Lufthansa

Lufthansa opens dedicated check-in counters for ‘flying families’

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

Lufthansa, long known as a business traveler’s airline, has lately been repositioning itself in order to broaden its appeal to leisure and family travelers. Says Erik Mosch, director of product management, airport and passenger services at Lufthansa, “Realizing growth means broadening the carrier’s scope beyond business travel. Lufthansa discovered that, in Germany at least, consumers viewed it as a business traveler’s airline.” […] “Regular people were not sure if Lufthansa wanted its business,” Mosch told Travel Weekly. The airline now wants to appeal more to leisure travellers and “to be recognized as a family-friendly airline.”

On the ground
To cater to the growing number of ‘flying families’ on board, Lufthansa has recently opened Family Check-in counters at its Frankfurt and Munich hubs. At the family-friendly desks – which can be used by families traveling with children up to 12 years old – children can climb a few steps so they can watch the check-in procedure, receive their boarding pass and also a special ‘Best Friend’ boarding pass for their teddy or cuddly toy accompanying them on their flight.

A ‘Family Guide’ brochure is also available at check-in. It contains tips and information for parents about the location of airport play areas, baby changing facilities, restaurants that provide children’s menus, chemists, supermarkets and the nearest observation deck, as well as vouchers for special offers at the airport.

The Family Check-in desks can be easily recognized because of a large welcome arch, while the path to the counters looks like a runway and overhead monitors display the airline’s kid mascots Lu and Cosmo.
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Lufthansa alarm clock app rewards users for guessing which city’s sounds they wake up to

By Springwise

Getting up on time can be a challenge, but numerous variations on the alarm clock theme are aiming to make it easier. Now a mobile app launched earlier this year by Lufthansa adds a different twist altogether. Specifically, users of Lufthansa’s free Anywake app are awoken to the sounds of a random city — if they guess which one it is, they’re rewarded with discounted tickets to that destination.

After downloading the app — which was created for Germany-based Lufthansa by ad agency DDB Stockholm and Monterosa — users begin by selecting a standard wake-up sound, which will then wake them up each day. Every other morning or so, the app will wake the user to the sounds of a randomly selected city instead. To turn off the alarm, they must guess which city it is — if they’re right, they get rewarded with a discount for airfare to that city. This video explains the premise in more detail.
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Lufthansa lets frequent flyers become the ‘foursquare mayor’ of a route

By Shubhodeep Pal, SimpliFlying

Lufthansa’s “Blue Legends” Facebook app is one of the first ten “Connected Apps” to be offered as a product of Foursquare‘s new development platform. In a nutshell, Foursquare now allows developers to create apps that offer customized experiences to customers based on their check-ins.

Lufthansa has seized this new opportunity in the Foursquare eco system to create official Lufthansa venues (including over 9,000 flights named in the format “Lufthansa Flight LH 400″) where users can check-in virtually to get special badges, ranks and rewards.

For instance, once connected with Foursquare and Facebook, you can earn badges such as the “Early-Bird-badge” by checking in before 6 in the morning. There are more virtual goodies as you fly more on Lufthansa (and, of course, remember to check-in to their official locations).

One of the undeniably attractive features of the app is that its written in HTML5 which allows it to be accessed from almost every platform – desktop and mobile – with ease, without being confined to a closed app ecosystem (such as iOS or Android).

An increasingly “gamified” and location-aware world
As you move up the ladder, you’ll find that the badges and ranks (similar to mayorships) are increasingly targeted towards frequent flyers. Lufthansa believes that this customized experience by offering special virtual badges in recognition for flying the airline will “open a whole new dimension of social travel experience for frequent flyers who can not only track their countries and airports they’ve visited with the app but can compete with their friends to become the “Expert Pilot” on a route between two cities.” This rank is given to the person who has travelled most between two destinations – independent from the Lufthansa flight he took or airport of the city he travelled to.
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Star Alliance develops common long-haul economy seat for its member airlines

Airline alliances so far have been about codeshares, trans-atlantic and trans-pacific joint ventures, reciprocal frequent flyer programs, shared lounges and in some cases shared airport terminals (a.k.a. ‘move under one roof’). Star Alliance, the largest of the three global airline alliances, is now adding a new dimension to alliance collaboration by launching a joint long-haul economy seat.

Star Alliance has selected aircraft interior manufacturer B/E Aerospace as the development partner for its common seat programme. Lufthansa, Austrian and Air China will be the initial member carriers to install the seats on their long-haul fleets, with first deliveries scheduled to begin in 2012.

The joint procurement initiative is designed to offer all Star Alliance members a standardised base for their long-haul economy seats. B/E Aerospace is developing a base and advance version of the seat and airlines will pick their own colors, cushions and IFE system. According to a Star Alliance spokesman, the goal of the joint procurement initiative “is not to come up with a standardised economy-class seat across Star Alliance, but rather to select a seat base that those carriers who wish to participate can use and adapt to their needs in terms of color, fabric, in-flight entertainment systems, etc.”

The vendor selection process was coordinated by Star Alliance and included initial market research along with joint customer trials conducted in both China and Germany earlier in 2011. Air China was among the Star members participating in the seat study and selected 200 of its Phoenix Miles members to test three seat concepts from various manufacturers at a seating simulation zone set up at Beijing Capital Airport in March 2011. According to Air China each participant spent 1.5 hours testing the seats, before completing questionnaires on aspects such as comfort, design and possible improvements.
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How Lufthansa and British Airways are competing with Emirates on Indian routes

By Vivek Mayasandra, Take Flight Project

As the global economy dynamically changes, all major airlines are focusing on the rapidly growing middle class and business markets of the BRICs and the ‘Next 11’ as a new source of growth. According to Boeing’s latest outlook, these emerging economies will collectively occupy over 60 percent of passenger flows by the year 2030.

India
Last month we discussed how Emirates is capitalizing on new passenger flows, for example connecting Asia with Africa and with Latin America via its Dubai hub. A good showcase of the challenge that the rise of Emirates is posing to European legacy carriers is India, since the subcontinent is the second largest market for both British Airways (50 weekly flights to 5 destinations in India) and Lufthansa (52 weekly flights to 7 destinations), after the United States.

India is also Emirates’ largest operational market with 185 flights a week to 10 destinations. Says Orhan Abbas, vice president India and Nepal at Emirates, “The Indian market is a very important one for us as Indians have overtaken the British as the single largest tourist group on Emirates.” In the 2010-2011 fiscal year, Emirates’ revenues from India grew 24 per cent to USD1.7 billion, while traffic grew with 10 per cent.

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Emirates’ aggressive approach has resulted in significant market shares on international flight routes from India; the airline currently holds 35 per cent on routes from India to Britain, 40 per cent to France, 20 per cent to Germany, and 31 per cent to New York. The airline’s low prices and large network in India make it an attractive option, and on the popular route between India and North America, Gulf airlines such as Emirates are virtually the only practical option for travellers from second-tier Indian cities. A passenger from New York on the way to, for example, Thiruvananthapuram, has to connect twice when flying via Europe (e.g, at Frankfurt and at Delhi), compared to a single connection at Dubai.

Besides the large number of Indians working in the Gulf states, “one of the reasons for Emirates’ success is that so many Indians love transiting via Dubai,’’ says Madhav Oza of Blue Star Travels, one of the biggest travel consolidators in Mumbai. “The shopping, easy visas and simply the familiarity with the city often makes them choose it over colder and more congested European hubs like Frankfurt, Paris or Brussels,” he says.
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European airlines pioneer world’s first scheduled commercial biofuel flights

With the world’s population growing and becoming increasingly wealthy, IATA estimates 16 billion passengers will fly each year by 2050. But as passenger counts grow, airlines are needing ever-more fuel to keep their fleets in the sky. As air transport is the only mode of transport that will remain dependent upon liquid fuels for the foreseeable future, the aviation industry and the research community has no choice other than to develop and test alternatives. Furthermore, with oil prices rising and European emissions trading slated to begin in 2012, airlines will be faced with new expenses. Not only will they have to pay for the fuel the industry consumes, they’ll also need to acquire certificates for each ton of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere.

Airlines in June 2011 won approval from from the US standards body ASTM International to power planes with blends including biofuels for commercial flights. Biofuel refers to fuel made from renewable organic raw materials and is more efficient than kerosene and emits less greenhouse gas when burned. Depending on how the biomass used to make the fuel is produced, results could range between 50 and 80 percent less CO2 emissions. Although biofuel use is still not financially sustainable, as it is more expensive than ordinary aviation fuel and no large-scale production or distribution has yet been established, Europe’s first users of biofuel, KLM, Lufthansa, Finnair and Thomson Airways hope the increased interest from airlines in biofuel will encourage more companies to enter the growing market and help make it financially viable.

KLM, Finnair, Thomson
Following the world’s first demonstration flight carrying passengers with a B747 with one if its four engines running on a 50/50 blend of jetfuel and biofuel from the camelina plant, KLM aldo operated the world’s first commercial biofuel flight on June 29th 2011, using a blend of cooking oil recycled from restaurants to power a Boeing 737-800. The Dutch Inspectorate for Transport, Public Works & Water Management granted KLM permission to operate the return flight between Amsterdam and Paris Charles de Gaulle. Both flights had an almost full load of 171 passengers and KLM plans to operate some 200 AMS-CDG commercial flights powered in part by biokerosene from September 2011 on.
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Lufthansa gives its virtual fans real discounts on A380 flights

In early May 2011, Lufthansa’s 7th A380 entered into daily service on the Frankfurt – San Francisco route. To promote its A380 destinations in the USA – New York, San Francisco and Miami (from 10 June 2011 on) – Lufthansa has launched a Facebook campaign in which it offers its virtual fans a real, tangible, reward.

Facebook members can book a virtual flight on a Lufthansa A380 flight from the USA to Frankfurt, and the more ‘likes’ their flight gets, the bigger the discount voucher. 

How it works: Participants must ‘like’ Lufthansa on Facebook, submit a ‘virtual flight’ by selecting an origin and destination from Lufthansa’s timetable, get their Facebook friends to ‘like’ their virtual flight within a 24 hour time period that begins upon the submission of the virtual flight. Participants who create a virtual flight but receive less then 10 ‘likes’ on Facebook automatically receive a USD25 discount voucher, with the amount rising to USD50 with 10 to 29 ‘likes’, USD75 with 30 to 59 ‘likes’, while those who get 60 friends to like their A380 flight, receive a USD100 discount voucher. A maximum of 15,000 discount vouchers will be awarded in each denomination and a purchase is required to use the discount voucher. 
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Lufthansa’s new 747-400 First Class consists of a seat and a separate flat bed

When Lufthansa introduced its first A380 to its fleet in May 2010, the airline’s new superjumbo also featured a new First Class cabin (as well as new seats in Economy). At the same time, Lufthansa also started an EUR400 million revamp of all classes across its entire fleet. For example, in December 2010, Lufthansa unveiled a ‘new European cabin’, adding slimmer, lighter seats on its short-haul aircraft.

First Class on 747-400s
Lufthansa has just announced it will also upgrade its First Class on its B747-400 aircraft. However, instead of installing the new First Class cabin introduced on its A380 last year, Lufthansa has opted for a radically different design for the new First Class on its B747-400s.

The airline is converting every window seat in its existing First Class cabin – which currently fits 16 passengers – into a permanently flat bed, reducing the total number of seats to just eight. The full-flat beds have a sleeping surface measuring over two metres in length and a top-quality mattress. Essentially the new First Class seat on Lufthansa’s B747-400 now will consist of two seats, with the upright seat appearing similar to an older version of Lufthansa’s First Class seat on the pictures. Cabin seating is configured just 1-1 with the upright seat adjoining the aisle to allow for easier meal service and socializing, while the bed is positioned alongside the window for more privacy.

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First class passengers will also get 17″ monitors for inflight entertainment, temperature-regulating blankets and pillows and an amenity kit from Porsche Design. Furthermore, just like the First Class on Lufthansa’s A380s, sound-absorbing curtains and sound-deadening insulation beneath the carpet will make the cabin more quiet. Read full article »

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Innovative airlines 2011: #3 Lufthansa

In third place is Lufthansa, which through its acquisition of SWISS, Austrian, British Midland and Brussels Airlines has aggressively led consolidation in the European airline industry. The German flag carrier has also started a new subsidiary in Italy, and is reportedly also interested in SAS and Polish carrier LOT. Serving various market segments with products ranging from low-cost Germanwings to high-end Lufthansa Private Jet, Lufthansa is a strong brand associated with quality, thoroughness and innovation by many travellers, resulting in an above-average share of high-yield premium traffic. However, the airline’s high cost base and decentralized home market makes it vulnerable to competition from low-cost airlines such as airberlin and carriers from the Gulf Region such as Emirates. 

Premium positioning
Lufthansa positions itself at the premium end of the market. In the airline’s words: “Lufthansa sees the key feature of its business in quality. Our philosophy is that, to maintain the leading position, one must be better – better in terms of reliability and innovation. Because good quality binds customers.” Says the airline’s head of marketing and sales Thierry Antinori, ”Over the next five years, we plan to invest one billion Euro to upgrade our products in all classes of service.” 

Business, First, Private
With the introduction of its first A380 in May 2010, Lufthansa has started a complete revamp of all classes across its entire fleet, spending as much as EUR400 million through 2013. The airline’s A380 is the first aircraft to feature Lufthansa’s new First Class, which according to the airline has ”the quietest First Class ever,” with sound-absorbing curtains and carpet and special sound-insulating material in the aircraft’s outer skin blocking noise. Lufthansa has avoided the fully enclosed First Class suites offered by Singapore Airlines and Emirates saying that at numerous in-flight tests and surveys, passengers expressed a clear preference for an open-plan design. 

Business Class on Lufthansa’s A380 flagship has an angled lie-flat seat, which is somewhat surprising as flat beds in Business Class are becoming the industry standard. The airline has attributed its decision to stick with the angled lie-flat concept to the delayed A380 delivery, saying the design was appropriate when the aircraft orders were first made. However, Lufthansa reportedly plans to introduce flat-bed seats on its new B747-8 aircraft from late 2011 on, with other aircraft models to follow in coming years. 
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Lufthansa (re)launches FlyNet inflight broadband on long-haul flights

After a four-year suspension, Lufthansa has relaunched its FlyNet inflight Internet service on November 30, 2010. With the introduction, Lufthansa became the first airline to offer passengers wireless broadband Internet access on intercontinental routes. The airline is initially rolling out the FlyNet service on aircraft operating select North Atlantic routes, such as Frankfurt to New York, Detroit and Atlanta. Ten Lufthansa aircraft (mainly A330s) have been readied for the service so far. 

Lufthansa is offering the Ku-band satellite-based Internet service in partnership with Panasonic and mobile network operator T-Mobile. The airline will initially provide a WiFi Internet service for laptops and smartphones and GSM capability will be added in spring 2011. No voice or Skype calls will be permitted, however. “We got a clear message from our customers that they are seeking quietness on board and we respect this,” says Lufthansa vice president product management and innovation Christian Körfgen. Besides paid connectivity, passengers can also access news, sports and entertainment for free on an inflight wireless portal.

Pricing
Lufthansa will offer the FlyNet service for free until 31 January 2011. Thereafter, the price for one hour access is EUR10.95 or 3,500 miles, while the 24-hour flat rate is EUR19.95 or 7,000 miles. T-Mobile customers can use the inflight WiFi under their existing cell phone contracts, paying a fee of EUR1.80 for every 10 min. Under the 24-hour flat rate agreement, passengers can also use the FlyNet service on connecting Lufthansa flights during the period of validity as well as in Lufthansa lounges. The carrier aims to have 20 widebodies installed with FlyNet by the end of February 2011 and on all its intercontinental aircraft by the end of 2011. Read full article »

Airlines go local and seasonal with their food offerings

Reflecting a growing food trend among hotels and restaurants, airlines are increasingly offering local and seasonal food onboard as they emphasize their national cuisine. This development also ties in with a number of other trends such as authenticity, storytelling, and the rediscovery of national and regional identities in a globalized world. Furthermore, offering local and seasonal produce supports local businesses and in some cases also results in a reduced carbon footprint. Some recent examples from around the world. 

SWISS ‘Taste of Switzerland
As part of its ongoing ‘Taste of Switzerland’ program, started in 2002, SWISS offers premium passsengers on medium and long-haul flights signature dishes from its cantons (regions). Every three months a new Swiss canton is selected (currently Vaud), and local produce is used as much as possible. Thanks to a recent collaboration with the country’s ‘Kaseunion’, Appenzell, Gruyere and Emmental cheeses are also served on board. 

Lufthansa ‘Discover Flavour’
On a similar note, Lufthansa’s ‘Discover Flavour’ catering concept, offers regional German specialities on board. The current program, ‘Discover Slow Food’, held in cooperation with the Slow Food organization, serves Business Class passengers on select long European flights four regional specialities, such as the ‘Diepholzer Moorschnucke’ (a rare breed of sheep from Lower Saxony) and the ‘Bamberger Hörnla’ (an old variety of potato grown near Bamberg). On domestic routes, Lufthansa currently serves marinated North Sea crabs on scrambled egg, and Hamburg vinegar-marinated meat as part of a ‘Discover Hamburg’ theme. Read full article »

Lufthansa rewards Foursquare users for virtual check-ins at Munich’s Oktoberfest

We recently covered the first airlines in Asia-Pacific (Air New Zealand) and the U.S. (Virgin America) that are using the fast growing location-based social networks Foursquare (3 million users) and Loopt (4 million) to connect with consumers. In Europe, Lufthansa has just become the first airline to partner with Foursquare for a geo-social marketing campaign based around the annual Oktoberfest in Munich, which takes place from September 19 to October 4, 2010. 

An important status element of Foursquare are ‘badges’, which are awarded to Foursquare members that ‘check in’ frequently with their cellphone at the same location. For example, the ‘Jetsetter’ badge can be earned by visiting an airport 5 times, and the ‘Airport’ badge can be earned by visiting 5 different airports. 

Foursquare users who check in to three Lufthansa-approved venues at Oktoberfest will receive the special Oktoberfest badge. Unlocking the badge entitles them to a EUR20 flight voucher good for a future Lufthansa flight. A redemption code will be emailed after unlocking the badge. A micro-site details how to download Foursquare’s app and how to earn the flight voucher. It also includes tips on how to visit beer tents around Munich’s annual festival. Read full article »

‘Flying Families’: Kids are getting their own airline lounges

Many airports offer playgrounds for kids to keep them entertained while waiting for their flight. For example, Singapore Changi features several children’s playgrounds and even a 4-storey slide, while Schiphol Airport has a ‘Kids Forest’. Airports have also teamed up with brands to offer ‘brand spaces’ for kids and babies. At Amsterdam Schiphol, baby food brand Nutricia runs a ‘Nutricia Babycare Lounge’, while at Paris’ Orly and Charles de Gaulle airports kids can play at the ‘Gulli area’, a playground povided by Gulli, a French children’s TV channel. Jetblue’s T5 terminal at New York JFK features a ‘Fisher Price Play Space’.

Air France
Besides these public facilities, airlines have recently began opening their own dedicated lounges for kids. Air France just launched its first lounge for unaccompanied minors at Paris-Orly airport, which the airline mainly uses for domestic and regional flights. Nearly 380,000 unaccompanied minors travel on Air France every year, and approximately 70% of them travels within France and to the French Overseas Departments. Under the watchful eye of Air France staff, children can play, rest, read or watch DVDs in the new 40 sqm lounge. Air France has also opened a summer-only 200 sqm lounge At Paris-Charles de Gaulle during the school vacation period for kids traveling alone. Airlines such as KLM (‘Junior Jet Lounge’), Lufthansa (‘Kinderlounge’) and BA (‘KidZone’), Emirates and Etihad have also been operating similar unaccompanied minors lounges for several years.

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In-flight magazines increasingly find a niche audience

With audio and video on demand (AVOD) a standard in-flight entertainment feature today, and with travelers increasingly carrying their personal entertainment devices with them onboard, passengers may start to lose their interest in in-flight magazines amidst all the media overload. To make in-flight magazines more relevant to both passengers and advertisers, a number of airlines have begun to publish special-interest and route-dedicated in-flight magazines.

Wine
LAN Chile has just launched an in-flight magazine, called ‘in-Wines’ targetted at wine lovers traveling in business class. The first edition of in-Wines includes essays by Chilean master sommelier Héctor Vergara, serving and pairing tips, a wine-tasting class, wine reviews and Chilean and Argentinian wine routes. Connecting with passengers “on a lifestyle subject they are passionate about” is the driver behind LAN’s launch of the wine-dedicated in-flight magazine. Says LAN’s manager in-flight entertainment Violeta Garcia, “the magazine gives us the opportunity to reinforce our credibility as wine connoisseurs”. According to Spafax, which also publishes LAN’s regular ‘in magazine’, “in-Wines is already a huge hit with readers and advertisers – with over 20 major brands buying space in the first edition.”

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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 »

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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Lufthansa takes delivery of first A380 and unveils new First Class

Lufthansa has just taken delivery of its first A380 aircraft, which also features the carrier’s new First Class cabin. Lufthansa’s A380 has 526 seats, configured in three classes: eight seats in first class (the same number as on the airline’s smaller B747′s), 98 seats in business class, and 420 seats in economy class.

The airline’s new First Class offers flat-bed seats, designed with wood veneers and brown and beige leather. The flat bed measures 2.07 metres in length and 80 centimetres in width, and each passenger has an individual wardrobe. Amenity kits are designed by Porsche Design. First Class passengers will have two large bathrooms at their disposal with wash and changing areas separated from the lavatory area. The Lufthansa First cabin looks like a slimmed down version of SWISS’ First Class, which was also designed by Priestmangoode. The colors, materials and shapes used are also intended to create a smooth transition from Lufthansa’s first-class lounges to the aircraft. When departing or arriving in Frankfurt, First Class passengers are chauffeured in a Porsche Cayenne or Mercedes between the terminal and the aircraft.
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Free coffee and a shoe shine at the airport to help travelers chase the Monday-morning blues away

Arriving at the airport at 7 a.m on an early Monday morning is hardly anyone’s favourite way to start another working week. To lighten up their Monday mornings and chase the ‘Monday blues’ away, Singapore Changi Airport offered passengers a free cup of freshly brewed Starbucks coffee from August 2009 to February 2010. The complimentary ‘Java Mondays with Changi’ treat was distributed by Starbucks staff carrying dispensers on Monday mornings from 6.30 a.m to 7.30 a.m.

Showing some empathy as well is Bloomberg BusinessWeek magazine, which is currently offering travelers passing through JetBlue’s T5 terminal at New York JFK a complimentary magazine and shoe shine on Monday mornings to start the week on a good foot. Operated by ‘A Shine & Co.’ travelers who have their shoes shined are seated in an iconic ‘Egg’ chair. With the offer Bloomberg is promoting the newly renamed and redesigned BusinessWeek magazine, which it has acquired recently. The free shoe shine is available Monday mornings between 7 and 11 a.m from April 26 to May 17, 2010.
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Lufthansa puts mini-aircraft inside Kinder Surprise eggs to promote its first A380

Lufthansa will take delivery of its first A380 on May 19, 2010 and the first long-haul flight of the aircraft is to bring the German football team to Johannesburg on June 6 for the start of the FIFA World Cup. The airline then will introduce the A380 on scheduled routes from Frankfurt to Tokyo (June 11), Beijing (August 25), and Johannesburg (October 25). 

To promote its first superjumbo Lufthansa has teamed up with chocolate maker Ferrero to develop mini versions of the A380 (scale 1:1,000) to fit inside Kinder Surprise eggs. Says Ferrero: “We’re always looking for new ideas for toys, and the idea of squeezing such a giant into an egg was particularly appealing.” The special edition Kinder Surprise eggs are currently available at selected retailers in Germany and will become widely available in stores in Germany during the summer. A total two million mini-aircraft will be produced, including little A380s bearing the logos of Star Alliance partners Thai Airways and Singapore Airlines
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Business class-only services holding up despite recession

Despite the economic recession and the subsequent fall in business travel, the business class-only niche is holding up surprisingly well. Initiated by private start-ups such as eos, Silverjet and l’Avion in the pre-recession boom in premium travel, the model has been incorporated by airlines such as Lufthansa, British Airways, Singapore Airlines and ANA. Now with premium travel recovering slightly, airlines are considering growing their premium-only services again.

British Airways recently said it may expand its ‘Club World London City’ service to other U.S east-coast locations, such as Boston and Washington. BA says its flights from London City to JFK, which started in September 2009, reached 75 percent seat occupancy in December. The carrier also revealed it looked at starting flights to Dubai that would be refueled in mainland Europe, but decided against the plan. While BA’s westbound flight to JFK has to refuel in Shannon (Ireland), the ability to clear U.S immigration controls at Shannon enables the layover time to be put to use. However, such a stop could not be justified for many other potential routes from London City.
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Etihad and Lufthansa launch loyalty apps for the iPhone

There are travel-related iPhone applications (apps) abound, devoted to everything from ticket search and booking (Kayak), airport codes (Airport Codes), airport gates (GateGuru), airplane seating charts (Airline Seat Guide), to flight tracking (FlightTrack), flight delays (Flight Tracker), and aircraft specifications (aeroguide).  

Compared with the above, the list of airline-branded apps remains relatively sparse. British Airways led the way in July 2008 with the first iPhone app launched by an airline. Qantas soon followed suit, while Air Canada became the first North American carrier to launch an application. Other airlines that have launched iPhone-based services include Lufthansa, Swiss, Southwest, Cathay Pacific, DragonAir, Viva Macau, and Air New Zealand. Apps from these airlines mainly provide general travel information, such as timetables, and the ability to change booking details. Some airlines also offer the passengers the ability to check in, or let them check their FFP mileage balance. For a full overview of airline iPhone apps, see this blog by mvolution (in German). Lately, airline applications have been getting more specific, with Virgin Atlantic’s ‘Flying without Fear’ app, and Air New Zealand’s mobile boarding pass app.
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Low cost carriers force European flag carriers to rethink short-haul product

Europe’s legacy carriers have long found low-cost airlines a nuisance, but the recession has turned them into a serious problem, as both business and leisure travelers trade down to cheaper tickets. Furthermore, airlines such as Air France and Iberia also face strong competition from high-speed trains. In order to stay competitive on short-haul routes, Europe’s ‘Big Three’ are rethinking their product offering in order to drive down unit costs.

The latest news comes from Lufthansa, which will introduce denser seating in its European economy class next year. To free up more ‘knee space’ for passengers, the seat back pocket will be elevated at the same time. Lufthansa also wants to simplify its catering (it currently serves six different options, depending on the type of flight and time of day), which will allow It to reduce the space needed for kitchens onboard. The airline says “the aim is that Lufthansa becomes more profitable and less complex,” and is reportedly targeting a 40 percent reduction in costs on its European network.
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Lufthansa MySkyStatus lets passengers auto-tweet their flight position

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Lufthansa USA has rolled out a new tool that lets air travelers share their location during their journeys via Twitter and Facebook. Called MySkyStatus, the application takes a user’s flight information, including departure and arrival data, and matches it to real-time global air traffic data. It then synchronises with their Facebook or Twitter page, posting regular updates about departure, arrival and even which country they are flying over. The messages also come with a link to a Google Maps mashup that shows their plane’s location. MySkyStatus users can choose whether to have only their departures and arrivals shared or also send messages (as often as hourly) with updates of their positions in the air.

The MySkyStatus service is part of Lufthansa’s new marketing campaign ‘Passion for Precision’, and aims to back up the carrier’s reputation for punctuality. Passengers do not have to be travelling with Lufthansa to use the service.  Every update is ‘lufthansa-branded’ (a short “powered by Lufthansa” is tacked on to every update), so those using the service for flights on other carriers will still be delivering some free promotion for Lufthansa.
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