to differentiate themselves with inventive and relevant services. On the 11th spot of our ranking was South Korea-based Asiana Airlines, which has been covered several times on airlinetrends.com because of thoughtful services such as ‘PreMom’ and ‘Happy Mom’.

Asiana ‘Coat Keeping Service’
Since 1999, Asiana also has been offering a ‘Coat Keeping Service’ at Seoul Incheon Airport during the winter season (December to March) so passengers can travel light to sunnier destinations. Asiana’s First and Business class passengers as well as members of its frequent flyer program (including Star Alliance members) can use the service. Passengers can check their coat with Asiana for free for 5 days, after which 100 miles will be deducted per additional day. Asiana has set up a keeping room at Incheon which can store four thousand coats simultaneously and says that in the past 12 years around 150 thousand passengers have left their coat.

Korean Air ‘Coat Storage Service’
Rival South Korean airline Korean Air has been providing a similar ‘coat storage service’ since 2008 for passengers leaving South Korea travelling to warmer destinations such as Hawaii, Australia and countries in South-East Asia. Korean Air provides the service to all passengers travelling internationally from Korea with either Korean Air or a code-sharing flight. However, after a five-day complimentary storage, a fee of KRW2,500 (USD 2.25, EUR 1,65) per day applies.

Korean Air has contracted the coat storage service to Hanjin Express (part of the same Hanjin conglomerate as Korean Air) and arranged a room to store 2,500 coats. Passengers’ coats will be hung on a sturdy plastic hanger wrapped in plastic sheet during storage. According to Korean Air, an average 250 passengers per day have used the service during the winter of 2009, up from 130 in 2008.
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Pop-up stores and airline shops – the latest in airport retail

Several new initiatives in airport and airline retail have caught our eye recently, most notably airports opening dedicated retail spaces for temporary shops and airlines opening physical duty free stores. 

Pop-up shops, stores that only open for a limited time, have been a major retail trend in the past years. Airlines such as Delta, Southwest and Jetblue, and tourist boards from Atlantic City and New Zealand, have been runnning temporary spaces in New York and Tokyo. However, the temporary stores phenomenon hadn’t reached airports yet, but now Narita and Glasgow airports have opened dedicated retail spaces where shops come and go. 

Narita Airport opened a temporary Crocs footwear store on 28 April 2010, located landside at the airport’s Terminal 1. Crocs will operate the 30m2 store at the airport for 3 months until 29 July in the run-up to the summer travel season. For Narita Airport the Crocs shop is the first in a planned series of temporary stores at the airport that aim to capitalise on seasonal demand and special events. Tokyo Narita has created a dedicated space for the temporary stores at the 4th floor of T1. Read full article

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BA launches ‘PrivateConnect’ jet service in North America

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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ANA’s new cabin upgrade raises the bar in all classes

Japanese carrier ANA has unveiled a serious upgrade of all its four cabins, as part of its ‘Inspiration of Japan’ campaign. The new classes of service where originally meant for the Boeing 787 of which ANA will be the launch customer in late 2010, but due to the B787’s production delays the new cabins will already appear on ANA’s new B777-300ER in February 2010 (Tokyo to New York). According to the ANA: “We were hoping to unveil our new cabin experience on the 787, but we decided we couldn’t wait anymore, so it’s going on our new 777s from early in the new year”. ANA’s new 777s will have eight first-class seats, 68 business-class seats, 24 premium-economy seats and 112 seats in economy. 

Re-branded as ANA First Square, ANA’s new first class features a private suite with a fully lie-flat bed, a 23-inch LCD touch screen, a baggage compartment and coat closet. At Tokyo Narita airport, ANA will introduce a ‘Suite Lounge’ in October 2010 for First Class passengers and Diamond tier members. Passengers will have their own private suite on the ground as well, where they can work or relax while they get checked-in and wait for their flight. Two other eye-catching features in the premium cabins are washrooms with warm-water bidet-toilets by Toto, which ANA says is a world’s first, and the option for passengers to select and order their meals via the touch screen of their IFE system (from April 2010). ANA’s new business class also has a full-flat bed (configuration is 1-2-1, so all seats have aisle acces), a 17-inch LCD touch screen, a large side table, and storage space for shoes. Read full article