THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON FUTURE TRAVEL EXPERIENCE
28 October 2016 | 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.
Sign of the Times: Digital art installations at Changi Airport aim to engage today’s connected travellers
25 September 2016 | 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 »
12 August 2016 | In the past two and a half years, Ryanair has been busy upgrading its products and services, stepping up its digital innovation activities, as well as opening routes to main airport hubs in an effort – called ‘Always Getting Better’ – to appeal more to business travellers.
“This is not a PR stunt,” said CEO Michael O’Leary at the launch of the initiative, describing the Always Getting Better programme as a “transformative” evolution and a “fundamental change” in the way both he and Ryanair do business. ‘”If I’d known being nice to customers would have been so good for business, I would have done it years ago.”
Rate My Flight
As part of the third phase of the program – which focuses on digital innovation – Ryanair earlier this year added a ‘Rate My Flight’ feature to its app. Passengers who want to rate their flight have to download the regular Ryanair app, allow for push notifications, and are send the survey through the app upon landing.
The Rate My Flight survey asks passengers to evaluate each element of their flight, from boarding through food and drink provision to crew helpfulness and overall service standards. Ryanair says it uses the feedback to tweet and improve its offerings as much in real time as possible.
The ‘Rate My Flight’ intiative was trialled in March and went live in May of this year. Ryanar has just published the first feedback results, based on more than 8,800 passengers who used the ‘Rate My Flight’ function during June and July.
More than half of respondents (53 percent) rated their overall experience as ‘very good’, 36 percent rated their experience as ‘OK’ and 11 percent rated it as ‘poor’. Crew friendliness received the highest positive rating, with 63 percent scoring this ‘very good’.
At the other end of the scale, boarding received the highest number of ‘poor’ responses, with 14 percent saying they were unhappy with the boarding process.
31 July 2016 | Airlines have long relied on awards and recognitions from industry watchers and major publications to reassure customers of the quality of their products and services, in very much the same way that professional critics and ratings firms have put their seal of approval on restaurants and hotels for decades.
But the rise of the internet has disrupted that ‘expert-review’ dynamic. The active participation of consumers on ratings sites which evaluate everything from films to books to consumer goods to services, and of course travel, suggests that today’s consumers trust popular opinion over ratings which could be perceived as an extension of marketing and advertising (a.k.a ‘the experience is the marketing’).
TripAdvisor is now looking to shake up the airline industry the same way it has hotels, by launching airline reviews. The sixteen year old travel review site has accrued over 350 million individual travel reviews covering 6.5 million hotels, restaurants and attractions and has now expanded its TripAdvisor Flights service to let customers grade and review airlines around the world in much the same way that they would review a night’s stay somewhere.
These reviews are then combined with an external rating of the amenities on a particular route, such as the type of seat offered and whether there are power ports and wi-fi available to flyers, to give it an overall ‘FlyScore’ which will rate the quality of an itinerary on a 1 to 10 scale.
Consumers can sort their flight search results by price, duration, the ‘FlyScore’, or a blend of factors categorised by TripAdvisor as “Best value of time and money.” TripAdvisor expects to refine the system, introducing further enhancements this year.
According to The Economist, “History suggests the firm has a good chance of making an eventual impact. If it does reach its potential, it might just encourage flyers to change their buying behaviour. If customers are willing to pay, say, $30 more for a seat rated as excellent compared with one that is terrible, then maybe airlines will pull out of their race to the bottom. A world in which carriers compete for the quality of the reviews they receive, as well as the price they offer, would be a better one.” Read full article »
THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON FUTURE TRAVEL EXPERIENCE
19 July 2016 | 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 »
By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com
1 June 2016 | As part of a trend that sees airlines and airports welcome real-time feedback from passengers via digital channels other than social media, Sri Lanka’s national carrier, SriLankan Airlines has launched a comprehensive customer satisfaction platform which captures feedback from passengers throughout the journey, from booking to overall satisfaction measures after the return home.
The airline has set up various ways for customers to share their impressions of service quality at its Colombo Ticket Office service counters, on its website, at the check-in counters at Colombo Airport, inside its lounge at the airport – as well as on-board through a dedicated application on iPads issued to cabin service managers.
There is also a survey app incorporated into the airline’s IFE system, plus a feedback module incorporated in SriLankan’s mobile app. Once the journey has ended, customers also receive an email request to evaluate their journey. All surveys are available in five languages: English, Sinhala, Tamil, Chinese and Japanese.
The passenger feedback which was initially gathered through a paper-based system has evolved gradually and the airline has now developed a full-fledged system where they could amass the treasured thoughts of passengers via digital media. Feedback data combines a full set of passenger profiles such as name, gender, ethnicity, travel preferences and their service aspirations with flight information into a data warehouse which further enables SriLankan to create a rich set of analytics, identify trends and strengthen customer relationships.
“Today we are serving an informed, tech savvy, demanding customer. We understand the service expectation can be delivered by working smart. We recognise that technology can bring the speed and sophistication to serve today’s customer,” says Mr Chanaka Olagama, Head of Cabin Services, SriLankan Airlines.
To ensure prompt responsiveness to service interruptions and critical issues which affect passenger satisfaction, real time alerts for immediate service recovery or negative feedback from passengers are sent to the supervisor of each customer touch point via text messages.
Additionally, live dashboards display the overall mood of customers through color-coded cards which reflect passenger satisfaction ratings, based on feedback received. Read full article »
18 March 2016 | Expectations of airline passengers are not only shaped by how well an airline performs versus its direct competitors. They are also fuelled by standards set by experiences that consumers have in other industries, as innovative products and services in one industry raise the bar for all industries. This means airlines and airports need to tune into the customer from a holistic perspective when designing the passenger experience.
At this year’s Passenger Experience Conference – which is part of the annual Aircraft Interiors Expo/WTCE in Hamburg – AirlineTrends delivered a presentation about ‘Digital Innovation and the End-to-End Passenger Experience’. Below is the outline of our talk, illustrated by a few examples of how airlines are tapping into the changing consumer behaviour and expectations of today’s connected travellers.
As smartphones make it quick and hassle-free to order goods online, flag a taxi via Uber, or what have you, the on-demand economy has generated a sense of entitlement to fast, simple and efficient experiences as it taps into consumers’ appetite for greater convenience, speed, and simplicity. For example, analysis from Uber shows the longer Uber has been in a city, the less willing to wait for a car everyone becomes.
In the food and beverage industry, Starbucks’ new pre-order app has become a very popular time-saving service, while airport restaurateur OTG has installed thousands of food-ordering iPads at half a dozen U.S. airports.
And a growing number of airlines – including Virgin America, Air New Zealand, Japan Airlines, Norwegian, Azul – allow passengers to order meals, snacks and drinks via the in-seat IFE system in between regular meal services, while Qantas and EVA Air offer passengers the option to purchase duty free via the Panasonic eX3 IFE systems. Passengers onboard leisure carrier TUI Netherlands can even order drinks and duty free via their own smartphones. Read full article »
Panasonic’s Waterfront concept suite lets passengers customize their inflight experience with their smartphone
By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com
8 February 2016 | In a time when the personal device (smartphone, tablet) is becoming the digital controller of just about every surrounding device (think Sonos, Google Chromecast, or Philips Hue), Panasonic’s new Waterfront concept seat – unveiled at last month’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas – demonstrates ‘the art of possible’ when the personal devices gets integrated with the aircraft seat.
The Waterfront seat is the result of a partnership between Panasonic, B/E Aerospace, Formation Design Group and TEAGUE and follows last year’s JAZZ IFE/seat Economy concept.
According to Panasonic, the objective with the new seat is to “take care of a passenger’s wellbeing in a more holistic way.” Using B/E Aerospace’s Super Diamond seat as platform, the Waterfront seat features a full privacy door, which “gives a First-Class feel within the confines of a Business Class footprint,” as RGN puts it.
Other features of the Waterfront include customizable LED lighting (the interface has been coupled to hundreds of individually controllable full spectrum LEDs across the entire seat) and climate controls that adjust the temperature in the suite. Passengers can recharge their devices using one of the AC and USB ports or just place it on a wireless inductive charging panel.
Personal device as remote controller
The centerpiece of the Waterfront suite though is a 24-inch high-definition 4K touchscreen monitor placed in a seamless edge-to-edge glass structure, which can connect to a passenger’s smartphone app.
According to Australian Business Traveler passengers will be able to control the in-flight entertainment system AND the suite’s environment from their phone or from a supplied 7″ tablet.
The integration of the personal device and the Waterfront tech system is done via a technology called ‘light ID’, which has been developed by Panasonic and which uses a LED as the light source so that smartphones can read optical ID signals containing various kinds of information. According to Panasonic, the airline would provide the wireles controller application for passengers to download. Read full article »
This article also appeared in the December/January 2016 edition of Onboard Hospitality Magazine.
By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com
15 January 2016 | Consumer behavior is changing. Smartphones make it quick and hassle-free to order goods online, or flag a taxi via Uber. This always-on, on-demand economy has generated a sense of entitlement to fast, simple, and efficient experiences as it taps into consumers’ appetite for greater convenience, speed, and simplicity. For example, analysis from Uber shows the longer Uber has been in a city, the less willing to wait for a car everyone becomes.
In the food and beverage industry, ordering and paying for food and beverages via tablet devices has become the new normal at casual dining chains such as Applebees and Chili’s across the USA, while airport restaurateur OTG has installed thousands of food-ordering iPads at half a dozen U.S. airports.
And a growing number of airlines – including Virgin America, Air New Zealand, Norwegian, Azul and Finnair – allow passengers to order meals, snacks and drinks via the IFE system in between regular meal services, while passengers onboard leisure carrier TUI Netherlands can order drinks and duty free via their own smartphone.
Skipping the queue
Saving consumers even more time, Starbucks this fall rolled out an order-ahead mobile application across all of its 7,000 stores in the USA, as well as across 150 Starbucks locations in London. As soon as people have ordered, the app gives them an approximate pickup time, and Starbucks estimates customers can save between 10 and 15 minutes using this option. A similar service is being tested by fast food chains McDonalds and Wendy’s.
At multiple airports in the USA, passenger can pre-order meals from airport restaurants, using mobile apps such as Grab, AirGrub and HMS Hosts’ B4 You Board, which saves them having to queue up for food and drinks, and provides some peace of mind for those who are running late for their flight.
Passengers using these pre-order apps select an airport restaurant, place an order, pay and schedule a time to pick up their meal. When they arrive at the restaurant in the departure hall the freshly made meal is waiting to be collected. Orders can be placed days in advance, or even when passengers are queuing at the security checkpoint. Read full article »
By Ryan Ghee, Future Travel Experience
23 September 2015 | The discussion as to whether wireless in-flight entertainment (IFE) poses a threat to the traditional embedded screens is one that rears its head on a regular basis, but the wireless IFE providers themselves face stiff competition from a new breed of companies who see opportunities to further reshape the market, particularly on narrow-body aircraft serving short-haul routes, which have previously lacked an IFE offering.
Bring Your Own Content
Dutch LCC Transavia, for example, has partnered with a company called Piksel to allow passengers to browse movies and TV programmes, and download the content to their own electronic devices weeks, days or hours before their flight. As soon as the passenger boards the aircraft, the pre-downloaded content is activated and it is then automatically deleted at the end of the journey to satisfy the licensing laws.
“Bring your own content” is not new – there is nothing to stop a passenger renting or buying digital content and saving it on their device before travelling, as many passengers already do with their Spotify Premium account and now also Amazon Prime – but the fact that it has now been embedded into a carrier’s own IFE portfolio is certainly significant.
Roy Scheerder, Chief Commercial Officer at Transavia, explained that the Dutch low-cost carrier’s decision to adopt the IFE solution was inspired by changing consumer habits. “The way people consume media has changed rapidly in recent years and the airline industry needs to reflect this in its in-flight entertainment systems,” he said. “Our aim was to both boost the flying experience for our customers and cut the high costs of installing onboard infrastructure for video delivery.” Read full article »
By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com
15 September 2015 | The ubiquity of personal devices, the availability to be connected anywhere, and the self-service mindset of travellers, has created a momentum that sees many of today’s passenger experience innovations taking place in the digital realm.
For example, Air New Zealand – already noted for its adoption of digital technologies – recently announced it has created the new role of ‘Chief Digital Officer’, as part of a rethink of how the airline approached digital innovation.
The New Zealand Herald also reports that Air New Zealand has just unveiled a host of digital novelties aimed at removing customer pain points, and is working on the development and introduction of permanent digital bag tags, biometric scanners for luggage dropoff, electronic departure cards, and a tracking system for kids flying alone using digital wristbands.
Some of these digital services will be introduced at the end of the year, while others are being looked at as a possibility for the future.
Tracking unaccompanied minors
One eye-catching innovation are the digital wristbands for unaccompanied minors (kids who are flying without their parents). Taking a cue from Disney’s ‘Magic Band’, Air New Zealand is planning to introduce an electronic tracking system for the 28,000 unaccompanied minors it carries per year. The high-tech bracelets replace a paper system and aim to provide parents with more peace of mind, as they will be able to receive real-time information on where their child is during the journey.
How it works: According to the NZ Herald, unaccompanied minors will be offered a silicon wrist band in the colour of their choice which contains a chip that connects to a mobile application.
The app will allow Air New Zealand employees to easily identify the child and send intermittent text messages to parents and family of the child, notifying them where their child is in the flight process and how they are doing. Read full article »
By Jonny Clark, TheDesignAir
10 September 2015 | Competition in domestic travel in the US is further heating up, with a new wave of interiors just launched by United. Starting with the A319 this week, the new interior will be rolled out on A319s, A320s, 737s and 757s throughout 2016.
The new interiors are custom created for the airline as it pushes hard to compete with more design-led airlines such as Delta, Virgin America and JetBlue. It is no surprise that United have decided to keep up with their competitors and in certain areas possibly even push ahead of the competition.
Tablet holders and storage
Developed with input from customers whom the airline invited to test seat prototypes, the brand new United seats by design firm PriestmanGoode have created features several elements to improve the customer experience, including all-leather seat covers, a patented-design tray table with tablet holder, articulating seat bottoms for greater comfort when reclining and an adjustable headrest; in-seat universal A/C power outlets for customers to charge their devices; increased in-seat storage, including two seatback pockets and side stowage for laptops and tablets; dedicated beverage holders; and real granite cocktail tables (no weight spared there).
At 21.1 inches wide, the new United First seat is wider than the current seat and will have numerous custom-design elements and premium finishes including the signature United-branded tag. Each aircraft will continue to have the same number of premium-cabin seats. Read full article »
By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com
20 May 2015 | The massive consumer adoption of smartphones and tablets has resulted in a large number of new and established suppliers developing wireless inflight ‘intranet’ solutions that can be used as a low-cost wireless inflight entertainment system, as well as for onboard retail purposes, inflight service and crew productivity.
A recent article on Runway Girl Network nicely summarizes this development: “Independently-backed IFE streaming providers are surfacing at an unprecedented rate in commercial aviation. Designed for a quick deployment, most of these new systems are being offered to airlines for free or at a fraction of cost of wireless systems from the majors.”
AirFi portable wifi
One solution that has been adopted by several airlines recently is MI Airline’s AirFi box – a compact, portable, battery-powered and self-scaling wireless local network that is not connected to the aircraft. The system is based around a small box, which can be stowed in a luggage locker – instead of having to be installed in the aircraft.
Thanks to its portability, the AirFi solution is classified as a so-called T-PED (Transmitting Personal Electronic Device) and does not require modification to the aircraft. Hence no lengthy STC (supplemental type certificate) certification is needed. “We provide the box with all the required paperwork so that the airline only needs to [advise] the authorities, change some of their security manuals and do a risk analysis,” MI Airline CEO Job Heimerikx told APEX. “The complete process takes one person two days.”
At the start of each day, AirFi boxes are placed in crew-dedicated overhead stowage bins and switched on with the push of a single button. At the end of each day, the boxes are offloaded and their batteries are charge as they synchronize wirelessly with a ‘proxy box’ on the ground. When the boxes are synchronized, content is automatically updated and user data can be saved to the airline’s own network for analysis.
Roughly the size of a shoebox and weighing 1.2 kilograms, the AirFi box runs entirely on battery power that can last up to 15 hours. Two AirFi boxes are capable of covering the entire cabin of a 180-seat B737, while three to four will be used to ensure robust service across a 280+ passenger twin-aisle jet. Read full article »
Delta lets passengers on domestic routes track checked bags in real-time and guarantees a 20-minute delivery
By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com
5 May 2015 | Back in 1973, Domino’s Pizza introduced a guarantee that customers would receive their pizzas within 30 minutes of placing an order or they would receive the pizzas free. Over the years, Domino’s reduced this service guarantee to the slogan “You Got 30 Minutes,” alluding to the earlier pledge but stopping short of promising delivery in half an hour. Instead, the company introduced the Domino’s Pizza Tracker, an app and Web-based widget that lets customers check on the pizza they have ordered at every stage, providing real-time information that relieves anxiety.
Delta ‘Track My Bags’
Taking a cue from the pizza delivery business, Delta in 2011 became the first airline to make the baggage process more transparent for passengers by launching its ‘Track Checked Bags’ service.
Since bag tags are scanned during each part of the journey by airlines, Delta’s service lets passengers track their baggage in real-time as it makes its way through the Delta system, providing them with some peace of mind when they learn their luggage has been loaded onto their flight.
Available for domestic flights, Delta passengers can go online to track their checked baggage with the bag tag number they received at the time of baggage check-in. Passengers can use the ‘Track My Bag’ functionality on the Delta mobile app to scan their baggage tag with their smartphone camera.
And, as Delta has equipped its entire domestic fleet with GoGo’s in-flight Internet, passengers can even check up in the air whether their bag has made it on their flight using the free access to delta.com and the mobile app.
Surprisingly, Delta’s ‘Track My Bags’ service hasn’t been introduced by any other airline so far, who are clearly less willing to share this kind of data with passengers. The fast developments in digital luggage tags (a.k.a. ‘The Connected Bag’) will no doubt change this status quo though. Read full article »
By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com
2 March 2015 | The airline industry is one of the leading sectors [infographic] in deploying Twitter and Facebook for customer care. In China – where Twitter and Facebook are blocked – social media platforms such as Sina Weibo (a hybrid of Twitter and Facebook) and WeChat (messaging app) are commonly used by Chinese and foreign carriers for customer service.
Meanwhile, airlines such as ANA and THAI are present on messaging platform LINE – which is popular in Japan – while a few airlines, including Royal Jordanian, Royal Air Brunei, Jetstar and Chinese low-cost carrier Spring Airlines, also use Skype for customer care.
The latest communication platform to be used for online customer service is WhatsApp. In October 2014, WhatsApp was the most globally popular messaging app with more than 600 million active users, followed by China’s WeChat (468 million active users), Viber (209 million active users, and Japan’s LINE (170 million active users), while over 100 million people use South Korea’s KaKaoTalk. In January 2015, WhatsApp reported surpassing 700 million users. WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook in February 2014 for USD 19 billion.
Transavia x WhatsApp
Now Dutch low-cost carrier Transavia, a subsidiary of Air France-KLM, has become the first airline to integrate WhatsApp into its webcare channels, which also include Twitter and Facebook.
Customers can ask questions via the messaging app, such as making inquiries about an existing booking, how to check in online or hand luggage rules. Transavia says it aims to respond to questions within an hour and the airline can be reached via Whatsapp 7 days a week between 8am and 10pm.
Says Roy Scheerder, commercial director at Transavia, “We want everyone to make it as easy as possible to get in touch with Transavia. We see WhatsApp as nice addition to the already existing possibilities such as Facebook and Twitter.” […] “Because of the accessibility of WhatsApp customers expect an even quicker reaction than via Twitter and Facebook.” Read full article »