is an independent trend watching agency that keeps the pulse on the latest trends and innovations in the global airline industry. We report many of our latest findings on this website and in our free newsletter. Mon, 31 Aug 2015 14:41:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 TUI first airline to let passengers order food, beverages and duty free items via their own devices Mon, 31 Aug 2015 14:23:45 +0000 TUI Cloud_ordering via PED_b680x300

Images from MI Airline. Arke’s ‘TUI Cloud’ is branded in the airline’s colours

By Raymond Kollau,

DATE Earlier this year we reported on MI Airline’s AirFi box – a portable, battery-powered and self-scaling wireless local network. The AirFi solution is based around a small box which can be stowed in a luggage locker – instead of having to be installed in the aircraft, hence no certification is needed.

Launch customers of the AirFi box are Estonian Air, Transavia and Arke (part of tour operator TUI) – who are using the portable wifi network for inflight entertainment, and/or to connect the tablet devices of cabin crew.

TUI Cloud
Netherlands-based leisure carrier Arke – which later this year will be rebranded as TUI – has installed the AirFi box onboard its fleet of 3 B787, 1 B767 and 5 B737 aircraft for wireless entertainment purposes. The service is branded as ‘TUI Cloud’ and allows passengers to use their own devices to watch video content, read newspapers and play games.

Arke’s managing director Hans van de Velde tells TravConnect that the wireless service is appreciated by passengers. For example, on some flights 40 percent of passengers is reading De Telegraaf (the largest newspaper in the Netherlands) via TUI Cloud and the airline is considering not to carry the paper edition of the newspaper anymore.

According to Arke, the content and functionality of ‘TUI Cloud’ will be expanded with e-books, magazines (in partnership with publisher Sanoma) and newsfeeds in the coming months.

Ordering drinks, snacks and duty free
Arke is also the first airline in the world to let passengers order food, snacks and duty free items via their own devices for delivery to their seats. The airline is currently trialing the on-demand service on a select number of long-haul and short-haul routes.

Passengers can access an online shop on the ‘TUI Cloud’ and browse the ‘TUI Café’ inflight menu and the duty free catalogue. They can then add the items they want to order to a shopping card and select their preferred payment method. Current payment options are credit card or cash, but MI Airline says it is working to let passengers pay via their own device.

Arke cabin crew receive the orders from passengers on their tablet devices (the airline is using an onboard retail solution from Retail in Motion) and passengers receive a notification when their order is being prepared.

As Arke serves passengers two complimentary meals and drinks on long-haul flights, the option to order additonal beverages and snacks from the ‘TUI Café’ menu is limited to the period in between meal services.

Passengers in Economy have to pay for additional F&B items and one objective of the ‘TUI Cloud’ ordering service is to increase sales by lowering the barrier to order (passengers now have to use the crew call button), as well as to avoid disturbing other passengers on overnight flights. Passengers in Arke’s ‘Premium Comfort Class’ can use the F&B ordering service for free.

In a later stage TUI is also planning to let passengers pre-book activities at their holiday destination.

For a longer take on the changing dynamics in inflight retail see our article “How data, connectivity and a retailing mindset help increase onboard revenues.”

]]> 0
8 interesting airline product and service innovations for the first half of 2015 Fri, 03 Jul 2015 19:32:40 +0000 Best airline innovations 1H2015_680x337

DATE At we continuously monitor the global aviation industry for product and service innovations launched by airlines in response to cultural, technological, and economic changes that influence airline customers’ needs and expectations.

The product and service innovations we have selected to be among the most innovative concepts that have been launched in the first half of this year reflect how airlines are becoming more creative in the design of new products and services as more airlines are embrading hospitality, design and technology as ways to differentiate the passenger experience.


1. Bring Your Own Wi-Fi » Airlines deploy portable wireless networks

Estonian Air, Transavia and Arkefly are the first airlines to deploy the AirFi box – a compact, portable, battery-powered wi-fi solution that can be stowed inside a luggage locker and requires no modification to the aircraft, and hence no certification. Read article »

2. China Eastern trials ‘intelligent personal assistant’ for in-flight service

China Eastern has launched an airline-specific version of Microsoft’s ‘XiaoIce’ – an intelligent personal assistant – which on Wi-Fi equipped aircraft allows passengers to socialize with other passengers, contact the crew (who are equipped with tablets) and send post-arrival pick-up reminders to people on the ground. Read article »

3. HK Express lets passengers make contactless in-flight payments with their mass transit smart card

In many Asian countries, prepaid rechargeable contactless payment cards are a common phenomenon. Now, two airlines in Asia are allowing passengers to make in-flight payments with those same smart cards they use to make everyday payments on the ground. Read article »

4. Air New Zealand lets lounge guests order their favourite coffee via their smartphone

Besides featuring barista’s who make freshly brewed coffee to passenger’s preferences in its ‘Koru’ lounges, Air New Zealand now lets flyers order barista-made coffee via its smartphone app the minute they walk into one of the airline’s Koru Clubs around New Zealand. Read article »

5. SAS’ new A330 Business Class features Hästens bedding and a snack bar

Following years of restructuring, SAS has introduced its first refurbished A330 aircraft. Similar to Aer Lingus’ new A330 Business Class, SAS’ new premium cabin shows how carriers with a relatively limited long-haul network can respond to the passenger experience standards set by airlines from the Gulf and Asia. Read article »

6. Air Astana introduces ‘Economy Sleeper Class’

Recently, several airlines have picked up Air NZ’s Skycouch concept. While China Airlines introduced its ‘Family Couch’ and Azul introduced the ‘Sky Sofa’, Air Astana has become the latest carrier to introduce a slightly different ‘Economy Sleeper Class’. Read article »

7. Delta’s ‘Early Valet’ service preloads passengers’ hand-luggage to speed up boarding

In an effort to take some of the stress out of the boarding process and reduce expensive delays before take-off, many airlines have been looking for alternative procedures to optimize boarding. Now Delta Air Lines is trying something new: Preloading carry-on bags into the overhead bins before the passengers embark the aircraft. Read article »

8. Dutch LCC Transavia first airline to use WhatsApp messaging for customer care

The airline industry is one of the leading sectors in deploying Twitter and Facebook for customer care, while in China many local and foreign carriers are present on Sina Weibo and WeChat. Now Dutch LCC Transavia has become the first airline to integrate WhatsApp into its webcare channels. Read article »

]]> 0
TAM uses Facebook profiles to personalize the inflight magazine for each passenger on Milan flight Thu, 25 Jun 2015 09:56:53 +0000 TAM_Ownboard Magazine_680x373

This case appears in the July 2015 edition of the Airline Marketing Benchmark, a monthly report by and Simpliflying that identifies the latest innovative marketing capaigns recently launched by airlines around the world. Learn more »

DATE To celebrate the 35th anniversary of it’s Sao Paulo-Milan route, TAM Airlines recently wowed a flight full of passengers by using Facebook to learn more about them and creating a 100 percent personalized inflight magazine for each.

By integrating Facebook Connect into the ticket purchasing process, TAM was able to access the likes, preferences, social activity and even the photos of their guests to create a completely unique “Ownboard Magazine” with customized content from front to back.

When passengers boarded this special flight, they found a magazine in their seatback pocket that featured a cover showing their face and their first name in big, bold letters.

Every single article, photo and advert in the magazine was geared towards the passenger’s personal interests and life experiences. For example, the inside of the front cover showed the passenger’s name turned into a colour, and one page showed a montage of interesting things that happened on the day they were born.

The idea behind this initiative was to show passengers how much TAM cares about them and understands them. Furthermore, TAM had previously observed that passengers spent only around 3 percent of their time onboard looking at the inflight magazine.

Watching the YouTube video produced about the initiative (which has received more than 18,000 views since May 11), it is clear that passengers were quite happy with their Ownboard Magazines. In fact, 100 percent of the passengers from that flight took the magazine off the plane with them.

]]> 0
Emirates introduces wireless charging of electronic devices in its lounges Sat, 20 Jun 2015 20:28:39 +0000 EMIRATES-wireless-charger-lounge_680x359

By Raymond Kollau,

DATE Catering to frequent travellers who are suffering from so-called ‘battery anxiety’, Emirates has installed 30 wireless ‘inductive charging’ trays in its First Class and Business Class lounges in Concourses A, B and C at Dubai International Airport. The trays allow customers to wirelessly charge up their smartphones simply by placing them on top of the tray.

The carrier said it placed the trays — which use the Qi wireless charging standard and are compatible with Android, Blackberry and, with a cable, iPhone devices — in “highly visible” locations. Each tray can charge two devices simultaneously.

Commenting on the new services, Mohammed Mattar, Emirates’ divisional SVP of airport services, said: “Mobile devices are an intrinsic part of our lives, and at Emirates we see free wifi and wireless charging on the go, as becoming the norm in the future travel experience.

IKEA, Starbucks
In the past few years, wireless charging of personal devices has becoming more mainstream. For example, battery brand Duracel now offers a ‘MyGrid’ charging pad (In Duracell’s words: ‘drop & go charging’) for around USD 40, while IKEA has launched a furniture range that has wireless charging technology integrated into the surface.

Starbucks is also rolling out wireless charging pads at its coffeehouses in the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas.

Delta lounge, Toronto Pearson Airport, SSP
Emirates introduction of the wireless charging pads follows several airlines and airports that have also jumped on this novel technology.

For example, Delta has installed Duracell’s wireless Powermats in the seating areas of its domestic SkyClub lounges. The wireless charging pads are designed for lower power charging devices such as cell phones, smart phones and e-readers. Adapters for a variety of different devices are available from Delta staff in the lounge.

At Toronto Pearson Airport, major seating supplier Arconas has integrated Duracell’s Powermat technology into the flat surfaces that are located in between the seats, while in Europe, Finland-based Powerkiss (which has been acquired by Powermat in 2013) has teamed up with airport F&B operator SSP to integrate its wireless charging technology into the tables at SSP outlets across Europe.

]]> 0
Delta’s ‘Early Valet’ service preloads passengers’ hand- luggage to speed up boarding Mon, 15 Jun 2015 19:46:32 +0000 Delta_Early Valet_A680x322

By Raymond Kollau,

DATE The process of boarding an aircraft is inefficient, as passengers entering the aircraft have to wait for other passengers who are busy placing their luggage in the overhead bins. They then quickly having to cram their own luggage into bins that are increasingly full, as many passengers try to take as much carry-on baggage with them into the cabin in order to avoid paying checked luggage fees.

In an effort to take some of the stress out of the boarding process and reduce expensive delays before take-off, many airlines have been looking for alternative procedures to optimize boarding, especially since a faster boarding process also speeds up aircraft turnaround times, reducing the time that aircraft needs to spend on the ground.

Pre-loading carry-on bags
Now Delta Air Lines is trying something new: This summer travel season, the airline plans to preload carry-on bags into the overhead bins on some flights.

The new system is called ‘Early Valet’ and will offer passengers on busy US routes the chance to have a steward take their luggage from them at the gate and place it in the compartment above their assigned seat.

Agents will ask customers seated in the gate area if they’d like to participate, Delta spokesman Morgan Durrant told NBC. “Their bag will be specially tagged, similar to what you’d see at a hotel for room delivery,” said Durrant, “and then taken down onto the aircraft before boarding and placed above a customer’s seat based on their seat assignment.”

Leisure routes
Delta’s new service will focus on the busiest airports and It will be available only on flights that typically have a high number of vacationers. holiday flyers. It is not being offered on business routes; presumably because business travellers know how to board a plane efficiently.

The program began June 1 and will be offered on select departures from Delta’s busiest hubs at Atlanta, Detroit, Seattle, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Salt Lake City and New York (JFK and LaGuardia). The program will run until the end of August.

Durrant said the program was tested last summer at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson and Los Angeles International airports and showed some time savings in the boarding process.

Looking sideways
Delta’s Early Valet service is another example of how airlines are looking for creative solutions to the boarding process, as no magic solution has been found yet. Other industries can serve as a source of inspiration here.

For example KLM last year introduced a boarding process called ‘Smart Boarding’, which sees passengers being issued with a boarding number at the gate, which is based on an algorythm. When boarding starts, the numbers are displayed one by one at five-second intervals on monitors at the gate, allowing only one person at a time to board the plane. This solution has been inspired by the practice in the Netherlands back in the last century of having to take a number when waiting for ones turn at the butcher, the bakery or the post office.

On a similar note, Delta’s Early Valet concept seems to be inspired by the bell luggage service at luxury hotels.

Practical implications
With regard to the practical implications of Delta’s Early Valet service, some passengers may be hesitant to hand over their hand luggage, as they have to decide upfront what items to take out of their bags to be used when seated. And more importantly, their hand luggage also contains valuable belongings which they might not want to leave unattended for.

What we like about Delta’s ‘Early Valet’ service though is that it is very much ‘low-tech’, so it can be easily implemented and rolled out across multiple airports.

]]> 0
Transavia plans more virtual reality IFE trials after positive passenger feedback Thu, 11 Jun 2015 02:04:35 +0000 Transavia_virtual reality_680x289

By Ryan Ghee, Future Travel Experience

DATE The jury is still out on virtual reality in-flight entertainment (IFE) – some think it holds great potential, but others see it as nothing more than a gimmick – and Transavia has become the latest carrier to explore the potential benefits of the immersive technology.

On 21 May, passengers flying with Transavia from Amsterdam to Barcelona had the chance to try out the Oculus Rift DK2 during the flight, and Roy Scheerder – the airline’s Commercial Director – revealed to Future Travel Experience that more trials are planned following the “very positive” reaction. He explained that up to five “qualitative tests” will now be undertaken, before the results are analysed and the next steps are planned.

During the trials, passengers are able to enjoy a variety of content, including a virtual cockpit tour, a virtual cinema experience in which the passengers can watch a movie in an empty cinema surrounded by aircraft seats, and a virtual hang-glider experience in which they are floating above the earth, watching the landscape below. The latter also includes a fly-by by a Boeing aircraft.

Excitement or escapism?
Interestingly, Scheerder explained that based on the first trial, it seems different passenger types prefer different types of virtual reality IFE content. “Virtual reality is very immersive and as such we get great reactions about the technology itself,” he said. “We are testing three concepts and already see that different customer groups have strong preferences and ask for relevant content.

Our more frequent passengers seem to develop a preference for entertainment, in our test case the cinema experience. And our less frequent flying passengers really go for the cockpit and hang-glider experience, preferring excitement over escapism. These are some of the first findings that need to be validated more rigorously.”

Transavia is not the airline currently exploring the benefits of virtual reality entertainment. Qantas is trialling Samsung Gear VR headsets both in airport lounges in Sydney and Melbourne, and in select A380 premium cabins.

A spokesperson recently confirmed to Future Travel Experience that what started as a three-month trial has been extended, and the carrier continues to assess the feedback from those who take part in the trial as it weighs up any potential longer-term benefits.

‘A fully digital onboard experience’
As for Transavia, the focus is on the first batch of trials, but Scheerder told Future Travel Experience he does see long-term benefits, suggesting that virtual reality IFE is not just a short-term fad. “For now we are still focused on our process of validated learning before determining the next step. We see the potential of new technologies like virtual reality as they provide an immersive and extremely memorable experience, and therefore we are now finding out what this will mean for us in the near future.

“In the short-term, it’s likely to be more of an add-on to enhance a fully digital onboard experience, rather than a replacement for other forms of entertainment. But we are convinced it is going to make a big impact on air travel in the coming years.”

With Transavia throwing its weight behind the benefits of virtual reality IFE, and Qantas extending its trial due to the popularity of the initial pilot, those who have already written off the technology as mere gimmick or fad may just be tempted to reconsider their verdict.

]]> 0
Bring Your Own Wi-Fi » Airlines deploy portable wireless networks Wed, 20 May 2015 12:46:16 +0000 MI Airline_AirFi_a680x333

By Raymond Kollau,

DATE 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.

“MI created the AirFi box based on research that Internet connectivity is only one of the many features asked for by the passenger. The cost versus the use of Internet has been unfavourable for many airlines, killing the business case before it’s even written. With only a fraction of the costs, an airline can now offer more services and entertainment, creating a whole new sales and communication channel,” MI Airline CEO Job Heimerikx told Future Travel Experience.

The versatility of the AirFi box hasn’t gone unnoticed to MI Airline’s launch customers – Estonian Air, Transavia and ArkeFly – who are using the portable wifi network in several ways.

Inflight Entertainment: Estonian Air, Arkefly
Earlier this year, Estonian Air became the first airline to adopt the AirFi box as a wireless IFE system for its small fleet of CRJ900 and Embraer 170 aircraft. Passengers can use the wireless network to access newspapers, magazines, destination guides, play games and instant message with other passengers, The airline says it is also looking to other applications such as non-DRM (digital rights management) content and duty-free shopping. Passengers do not need to download an app to access the inflight portal.

Arkefly – the leisure carrier of TUI Group’s Dutch arm – this July will roll out AirFi boxes onboard its fleet of 3 B787, 1 B767, and 5 B737 aircraft to serve as a wireless IFE system that features video content, magazines news, games and seat-to-seat messaging.

Passengers will also be able to pre-book destination activities offered by TUI Group. “The passenger will receive an order voucher and the necessary information is sent to the TUI/Arkefly back office as soon as the aircraft has landed, explains MI Airline’s Heimerikx. “Arkefly is also considering the integration of holiday-related offerings from outside partners into their AirFi platform.”

Connected Crew: Transavia
This April, Dutch low-cost carrier Transavia has introduced MI Airline’s tablet-based ‘Connected Crew’ solution and installed an AirFi Box on all its aircraft.

The solution provides crew with a mobile point of sale device – equipped with a catalogue, shopping cart, and offline secure payment solution – that uses the AirFi box to communicate with other crew tablets onboard, creating a constant updated sales overview for each flight attendant.

The devices also provide crew with more detailed passenger information and helps to optimise crew productivity as all relevant manuals and forms are stored on the tablet.

Although the inflight entertainment capabilities of the AirFi Box won’t initially be available to Transavia’s passengers, MI Airline says the airline may introduce this element later this year.

At the airport: Arkefly, Air France-KLM
MI Airline’s AirFi box can also used by airlines on the ground, for example to created a dedicated local network in the check-in and gate areas at the airport.

Air France-KLM has trialled the AirFi box at the check-in area at Dubai Airport in order to create a temporary secure wifi network that passengers could use to check in using their smartphones.

And to help passengers pass time while waiting for their flight, Arkefly will be using AirFi boxes at departure gates at about a dozen destination airports, as well as at its main hubs at Amsterdam Schiphol and Eindhoven Airport in the Netherlands.

Through an Arke-branded portal, the AirFi boxes will stream a selection of HTML5 games, chat, newspapers, magazines, videos and other non-DRM content. Passengers waiting for a flight will also have access to the wider internet via a 3G-based internet connection. In the future, passengers will also be able to pre-book excursions for their trip while they wait.

With the AirFi boxes, Arkefly aims to provide passengers with an “airport to airport IFE experience.” Therefore, passengers can connect to another AirFi ground network upon landing at their destination airport and download destination-specific information and guides, or discover where to find their ground transport – while waiting for their bags to appear on the carousel.

In the future, ArkeFly may also place an AirFi box on its buses that transfer passengers from their arrival airport to their accomodation as this final part of their journey can take another 1.5 to 3 hours.

“We are thrilled to be helping Arkefly re-define the guest experience,” commented Job Heimerikx of MI Airline. “Arkefly has a vision: to be in contact with their guests through whole journey – at every single touch-point.”

]]> 0
KLM brings colourful design to meals and trolleys in Economy Sun, 17 May 2015 19:36:54 +0000 KLM_Tasty Blue_b680x251

By Raymond Kollau,

DATE As the airline industry has always captured people’s imagination, airlines can tap into their local heritage to incorporate a bit of storytelling into the travel experience. Legacy carriers in particular can benefit from their ‘flag carrier’ status as a source of inspiration in designing the cabin experience, in order to move beyond the generic grey and blue environments.

KLM ‘Internationally Dutch’
A well-documented example is KLM’s ‘Internationally Dutch’ brand positioning, which has seen the airline collaborating with internationally well-known Dutch designers such as Victor&Rolf, Marcel Wanders and Hella Jongerius for respectively amenity kits, tableware and seat and interior design. According to KLM, customers have indicated that they appreciate KLM’s typically Dutch character, so it decided to embrace Dutch Design.

Delft Blue porcelain is also part of KLM’s Dutch heritage-inspired branding. Since the 1950s, the airline has handed out small ceramic replicas of historical Dutch houses filled with ‘genever’ (a Dutch style of gin) to passengers in Business Class, which are a popular souvenir item for many passengers.

In order to bring a contemporary style to its Business Class dining, KLM in 2011 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) created porcelain, glassware, cutlery, linen and a tray for the airline in his signature shapely style.

‘Tasty Blue’ catering concept
Aiming to bring a touch of design to the dining experience in Economy on long-haul flights, KLM this fall will introduce a new catering concept which it has dubbed ‘Tasty Blue’.

According to KLM, the new service is based on the concept of a ‘set table’. Says Madeleine Braun, Product Manager Economy Class Long Haul at KLM, “With the new Tasty Blue concept, KLM will set the table for passengers in Economy. And a set table should be colourful and appealing, especially given the important role of packaging today in influencing the perception and experience of consumers.”

Similar to the intricate designs of Marcel Wanders for KLM’s Business Class, the ‘Tasty Blue’ design in Economy represents abundant detailing in the form of embossing, colours, textures, hidden proverbs and expressions, detailed patterns and playfully drawn aircraft all concealed in the design.

A fresh white tray is combined with a paper traymat, tableware covers and paper boxes that are designed featuring Delftware elements and Neo-Baroque influences from the 17th century (which was the so-called Golden Age in Holland), but with a modern take.

The ‘Tasty Blue’ range consists of four designs: Dinner, Breakfast, Asia, and Bistro. Each is linked to a Delft Blue design that also shows up on the panels of KLM’s new, lightweight economy class trolleys.

Says Ariane van Mancius from Now|New|Next, who worked with KLM and DeSter on the project, “The design language of today is one of hybrid concepts and mix-and-match, which calls for a variety of layers such as East meets West, technology meets craftsmanship, high-touch versus high-tech and history versus future.”

The colourful and detailed designs have been developed by KLM’s Senior Designer Rene Kemper, who is also responsible for the design of the airline’s new livery.

Economy amenity kits
On a related note, this July KLM will also join the growing number of airlines that provide Economy passengers on long-haul flights with a complimentary amenity kit. KLM will initially offer an ‘Economy Comfort Bag’ – containing a bottle of water, a bag of nuts, an eye mask, earplugs, a toothbrush and a cold towel – on inbound flights from 7 outstations that depart late in the evening. The intention is to extend the service to more flights early next year.

]]> 0
Jetstar lets participants in TV cooking show create its new buy-on-board meal Mon, 11 May 2015 14:14:54 +0000 Jetstar_MyKitchenRules_680x414

This case appears in the May 2015 edition of the Airline Marketing Benchmark, a monthly report by and Simpliflying that identifies the latest innovative marketing capaigns recently launched by airlines around the world. Learn more »

DATE Value-based carrier Jetstar featured strongly on an April episode of the popular Australian competitive cooking show My Kitchen Rules, which presents teams of wannabe chefs squaring-off in culinary challenges that test teamwork, creativity and prowess in the kitchen.

In the episode airing April 13th, six duelling culinary teams found themselves in a hangar at Sydney Airport, gathered round a 787 Dreamliner in Jetstar’s bold black and orange livery.

The day’s challenge? To prepare an inflight meal for a plane full of hungry passengers that looked delicious, tasted great and fit into Jetstar’s signature back meal box… all in just 90 minutes. The prize? Victors would not only dodge elimination by securing passenger votes, but would also have their creation become the celebrity pre-order meal option on all Jetstar flight over 5.5 hours between April 14 and July 14 of this year.

In addition to enjoying significant brand exposure throughout the hour-long primetime reality show, Jetstar received plenty of coverage from other media outlets. The story was picked up and shared through social media by mainstream media such as the Sydney Morning Herald, advertising sources like B&T, and entertainment blogs including Sydney Confidential.

Morning talk show Sunrise even had its own correspondent and TV cameras on board to taste the different offerings.

The day after the show aired, Jetstar erected pop-up kitchens in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth that let the general public to try out its latest pre-order option. A Jetstar-produced video illustrating how the dish is prepared has been viewed nearly 1,500 times so far.

]]> 0
Delta lets passengers on domestic routes track checked bags in real-time and guarantees a 20-minute delivery Tue, 05 May 2015 19:18:15 +0000 Delta_baggage tracking+20min guarantee_b680x227

By Raymond Kollau,

DATE 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 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.

Service guarantee
Furthermore, ‘inspired’ by Alaska Airlines’ ‘baggage guarantee’ service promise, Delta now guarantees fliers’ checked luggage will arrive at the baggage carousel within 20 minutes when traveling on domestic flights. Delta will give 2,500 miles to customers’ whose bags take longer than that to reach the carousel.

Alaska Airlines has long offered its own 20-minute baggage guarantee. Like Delta, Alaska Air offers 2,500 miles to customers whose bags do not arrive to the carousel within 20 minutes. Alaska Air also gives customers the option to receive a USD25 travel voucher instead of the miles.

Delta first rolled out the 20-minute guarantee in late February on a trial basis and now has turned into a permanent feature.

“Customer response was positive and our employees are rallying to achieve the 20-minute mark, so it’s here to stay,” a Delta spokesperson told USA Today.

Passengers whose bags are slow to get to the carousel must fill out an online form at Delta’s website to receive the miles. The guarantee covers all itineraries where a traveler’s last leg is a domestic Delta flight.

Passengers must be a Delta SkyMiles member at the time of travel and are eligible only for 2,500 miles, regardless of number of bags they’ve checked. Lost, mishandled, and damaged bags are excluded, as are oversize and overweight baggage and special items.

]]> 0
Charity organizations get creative in raising donations from travellers at the airport Fri, 01 May 2015 08:17:48 +0000 airports x charities_b680x311

By Malgorzata Lach,

DATE Obeying restrictions and rules put upon passengers by safety regulators and airlines is unavoidable in air travel. The nature of regulations can also vary, making it harder for the travelling public to get their travels organized. Furthermore, some of the limitations come up unexpectedly for inexperienced travellers and require immediate reaction.

In response, a few forward-looking airports in Northern Europe decided to turn things around and change those unanticipated situations into positive outcomes.

Overweight Baggage Dropp Point (Rygge Airport, Norway)
One rule that certainly affects the majority of the travelling public is the baggage weight limit. When dealing with an overweight bag issue, some passengers decide to stick to their plans and pay the additional charges in order to check in what they have packed, while others go through their suitcases and remove the stuff they need the least. In the worst case they will have to dump some of their belongings in a waste bin at the airport.

To ease the pain of leaving ones personal possessions behind, Fretex – a Norwegian chain of second hand stores that is run by the Salvation Army – came up with a creative solution. The charity organization partnered with Moss Rygge Airport, which is located 60 kilometres from Oslo, Norway, to install an ‘Overweight Baggage Drop Point’.

Consisting of a weighing scale and an used clothing container, the dedicated area allows travellers drop off their clothes to avoid extra charges and at the same time do something good by donating them to those in need. Video of how the charity service works here.

Bottle Donation Machines (Frankfurt Airport, Germany)
On a similar note, a few years ago Frankfurt Airport came up with a creative approach to encourage travellers to donate. Because German law makes deposits obligatory for single-use cans and bottles passengers, the airport installed several bottle return machines at the security checkpoint area in Terminal 1. Instead of throwing their plastic bottles in a waste bin, passengers can now put their liquid cans and bottles into kiosks and support one of the charities from a prearranged list, while cutting waste at the same time.

In the first three months after the kiosks had been installed the airport collected over 46,000 bottles and cans, which generated 10,000 euro in donations.

Charity Arcade (Stockholm, Göteborg Airports, Sweden)
However, is not just restrictions that encourage travellers to donate. Passengers returning home often find themselves with pockets filled with spare change in foreign currencies.

In an effort to rethink the traditional donation boxes installed in the baggage claim areas of Stockholm Arlanda and Göteborg Landvetter airports, Red Cross Sweden and Swedish airport operator Swedavia added an entertainment factor to the organization’s charitable efforts by turning donation boxes into arcade games.

Passengers can now relive the early 1980s while waiting for their bags and play Ms. Pac-Man, Space Invaders and Galaga on custom machines which can accept any currency. But most importantly, they enable people to use up their left-over travel coins, make a donation to the Red Cross and kill time while they wait for their bag — all in one go.

Judging by the stir the concept caused in the media around the world, the Charity Arcade initiative has been more attention grabbing than the traditional collection boxes and has a chance to be rather successful for the Red Cross. Video of the Charity Arcade here.

]]> 0
AIX 2015 » Density and distraction drive new aircraft interiors trends Fri, 24 Apr 2015 11:49:05 +0000 Best of AIX2015_680x400

By Marisa Garcia, Flight Chic

DATE Rapidly evolving alternatives to traditional inflight entertainment systems, smarter seat designs and a redefined premium cabin were top themes at this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo 2015 in Hamburg, the aircraft cabin show of shows.

Airlines are eager to make the most of potential revenue space on their planes, while air travelers dread crowded cabins. To resolve this tension, airlines need to draw attention away from the pain of the cabin crunch—especially in Economy.

Technology now takes centre stage in Hamburg as inflight connectivity and entertainment offer passengers productivity, emotional comfort, or at least distraction. This technology is a major capital investment, but vendors are introducing solutions which make these IFE technologies more affordable—even a potential source of revenue and a way to optimize operations.

As airlines step-up the rollout of in-flight connectivity, Panasonic Avionics Corporation celebrated the 700th installation of its eXConnect in-flight Wi-Fi system at the show. The company provides a suite of options which combine in-seat entertainment with global coverage of Ku-band satellite broadband Wi-Fi and 3G services for internet, text and telephony through AeroMobile.

Panasonic also announced that Asia’s largest airline, China Southern, chose its hybrid eXO IFE solution for its narrowbody fleet of A320s and A321s. The eXO system lets airlines mix and match Full HD overhead video and in-seat audio, seat-back Audio-Video On Demand (AVOD), and wireless streaming to passenger devices. This flexibility lets airlines configure entertainment on the aircraft by sections, to suit their product strategy. It lowers costs, reduces weight, and allows easy upgrades when airlines chose to update cabins.

Wireless in-flight entertainment (wIFE) has proven successful where installing embedded in-flight entertainment is impractical. It can also complement existing embedded IFE systems.

Gate-to-gate usage of in-seat tablets
Lufthansa Systems’ BoardConnect solution offers a rich user interface for entertainment and connectivity directly streamed to passengers’ personal electronic devices. The company has developed an in-seat product which fits consumer tablets on a frame added to the seat-back.

This is a simpler installation than traditional embedded IFE and lets airlines keep up with the latest-generation consumer electronics. Lufthansa Systems in-seat system will also offer early window entertainment content, making BoardConnect more attractive to airlines and passengers alike.

Meanwhile, Lufthansa Technik passed critical head impact criteria testing on its integrated tablet holders for the ZIM Flugsitz Business Class seat. This allows Qantas to offer passengers gate-to-gate entertainment, pre-loaded on iPads, aboard its regional fleet of Boeing 717s.

Hybrid wireless IFE
Alaska Airlines will deploy 7,000 Windows-based 8-inch Toshiba Encore 2 tablets on its flights. SkyCast Solutions in collaboration with Microsoft developed the new hybrid portable in-flight entertainment devices, dubbed TrayVu8, which are pre-loaded with early window content and can also connect to in-flight Wi-Fi.

A similar hand-held device solution, The BlueBox IFE system, offers iPads pre-loaded with popular television programs and early window feature films, complemented by wIFE streaming for passengers who bring their own devices onboard.

Connectivity suppliers like Gogo, Global Eagle Entertainment, OnAir and ViaSat offer a combination of content services, including on-demand entertainment and live TV. This content is most often streamed on passenger devices, but some offer the service on embedded IFE.

Destination content
To off-set the high costs of this tech, airlines can cash-in on the opportunities for ancillary sales. We’ve seen inflight food and beverages ordered on seat-back screens before, but destination marketing, tickets to events and popular tourism venues, hotel bookings and car rentals are now also on offer.

For example, PXCOM from France, has partnered with Lufthansa’s BoardConnect wIFE solution to supply multimedia travel guides which let passengers book tickets for theme parks, buy museum passes, or arrange ground transport en-route with a few of quick taps of the screen.

Connected aircraft
Panasonic, Thales, OnAir, Gogo, and GEE are now pushing the business case in favor of Wi-Fi connections, broadening the scope from Internet access for passengers to enhanced operations. The new ‘Connected Aircraft’—Wi-Fi equipped planes—can keep crew in touch with headquarters at all times, help payment processors validate transactions, transmit cost-saving maintenance data, and provide critical flight tracking—further justifying the costs of antenna installation.

All this technology has crossed over to the show’s other big stars: the seats.

Smart seat
This year featured an Economy seat smart enough to build a bridge between entertainment needs and passenger comfort, backed by high-tech design. Borne of a collaboration between B/E Aerospace, Formation Design Group, TEAGUE and Panasonic, the JAZZ Economy Class smart seat frames tech in a user-friendly space. With a large seat-back HD screen, inductive charging of personal electronic devices, personal reading light with mood lighting options and stands to store our precious electronic companions, the JAZZ looks good, keeps trim and provides plenty of comfort.

Panasonic also collaborated with German seat manufacturer RECARO on a CL3710 seat which includes a number of tech-friendly features.

Max abreast
Slim is still in, but it’s broader. Both Airbus and Boeing introduced wider slim seats on their A320 and 737 aircraft. These products got mixed reviews from some industry watchers though, with much of the skepticism focusing on the narrower armrest installed on Southwest’s new 737 seat.

Airbus optimised the Economy seating on its A380s extending the cabin from ten-abreast to eleven-abreast while giving every passenger an 18” seat width.

Cramped Economy passengers might take comfort that the squeeze has reached the front of the plane as well.

The FUSIO, introduced by Zodiac Aerospace at this year’s show, is a new Business class-First class blend. Its shallow cabin footprint lets airlines fit in more seats, but its high-tech design gives passengers the VIP treatment. This product is a response to B/E Aerospace’s successful APEX suite, which uses a staggered design to increase cabin density and gives passengers plenty of room with direct aisle access.

We expect to see more tech cross-over influencing cabin design in future as the costly real-estate of cabin space is turned to profit.

]]> 0 and LIFT help airlines take a 360° look at the passenger experience Mon, 30 Mar 2015 07:35:42 +0000 PAXEX360 workshops familiarize airline management with passenger experience trends and innovations in every phase of the customer journey. Participants then explore passenger experience development in the context of the trends discussed, identifying target areas for future action.]]> airlinetrends x LIFT_PAXEX360 workshop_680x370 founder Raymond Kollau and LIFT Strategic Design founder Daniel Baron will be present at the upcoming Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg from 13 to 15 April. Please contact Raymond at info [at] airlinetrends [dot] com if you would like to meet, or download our PAXEX360 workshop brochure. and LIFT Strategic Design launch PAXEX360 workshops

Fierce competition, rapid evolution of technology, shorter product life cycles, and ever evolving customer expectations are forcing airlines to take a 360º view of the passenger experience in order to differentiate themselves, whether they are a full-service, hybrid or low-cost carrier. (Amsterdam) and LIFT Strategic Design (Tokyo) have joined forces to provide airlines with on-site PAXEX360 workshop sessions that explore trends in the airline passenger experience, followed by interactive discussions where key staff identify priorities for future product, service and brand development.

This partnership provides airlines with a service that combines an understanding of the big ‘PAXEX’ picture with expertise in creating design solutions and thinking through the implications.

The PAXEX360 workshops provide participants with:
– a better insight into consumer/passenger trends and needs
– a quick way to understand the latest product and service industry standards and innovations
– an effective platform for identifying key strategic objectives and priorities in further developing the passenger experience

Combining’s expertise in passenger experience research with LIFT Strategic Design’s expertise in concept development and implementation, the PAXEX360 workshops consist of two elements:

1. OVERVIEW OF THE LATEST TRENDS AND INNOVATIONS » Who is doing what, where, and why?
This session familiarizes airline management with passenger experience trends throughout the world in every phase of the customer journey – from design and technology to marketing and service delivery – and is illustrated with many recent innovations from airlines around the world.

2. IN-DEPTH INTERACTIVE DISCUSSION » Where do we go from here?
Faciltated by LIFT Strategic Design founder Daniel Baron and founder Raymond Kollau, key representatives from your company explore customer experience development in the context of the trends discussed, identifying target areas for future action.

Potential topics of discussion include brand strategy and positioning, product and service prioritization, development, design and implementation, and internal organization.

Target audience
The workshop is developed for (senior) management who plays a key role in defining, approving, funding and implementing investments in the passenger experience. The workshop format aims to maximize limited time and human resources, especially since creating meaningful differentation requires many components, planned and implemented by different departments at different times, and with many external partners.

Plan your workshop and LIFT Strategic Design help airlines respond faster to changing customer preferences in order to achieve greater loyalty and higher yield through clearer, more meaningful differentiation.

Contact either Raymond or Daniel to plan your PAXEX360 workshop. We will also be present at the upcoming Aircraft Interiors Expo 2015 in Hamburg from 13 to 15 April. Please let us know if you would like to meet us in Hamburg. We look forward to hearing from you. Learn more »

Raymond Kollau                                 Daniel Baron                               LIFT Strategic Design
info[at]                    info[at]
+31 (0) 6 41 86 11 36                       +81 90 5408 2209
(Amsterdam)                                      (Tokyo)

]]> 0
SAS’ new A330 Business Class features Hästens bedding and a snack bar Wed, 25 Mar 2015 11:41:39 +0000 SAS_newBusinessClass_Hastens_a680x264

By Raymond Kollau,

DATE As cabin interior upgrade cycles are becoming shorter, airlines around the world are working hard to keep up with this ‘arms race’ by introducing bigger and better premium seats, as well as smarter and lighter designs in Economy.

At the same time airlines are coming up with creative ways to improve the ‘softer’ service elements of the inflight experience. For example, as full-flat beds have now become the industry standard in Business Class, airlines are looking for ways to differentiate the premium passenger experience by ‘dreaming up’ service touches that improve the chance passengers can enjoy a good night of sleep onboard.

Examples include Virgin Atlantic’s Snooze Zone and Delta’s partnership with Westin Hotels. Qantas, meanwhile, has introduced what it calls ‘Business Suites’ on its A330s that let passengers recline from the moment they board until touchdown at their destination.

SAS A330 Business Class
Following years of restructuring in order to create a competitive cost platform, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has recently introduced its first refurbished A330 aircraft. Similar to Aer Lingus’ new A330 Business Class – which offers passengers a well thought-out combination of product and service innovations – SAS’ new premium cabin shows how carriers with a relatively limited long-haul network can respond to the passenger experience standards set by airlines from the Gulf and Asia.

SAS’ new business class cabin features Thomson’s Vantage XL seats – which have currently only been installed by one other airline, Qantas. Designed by UK-based FactoryDesign, the seats are a modern interpretation of Scandinavian design, including metallic edging, gold accents and electric blue in-seat lighting.

As Jonny Clark from TheDesignair puts it nicely: “With touch points of wooden veneer, dark charcoal fabrics with topstitching and electric blue details, the designers have gone for a mix of business elegance with contemporary cool.”

Configured in a 1-2-1 setting (so direct aisle access for all passengers), the seats have a seat width of 23 inch between the armrests, a minimum bed length of 77 inch/200 cm, 15.4 inch HD RAVE IFE monitors from Zodiac and free WiFi for passengers in Business Class (as well as in Premium Economy).

SAS x Hästens
Following earlier initiatives from airlines such as Delta (Westin Hotels), Etihad (Cocomat) and Japan Airlines (Weave), SAS has partnered with a quality consumer brand to showcase its emphasis on providing passengers in Business with a good night of sleep.

The airline has partnered with iconinc Scandinavian bed and bedding brand Hästens – renowned for its quality and its trademark blue and white check – to develop new gray patterned bed linen pillows and blankets, as well as a mattress padding.

Comments Karin Wickberg Taylar – CMO at Hästens – on the the collaboration with SAS: “Hästens signature check pattern stands for high quality and this is important for SAS’s passengers, particularly in SAS Business. We have produced a special SAS/Hästens check for our collaboration and we believe the passengers will see this as something exclusive.”

On a similar note, Kristine Mayer, Senior Manager Product Design at SAS, said. “The idea behind the design was to create the best sleeping experience possible. We started looking for a collaborative partner and developed this together with Hästens. If we look at where the idea comes from, we want to highlight the Scandinavian aspect in everything we do. Our blankets and pillows are from Hastens, as well as the mattress pads, which were a collaborative effort, which means you get a full bed experience, with the mattress pad, blanket and pillow.”

Unlike the turndown service offered on AerLingus, passengers have to make their own ‘Hästens’ bed though when they want to get to sleep.

Snack bar, mood lighting
The new SAS Business Class cabin also features a new version of the SAS snackbar. Rather like the Club Kitchen on BA Club World, it is a small walk up snackbar at the galley area to the rear of the cabin that is stocked with sandwiches, chocolate bars, Illy coffee and soft drinks.

SAS is also among a growing number of airlines that are retrofitting their cabins with mood lighting. The airline is the first to install the HelioJet RGBW LED cabin lighting system developed by specialty glass and lighting expert SCHOTT and Lufthansa Technik.

A video tour of SAS’ new Business cabin is available HERE.

]]> 0
Tintin takes to the skies with Brussels Airlines Thu, 19 Mar 2015 09:35:21 +0000 Brussels Airlines x Tintin_680x294

This article first appeared on TheDesignAir

DATE Brussels Airlines and The Hergé Foundation ‘Moulinsart’ have unveiled an Airbus A320 with a livery inspired by the world famous Belgian cartoon character Tintin. Both Belgian companies have worked several months on this unique project, based on the original drawings by the hand of Hergé.

Move over Shamu (Southwest’s Seaworld livery), the result is a 37m long black shark, based on Professor Calculus’ shark submarine from the Tintin adventure, Red Rackham’s Treasure (image). The aircraft was baptized ‘Rackham’. On the fuselage we read: “We fly you to the home of Tintin.”

Mirroring the designs within Brussels Airlines’ new lounge in Brussels Airport, Tintin – the historical Belgian character created by Hergé, who travels the world on adventurous quests – continues his role as the airline’s travel partner.

This is the first time Belgian cartoonist Hergé been translated onto the fuselage of an aircraft. Hergé himself was fascinated by planes. They are the most used means of transportation in the Tintin oeuvre and they were always drawn with great technical precision.

For the painting of the aircraft, Brussels Airlines worked with aircraft paint artist Andre Eisele, who had the challenging task to adapt the perspective of the drawings prepared by Moulinsart’s graphic designers to the unusual curves of an aircraft fuselage, to get as close to the original shark submarine design as possible. The entire paint job took 1500 man hours in total and even extends to the bulkhead design inside the aircraft (video here).

Airlines as national ambassadors
“This aircraft is a dream come true. The partnership with Brussels Airlines is a perfect marriage for us. Tintin is all about Belgium, all about Brussels, where he was born, as was Hergé. Tintin is also all about adventure and travelling, and with this plane we bring our two worlds together perfectly. We had many ideas about the design of the aircraft, it could have been the rocket from the album ‘Destination Moon’ for example, but we unanimously chose the submarine, and we’re very happy with the result,” says Nick Rodwell, Director Moulinsart.

“I was personally brought up with the comic albums of Tintin, I learned to read with them. This partnership means a lot to Brussels Airlines. Tintin is a frequent traveler, discovered countries around the world and met people of different nationalities and cultures during his adventures. Abroad, we feel like an ambassador of Belgium. In all we do, we build on our ‘Belgitude’ while emphasizing on ‘the best of Belgium’; Tintin fits perfectly into this positioning and represents the characteristics that we also want to put forward: being open minded and welcoming,” commented Bernard Gustin, CEO of Brussels Airlines.

After the unveiling, Rackham’s maiden voyage took place, a 1 hour and 45 minutes flight to Toulouse. Spotters, aviation enthusiasts and Tintin fans can follow the whereabouts of the plane on and are invited to share their pictures tagged with #SNRackham. The special Tintin livery will remain on the A320 until 2019.

]]> 0