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KLM’s new Amsterdam flagship lounge has zones inspired by the Netherlands, including a ‘Dutch Mountain’

This article originally appeared on THE DESIGNAIR

Just shy of KLM’s centenary, the airline has opened the first stage of its brand new lounge at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. The lounge – designed by Amsterdam-based Concrete – now boasts a completely new setup, set over tiered layers, with a ‘trendy’ ambience.

The lounge features the latest technologies and innovations along with improved service and catering. While this is just a taster of what is yet to come, customers can already take advantage of this in a temporary setup while refurbishment of the second part of the lounge continues until its festive opening in summer 2019.

Catering to KLM’s premium customers travelling on intercontinental flights, the international KLM Crown Lounge is located between the E and F Piers at Schiphol.

The lounge has a new impressive entrance on the Schiphol’s so-called ‘Holland Boulevard’. Customers  access the lounge by escalator (or elevator) and pass glass walls that contain five thousand of KLM’s iconic Delft Blue houses on their way up.

The lounge facilities are located on the second floor and on a newly opened, completely rejuvenated third floor. Passengers are welcomed individually by personal lounge assistance and can gain easy access by scanning their boarding passes at self-service devices. Read full article »

From Lounge to Cabin: China Airlines’ branded premium passenger experience

Airline passenger experience innovations can be nicely summarized along the lines of the customer experience dichotomy of ‘time well saved’ (e.g, removing friction, with a strong focus on digital innovation) and ‘time well spent (e.g, creating branded and/or experiential spaces).

Following our trip last year on Finnair’s A350 to report on the airline’s ‘Nordic Experience’, this year we travelled onboard China Airlines’ A350, which is another example of how full service airlines are becoming more creative and bold in the design of their lounges and cabins in an effort to differentiate their brand in the midst of fierce price competition.

Lounge to Cabin
The idea of commencing the journey early by providing a lounge experience that comes near or matches the experience in the air has began to take hold.

Air China, for example, worked with its design firm (JPA Design) to develop a holistic ground to air experience which incorporates the story telling theme of the airlines’ new cabins including traditional Chinese iconography designed by renowned Chinese artist Han Meilin.

And Finnair, together with dSign, developed a ‘Space Alive’ design standard which is applied on the airline’s Helsinki lounge and its A350 cabins. The concept uses dynamic mood lighting and neutral furnishings to set a mood that suits the time of day, destination or season.

China Airlines NexGen initiative
In 2014, China Airlines launched its ‘NexGen’ program with a design team led by Taiwanese designer Ray Chen. Moving beyond the neutral lounge designs and generic grey and blue cabin environments, Chen sought to design a lounge and cabin environment inspired by the Song Dynasty that – in China Airlines’ words “serves as a platform to showcase Taiwanese culture.” Read full article »

Delta partners with Uber-inspired package delivery platform Roadie to deliver delayed luggage to passengers

Delta in 2011 became the first airline to make the baggage process more transparent for passengers with its ‘Track Checked Bags’ service. Delta passengers on domestic flights can track their checked bag(s) in real-time via the Delta app, even when up in the air.

Plus, Delta’s ‘Bags On Time’ guarantee means that passengers on domestic routes will have their checked luggage at the bag caroussel within 20 minutes, or receive 2500 SkyMiles when this takes longer.

Delta in 2016 also invested USD 50 million in RFID technology to further expand is bag tracking service to international stations. RFID scanners, RFID bag tag printer, and RFID pier and claim readers have been installed in 344 stations worldwide, which has resulted in baggage tracking that is 99.9 percent accurate.

With sharing real-time bag tracking with passengers still being a novelty in the industry, Delta has further innovated its baggage service to include delayed luggage.

Delayed baggage claim via Delta app
Earlier this year, Delta expanded its Fly Delta app functionality to allow passengers to skip the bag service office visit when luggage is missing.

The mobile bag service feature allows passengers to file a bag claim at their final destination through the Fly Delta app, instead of having to visit the local Delta baggage service office, when Delta sees the bag has missed a checkpoint. The airline proactively notifies passengers if their bag will be delayed, and provides a link to complete a delayed bag file with the app.

“This is one more way we’re putting the power for a customer to control their experience in the palm of their hand,” commented Delta’s Chief Operating Officer, Gil West. “The last thing a customer wants to do when their bag is delayed is to go in person to do something that can be done with a few taps on their phone, knowing that we’ll deliver their bag directly to them when it arrives.” Read full article »

Transavia offers passengers the option to order a breakfast box for pick-up on arrival

Much has been said how airlines should evolve/transform into travel platforms that provide passengers with relevant products and services during their journey from door to door. Think airport transfers, baggage pick-up and delivery, duty free delivery on arrival, etcetera.

These kind of convenience-based services are taking off in a response to the expectations of customers used to manage their life from their smartphone in an ‘on-demand’ economy.

Beyond the flight: Groceries
A new example of how airlines are thinking beyond the flight is a pilot between Dutch LCC Transavia and Holland’s major retailer Albert Heijn which aims to ease the woes of travellers who find an empty fridge and a closed supermarket when returning home, for example in the evening or on a Sunday.

Similar insights have led retailers such as Tesco to trial a QR shopping wall trial at London Gatwick back in 2012, while Lufthansa has held trials with German supermarkets Rewe and Edeka to let passengers order groceries via its FlyNet inflight wifi portal for home delivery.

Appie Fly
Appie Fly is a joint experiment by Albert Heijn and Transavia that allows passengers on all inbound Transavia flights to Rotterdam The Hague Airport to order fresh breakfast boxes and then collect them after arrival. The breakfast boxes can be picked up from the Appie Fly collection point, which is located at the Illy Coffee Corner in the arrival hall of the airport.

Passengers can place their orders online when checking in for their flight to the Netherlands via Transavia’s mobile responsive website. The ‘Welcome Home’ boxes, which are sufficient for two people, offer two varieties of breakfast and are priced at euro 12.50 each. Read full article »

Lufthansa uses VR to sell last-minute upgrades to Premium Economy at the gate

Airlines are becoming more creative in selling ancillary services to passengers in order to increase revenues per seat. For example, many airlines today offer passengers the option to place their bids in a blind auction for an upgrade to a premium seat, while airlines such as KLM and Emirates invite passengers to contact the tablet-equipped crew if they want upgrade to another cabin at the very last minute onboard.

Selling upgrades at the gate
Lufthansa has recently trialled an innovative way to sell upgrades to Premium Economy at the departure gate. Earlier this year, the airline used virtual reality (VR) glasses at its Frankfurt Airport hub as a way to tempt Economy Class passengers to purchase an upgrade to Premium Economy right before their departure.

By inviting passengers to put on some VR glasses and take a 360 degrees view of how the Premium Economy seat and cabin looks, Lufthansa hoped passengers booked in Economy would become more interested to purchase an upgrade.

As Lufthansa put it: “Because what legroom and premium service really mean in Premium Economy can be best demonstrated in three-dimensional form.”

For two weeks flights were selected for the VR-based promotion on a daily basis, choosing those where there were still enough seats free in Premium Economy. Up until 40 minutes before departure, passengers were given the chance to virtually try out Lufthansa’s new travel class in 3D. Read full article »

Lufthansa partners with Nespresso to offer passengers quality coffee at the gate


images by Raitis Steinbergs, Alessandro Teglia

For years, Lufthansa has been one of the very few airlines – if not the only one – to offer passengers waiting for their flight at the gate complimentary coffee, tea (image), and newspapers at main airports around Germany, including its Frankfurt and Munich hubs.

Or as Lufthansa has stated in the past: “Offering hot beverages to passengers prior to departure is a long Lufthansa tradition. Lufthansa first began offering hot coffee and tea from large thermos flasks in the mid-80s and the first automatic vending machines serving freshly brewed coffee were installed at airports in 1993.”

However, similar to any other full service carrier around the globe who is looking to rationalize every cost item, Lufthansa has to rethink these kind of free amenities. Instead of cutting costs by simply terminating the free hot beverages and print newspapers the airline has come up with a smart alternative that taps into trends such as ‘paid premium’ and digitalization.

Coffee at the gate
Following trials in the first half of 2015 at selected gates at Frankfurt and Munich airports, Lufthansa a few months ago partnered with Nespresso to bring the ubiqituous coffee capsules to the gate area.

The premium Nespresso coffee doesn’t come for free though. Passengers can choose from regular coffee, espresso, cappuccino ior latte macchiato (the latter with fresh milk), each at the cost of 2 euros. For those passengers who might consider bringing their own coffee pods: For the business market, a different pad-shaped system of Nespresso pods exists which are not interchangeable with the consumer capsules.

According to Lufthansa, a total of 20 Nespresso Coffee Points have been placed throughout Frankfurt and Munich airports so that passengers from different gates can access the machines. Read full article »

SAS opens its second off-airport City Lounge at Stockholm Central Station

THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON FLIGHTCHIC

SAS will open a new city lounge at Stockholm’s Grand Central station, which offers flyers all the exclusivity and comfort of membership in a private club.

The opening of the new club follows the successful launch in June of last year of the first SAS City Lounge, located in the heart of Stockholm’s business district, in Stureplan.

Stockholm Grand Central
The new 600 square meter lounge is located at Stockholm Grand Central station, approximately 150 m from the Arlanda Express airport train, and offers the same private-club service as the original SAS city lounge, also opened in partnership with No18 Office & Lounge.

Guests enjoy free WiFi, reception and concierge service, open work spaces and telephone rooms, as well as complimentary coffee and tea. Meeting and conference rooms are also available to rent.

“The positive reaction to the first SAS city lounge in Stureplan underlined the growing demand for such services, and how much customers appreciate the exclusive membership-club feeling and the opportunity to do their work when and how it suits them,” the airline states in its announcement.

New ways of working
The new lounge’s proximity to direct train and bus services to Arlanda is intended to be more convenient to business and leisure travellers alike, and keeps step with the airline’s focus on satisfying productivity flyers. The service model appeals both to traditional business travellers and entrepreneurs, including freelancers who can make the most of comfortable temporary offices to hold their meetings in the city.

“We continuously aim to improve our offer to our frequent flyers. Inspired by other membership clubs around the world, we now offer people who fly with us frequently opportunities to meet, work effectively or simply relax in a comfortable environment,” says Stephanie Smitt Lindberg, VP Customer Journey & Loyalty, SAS. Read full article »

Qantas lets lounge visitors order their coffee via their smartphone

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Taking a cue from Starbucks’ mobile ordering service, as well as fellow down-under airline Air New Zealand’s coffee ordering service, Qantas recently introduced a new service at its lounges across Australia that invites lounge visitors to order their barista-made coffee via their smartphone.

In an effort to offer peace of mind to busy travellers who have navigated traffic and queues at security before having to line up again in the lounge to get a barista-made coffee, Qantas has partnered with Skip, a free app that helps customers “skip the queue” by ordering and paying for coffee and food.

In the Qantas Clubs alone, baristas brew over 1,000 cups of tea and coffee every day. In an average week the Sydney Qantas Club sees the biggest demand for coffee, with 6am to 7am being the peak demand time.

The mobile ordering service has been available since July 2016 and the Skip app can be used to order coffee at Qantas Clubs and Business Lounges at Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney domestic airports.

Qantas passengers using the Skip app can also select the time they want to collect their coffee and receive a text message when their order is ready. In addition, touchscreens have been installed around the lounges so those who aren’t Skip users can order before walking up to the bar.

According to Skip general manager Bill Bizos during the soft launch most people preferred downloading the app to using kiosks. Read full article »

EVA Air next airline to roll out Rimowa’s digital luggage tag

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THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON FUTURE TRAVEL EXPERIENCE

EVA Air has become the first Asian airline to adopt the RIMOWA Electronic Tag, the first fully integrated mobility solution for luggage.

RIMOWA Electronic Tag, which is already used by Lufthansa, will be implemented system-wide by fellow Star Alliance carrier EVA Air from 1 December. The exclusive announcement was made at Future Travel Experience Asia EXPO 2016 at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. RIMOWA also hosted an after-show event at its Marina Bay Sands store to mark the occasion.

The RIMOWA Electronic Tag suitcase features an embedded digital bag tag, which can be updated by passengers using the airline’s app. Passengers can submit data from their smartphone with just one tap, via Bluetooth, to the RIMOWA Electronic Tag and the e-ink digital display is updated with exactly the same information that would appear on a paper bag tag.

Dieter Morszeck, President & CEO of RIMOWA, said: “We are proud to be working with such a strong and experienced partner as EVA Air. The launch of RIMOWA Electronic Tag in Asia represents another milestone on the road to digitalisation in the travel industry.”

While EVA Air joins Lufthansa as an early adopter of the pioneering RIMOWA Electronic Tag solution, a number of other airlines are currently trialling the solution ahead of potential implementations in the near to medium term.

Emirates partners with Costa Coffee, Moet & Chandon and Voss for in-lounge bars

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THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON THE DESIGNAIR

Emirates has unveiled their newly renovated business class lounge in Dubai International Airport’s concourse 2 after two years of work. At a cost of USD 11m the newly renovated space includes three new dining and drinking experience areas.

The new offering is in addition to the seven other locations within the vast lounge with gourmet cuisine prepared by on-site chefs and a complimentary full bar service, which includes premium wine, spirits and champagne.

The new spaces are all prime examples of brand experiences that are opening in lounges around the world, such as Etihad and Six Senses, Qantas and Rockpool or Air France and Clarins. Emirates has recently partnered with Costa Coffee, Voss water and the long-lasting relationship with Moët Hennessy is now also reinforced in the lounge experiences as well as onboard.

‘Barista Experience’
In the new lounge Costa has brought a ‘Barista experience’ to the lounge around the clock, with flat whites, Italian coffee blends and signature pastries on offer to passengers needing a strong wake up mid-journey. Read full article »

Sign of the Times: Digital art installations at Changi Airport aim to engage today’s connected travellers

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Connectivity and digitalization are revolutionizing the airline passenger experience, most notably by empowering passengers to manage their journey by providing them with real-time information and on-demand services.

Tapping into the mindset of today’s connected travellers, Singapore’s Changi Airport has developed interactive art installations at its terminals in an effort to “engage, excite and encourage visitors to explore Singapore in and beyond the airport.”

Motion Silhouette Wall
Located at Terminal 2’s Departure Transit Lounge, the Motion Silhouette Wall uses motion-sensing technology to respond to movements in real time. Animated backdrops of Singapore landmarks such as the National Stadium and patterns change as passengers in front of the wall move and interact with the animation.

Dots Portrait Wall
Located at the other side of the installation and using the same motion-sensing technology, is a Dot Portraits Wall where passengers can make a monochromatic portrait of themselves taken at different spots of Singapore, such as Gardens by the Bay and Merlion Park. The finished image then appears on the screen in a black and white flip-dot display.

Passengers can send these portraits by e-mail to themselves as a ‘memento’ or can be forward to friends and family. Read full article »

Pre-flight IFE: How entertainment apps and kiosks are reshaping the IFE landscape

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THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON FUTURE TRAVEL EXPERIENCE

In-flight entertainment (IFE) has long been an integral part of the air travel experience. A wide array of content delivered on a high-spec screen can help to make a long flight a far more enjoyable experience. On the other hand, spending hours on end with no access to entertainment can make for a laborious journey.

Increasingly, airlines that have avoided offering IFE in the past – mostly low-cost carriers (LCCs) and those operating short-haul networks – are starting to take advantage of technological developments to offer entertainment content in various forms. In fact, the landscape is changing so rapidly that travellers are starting to question why some airlines, regardless of their business model or the length of the flight, are failing to offer at least some form of digital entertainment.

Portable, scalable onboard networks – such as those adopted by the likes of XL Airways, Iberia Express, and Arkefly – and which allow passengers to stream content to their own devices in-flight, have quickly gained traction, but some airlines are taking a slightly different approach.

Canadian carrier Air Transat offers a pre-flight content download service, while Transavia also offers something similar, albeit with a different provider.

IFE content at the airport
However, for those who are not quite as organised and don’t manage to download any content before leaving home, other solutions have emerged. If you’re flying with SWISS from Geneva Airport, you can now – well, for the next three months at least – download content to your smartphone or tablet while waiting at the gate or in a lounge.

The new ‘SWISS e-media’ service allows passengers to access a variety of content via a dedicated Wi-Fi network. If you download the SWISS e-media app, you can also download content to watch in-flight. The service has been developed in partnership with SITA, which is also responsible for the installation of ‘EntertainMe’ kiosks at London Heathrow’s Terminal 5. Read full article »

United takes ‘Lounge to Landing’ design approach for new ‘Polaris’ Business Class

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By Marisa Garcia

United Airlines hopes to outshine competitors with a redefined international Business Class experience – called Polaris – named after the brightest star in our night sky.

United and London-based design firm PriestmanGoode have worked on the design and development of the Polaris service over the past three years, with the aim of re-branding and redefining United’s proposition to the profitable, high-revenue corporate client.

The entire experience is designed to reverse any impression passengers may have that United offers customers a run-of-the-mill product.

On the ground
The United Polaris ‘experience’ starts with dedicated Business Class lounges designed to harmonise with the passenger experience in the cabin.

Each exclusive Polaris lounge features a dining area serving both a buffet selection and a la carte meals, as well as a tended bar. The lounges follow a common design plan with the active areas near the entrance, followed by the bar and buffet, and ‘calmer’ zones further inside—including shower suites and daybed rest pods.

PriestmanGoode have also created a bespoke seat for the lounge – named the Quad chair – which mimics elements of the Polaris seat up in the air. This private seating concept in the lounge includes coat and bag storage, a pull-out table with integrated tablet holder, and AC/USB charging points for personal electronic devices.

The Polaris lounges will only be accessible to Business Class passengers, with no access granted to United Club members or even top-tier MileagePlus frequent flyers booked in Economy. The exclusivity of the lounge to the airline’s Business Class customers provides added value to the ticket, ensuring that those customers can be confident not to be disturbed by crowds of frequent flyers claiming their mileage perks. Read full article »

SAS offers frequent flyers a space to meet and work in downtown Stockholm

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) is taking an innovative approach towards the development of its lounges by offering different lounge concepts for different moments of use. Last year, the airline opened the first of a series of Café Lounges around Scandiavia: mini-lounges located near gate areas where premium passengers can wait or work in comfort.

Tapping into the big shift in how a growing number of people work today, SAS in partnership with No 18 Office & Lounge, to open a City Lounge for its frequent flyers in downtown Stockholm, Sweden.

City Lounge
The SAS City Lounge is located at Birger Jarlsgatan 18, right in the center of Stockholm’s business district. City Lounge includes both open plan work areas and private meeting rooms where passengers can work and network.

Diamond members of SAS Eurobonus loyalty program (plus guest) can access the creative meeting place for free a day before and after their trip with SAS, but also at other times for a fee of SK299 (EUR32, USD37) per person. The City Lounge, which is open 9-17 on weekdays, includes wifi, coffee, tea, and concierge services. No 18 also offers SAS Diamond members to schedule an appointment with a personal trainer at their gym.

“We continuously aim to improve our offer to our frequent flyers. Inspired by other membership clubs around the world, we have now opened SAS City Lounge to offer people who fly with us frequently, opportunities to meet, work effectively or simply relax in a comfortable environment, even in the center of Stockholm,” says Stephanie Smitt Lindberg, VP Customer Journey & Loyalty, SAS. Read full article »

Schiphol Airport and MADE.com open branded pop-up living rooms at the airport

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By Marisa Garcia

Schiphol has partnered with online furniture shop MADE.com and opened several branded waiting spaces, giving passengers comfy living room oases at the bustling H- and M-piers.

These piers host low-cost carriers serving the airport. The MADE partnership was a good opportunity for Schiphol to spruce up the more austere terminal area, pleasantly surprising passengers.

MADE also gets to reach shoppers who might like testing out its more affordable high-design furnishings.

With a head office in London and an office in Shanghai, China, MADE minimises its overheads by selling online, and groups orders of the same item together to gain efficiencies from repetitive production. It does not own its factories, instead building close working relationships with independent factories and designers.

Rather than pay for permanent retail spaces, MADE has opened several pop-up showrooms, featuring a changing selection furnishings where customers can take away fabric samples and create wish-lists. The company recently opened its fourth European showroom at Amsterdam’s Overtoom street.

Brand partnerships
“Schiphol is the perfect partner to create a innovative and unconventional shop area,” says Damien Poelhekke of MADE. “Both Schiphol MADE are pushing a limit, in a new learning environment. So we go together on a journey to discover the customer of the future.”

For Schiphol, the pop-up terminal showroom was an opportunity to trial an alternative retail space model, while giving passengers something unexpected which would enhance their travels. Read full article »