By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com
11 November 2012 | TAM, the ambitious flag carrier of Brazil which earlier this year merged with LAN from Chile to create a Latin American airline giant, has just unveiled new cabin interiors – designed by Priestmangoode – to mark its arrival on the world stage.
Says Priestmangoode Director Luke Hawes: “Our work for TAM is crucial to their brand development, giving them the customer experience they need as they move up to become a major international carrier. The designs we will roll out across their entire fleet will present them as an important international player and give them the tools they need to compete with the world’s other major international carriers.”
In 2009, TAM hired Priestmangoode to redesign the entire onboard experience – from cabin architecture, seats, galleys and lavatories to staff uniforms, in-flight amenities and the graphic user interface (GUI) of the IFE system. According to TAM Brand Manager Ricardo Cruz, the airline aims “to put TAM on the map” with the new cabin interior program, which is “inspired by everything Brazil has got to offer.” A nice illustration of this is the floor pattern of the bathrooms which is inspired by the famous Copacabana sidewalks in Rio de Janeiro.
TAM’s new cabin interior has already made its debut on three new Boeing 777-300ERs delivered to the airline in the past few weeks. The new B777s can seat 368 passengers in 4 classes: First, Business, Space + and Economy.
TAM’s Economy cabin has received a colourful makeover and features rows of seats – manufactured by Weber – in various bright colours that reflect the carrier’s Brazilian origin: lime green, aqua blue and a brighter shade of TAM’s corporate red. TAM will also introduce a new ‘Space +’ product, which offers similar seats as in Economy, but with a larger seat pitch and recline, as well as a different seat colour. Read full article »
By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com
24 September 2012 | Declared bankrupt in 2010 after a decade of losses, Japan Airlines (JAL) last week returned to the Tokyo stock exchange in a USD 8.5 billion IPO that followed a government-backed restructuring under which the airline shed more than a third of its jobs, persuaded its unionised pilots and staff to take big pay cuts, slashed pension payouts and retired older fuel-inefficient aircraft.
In the next five years, JAL aims to boost international capacity with 25 percent, as it contends with a shrinking population and new competition from low-cost carriers at home. Similar to local rival All Nippon Airways (ANA), JAL is banking on Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner (of which it has received 4 so far, with more than 40 on order) for its expension.
JAL is also seeking to close the service gap with ANA, and – following years of underinvestment – just announced a massive upgrade of its international fleet. Called ‘New Sky’, the upgrade program will revamp seats in all cabins for the first time in 10 years, as well as introduce new catering concepts. JAL’s Business Class, however, is receiving the most extreme makeover.
Dubbed ‘JAL SKY SUITE’, the new seats will be the first time that JAL is installing full-flat beds in Business Class (even JAL’s new B787s still feature angled lie-flat seats). Says JAL’s VP Marketing Jun Kato, “We felt we were lagging behind other carriers where full-flat seats are standard.”
According to JAL, it wants passengers to “experience comfort and privacy similar to First Class” with its new Business product and the airline is installing an adapted version of B/E Aerospace’s ‘Super First Class’ seat for its Sky Suite. A luxury version of this B/E Aerospace seat is used as First Class seat by several other airlines. Despite a 2-3-2 layout, a staggered configuration allows each passenger to have direct and unobstructed aisle access.
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By Brian Pillsbury, airlinetrends.com
22 August 2012 | American Airlines (AA) has lost roughly USD 10 billion over the previous 10 years, with the red ink being compounded by very contentious relationships between management and labor. Whereas US legacy carriers Delta and United have emerged from bankcruptcy protection in recent years with a leaner cost structure, and have merged with respectively Northwest and Continental, AA’s parent company AMR has been operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection – which allows it to cut costs at the airline and return it to profitability – since the end of 2011 only.
AA’s management has also been under heavy pressure from its own employee labor unions and other stakeholders to execute a merger – most notably with US Airways. AA CEO Tom Horton recently said that a decision on the future structure of the airline is expected to be made this fall.
Since AA’s customer satisfaction rates have been below average for years, to put it mildly (although the airline topped United and US Airways in the 2012 JD Power airline ranking), AA is using its current restructuring phase to embark on an ambitious upgrade program designed to give the nearly 80 year-old carrier a much needed facelift.
American Airlines made a splash with its announcement in mid-2011 that it would be acquiring up to 460 new Boeing and Airbus aircraft as part of a massive fleet modernization program. Out of this total, American intends to replace its fleet of domestic Boeing 757-200s and MD-80s with approximately 200 A319s, A321s and 737-800s – all with leather seats, Wi-Fi and in-seat inflight entertainment. The new aircraft will be delivered beginning with the A319s in July 2013, followed by the Boeing 737-800s in October 2013 and the A321s in the second quarter of 2014.
American is also retrofitting the cabin interiors, seating and IFE of its entire existing fleet. Designed in partnership with James Park Associates (JPA), the overall design, trim and finish of all aircraft will complement the interior design scheme of the airline’s new Boeing 777-300Ers, which was made public at the end of 2011. Last but not least, American is also reported to be considering a new aircraft livery.
Long-haul fleet upgrades
American Airlines will be the first US airline to operate the Boeing 777-300ER by the end of 2012. The -300ER will become AA’s flagship long-haul aircraft and will boast an impressive array of amenities, including a new First Class and full-flat seats in Business (similar to the seat designed by JPA for Cathay Pacific), as well as a new bar area, galleys and onboard connectivity. Taking design cues from the B787 Dreamliner, AA’s new 777-300ERs will also feature a mood-lit archway at the entrance of the aircraft that creates a feeling of spaciousness.
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By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com
2 August 2012 | While Korean Air recently was named 2012′s most innovative airline by airlinetrends.com (full ranking here), South Korea’s other premium full-service carrier – Asiana Airlines – has raised the bar with the launch of its new First Class Suite. Asiana, which was recently named Best Airline in Asia in the 2012 Skytrax ‘Airline of the Year’ ranking, says its ‘OZ First Suite’ (named after the airline’s IATA code) is based on the concept of “hotel suites transplanted in an air carrier.”
Largest IFE screen in the sky
The most eye-catching feature of the new enclosed suites are 32-inch Panasonic high-definition screens – the world’s largest in-flight entertainment screens – which allow passengers to watch movies with a clear view even from a 2-meter distance as their seats are fully reclined. The suites also have touch-sensitive ‘seat function control units’ set up in the armrests for easy control of the seat and adjustment of the mood lighting at different points during the flight (including a ‘star light’ option). A ‘do not disturb’ sign is included in the control unit for more privacy.
Asiana’s new OZ First Suite is also equipped with an individual air ventilation system, a mini-bar and a cabinet for papers and laptops. The two seats located at the center of the cabin feature a seperator which can be lowered, while an ottoman across from the seat allows for a face-to-face meal for the convenience of passengers travelling together.
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By Vivek Mayasandra, Take Flight Project
8 July 2012 | Following Singapore Airlines, Korean Air (June 2011) and China Southern (October 2011), this year two more Asian carriers will add the first Airbus A380 to their fleets, adding capacity, space and subsequently, innovative solutions for their passengers. Singapore Airlines, who took delivery of the aircraft in 2007, now operates a total of 17 superjumbos, which feature the airline’s latest iteration of fully flat Business Class seats as well as individual suites in First Class. Korean Air, meanwhile features an all-business class upper deck, Absolut Vodka branded bars and lounges and an in-flight duty-free shop.
Joining the list of superjumbo carriers this year are Malaysia Airlines (June) and THAI (September), who both are launching their new A380s amidst ambitious restructuring plans.
Malaysia Airlines’ (MAS) A380s are configured in a spacious 494-seat layout and feature 8 First Class suites on the lower deck, 66 lie-flat Business Class seats on the upper deck (in a 2:2:2 configuration) and 420 economy seats split between the two floors. The new interiors have been designed by Priestmangoode.
First Class: widest seats in the sky
Indicative of the airline’s clever usage of space on board the A380 as well as its newly-grounded emphasis on luxury, Malaysia’s First Class suites are the widest of any airline’s, measuring 40 inches by 87 inches – 5 inches more than the next-widest, Singapore Airlines – and a 23 inch IFE screen. Additionally, Business Class passengers have the option to order meals through the airline’s ‘Chef On Call’ service – previously only offered to First Class passengers – which “allows travelers to preorder from a substantial menu of gourmet meals.”
Kids-Free Upper Deck
Perhaps the most differentiating factor between Malaysia Airlines’ A380 configuration and others is the airline’s bold decision to implement a ‘kids-free’ space throughout the entire upper deck of the aircraft. The controversial decision was made last year by the airline in order to cater to its anticipated heavy business traveller load on upper deck seats, where all business class seats are located, as well as to make the 70 economy class seats on the upper deck more attractive to the growing number of business travellers who fly in Economy. The implementation followed a similarly controversial ban on babies in MAS’ 747 First Class cabins.
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24 April 2012 | Having been one of the most glamorous airlines around for many years, as it challenged the dominance of UK’s flag carrier British Airways, Virgin Atlantic has seen its onboard experience slip somewhat in recent years. With the arrival of new aircraft – Virgin will take delivery of seven A330-300s during 2012 as part of a GBP 2.2 billion aircraft investment program – the airline has just unveiled its new ‘Dream Suite’ business class, which it promotes as “a first class experience for a business class fare.”
Virgin Atlantic’s new Upper Class ‘Dream Suite’ made its debut on April 21 on the airline’s London to New York JFK morning flight. Virgin Atlantic has invested GBP 100 million in its new business class product as the long haul-only carrier looks to increase its share of the business traveller market. “Fifty percent of our business is across the North Atlantic and the London-New York route is highly competitive because BA and AA have joined together,” Greg Dawson, a Virgin Atlantic spokesman, told Bloomberg earlier this year. “Whilst we’ve maintained our market share quite well, we want to keep innovating because our clear point of difference is product.”
The onboard enhancements to the initial New York service are supported by a refurbished Manhattan-themed Clubhouse at JFK Airport, which opened on March 5.
‘Upper Class Dream Suite’
Virgin Atlantic’s new Upper Class ‘Dream Suite’ is described by Australian Business Traveller as “a stylish evolution of the current design. It ditches Virgin’s trademark purple leather seat for darker chocolate-black tones accented by wooden veneer and brushed metal,” while Virgin summarizes the new interior as follows, “The cabin has a fabulous new look, with a stylish, uplifting interior, flashes of our famous red, and Swarovski crystal accents for that touch of Virgin Atlantic sparkle.” The new Dream Suite is more spacious than Virgin’s current Upper Class design and offers an extra 3.8cm of seat’s width while folding out to a massive 218cm long lie-flat be, which Virgin says is the longest offered by any airline. Other new features include a ‘literature pocket’ for stowing books and magazines plus a flexible LED reading lamp which snakes down from the top of the divider wall (images here and here).
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By Vivek Mayasandra, Take Flight Project
3 February 2012 | In September 2011, Boeing handed over the first keys of a 787 Dreamliner to Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA). This year, the other Japanese heavyweight, Japan Airlines, will be taking delivery of the aircraft in a fleet renewal and route restructuring effort. The 787 is a twin-aisle airplane that can accommodate between 210 and 250 passengers on distances up to 8,200 miles (15,200 km) – making it the only mid-size airplane capable of very long-range routes. The Dreamliner’s interior provides passengers a more spacious experience than on other twin-aisle planes, because of a ‘vaulted’ 8-foot ceiling and reshaped overhead luggage bins that drop down, while larger windows with electronic shades provide significantly more natural day light. Passenger comfort is further improved by maintaining air pressure at the equivalent of an altitude of 6,000 feet (1,800 meters) in comparison to 8,000 feet on previous aircraft, and higher levels of humidity.
While the 787 is known to burn 20 percent less fuel than jetliners of a similar size, production of the plane has proven to be a challenge over recent years – mainly due to the fact that it’s the first large passenger jet to have more than half its structure made of lightweight composite material instead of aluminum. The ‘All Things 787’ blog reports that up until now, the pipeline of 787 production has been flowing into a quagmire, as Boeing has parked about 40 Dreamliners that require extensive rework at its Paine Field base. It’s only from March 2012 that the first 787s will be delivered straight from the production line without any need for rework. Boeing’ own forecasts expect to deliver between 35 and 42 787s in 2012, though analysts have projected a figure of up to 55 aircraft as a possibility.
Of the 55 787s it has on order, ANA has thus far received its first five aircraft. Other airlines that are likely to receive their first Dreamliner in 2012 include Air India (spring 2012), Qatar Airways, China Southern, Ethiopian Airlines (all mid-2012), Hainan Airlines (fall 2012) and LOT (end of 2012), as well as reportedly LAN, Royal Air Maroc and United Airlines. After launch customer ANA, the next operator of the 787 will be Japan Airlines (JAL), who expects to receive its first aircraft in March 2012.
JAL 787 passenger experience
The passenger experience on board the 787 has been a huge selling point for the plane, and many airlines have announced their intent to introduce onboard features and configurations. ANA’s 787s feature the airline’s ‘Inspiration of Japan’ experience, which was launched in early 2011. Similar to ANA’s low-density 158-seat configuration on international flights, JAL has opted for their 787s to hold 186-seats, which will include 42 business class seats in a 2-2-2 configuration and 144 economy class seats in a 2-4-2 configuration. In their 787 Executive Class cabin, JAL will use its angled lie-flat SHELL FLAT NEO seats, which are currently used on 777-300ER routes to New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Jakarta.
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6 July 2011 | Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Polish national airline LOT, which are set to receive the first of the new Boeing 787 Dreamliners in respectively Asia and Europe, have both unveiled their new interiors for the aircraft.
The 787 is a twin-aisle airplane that can accommodate between 210 and 250 passengers on distances up to 8,200 miles (15,200 km) – making it the only mid-size airplane capable of very long-range routes. Boeing is three years behind schedule and billions of dollars over budget with the Dreamliner. The design of the 787 has proved difficult because it is the first large passenger jet to have more than half its structure made of lightweight composite material instead of aluminum, resulting in a plane that burns 20 percent less fuel than jetliners of a similar size. More than 800 787s have been ordered by over 50 airlines so far and launch customer ANA is expected to take delivery of the first 787 in August or September 2011.
More space and natural light, improved air quality, electric blinds
The new 787 interior design will provide passengers a more spacious experience than on other twin-aisle planes, because of a ‘vaulted’ 8-foot ceiling. The plane also has bigger, drop-down overhead luggage bins, while larger windows with electronic shades provide more natural day light. Passenger comfort will be further improved by maintaining air pressure at the equivalent of an altitude of 6000 feet (1800 meters) in comparison to 8000 feet on previous aircraft, and higher levels of humidity.
Launch customer for the 787 is ANA, which used the recent Paris Airshow to unveil the cabin design for its 55 B787s on order. On both long-haul and short-haul routes, ANA’s cabin will consist of two classes, Business and Economy, and the design is based on ANA’s ‘Inspiration of Japan’ concept. Due to the B787’s production delays the new cabin is already available on ANA B777-300ER aircraft serving New York, London and Frankfurt from Tokyo Narita (see our earlier article “ANA’s new cabin upgrade raises the bar in all classes”). Read full article »
16 June 2011 | In what is another example that everything can and will be upgraded in the end, Air New Zealand (ANZ), which tops the airlinetrends.com ‘Innovative Airlines’ list, offers it staff a boutique-like environment to pick up their uniforms. The airline has commissioned interior designers Gascoigne Associates to create a space that embodied the design of its new uniforms by New Zealand fashion designer Trelise Cooper (which by the way received a mixed response from ANZ’s crew).
Called ‘Clothes Hangar’, ANZ staff are greeted by stylists on arrival, can watch a welcome video on the LCD screen and view mannequins dressed in the new uniform, giving them an opportunity to see how the different uniform pieces can work together as a total wardrobe solution, as well as touch and feel the final fabrications. The Clothes Hangar also has a ‘Styling Room’ with on-site beauty consultants that help staff to select new shoes or demonstrate preferred make-up applications and hair do’s to fully accent the new uniform.
The bright white space is filled with graffiti-like graphics and blue tube racking rails wind their way through the space and into the fitting rooms, while a blue dotted line snakes across the floor. The ‘check-out’ area is highlighted with a bright pink counter with ‘graffiti’ designs printed on textured wallpaper. Outside the ‘check-out’ space is a large ornate framed window covered in Polaroid images of staff in their new uniforms. On leaving staff are asked to write a comment about their experience on brightly coloured post-it notes, which are stuck to the entry lobby walls.
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9 June 2011 | While European airlines such as British Airways (new First), KLM (Delft Blue, Dutch Design) and Austrian (new amenity kit) are looking at their heritage to differentiate their travel experience (see our recent whitepaper “How airlines can use their heritage to add some storytelling to the travel experience”), fast growing Etihad is taking a more opulent approach towards luxury.
Etihad’s First Class private suites, available on the airline’s A340-600s and A330s, have their own sliding door, a personal wardrobe, a mini bar and a 23-inch LCD screen. The leather seat and furnishings are upholstered by Poltrona Frau, which also provides interiors for Ferrari cars. Already voted as ‘Best First Class’ at the 2010 Skytrax ‘Airline of the Year’ awards, Etihad is further upping the ante by introducing new amenity kits and onboard chefs in its First Class.
Etihad’s new amenity kits for women include a black cosmetic purse detailed with crystals by Swarovski and products from Swiss luxury brand La Prairie, such as moisturiser, hand cream and lip balm. The male version of kit is a black leather cufflink box with amenities such as a shaving kit with a Schick Xtreme 3 razor and shaving cream. Other items include toothbrush and toothpaste, ear plugs, socks and eyeshades.
For Swarovski, who has collaborated with consumer brands such as Philips and LG before, this was the first time it teamed up with an airline. Says Lee Shave, Etihad Airways’ Vice President Product and Services: “In our market research, we found that very few airlines are developing product suited to the needs of female travellers, so we created these separate amenity product line.“
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More images at Australian Business Traveller
5 May 2011 | We have reported before on the plans by Australian hybrid low-cost airline Virgin Blue to reposition itself as a more direct competitor to Qantas and double its share of Australia’s corporate travel market from 10 to 20 percent. Virgin Blue has just officially unveiled its new name – Virgin Australia – and new livery. The rebranding completes 10-year old Virgin Blue’s revamp into a ‘no-frills chic’ airline. Says Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti, “We will still offer low airfares, keeping the competition in the sky high.”
Virgin Blue and its associate airlines—V Australia and Pacific Blue—will be rebranded Virgin Australia after the Virgin Group reached an agreement with Singapore Airlines (SIA) regarding the use of the Virgin name on international services to/from Australia. As part of its acquisition of a 49 percent steke in Virgin Atlantic back in 2000, SIA was given a veto on the use of the Virgin brand in the Asia-Pacific region outside of Australia, forcing Virgin Blue to brand its international operations Pacific Blue for regional services and V Australia for long-haul operations. Virgin Australia (tagline “Now You Are Flying”) will replace the domestic Virgin Blue brand immediately and international brands V Australia and Pacific Blue by the end of 2011.
B737-800 Sky Interior
Virgin Austalia also showcased the widebody and narrow-body versions of its new product on an Airbus A330 and Boeing 737. The new makeover, both exterior and interior, is styled after the carrier’s U.S. sister airline Virgin America.
Virgin Austalia ‘s newest 737-800 comes in Boeing’s new Sky Interior, which features mood lighting, larger overhead lockers and sculpted sidewalls designed to provide a feeling of spaciousness. Virgin Australia’s 737-800 also debuts a new business class cabin with eight leather seats with a 37-inch seat pitch. A purple plexiglass dividing panel, also found on Virgin America’s jets, separates the business and economy sections and the LED lighting will be purple and white. The new Boeing 737-800 interiors will be rolled out across the majority of Virgin Australia’s current domestic fleet by the end of the year. Virgin Australia also said it will announce an innovative entertainment option shortly, which suggests it may be looking at iPads or similar devices.
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25 March 2011 | Airlines such as Emirates and Singapore Airlines have teamed up with traditional French and Italian luxury brands like Bulgari, Ferragamo and Givenchy to offer passengers quality in-flight amenities, such as toiletry kits, tableware, blankets and pyjamas.
Dutch airline KLM is taking a slightly different approach as it is upgrading its onboard experience. Instead of teaming up with the classical luxury houses, the airline is emphasizing its Dutch origins by partering with contemporary Dutch designers Viktor & Rolf and Marcel Wanders for the creation of its onboard amenities. According to KLM, customers have indicated that they appreciate KLM’s typically Dutch character, so it decided to embrace Dutch Design.
Viktor & Rolf
At the start of the summer schedule on 27 March 2011, KLM has introduced Viktor & Rolf-designed comfort bags for passengers travelling in Business Class on long-haul flights. Different bags are available for men and women, and also contain a Viktor & Rolf branded toothbrush, toothpaste, socks, eye mask, lip balm, pen and ear plugs. A new design will be created each year over the next four-year period, and a new colour will appear every six months. The fashion duo’s bags proves to be popular: A few hours after KLM announced the Viktor & Rolf amenity kits, the first requests for them already started appearing on online marketplaces.
On 27 March 2011, KLM also began serving meals in Business Class on both short- and long-haul flights offered on tableware designed by Marcel Wanders. The designer (of Moooi and Droog Design fame) has created porcelain, glassware, cutlery, linen and a tray for the airline in his signature shapely style. In designing the new service elements, Wanders has taken into account the wishes of its customers, the working procedures of cabin crew, and the weight and space restrictions of air travel (video here).
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14 March 2011 | When Lufthansa introduced its first A380 to its fleet in May 2010, the airline’s new superjumbo also featured a new First Class cabin (as well as new seats in Economy). At the same time, Lufthansa also started an EUR400 million revamp of all classes across its entire fleet. For example, in December 2010, Lufthansa unveiled a ‘new European cabin’, adding slimmer, lighter seats on its short-haul aircraft.
First Class on 747-400s
Lufthansa has just announced it will also upgrade its First Class on its B747-400 aircraft. However, instead of installing the new First Class cabin introduced on its A380 last year, Lufthansa has opted for a radically different design for the new First Class on its B747-400s.
The airline is converting every window seat in its existing First Class cabin – which currently fits 16 passengers – into a permanently flat bed, reducing the total number of seats to just eight. The full-flat beds have a sleeping surface measuring over two metres in length and a top-quality mattress. Essentially the new First Class seat on Lufthansa’s B747-400 now will consist of two seats, with the upright seat appearing similar to an older version of Lufthansa’s First Class seat on the pictures. Cabin seating is configured just 1-1 with the upright seat adjoining the aisle to allow for easier meal service and socializing, while the bed is positioned alongside the window for more privacy.
First class passengers will also get 17″ monitors for inflight entertainment, temperature-regulating blankets and pillows and an amenity kit from Porsche Design. Furthermore, just like the First Class on Lufthansa’s A380s, sound-absorbing curtains and sound-deadening insulation beneath the carpet will make the cabin more quiet. Read full article »
18 February 2011 | In a period of 12 months, Boeing will introduce new cabin interiors on three of its aircraft models: the 747-800 Intercontinental, the 737 Next Generation Sky Interior and the 787 Dreamliner. The interiors of the new 737 and 747 are largely derived from the cabin design innovations on Boeing’s forthcoming 787 Dreamliner, the first of which will now be delivered to All Nippon Airways in the third quarter of 2011.
Boeing on February 13, 2011 unveiled the first life-size version of its new 747-800 Intercontinental (747-8i) jumbo, but in 2007 already showed a mock-up of the 747 interior. Like the Dreamliner, the 747-8i cabin will have the same curved architecture to make it airier and provide passengers more space for their luggage. Passengers enter the plane through a wide-open foyer area, making the boarding process more enjoyable. A curved staircase leads to the upper deck. Also like the 787, the 747-8i uses mood lighting to reduce jetlag, providing, in Boeing’s words, “smooth transitions for a more restful flight.” The cabin will also be a lot quieter and has larger windows.
Boeing expects to make the first flight with the 747-8i in March 2011 with certification in the fall. The 747-8i can seat 467 passengers, 51 more than the current version of the 747. Lufthansa will be the first airline to receive the passenger version of the aircraft in early 2012 and plans a 386-seat configuration (8 first, 80 business and 298 economy seats), compared to 344 for its current 747-400s.
737 Next Generation Sky Interior
In October 2010, Boeing delivered the first 737-Next Generation Sky Interior aircraft to low-cost airline flydubai. The 737 Sky Interior (the name comes from the signature blue-sky lighting) gives passengers a greater sense of space in the cabin compared to the current 737s and features mood lighting, larger stow bins, more headroom around aisle seats, sculpted sidewalls that integrate the air vent (which reduces cabin noise), larger window reveals, more intuitively placed switches and call buttons and a new flight attendant panel. Read full article »
13 December 2010 | In 2010, airlines such as Air New Zealand, ANA and Cathay Pacific have further raised industry standards by rolling out new cabin interiors. In recent years several airlines have also been investing in ‘softer’ elements of the inflight experience, such as inflight concierges (ANZ), Sky Nannies (Gulf Air) and onboard bar tenders (Emirates, Kingfisher and Virgin Atlantic). To add an extra dimension to the inflight dining experience, airlines such as Gulf Air, British Midland and Austrian Airlines have also employed ‘Sky Chefs’ for several years. Recently, these carriers have been joined by Asiana and Turkish Airlines.
Asiana ‘Inflight Chef and Somelier’
Asiana Airlines (winner of the 2010 Airline of the Year award) has just announced a new ‘Onboard Crew Chef & Sommelier’ service in First and Business Class on flights between Seoul and Los Angeles as well as Seoul and Frankfurt. The restaurant-like service is provided by Asiana flight attendants who have acquired licenses from international cuisine schools (e.g, Le Cordon Bleu) and sommelier courses (e.g, M.C. Sommelier, Wine & Sprit Education Trust) under an airline program that supports staff to take service courses at world-class institutions.
Asiana’s ‘Chef Service’ is formed by a team of three flight attendants who wear chef uniforms and serve a variety of Canapés and Lamb Chop dishes that have been developed by themselves. As part of the ‘Sommelier Service’ flight attendants decant wines and provide guidance in chosing the wine. The ‘Chef & Sommelier’ service will initially be provided just once a month on the two routes mentioned, but Asiana says it will soon increase the number of attendants with chef and sommelier skills and expand the service to New York flights by the end of 2010 as well. Since 2006, Asiana also employs an onboard sushi chef in First Class on flights between Incheon and Los Angeles, which provides passengers with freshly made sushi as well as some ‘culinary theater’ (see also this video).
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