passenger experience

Airline amenity kits you might fight the kids for

A wide range of airline amenity kits, for both adults and children, were on display last week in Hamburg, Germany as part of the World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo.

Amenity kits for adults were lovely, of course, but those for kids just look like lots more fun. Especially the Super Hero kit I spotted (below) that includes a backpack with a built-in cape!

 

Denver Int’l Airport will get an Amex Centurion Lounge

American Express is expanding the list of airports with swanky Centurion Lounge clubs with the announcement that a new lounge is set to open at Denver International Airport sometime in 2019.

This one will be located on the Mezzanine of Concourse C at Denver International and, at 14,000-square-feet, will be the second-largest Centurion lounge to be built. A 15,000-square foot, 2-story lounge set to open in early 2019 at JFK International Airport Terminal 4 will be the largest.

Entry will be open to all American Express Platinum Card holders traveling through DEN, regardless of the airline they are flying.

American Express says the Centurion Lounge at DEN will offer the amenities available in other lounge locations, including complimentary food and beverages, a family room, restrooms and shower suites, and high-speed Wi-Fi.

Amex promises that this Centurion Lounge at DEN will also offer “sweeping airfield views” as well as “special amenities and design elements unique to this location,” which they say will be announced closer to the lounge’s opening.

“We are thrilled to share our plans to bring one of our signature Centurion Lounges to the Denver International Airport, as Denver is one of the top airports our premium Card Members travel through,” said Josh McKay, vice president and general manager, Global Benefits and Services, American Express, in a statement.

Other airports with Centurion Lounges include: New York’s LaGuardia Airport, Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Miami International Airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Houston’s George Bush International Airport, Hong Kong International Airport and Philadelphia International Airport. The JFK lounge is set to open in early 2019.

Want in? (I do, after getting just a taste for the experience via a complimentary visit to the lounge in SEA.)

Access to The Centurion Lounge is complimentary and exclusive for Platinum Card Members and Centurion Members. Platinum Card Members can bring along up to two travel companions at no additional charge and both Platinum Card or Centurion Members may purchase access to The Centurion Lounge for additional guests for $50 each guest.

(Photos courtesy American Express) 

Passenger-friendly innovations in skies now – and on the horizon

(Airbus_A320 Family Airspace interior. Courtesy Airbus)

For CNBC this week, I put together some of the most passenger-friendly, or unusual, finalists vying for this year’s Crystal Cabin Awards, which are set to be announced April 10 and often described as “the Oscars of the aviation industry.”

One of the more unusual and intriuging ideas on the list is something called a ‘Durinal,’ by Zodia Aerospace.

 

 

You know how it is: after meals and just before landing, bathroom lines get long and the lav-to-passenger ratio in the economy cabin on airplanes just seems wrong. Worse, when lavs get busy, there’s that wet floor issue that comes courtesy of the male ‘splash zone.’

The Durinal is designed to solve both problems by replacing one regular lavatory with two urinals. Durinal creator Zodiac Aerospace says installing the toilets on planes can improve lavatory “cycle time” and cut down on male use of the conventional toilets, “Thus leaving them more hygienic for the ladies.”

 

 

 

On flights that aren’t full, Zodiac Aerospace’s new Eco Zlounge concept makes it possible for passengers to stretch out with a mechanism that allows the cushion part of the seat in front of a passenger to fold down, creating more leg room.

No doubt the extra space will come with an extra cost, but on long flights passengers may be willing to pay that cost.

See more finalists in my CNBC story, here.

World’s Best Airport? Changi clinches it again

For the sixth year in a row, Singapore’s Changi Airport has been named the World’s Best Airport by Skytrax, which tallied 13.73 million surveys covering passenger experiences in 550 airports worldwide for the 2018 World Airport Awards.

Changi Airport also topped the list for the World Best Airport Leisure Amenities and the Crown Plaza Changi once again took top spot in the World’s Best Airport Hotel category.

Vancouver International was named the Best Airport in North America and the Fairmont Vancouver Airport the Best Airport Hotel in North America.

Denver International Airport came in first for Best Regional Airport in North America.

The surveys ask travelers to evaluate airports in almost 40 categories, covering everything from check-in, shopping and dining to cleanliness, staff courtesy, entertainment, signage and WiFi service.

Here are the winners in just some of the many categories in this year’s awards:

The World’s Top 10 Airports

Changi Airport – Terminal 4

Singapore Changi
Incheon
Tokyo Haneda
Hong Kong
Doha Hamad
Munich
Chubu Centrair Nagoya
London Heathrow
Zurich
Frankfurt

Best Airports in North America

Vancouver
Denver
Cincinnati
Toronto Pearson
Houston
Atlanta
San Francisco
Dallas/Fort Worth
Seattle
Montreal

Best Regional Airport: North America

Denver
Cincinnati
Seattle
Halifax
Minneapolis-St. Paul
Phoenix
Detroit
Raleigh-Durham
Houston – Hobby
Toronto City

The World’s Cleanest Airports

Tokyo Haneda
Centrair Nagoya
Incheon
Taiwan Taoyuan
Singapore Changi
Tokyo Narita
Hong Kong
Zurich
Doha Hamad
Helsinki

The World’s Best Airport Hotels

Crowne Plaza Changi
Pullman Guangzhou Airport
Hilton Munich Airport
Fairmont Vancouver Airport
Sofitel London Heathrow
Hong Kong Sky City Marriott
Langham Place Beijing
Regal Airport Hong Kong
Sheraton Amsterdam Airport
Hilton Frankfurt Airport

Arts program at Philadelphia Int’l Airport turns 20

Christine Larson’s Farewell to Night

The arts and exhibitions program at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and, after 425 temporary exhibits and artist demonstrations, one of the first airport arts programs is still going strong.

Over the years, the exhibits have featured a variety of media including painting, photography, printmaking, wood working, ceramics, glass, and found objects such as a 20-foot clock made of hundreds of empty Yuengling beer bottles

Beer Bottle Clock

The current exhibit in Terminal A-East features a montage of Philadelphia’s 67 Historic Landmarks, recognizing the city’s designation as the nation’s first World Heritage City by the International Organization of World Heritage Cities.

Other exhibits in the terminals today include Christine Larsen’s Farewell to Night, a 100-footlong illustration of an imagined landscape where mystical characters celebrate the coming of morning  and Custom Bikes, which showcases hand-made bicycles from 5 different local bike shops.

 

The Exhibitions Program was founded by PHL Director of Image and Chief Curator Leah Douglas, who was kind enough to answer a couple of questions about the program via email:

What have been some of the challenges and successes of the art program during these 20 years?

“Twenty years ago there were few airport art programs to emulate so it takes time to model a program that works best for your airport, city, and region. Now passengers and employees are familiar with rotating art programs in airports and it something that they look forward to seeing.  The program has evolved into one of the area’s prized locations to exhibit because of the quality of our presentations and the quality and variety of the work that we show–in addition to the massive exposure with 82,000 passengers flying through PHL every day.”

What are some the most memorable exhibitions for you to put together?

“It’s always the next exhibition that I am looking forward to most and in particular, it is one that I am curating for this anniversary–It’s A Wrap: 20 for 20. This exhibition has to be the first-ever for an airport:  Twenty artists are invited to create interventions on existing architectural elements and furnishings. Several artists will crochet over top columns and rockers; 6 artists have been given ceiling tiles to paint on; 1 artist will apply colored tape in patterns along the glass of the moving walkway; and another artist will paint directly on 2 cement columns.”

Find more information about past, present and future exhibitions at Philadelphia International Airport here.