Posts in the category "Airlines":

Sleep tight on Qantas: new amenities for business class passengers

Qantas Airways has rolled out a few enhancements to its international Business service aimed at helping customers sleep better and eat better during the flight.

In the business class cabin, mattresses will be added to the Skybeds on international flights and duvets will be handed out instead of blankets. The airline will also be handing out Kate Spade New York and Jack Spade amenity kits that include, among other items, a biodegradable toothbrush.

The airline is also offering business class passengers a meal option called Select on Q – Eat. 72 to 24 hours before they board, passengers may choose their meals and choose when they’d like to eat them. The program was tested on the airline’s Los Angeles route and seemed to be popular, so now the option is being added to other flights beginning in mid -November.

A new after-flight amenity was recently announced as well: beginning in April 2013, business and first class passengers on flights longer than 12 hours will be able to take advantage of door-to-door car service; if the proposed partnership with Emirates gets regulatory approval.

On a hosted trip to Dubai from Seattle on Emirates a while ago, I was able to use this service to get home from the airport. After a very long flight, having a car waiting to whisk me home was not only incredibly convenient, it extended that “I’m flying business-class-and-I’m-being-treated-like-a-special-person” feeling all the way to my front door. A nice perk that I think about every time I have to make my way from the plane to the train and then to the bus in order to get home after a flight.

SFO Museum exhibit profiles China’s Civil Air Transport (CAT)

There’s a intriguing gem of an exhibition at the Louis A. Turpin Aviation Museum and Library in the lobby of the International Terminal at San Francisco International Airport.

With more than 150 objects and images, Civil Air Transport: Asia’s Airline of Distinction looks at early flight in China and Civil Air Transport (CAT), the airline that relocated to Taiwan in 1950 after the fall of the Nationalist Government on the mainland and became a secret operating division of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), operating as Air America over two decades.

You can see the exhibition in SFO’s Aviation Library and Museum through April 2013, or view some of the objects and photographs online here.

Photos courtesy SFO Museum

APEX awards applaud airlines for attention to passenger experience

 

 

I had the honor of being a judge for one of the awards handed out Monday night at the APEX Awards Ceremony to honor airlines for excellence in passenger experience.

 

(APEX is the Airline Passenger Experience Association, an organization of airlines, suppliers and related companies holding its annual APEX EXPO in Long Beach, California this week.)

14 awards were the 2012 Passenger Choice Awards, which are voted on by the traveling public through online surveys  anyone can fill out and are tabulated by the Nielsen Company.

Here are the winners:

Best in Region: Africa – South African Airways

Best in Region: Americas – Virgin America

Best in Region: Asia and Australasia – SriLankan Airlines

Best in Region: Europe – Virgin Atlantic

Best in Region: Middle East – Emirates

Best Inflight Publication – Southwest Airlines

Best IFE User Interface – Virgin America

Best Inflight Connectivity & Communications – Norwegian

Best Inflight Video – Kingfisher Airlines

Best Cabin Ambiance – Virgin America

Best Food & Beverage, in conjunction with IFSA – Singapore Airlines

Best Ground Experience – Kingfisher Airlines

Best Overall Passenger Experience (over 50 IFE EQUPPED IN FLEET)  – Emirates

Best Overall Passenger Experience (Up to 50 IFE EQUIPPED IN FLEET) – Virgin America

(IFE = In-Flight Entertainment)

Two categories judged by people in the industry were the Avion Awards for Best in Passenger Experience and Best Achievement in Technology.

Delta Airlines won the Best Achievement in Technology award for “Demystifying the Checked Bag Experience.”

I was on the panel for the Best in Passenger Experience awards, which were given to one vendor and to one airline.

Lufthansa Systems received the award for its BoardConnect system   and  Brussels Airlines  won the Best in Passenger Experience award for its new long haul cabin, which includes a business-class section with both “King” seats for those want to sit alone and “double” seats for couples of business partners who would like to be able to talk to each other.  What especially caught the panel’s attention was the addition of a pneumatic cushion/mattress to the seats which allows passengers to increase and decrease the softness of the bed in various places.

Today the APEX EXPO’s exhibit hall opens. Ive got comfortable shoes and a notepad at the ready and will spend the day poking around to see what’s new, interesting and, of course, destined to make traveling more fun and enjoyable. We’ll see…

 

 

Fun, photo-rich timeline celebrates Air Canada’s 75th birthday

What do Frank Sinatra, Gina Lollobrigida, Louis Armstrong, Chubby Checker, Warren Beatty, Peter Fonda, Ronald Reagan and Bob Hope all have in common?

They were all passengers on Air Canada or its predecessor, Trans Canada Air Lines (TCA), sometime during the past 75 years.

As part of a slew of activities to mark its 75th anniversary, Air Canada has launched a great on-line timeline with more than 300 pictures, videos and vignettes that tell the story of the airline and of the evolution of Canada’s aviation industry.

Don’t worry if you’re not really interested in Air Canada’s story. Spend a little time poking around the timeline and you’ll see some really great celebrity photos, including the Beatles posing with their wax replicas in 1965 and, from 1941, Babe Ruth.

Greetings from Hong Kong International Airport

I was one of the lucky invited media guests on the August 28, 2012 Cathay Pacific delivery flight of a new Boeing 777-300ER from the Boeing factory to Hong Kong International Airport. (Here’s a link to a secret about the airplane that airline chief executive John Slosar pointed out during the trip.)

The 12 hour flight started off with a fun event that included a chance for many guests (not me, though) to get their pictures taken with one of the engines on the plane.

This group of specially chosen crew members was as excited as the invited guests to be on the delivery flight of Cathay Pacific’s newest Boeing 777-300ER plane going from the Boeing factory to Hong Kong on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.

I’ve got two days to spend in Hong Kong before heading home. Geeky, I know, but I spent one of those days touring the public side of Hong Kong International Airport and visiting Cathay City, the Cathay Pacific headquarters located near the airport.
My tour guide at Cathay City was Agnes Yeung, who was kind enough to take me through the small, on-site Cathay Pacific History Museum, which can be visited by school groups and other invited guests but is, unfortunately, not open to the general public.

The Cathay Pacific Museum at Cathy City includes a display documenting the changes in the airline’s flight attendant uniforms

The Cathay Pacific museum entrance is set up to look like the former Hong Kong airport, known as Kai Tak, which was located right in the city and was replace with a new airport in 1998.

I didn’t get a chance to visit the Headland Hotel, a 501 room property right near the airport reserved exclusively for airline crew members and other Cathay Pacific personnel. Yeung said the hotel is usually booked at “more than 100% capacity,” and I thought for a moment there was a breakdown in translation. But she explained that because crew members are arriving from and leaving for flights at all hours of the day and night, and because many crew members are only there to rest for a short time, the hotel can indeed be operated at more than 100% capacity.

Next up: some of the amenities at Hong Kong International Airport, including a visit to the “Dream Come True” center, where kids test out what it’s like to work as a pilot, a flight attendant, a surgeon, a police officer and several other jobs;  the real story of that much-talked about IMAX movie theater at the airport; and a look at some of the other activities available at Hong Kong International Airport.

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