AIRPORT / GROUND

Heathrow Airport launches ‘onboard picnic’ service

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

Realizing that a segment of passengers in Economy is willing to spend a bit more money in order to have a proper meal when flying, about ten full-service carriers around the world currently offer passengers in Economy the option to upgrade their meal for a fee, mostly on long-haul routes.

Austrian Airlines’ catering partner Do&Co has even opened a last-minute ordering desk at ViennaAirport where passengers can pre-order their meal up to just one hour before the departure of their flight.

Onboard picnic
Looking to take a (small) piece of the revenues that airlines generated with their buy-on-board F&B offerings, London Heathrow Airport has introduced a buy-before-you board initiative that offers passengers an ‘on-board picnic’ dining option where they can bring a bespoke ‘hamper’ (British for a meal takeaway box) with them on their flight.

The Daily Mail reports that the move from Heathrow comes after figures reveal about 20 per cent of passengers snub plane food, bringing their own airport-bought snacks on board a flight instead. A survey by the airport also showed that 70 percent of (British) passengers want flexibility about when they eat during their flight.

Available from all restaurants at Heathrow
Introduced by Gordon Ramsey’s Plane Food at Heathrow T5 a few years ago – and expanded earlier this year to some 70 restaurants – the service is now available at all of Heathrow’s 118 restaurants across its five terminals, which range from from chain cafés such as Pret a Manger and EAT, to restaurants including Heston Blumenthal’s The Perfectionist Café and Gordon Ramsay’s Plane Food, as well as Caviar House and The Gorgeous Kitchen. Read full article »

Passengers in Delta’s JFK T4 lounge can order paid meals and drinks via iPads

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

In 2010, Delta and food and beverage operator OTG launched a novel restaurant concept at New York JFK Airport that allows passengers to order food and drinks via iPads installed at dining areas at the gate. A server then delivers the food to the customer’s seat within 10 minutes. The concept has since then been rolled out by OTG to other airports around the USA, including New York LaGuardia, Chicago, Minneapolis St Paul, Orlando and Toronto Pearson.

JFK T4 Sky Club
Last year, Delta opened its new Terminal 4 at New YorkJFKAirport. The new Delta T4 also features a 24,000 square feet Delta Sky Club where passengers can work, relax and dine at one of the more than 400 seats, 50+ work spaces and a ‘Sky Deck’ outdoor terrace (video tour and images of the lounge here and here).

Premium meals and drinks
Responding to passengers requests for more substantial meal options in its lounges, Delta in 2010 introduced a paid dining concept at four Delta Sky Club lounges at New York JFK Airport. The new full-service concept offers made-to-order breakfast, sandwiches, salads, small plates and desserts for purchase, as well as premium beverages. Meals are USD 10-15 and premium drinks USD 12 and the Delta Sky Club ‘Café’ includes dedicated seating areas within the lounge, but visitors also can order from the menu and dine anywhere in the lounge.

Tablet-based ordering
In its JFK T4 lounge, Delta has added a self-service element to its premium meals and drinks offering. Those who want to eat more than what is available on the buffet can order via iPad ordering stations, which is a similar concept to the Delta/OTG iPads that are installed at the public gates. Read full article »

Dutch Railways promises passengers a guaranteed on-time arrival at the airport

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Dutch rail operator NS and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport are trialling an innovative new service, called Schiphol Warranty Service, that provides train passengers – who signed up for the service – a guaranteed on-time arrival at the airport so they will catch their flight.

Travellers who have signed up for the service and have paid the euro 5 fee will be monitored for any disruptions throughout their journey from the NS rail station of departure until the check-in desk at the airport. Passengers have to choose one out of three schedule options suggested by the Dutch Railways which all should transport them to airport arriving at least 2 hours (Schengen countries) or 3 hours (non-Schengen) before departure.

Their journeys will be monitored via an app that will track the participants’ departure station, date and time of the departure flight, flight number, number of people travelling and how many suitcases they carry. NS then will check for any travel disruptions and/or changes along the way.

If anything will go wrong during the journey, the app will notify passengers with alternative routes or any travel advice. If there are no train options available in time to bring customers to the airport, NS will then search for other travel options via bus or taxi.

Then, as soon as passengers arrive at the airport, they will be picked up by customer service staff and escorted to the nearest check-in desk. In worst case scenario, if the guarantee cannot be met and passengers miss their flight, NS then will organise hotel stay and rebooking or refund of the flight.

“If there are any failures along the way, we will ensure that passengers catch their flight, even if it means calling them a taxi,” says Commercial Director of NS Hans Peters.

More than 10,000 NS customers have received a letter inviting them to participate in the trial which takes place between mid-July and September 1st. NS hopes that eventually some 1,500 customers will take part in the programme.

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How airports are responding to today’s connected travellers with mobile services and tech amenities

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By Hildegard Assies, airporttrends•com

Consumers today want to be online and connected all the time, wherever they are. Travel is no exception, and this is often a time when travellers need information the most. Passengers are increasingly more connected as they travel and are empowered by smartphones. With the majority of air travellers (70 percent at last count) now carying one or more personal devices – a much higher penetration than among the population at large – there is an opportunity for airports to differentiate the airport experience through mobile-based services.

So how have airport operators been doing so far? In this briefing we take a look at how airports are responding to today’s connected travellers with mobile-based services and ‘tech amenities’.

The Intelligent Airport
Mobile technology and ubiquitous connectivity enable airports to continuously interact with their customers throughout their journey and as described in reports such as SITA’s ‘The Intelligent Airport’ [PDF here], mobile will be the game changer enabling airports (and airlines) to create personalised experiences.

According to SITA, ‘The Intelligent Airport’ is an airport which leverages the convergence of three trends: passenger self-service, mobility and collaborative decision-making – to create a smart predictive environment for the most effective flow of passengers and goods through an airport, both during normal operation as well as during times of disruption. Possible scenarios include:

Says Francesco Violante, CEO of SITA, “The rise of self-service and the growing impact of trends like big data, business intelligence, analytics, cloud and, of course, mobility, are making the ‘always-connected’ traveler a reality.” […] “What is clear is that most passengers want information services on their mobiles to help them through the journey, including flight search and flight and baggage status. So it is no surprise that the vast majority of passengers think technology helps when traveling.”

Although the realization of the ‘intelligent airport’ vision is still in an early stage, several forward-looking airports have come up with innovative mobile-based services:

READ FULL ARTICLE AT AIRPORTTRENDS•COM »»

Local Heroes: How local stores and restaurants are gaining presence at airports

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By Hildegard Assies, airporttrends•com

The long-standing relationship between people and brands is broken. According to Havas Media, 54 percent of consumers worldwide do not trust brands. Much of the trust, respect and loyalty people had for many global brands have been falling for the last three decades. Due to irresponsible business practices and food scandals that have recently been in the news around the world, the dominant sentiment is that many organisations have become big by doing wrong.

This confrontation of consumers with the consequences of mass consumption, results that consumers are slowly changing the way they live and consume. Consumption has moved beyond the merely transactional an instead of looking for “more”, consumers are on the look out for honest products and services in an authentic environment. They search for unique places and brands that they do want to be associated with and improve their wellbeing but most importantly, they can trust.

The rise of local flavor
Trust starts from scratch again by smaller companies and brands that are quite close to us. Brands which want to do right instead of doing less worse. And that’s why we see the rise of local flavor. Just have a look at the rising number of urban farmer markets or eco-friendly products in supermarkets. And why is it that we search for this radically good coffee made by a passionate barista in a place where we feel at home?

Tyler Brûlé from Monocle underlined in his keynote speech at the recent ACI Trading Conference in Zurich that the age of mass, uniform, global sameness has passed. Mature consumers move on to products that offer a full story of tradition and craftsmanship. Connecting your products or services to specific locales will make them more relevant, more exclusive and correspondingly more exciting and desirable. Read full article »

Easyjet to trial drones, virtual reality glasses, e-paper to improve operations

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

We were reminded of one of our favourite quotes from sci-fi writer William Gibson: “The future is already here, it is just not evenly distributed,” when we read easyJet’s announcement that the airline will use unmanned drones to inspect its aircraft.

Drones
The drones will be programmed to assess the carrier’s fleet of Airbus A319 and A320 planes, reporting back to engineers on any damage which may require further inspection or maintenance work. As EasyJet put it on Twitter: “Drones will help carry out detailed inspections, allowing us to move around every axis of the aircraft.”

EasyJet’s engineering head, Ian Davies, said: “Drone technology could be used extremely effectively to help us perform aircraft checks. “Checks that would usually take more than a day could be performed in a couple of hours and potentially with greater accuracy. […] For example, dones could be used to pick up damage caused by a lightning strike, the kind of incident that can require a full day of inspections.”

EasyJet is working with the Coptercraft and Measurement Solutions companies as well as Bristol Robotics Laboratory on modifying existing technology so it can bring in the drones. Dr Arthur Richards, head of aerial robotics at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, said: “Aircraft inspection is a great application for drones. Coupled with smart navigation and computer vision, they can get accurate data from really awkward places.”

The airline hopes to introduce the drones as early as next year following trials in the next few months.

Virtual reality glasses
EasyJet also announced that it was looking at deploying new technology to enable a remote engineering team to see exactly what a pilot or engineer is seeing using virtual reality glasses.

The glasses use the world’s first high definition see-through display system, providing augmented reality to help easyJet remotely diagnose a technical issue. At the moment engineers and pilots email pictures and call Easyjet’s Operations Control Centre to try to resolve issues over the phone, but with the wearable technology they will be able to relay images directly back to base. Read full article »

Iberia and airberlin latest carriers to develop smartwatch boarding pass

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This article first appeared on Future Travel Experience

Following the recent launch by Vueling of the first smartwatch-based boarding pass, Iberia and airberlin have announced the development of their own wearable boarding passes.

Spanish carrier Iberia has teamed up with Samsung to offer the mobile version of its website, including boarding passes, on the Samsung Gear 2 smartwatch, while users of airberlin’s iPhone app can send their digital boarding pass to their Pebble or Pebble Steel smartwatch.

airberlin x Pebble
Referring to the airberlin product, the carrier’s Senior Vice President Marketing, André Rahn, said: “airberlin is the world’s first airline to offer iPhone users the possibility of boarding using a barcode downloaded to their smartwatch. The watch also displays a quick overview of the flight guest’s departure time, gate number and seat. This option makes opening the boarding pass on the iPhone or even searching for the paper pass in your purse a thing of the past. It’s just another step airberlin is taking to simplify the boarding process through technical innovation.”

Iberia x Samsung
Iberia, meanwhile, is working on an updated version of its app for Android devices which will allow boarding passes to be automatically downloaded to passengers’ Samsung Gear 2 smartwatches when they check-in using their smartphone.

Miguel Angel Henales, Head of Iberia’s Digital Business, commented: “Working on this app has been a challenge, because we are producing prototypes, creating something that is new to the market. We are one of the first airlines to offer a wearable boarding pass, which we think will be very popular among our passengers.” Read full article »

Air France-KLM’s ‘e-tag & e-track’ turns suitcases into connected devices

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This article originally appeared on Future Travel Experience, the travel industry forum focused on enhancing the passenger experience on the ground and up in the air.

By Ryan Ghee, Future Travel Experience

Over the last 12 months, interest in permanent bag tags has increased apace as the viability of the concept has been proved, and Air France-KLM has this week launched the latest innovation in this field. The permanent bag tag, called eTag, and the eTrack tracking device have been developed by the airline alongside FastTrack Company, Samsonite and Dutch telco KPN with significant input also coming from Delta Air Lines.

eTag & eTrack
The eTag is an electronic baggage label that includes two e-ink displays and that attaches to the outside of the suitcase, while eTrack is placed inside the luggage. In addition, a limited edition suitcase – the Samsonite Track & Trace, which includes embedded eTag and eTrack devices – has been revealed.

Speaking to FTE, Manuel van Lijf, Manager Product Innovation, Air France-KLM, explained: “We’ve worked closely with our suppliers and with Delta to try to make this an industry initiative, not just an airline initiative, and we’ve had involvement from SkyTeam too and kept them updated throughout the process.

“We thought it would be useless to just develop something for us – we wanted to develop something that will benefit the industry and the passengers. The idea was to create a product that can be used by a passenger flying with Air France, KLM, Delta, Lufthansa or another airline, for instance. Why would a passenger buy a permanent tag that can only be used on one airline?”

FTE Editor Ryan Ghee was given a preview of the eTag, eTrack and Samsonite Track & Trace suitcase by Air France-KLM’s Manuel van Lijf and FastTrack Company’s Founder & CTO Graham Kelly; CEO Arthur Lahr; and Founder & CFO David van Hoytema.

GSM, GPS, Bluetooth, electronic ink
eTrack makes use of GSM, GPS and Bluetooth technology, which enables it to be tracked by a smartphone, while eTag also utilises Bluetooth. Passengers with a Flying Blue account can link the eTag and eTrack devices to their account, so when they check-in online, the permanent bag tag will be automatically updated within just five seconds.

The tag communicates with the outside world via the eTrack device, and directly with smartphones using Bluetooth, but the two products can also be used independently. Read full article »

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London Gatwick Airport to open ‘Regus Business Workboxes’ near departure gates

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

In the past few years, so-called ‘sleeping pods’ have made their debut ‘airside’ at several airports around the world, offering passengers in transit a cheap way to catch some sleep while waiting for their next flight. Sleep boxes (also known as Napcabs) can be found at airports including Munich, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Delhi.

On a related note, catering to tech-toting travellers who want to stay productive while on the road, Helsinki Airport has created what it calls ‘Suvanto’ private pods that provide passengers with a tranquil space to make their waiting time more comfortable and make it more convenient to work in between flights.

Regus ‘Business Workbox’
The latest ‘private pod’ initiative will be launched at London Gatwick Airport and is targeted at passengers travelling for business. Gatwick Airport has partnered with workspace provider Regus to open the world’s first mobile ‘workboxes’ at departures areas at the airport’s South Terminal. The first four workboxes will be installed this summer.

The Regus ‘Business Workbox’ is a four square meter fully self-contained, resourced and private space will give individuals a space in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the departure gates, to make last-minute phone calls or finish emails before boarding their flight. The box uses acoustic insulation to ensure that road warriors have quiet, and the space is equipped to allow videoconferencing and listening to music privately.

Users can input their credit card details into a keypad to gain access, which costs GBP5 per hour, or GBP10 per day. Membership schemes are also available. Video of the WorkBox here. Read full article »

Virgin Atlantic launches Google Glass and Sony Smartwatch ‘wearable tech’ trial

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

Rapid developments in consumer technnology are a driving force behind many of today’s airline product and service innovations. For example, besides equipping their inflight pursers with tablets, airlines such as British Airways, Qatar Airways and Qantas have equipped their lounge concierges with iPads in order to offer a more personalised service to passengers on the ground.

London Heathrow Clubhouse
Now Virgin Atlantic is upping the technology ante and has started a six-week trial, together with airline IT provider SITA, to learn how wearable technology could improve the passenger experience and speed up the check-in process. “2014 is shaping up to be the breakout year for wearable technology, and Virgin Atlantic is the first to bring its vision to reality,” commented Jim Peters, chief technology officer for SITA, on the initiative.

The trial will see Virgin Atlantic concierges at its London Heathrow Clubhouse lounge getting equipped with wearable tech devices in an effort to give employees more information about Business Class passengers arriving at the ‘Upper Class Wing’, the airline’s premium entrance at Heathrow Airport dedicated to Business Class passengers.

Virgin Atlantic staff are equipped with either Google Glass or a Sony SmartWatch 2, which is integrated to both a purpose-built dispatch app built by SITA, and the Virgin Atlantic passenger service system. The dispatch app manages all task allocation and concierge availability. It pushes individual passenger information directly to the assigned concierge’s smart glasses or watch just as the passenger arrives at the Upper Class Wing.

Hands-free
The technology will enable staff to identify a customer, see their flight details and preferences, and then immediately starts the check-in procedure of the passenger. During the escorted process, weather and local events at their destination, including translating any foreign language information, will be given to the passenger until they reach the lounge. The personalised service can also store preferences for future trips, and eventually could tell Virgin Atlantic staff their passengers’ food and drink preferences.

SITA and Virgin Atlantics will also deploy Sony Smartwatches so that supervisors can evaluate staff requirements and availability.
Read full article »

Airports and airlines look at other industries for ideas to speed up security and boarding

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

Airlines are increasingly looking at other industries such as retail, hospitality and automotive for best practices in order to improve areas such as service delivery, seating comfort, and merchandising of ancillaries. See this recent presentation we gave at the Passenger Experience Conference in Hamburg for examples of airlines ‘looking sideways’.

On the ground, two of the major airport bottlenecks are the security and boarding processes. Recently airports such as Pittsburgh International and Montreal Trudeau, as well as Dutch national carrier KLM, have come up with low-tech innovations that have been inspired by other industries that also are trying to minimize customer waiting times.

SUPERMARKETS: Pittsburg Airport ‘Fast Lane’
Since the fall of 2011, Pittsburgh International Airport offers an express security checkpoint lane dedicated exclusively to passengers travelling with only one carry-on bag (including purses, briefcases and computer cases). Jackets do not count as an extra item, but any other additional item requires passengers to use the regular security lines. The Pittsburgh-only program has the approval of the TSA who is staffing the express lane.

“It’s sort of like the supermarket where you go through the 12-items-or-less line,” Pittsburgh Airport spokeswoman JoAnn Jenny said. “But there will be someone there to count so you can’t sneak into the line like you can do at the supermarket.”

Pittsburgh International hopes the express lane will get more people thinking about packing light, saying that “The Express Lane is a way to streamline the wait at the checkpoint for those who pack light and fit it all in one bag. The move comes as a result of more people carrying more items through the checkpoint to avoid airline bag fees.”

THEME PARKS: Montreal Airport ‘SecurXpress Online’
Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau airport recently launched a new online service, called SecurXpress, that allows passengers to be assigned a time slot to pass through security screening, rather than queuing up at a random time. To use the service, passengers enter their cellphone number and flight information in a form on the airport’s website and then are texted a time to show up at the security screening point.

“The system is free to the general public and a bit like the Disney FASTPASS system,” said Francois-Nicola Asselin, spokesman for Aéroports de Montréal, referring to the theme park’s program that lets guests return to a crowded ride at a specific time. “It was imagined through a brainstorming session to improve customer service.”

The SecurXpress service is currently available at Montreal Trudeau only for those traveling within Canada and, because of preclearance requirements, on non-U.S. bound international flights.

POST OFFICE/DELI SHOPS: KLM ‘Smart Boarding’
As the process of boarding an aircraft is inefficient, with having to wait in line at the gate, other passengers blocking the aisle onboard, and having to stand up again for passengers with a window seat, many airlines have been looking for alternative procedures to optimize boarding, especially since a faster boarding process also speeds up aircraft turnaround times, reducing the time that aircraft need to spend on the ground.

KLM has recently introduced a faster and more convenient boarding process, called ‘Smart Boarding’ which sees passengers being issued with a boarding number at the gate, which is based on his/her seat position onboard the aircraft. When boarding starts, the numbers are displayed one by one at five-second intervals on monitors at the gate, allowing only one person at a time to board the plane.
Read full article »

Air France latest airline to let passenger print their own baggage labels

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

As part of the ongoing trend to let passengers do the pre-flight work themselves, such as flight booking, check-in, luggage check-in, passport control and boarding – as well as to shift as much of the flight preparation to passengers at home and/or office (and save time and stress at the airport) – Air France has become the second airline (following Iberia’s introduction in July 2013) to let passengers print their own luggage tags.

The option to print a baggage tag at home is currently available in France only and throughout 2014 the service will be introduced around the world.

How it works
After having checked in online at airfrance.com, passengers can print their baggage tag on a standard A4 sheet of paper up to 30 hours before their flight. They then fold the paper in four and insert the printed sheet in a reusable plastic tag holder which is available at the airport, attach the tag holder to their bag and leave it at Air France’s EXPRESS baggage drop-off counter starting from two hours before their flight departs. Passengers departing from Paris-Orly or Nice airports can drop their bags at the self-service baggage drop-off counter by scanning their boarding pass and placing their bags on the baggage belt.

Digital bag tag
Air France’s ‘print your lugagge tag at home’ service is a likely first step towards the introduction of a digital bag tag in the future.

In the second half of 2013, British Airways has tested an electronic baggage tag which removes the need for a new paper tag each time a traveller flies. Passengers could update the digital suitcase tag to display their flight information by holding their smartphone over the tag after they have checked in. BA has tested 100 prototypes of the device on corporate flights between London Heathrow T5 and Seattle in a month-long trial during August 2013.
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Dallas/Fort Worth Airport new security check experience is sponsored by Marriott

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This article appeared earlier on Future Travel Experience

Improving the passenger experience at the security checkpoint has proved to be a feat almost impossible to achieve at US airports, but a new pilot programme at Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport could finally pave the way for a more relaxing security experience.

‘Next Level Experience’
The airport has partnered with SpringHill Suites by Marriott, SecurityPoint Media and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on the ‘The Next Level Experience’ – a three-month pilot that aims to provide a more calming environment for passengers at the TSA checkpoint.

Lounge seating and screens displaying real-time waiting times have been installed at the entrance to DFW’s Terminal E, E18 security search zone, while ambient lighting, stylish decor, wall art, and relaxing music have been implemented in the queuing area. Once the passenger has completed the security process, they can re-pack their belongings in a comfortable ‘re-composure’ area, which features furnishings from SpringHill Suites.

James Crites, Executive Vice President of Operations at DFW Airport, said: “This enhanced checkpoint gives our passengers a next level experience when it comes to security screening. Wait times are automatically calculated and displayed on monitors and audio messages replace the need for TSA officers to shout instructions, and security messages are available to guide travellers throughout the screening process.”

Ken Buchanan, the airport’s Executive Vice President of Revenue Management, added: “Airports want to deliver a positive experience for passengers from the moment they step out of their car all the way to the boarding door, and screening checkpoints are a major part of that passenger experience. We want to lead the way in making passenger screening a positive encounter, while maintaining the highest levels of security.”
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Moving beyond shirt sponsorships, Emirates and Delta open lounges at sports stadiums

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This branded sports lounge case appears in the November 2013 edition of the Airline Marketing Benchmark, a monthly report by airlinetrends.com and Simpliflying, which identifies the latest innovative marketing capaigns recently launched by airlines around the world. Learn more »

Soccer’s huge popularity in much of the world and its fast-growing following in Asia have made it a magnet for international carriers looking to raise their profile. Over the last few years, airlines from the Gulf Region, in particular, have been using using soccer to build their brand names and reach a broad audience. Emirates has been sponsoring major soccer teams such as Arsenal, Paris St Germain, AC Milan and HSV in its major markets of the UK, France, Italy and Germany, while the airline at the end of May signed a five-year shirt sponsorship with Real Madrid. Meanwhile, Etihad has been the main sponsor to Manchester City since 2009. while Qatar Airways shows up on the jerseys of FC Barcelona.

Emirates ‘brand space’
As part of their sponsorship of Real Madrid, Emirates at the end of September 2013 also opened a branded VIP Lounge at the team’s Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. The 375 sqm lounge, modelled on the cabin design of a Boeing 777 – which currently serves the Dubai-Madrid route – can host around 200 guests on match days. Interior features such as windows and space illumination aim to mimic the experience of walking through an Emirates aircraft, and the ‘brand space’ features imagery of Emirates’ on-board experience, global network, and promotional images.

Expected to host over 6,000 guests every season, the Emirates Lounge is open to invited guests an hour before and after matches and visitors can relax before, during and after games in comfortable seats, consume food and beverages and watch the action on large plasma screens.

Best Practices in Airline Marketing - Monthly selection of the most innovative marketing campaigns launched by airlines around the world

Delta 360˚ lounge at Stamford Bridge
The Emirates Lounge at Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabéu Stadium follows a similar initiative by Delta Air Lines at London football club Chelsea.

Following Delta’s announcement to become the official airline of Chelsea FC, the airline in September 2012 opened its first ever SKY360 lounge outside the U.S. at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge home stadium in London. In the lounge, the airline hosts VIP guests of oficial Delta partners on matchdays, providing a Delta-branded experience through features such as airline-style tickets that invite attendees to ‘check-in’ for matches, while a LED-lit runway leading guests to a dedicated entrance to watch football games. The 108 square metre SKY360 lounge includes a dining area and full service bar and is located in the attached Millennium & Copthorne Hotel at Stamford Bridge. Accessible for hotel guests and visitors on non-matchdays the lounge is expected to receive 250,000 visitors each year.
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Qantas trials location-based ‘social listening’ in its airport lounges

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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

Airlines such as KLM and Delta are among the carriers that are the most advanced in monitoring social media such as Twitter and Facebook for passenger inquiries and feedback. KLM’s Social Media hub, for example, employs around 100 staff that respond to social media conversations within the hour, 24 hours a day, in ten different languages.

Location-based social listening
However, to allow airlines to pick up a conversation on social media about their brand, the messages have to feature the airline’s name or a strong reference to it.

Qantas is now trialling technology from Australian start-up Local Measure to help it monitor social media conversations by passengers sitting inside its airport lounges, regardless of whether the user mentions Qantas by name.

The airline already uses other social media monitoring tools such as Salesforce.com’s Radian6 for word-based search but people don’t necessarily mention keywords like ‘Qantas’ when they share for example an photo taken inside the Qantas Club Lounge.

The Local Measure tool will pick up social media conversations in a specific location, but only if the consumer has chosen to share their location by turning on geo-location in Twitter or checking into a service such as Foursquare or Facebook Places.

Positive conversations
Qantas Head of Digital Communications, Jo Boundy, tells Australian business magazine Business Review Weekly that the airline’s the social media team, which sits within the marketing department, is tapping into the positive feedback for its content marketing strategy. “It’s insanely positive and that’s been a real contrast to what you see on our Facebook page, which is pretty toxic, it’s a complaint forum and the people there are not always our customers,” Boundy says.

“We can amplify [positive feedback] but it’s so much more powerful when it’s not us talking about ourselves but customers talking about their experience or even better when it’s celebrities because of their huge following.”
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