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…