ANCILLARY REVENUES

Heathrow Airport launches ‘onboard picnic’ service, offering F&B from 118 outlets

LHR_onboard picnic_b680x226

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

Delta_JFK T4_food ordering_b680x400Images: Boarding Area

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

NS_Schiphol_680x240

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.

Our newsletter is read by aviation professionals from:sign up now »

Delta upgrades cabin crew from Nokia smartphones to connected ‘phablets’

Delta x Nokia 1510_c680x319

By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

In the fall of 2013, Delta Air Lines started providing Nokia Lumia 820 smartphones to all of its 19,000 flight attendants. The Windows-based devices feature an app that is based on the Microsoft Dynamics point-of-sale system and also handles passenger manifests, frequent-flyer information, connecting-gate updates, and flight-attendant scheduling updates.

From smartphones to phablets
Now Delta has just announced it will be replacing the smartphones with larger Nokia Lumia 1520 ‘phablets’ and this fall will equip more than 20,000 flight attendants with the 6-inch screen devices. Dictribution will start in October with all flight attendants receiving the device by the end of the year.

In addition to its functionality as an in-flight sales device and replacement for the on-board manual, the Nokia Lumia 1520 phablet, running Windows Phone 8.1, will, as it develops, enable flight attendants to take customer meal orders, receive detailed information about their flight and provide information for personalized service, including customers’ frequent flyer status and potential need for special services during flight.

Personalization platform
Delta flight attendants were initially given Nokia Lumia 820 smartphones to do things like process on-board purchases more efficiently, according to Delta’s SVP In-Flight Services, Joanne Smith. “It’s just a start. […] “The emerging high-value customer expects us to know about them. Millennials want us to know where they like to travel, what their experience has been. Our flight attendants spend more time with our customers than any other group. They can supply that.”

According to Delta, the new devices are meant to serve as a platform for future, more personalized in-flight customer service. Says Delta CIO Theresa Wise: “The phablet is a great foundation for future software applications that, in time, will allow our flight attendants to readily access customer preferences, previous travel experiences with Delta and worldwide connectivity to the company, enabling them to provide the more tailored experience many customers have come to expect.”
Read full article »

Austrian offers premium meals and amenity kit in Economy for a fee

Austrian_paid meal_amenity kit_680x293

By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

In their quest to increase the average revenue per passenger, a large number of full-service airlines now charge a fee for the reservation of Economy seats with extra legroom (e.g, exit row seats), while a growing number of full-service carriers (mainly in the USA) also charges for checked bags.

Besides monetizing for services that used to be free, full service airlines are also looking to introduce premium services to passengers travelling in Economy for a fee. Think paid fast track through security and early boarding.

Premium meal
Up in the air, about ten full-service carriers around the world currently offer passengers in Economy the option to upgrade their meal for a fee.

For example, Austrian Airlines’ ‘A La Carte’ service lets passengers on long-haul flights pre-order a premium meal for 15 euro. The airline’s catering partner Do&Co has even opened a last-minute ordering desk at Vienna Airport where passengers can pre-order their meal up to just one hour before the departure of their flight.

Paid amenity kit
Austrian’s latest ancillary initiative is the introduction of a paid amenity kit in Economy. Whereas the likes of Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines and Korean Air are among the few airlines that provide passengers in Economy with a complimentary amenity kit, Austrian regards it as a possible (minor) source of additional revenue.

Branded as the “Austrian Tascherl” (video here), the practical comfort kit contains a sleep mask, earplugs, a refreshing towel, a toothbrush and toothpaste.
Read full article »

Delta provides cabin crew with Nokia Lumia ‘onboard retail’ smartphones

Delta_Nokia Lumia_onboard retail_a680x295

By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

Equipping airline cabin crew with tablets and smartphones is the latest step in continued efforts by airlines to increase their onboard retail revenues.

Since the end of 2012, American Airlines has been equipping its 17,000 flight attendants with Samsung Galaxy Note handheld devices, saying trials revealed that crew liked the fact that they could hold the device in one hand and easily slip it into a pocket – which is not always possible with a larger tablet. Besides being a means to provide crew with the latest passenger information, American uses the devices for onboard transactions such as the purchase of food and beverages inflight.

Meanwhile in the US, low-cost carrier Allegiant has provided its cabin crew with iPads that feature the FlyDesk app from its subsidiairy Allegiant Systems, while in Europe TUI (Arkefly) has deployed MI.Airline’s Connected Crew solution using 7-inch Samsung tablets.

Delta x Nokia Lumia
The latest airline to provide its crew with a next-generation point-of-sale (POS) device is Delta Air Lines. The airline at the end of August started the roll-out of Windows Phone 8-based Nokia Lumia 820 handheld devices to flight attendants (or inflight professionals as Delta likes to call them) around the world in an effort to streamline the process for purchasing items on board and to put key flight information at their fingertips.

Under the agreement, AT&T will equip more than 19,000 Delta flight attendants with Nokia Lumia devices powered by Microsoft Dynamics mobile point-of-sale platform on Windows Phone 8, with a Delta-specific customer experience developed by Accenture-subsidiary Avanade to operate over Wi-Fi and AT&T’s 4G LTE Network.

Flight attendants began testing the Nokia smartphones during flights in June 2013 and in-flight trials have shown that the new solution is already around 10 percent faster than Delta’s previous systems.

Says Michael Griffiths, Global Managing Director, Retail and Distribution, Microsoft Dynamics, “The company decided to make the move after running into significant challenges with the limitations of its legacy point of sale devices. Yes, they could capture transactions for food, headphones and duty-free items. But they were bulky. They had to stay on the plane. They were costly in terms of maintenance. Information had to be uploaded from them manually. They did not have high-speed wireless connectivity. There simply wasn’t a lot of additional value they could drive beyond basic, transactional interactions, and even those were suboptimal.”

Read full article »

Long-haul low-cost carrier Scoot takes a cue from AirAsia X with new quiet zone

ScootInSilence_a680x230

By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

Singapore Airlines’ budget subsidiary Scoot is the latest airline to embrace a child-free zone, banning children from the front section of its Economy cabin. Launched at the end of August, the new product is called ScootinSilence and takes up rows 21-25, which are located immediately behind the ScootBiz cabin on the long-haul low-cost carrier’s fleet of B777-200ER aircraft.

The cabin has 41 of Scoot’s Super and Stretch extra-legroom seats  (35-inches – four more than economy) and has been declared off-limits to passengers under 12 years, a move which the airline hopes will create a quiet zone.

“ScootinSilence is the perfect option for guests seeking an exclusive cabin, extra legroom and confidence that under 12’s will be seated in another part of the aircraft” said Scoot CEO Campbell Wilson. “No offence to our young guests or those travelling with them”, he added, “you still have the rest of the aircraft to choose from.”

The price for a ScootinSilence seat is an additional SGD18 (USD14) on top of the regular economy fare. A ScootBiz seat costs from SGD99 (USD77) more than an economy seat.

AirAsia X, Malaysia Airlines
This is not the first time an airline has adopted a ban on children in a part of its cabin. In February 2013, rival long-haul low-cost carrier AirAsia X introduced a ‘Quiet Zone’ on its A330 aircraft, where Economy passengers can travel without being disturbed by kids or chatting passengers. Malaysia Airlines last year also introduced a child-free zone on the upper deck of its A380s in a gesture to businesss passengers travelling on full-fare Economy tickets. The airline also bans kids from its First Class cabins.

How data, connectivity and a retailing mindset help increase onboard revenues

Onboard retail_a680x452

By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

The combination of rapid developments in consumer electronics, the acceleration of wifi installations onboard aircraft, and the large number of passengers carrying one or more digital devices, is creating a momentum that sees many of today’s inflight innovations focus on digital developments.

In this three-part series on how new technologies are improving the onboard passenger experience, airlinetrends.com founder Raymond Kollau takes a look at some of the major initiatives and innovations that are the result of this convergence. The first article discussed how inflight connectivity provides passengers and crew with real-time information up in the air, the second article highlighted the latest in inflight entertainment, and this last part focuses on onboard ancillary revenue generation.

Ancillaries: Maximising Revenue Per Seat
As ancillary revenues have become a major revenue source for airlines – if not the lifeline for many – airlines are thinking of more ways to derive revenue from all phases of the customer journey, in an effort to add high-margin ancillary sales to low-margin air revenue. Over the past few years, airlines have monetized baggage, seat selection and meals, and have come to recognize there is a wide array of merchandise they can sell onboard.

Or as the New York Times puts it nicely: “The great advances in technology presents for airlines themselves to essentially sell more things to the customers, whether the product is in-flight entertainment, food and drink, customized services to elite-status passengers or products at the destination, including hotel packages, sports and concert tickets, restaurant and theater reservations. On an airplane, you have a captive market, and with sophisticated technology, you can sell to passengers in very personal ways.”

Airlines as Retailers
However, the airline retail model is still in its infancy. Travel retail solution provider Datalex believes that airlines have only reached the tip of the ancillaries iceberg, as their opportunities for growth include selling a much broader range of products and services before, during and after the flight. Says the company’s CEO, “The airline industry is rapidly evolving to become retail-focused and airlines will have to reinvent themselves as retailers. Airlines could learn a lot from retail chains like WalMart and Tesco, especially when it comes to offering the right product to the right customer at the right time.”
Read full article »

Our newsletter is read by aviation professionals from:sign up now »

IndiGo lets passengers taste and vote for their favourite buy-on-board sandwich

Indigo_FoodFight_a680x256

By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

In just a few years, low-cost carrier IndiGo has become India’s largest domestic carrier by securing nearly 30 percent of the local market.

IndiGo’s popularity with Indian passengers is based on its ‘no-frills chic’ approach towards flying. According to IndiGo President Aditya Ghosh, the airline’s philosophy is “to make travel as hassle-free as possible — low-cost but high quality — and that’s why we are popular both with budget travellers and high-level corporations.”

IndiGo has worked with agency Wieden + Kennedy building a new, cool airline brand from scratch. Besides quirky advertising, everything from the design of the safety instruction card and sickness bag, to the availability of a boarding ramp instead of a staircase, to the packaging of in-flight snacks were aimed at being more engaging. For example, IndiGo’s triangular paid-for ‘Airwich’ boxes feature interesting stories and fun illustrations to offer passengers something to read when having their meal

IndiGo ‘Food Fight’
In another innovative effort to promote its buy-on-board offering, IndiGo and Wieden + Kennedy in late 2012 organized a food tasting in the sky, dubbed #IndiGoFoodFight.

Held on a single day on IndiGo flights across major routes, over 1,000 passengers were surprised with boxes of free food samples containing the contenders for the airline’s new buy-on-board menu. Passengers were asked to vote for their favourite, with the winner making it on-board as the “Passenger’s Choice.”

Or as the airline putsit more dramatically: “It’s the ultimate showdown at 35,000 feet. From the feather-weight division we have Lemon Chicken Sub vs Curried Chicken Sub vs Chicken Jhatka. And in the veggie-weights, introducing Veg Junglee vs Tomato-hummus vs Paneer-mushroom. May the best sandwich win!”

The Veg Junglee Sandwich and Curried Chicken Sub turned out to be the clear favourites among passengers and are now featured on the IndiGo menu. A video of the event can be found here and images here.

Virgin America lets passengers buy fellow flyers a cocktail via the IFE system

VX_seat to seat delivery_b680x475

By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

Virgin America’s in-flight entertainment and communications (IFEC) platform, known as Red, may very well be the world’s most feature-rich IFEC system. For example, the high-definition touch screens on each seatback feature live satellite television, the first ever seatback digital shopping platform, an open tab service, and interactive Google Maps with terrain view that tracks the flight’s location. Passengers can also use the system to chat with other passengers, play 3D games such as Doom, offset carbon emissions for their flight, or purchase snacks, meals, and beverages from their seats via Red. Flight attendants receive the orders via a tablet device and bring the ordered items to the seat.

Seat-to-seat delivery
The latest innovative feature Virgin America has added to the Red platform is a ‘seat-to-seat’ delivery service (images here and here), which lets passengers use their seatback touch-screen to send a cocktail, snack or meal to a fellow traveler onboard their flight using a digital seat map. Similar to the ‘open tab’ function on Red (passengers only have to swipe their credit card once per flight to make purchases), this is a smart way to increase the onboard sales by adding an element of fun to the experience.

“Get Lucky”
In true Virgin style, the airline is playing the flirting card to promote its new seat-to-seat delivery service, encouraging passengers to “send an in-flight cocktail to that friendly stranger in seat 4A – and then follow up with a text message using the seat-to-seat chat function also on Red.”

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson also helped introduce the new seat-to-seat feature with a tongue in cheek video called “Sir Richard Branson’s Guide to Getting Lucky at 35,000 Feet.” Read full article »

airBaltic lets passengers customize their buy-on-board meal

airBaltic Meal_680x188

By Nikos Loukas, InflightFeed                                                                                                         article updated December 2013

Latvia-based low-cost carrier airBaltic is known for churning out attention-grabbing innovations. Along with differentiating its Business Class by serving passengers a 3-course meal based on organic, seasonal products from local Latvian farmers, freshly brewed Nespresso coffee, airBaltic has come up with a host of innovative ancillary products, a taxi and bike-sharing operation, and the airline has been one of the first to launch a ‘social seating’ service.

Mix ‘n match
To help increase revenues for their buy-on-board program, airBaltic’s latest ancillary initiative is a novel food ordering system that allows customers to customize their in-flight meal when they book their seat. During the pre-order process passengers can choose from a wide range of meal options, as well as drinks and desserts, and virtually ‘drag and drop’ their preferred meal items onto a digital airline tray, with their chosen meal served to them during the flight. The service was ‘soft launched’ in May 2013 followed by a full launch in October.

Passengers using the ‘airBalticMeal’ service can choose from a variety of more than 70 pre-order meal options onto their virtual tray, including vegetable risotto, fish souvlaki, teriyaki salmon, grilled pork or chicken breast, served with one of nine salads and one of nine types of dessert, and a drink of choice. The inflight meals can be pre-ordered during the flight booking, or any other time no later than 48 hours before departure, and hot meals are priced from EUR 7 to 12 and salads from EUR 5 to 8.

And as consumers become more conscious of what they are eating, each menu items offers nutritional information allowing passengers to make an informed inflight meal decision.

AirBaltic’s customized meal ordering system is has been developed together with LSG SkyChefs, whose facility at Riga Airport produces approximately 4,500 meals a day and who guarantees each passenger will see his or her customized meal delivered on board – if ordered at least 48 hours prior to departure.

Uptake
According to Janis Vanags, airBaltic’s VP Corporate Communications, the personalized pre-order system has generated a lot of media attention from around the world, and even before the launch of the new service the Latvia-based carrier saw levels of its existing pre-order service rise three times because of the buzz surrounding its new offer.

The airBalticMeal service has seen a positive uptake since its full launch in October because the option to personalize ones meal is simply a better product than the limited choice that was available before, says Vanags.  “We thought it would be fun and interesting for passengers to select exactly what they would like to eat before their flight.”

Airline buy-on-board catering goes local

Local BOB catering_b680x463

By Nikos Loukas, InflightFeed

Airlinetrends.com has reported earlier how Canadian low-cost carrier Westjet has differentiated its buy-on-board catering offer by partnering with local, often family-owned, restaurants across Canada for its buy-on-board catering program. Unlike many pre-packaged airline snacks, WestJet’s sandwich options offer fresh, local flavors from the city of departure.

As the number of airlines – including full-service airlines – that offer buy on board (BOB) catering increases, Westjet’s local BOB initiative is part of a trend that sees carriers looking at ways to add special touches to the paid-for menus on offer. This may go down well with the growing number of passengers that are happy to pay for a quality onboard meal or snack, instead of the cut-down complimentary offer served on many full-service carriers on short-haul routes.

Here’s a look at some ‘local BOB’ catering offers from airlines around the world.

AirAsia
AirAsia’s ‘Café’ menu features options such as chicken siew bao from popular local Malaysian brand Mr Siew Bao (RM 4; USD 1.30), as well as bubble tea from Taiwanese specialist tea maker Chatime (RM8). The airline says it hopes the popular bubble tea drink will boost its in-flight sales by two percent over the next 12 months.

Transavia
Passengers traveling with Dutch low-cost airline Transavia can choose from a range of sandwiches (EUR 4.50 to 5.00) from local producer Sanday’s. Not your typical airline sandwich, this product is made by hand on the day of departure and uses organic bread and quality ingredients (video here). In fact, InflightFeed has voted the Sanday sandwich as one of the best paid-for sandwiches in the sky.

Hawaiian Airlines
Hawaiian Airlines, meanwhile, has teamed up with local food producers to provide passengers with tastes from Hawaii. Kona Chips, a family owned business which has been around for 50 years is on the menu, along with the Kauai Kookie company and the Punalu’u Bakeshop, which all add a local element to the in-flight catering offering.
Read full article »

WestJet teams up with local restaurants across Canada to serve fresh sandwiches sourced from the city of departure

By Nikos Loukas, InflightFeed

On many flights originating in Canada, WestJet offers a little taste of home. Whether it’s a meaty Spolumbo’s sandwich from Calgary, a Thai chicken wrap from Vancouver’s Bread Garden or the smoky pastrami from Au Pain Doré in Montreal, WestJet is offering an increasing number of locally made fresh sandwiches on most flights over 2.5 hours in length. All sandwiches cost CAD 6.50 (CAD 6 when pre-ordered).

“We want to offer our guests onboard menu items that will enhance their WestJet experience and support the communities we serve,” says WestJet’s On Board Product Manager Layne Ward. “Being able to partner with local caterers to offer guests a wide variety of fresh sandwiches is ideal.”

The sandwich story all started in 2010 in Calgary with a WestJet executive’s penchant for the chewy Italian sandwiches created by three ex-Calgary Stampeders football players at the local Spolumbo’s restaurant. “They were here having lunch, talking about airplane food, and wondering why it couldn’t be more local and more fresh,” says Tony Spoletini, one of the owners of the popular Italian sausage shop and deli.

Local, fresh
The Spolumbo’s crew signed on for a test run and, when guests gobbled up their airline sandwiches, WestJet looked for entrepreneurs in other Canadian cities to expand the program. Now, fresh and unique sandwiches are loaded on board every day from caterers and delis in Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Hamilton, London, Montreal and St. John’s.
Read full article »

How iPads are changing the way plane tray tables are designed

By Louise Driscoll, Terminal U

Let’s face it, economy class was never built for comfort. But the experience can often fall short of what we expect at the most basic level.

Take the flimsy tray table, for example, which is more ‘tray’ than table. It’s capable of holding your meal steady, until the plane hits turbulence and your drink starts sloshing all over the place, or lands in your lap when the seat in front catapults in your face.

Some major airlines, including Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific have introduced sturdy cup holders in economy on long-haul flights, but not all carriers have thought them through, as this video shows.

Economy tray tables also haven’t been engineered for the growing numbers of passengers using their own iPads, laptops and other personal electronic devices in their seats.

A few aircraft manufacturers have been working to make tray tables a bit more user friendly for the tablet user, but the incentive is largely to help airlines make money.

The ‘iHolder’?
US firm Smart Tray International recently unveiled, a new economy class tray table with a built-in groove for docking personal electronic devices.

If the new version catches on with airlines, passengers will be able to watch content on their iPad or iphone screens hands-free with the tray table up or down, and charge their devices at the same time.

With this set up, airlines could also install their own tray-table based inflight entertainment systems and bring in advertising revenue with targeted ads on-screen.
Read full article »

Long-haul low-cost carrier AirAsia X to offer kids-free ‘Quiet Zone’ onboard

AirAsia X_Quiet Zone_a680x372

By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com

Two recent surveys conducted by TripAdvisor found that 40 percent of U.S. travellers said they would pay extra to sit in a designated quiet section of the plane, while nearly 80 percent of Britons agreed there should be child-free zones on board, and a third of of respondents would pay more for their flight if there were no children on board.

Quiet Zone
Following a controversial decision by Malaysia Airlines to introduce a ‘child-free cabin’ on the upper deck of its new A380 superjumbo (Business and Economy), Malaysia-based long-haul low-cost carrier AirAsia X has announced it will be launching a so-called ‘Quiet Zone’ on its fleet of Airbus A330s.

Starting in February 2013, the airline will create a “Quiet Zone” in the front section of its widebody aircraft, located between the airline’s Premium Class section and the front galley. Children younger than 12 years old will not be able to book seats in the Quiet Zone, and passengers opting for the zone will be asked to keep noise to a minimum, while there will also be special ambient lighting in the cabin. Passenger will also be among the first to disembark.

The dedicated zone will consist of the first eight rows of the Economy section (rows 7 to 14), and  as the front area already houses the airline’s Premium Class, turning this part of the aircraft into a Quiet Zone will also be appreciated by AirAsia X’s premium passengers.
Read full article »