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

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

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

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