ANA expands in-flight services on international routes

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As of 1 March, All Nippon Airways (ANA), is introducing a series of comprehensive enhancements designed to improve passenger comfort and satisfaction on all international routes.

According to Yutaka Ito, executive vice president of ANA: “We want to ensure that travellers, especially on long-haul flights arrive at their destination refreshed and ready to achieve their goals, whether they are traveling for business or pleasure. We will take whatever steps are necessary to keep ANA at the forefront of comfort and convenience for international travellers.”

From 1 March, all Business Class passengers will be able to select their meals on the ANA website up to 24 hours before departure. Travellers will be able to choose from several international cuisine options as well as a selection of Japanese cuisine.

On flights departing from Japan to North America (except Honolulu), Europe, Southeast Asia, and India, Business Class passengers will be able to pre-order the full range of available dishes from ANA’s premium THE CONNOISSEURS collaboration meal program. These cuisines have been created in partnership with elite chefs from across the world, and will be complemented by new Japanese cuisine dishware.

Starting in April, passengers flying in Premium Economy and Economy Class on North America (except Honolulu) and Europe routes will also have access to expanded dining options, with a range of additional upgraded menu items available at 2,500 yen (about US$23).

In addition to expanded dining options, ANA will be offering upgraded sleepwear and amenities. Starting on 1 March, First Class passengers will receive feather comforters from Nishikawa Sangyo designed to boost breathability and heat retention. The new pillow features white duck down from Hungary that absorbs and releases moisture, maximising comfort. Both the comforter and pillow covers are made from 100% Egyptian cotton. A new blanket and cardigan will also be available for First Class passengers.

Business Class travellers will have access to high-quality feather comforters from Maruhachi Product as well as a dual-layer pillow with a 100% Egyptian cotton cover. Newly designed cardigans and pajamas will help ensure that all passengers are able to get a good night’s rest while aboard.

First Class and Business Class travellers will also enjoy revamped amenity kits from Globe-Trotter aimed at bringing an extra touch of luxury to the flight experience. First Class kits will include The Ginza’s Essence Empowering Set of cosmetic solutions while Business Class Kits offer selections from Kose’s Sekkisei MYV. Kits will be available in several colours, and ANA will rotate them every 3-4 months. The kits will be included in First Class on all international routes and in Business Class on North America (except Honolulu), Europe and Oceania routes.

ANA will continue to innovate and expand its services to passengers as part of its never-ending bid to set the bar for service. The company will be debuting a series of measures over the coming year that

Cathay Pacific serves up a taste of home

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Cathay Pacific has introduced its new Hong Kong Flavours’ dining concept, featuring a variety of signature local specialities available across all cabin classes on long-haul routes from Cathay Pacific’s home hub.

According to Cathay Pacific general manager customer experience and design Vivian Lo: “It’s not an exaggeration to say that people from Hong Kong are crazy about food; and as Hong Kong’s home airline, it is important that our in-flight dining reflects our heritage.”

“Our new dishes are inspired by those you find in local Hong Kong restaurants. These neighbourhood eateries define Hong Kong’s everyday culinary scene and provide simple yet hearty and delicious dishes for those, like our customers, who are always on the move,” she added.

Menu highlights in First Class include braised abalone with flower shiitake and choy sum-layered bean curd, while Business Class passengers can look forward to dishes such as roasted duck with lai fun rice noodles in soup and Hong Kong-style milk tea pudding with tapioca pearls.

Passengers in Premium Economy Class have the option of tasting, among other options, steamed halibut with Tai O preserved mustard greens and steamed jasmine rice as well as yin yang fried rice. Meanwhile, dishes served in Economy Class include Hong Kong-style seafood curry rice.

Enhancements have also been made to Cathay Pacific’s in-flight beverage programme. The airline has partnered with renowned local tea purveyor Fook Ming Tong to present a premium range of Chinese teas, including jasmine, oolong and pu’er, to be rolled out progressively in Economy Class.

To celebrate the Year of the Pig, Cathay Pacific will be serving a selection of auspicious dishes over the Chinese New Year period and throughout the rest of February. These special festive offerings include braised garoupa with bean curd and shiitake mushrooms and E fu noodle soup with crab meat sauce.

Hong Kong Flavours is Cathay Pacific’s newest in-flight dining concept and follows on from the summer launch of the airline’s restaurant-style Business Class service, which is being introduced on all long-haul flights.

Qantas reveals passenger wish list for ultra long-haul flights

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In advance of introducing non-stop flights from the east coast of Australia to New York and London from 2022, Qantas has conducted research to discover what passengers really want on ultra-long haul flights.

In conjunction with Sydney University’s Charles Perkins Centre, Qantas has been conducting focus group research as well as surveying customers as they step off the direct London to Perth services to capture their experience, suggestions and feedback.

CEO Qantas International Alison Webster said the new research is showing increased interest towards physical wellbeing, state of mind and personal time and space.

“The engagement and enthusiasm we’re seeing from this research highlights how passionate our customers are to be a part of the evolution of ultra-long-haul travel.

“Our job now is to determine where the most demand is and create this cabin in a way that makes it both affordable for customers and commercially viable for the airline. Everything is on the table and we are excited about what innovations may come from this research.”

The top five most frequent suggestions from customers for Project Sunrise:

Provide “sense of separation” experiences where passengers can be social but then “zone out” with either virtual reality relaxation zones, audio mindfulness experiences, or through the broader in-flight entertainment.
Spaces to do gentle exercise/stretches, promoting circulation and comfort.
Wireless, noise cancelling headsets
Innovative cabin designs across the entire aircraft, considering both seat and non-seat spaces to focus on a broad range of traveller needs including comfort, sleep, dining, entertainment and state of mind.
An in-flight cafe offering both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages along with snacks including dips with vegetable sticks as well as “treat foods”.

The next phase will involve using new research from Charles Perkins Centre and ongoing customer feedback to inspire Qantas Industrial Designer David Caon to create features for the interior cabin, as well as future lounge features further incorporating health and wellness initiatives.

Qantas is expected to make an announcement around Project Sunrise later in 2019, including which aircraft type it would operate, with both the Boeing 777X and the Airbus A350 under consideration.

British Airways to upgrade World Traveller Plus

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British Airways is to upgrade its premium economy cabin, World Traveller Plus, in the coming months as part of a wider £6.5 billion-pound five-year investment plan.

According to Carolina Martinoli, British Airways’ director of brand and customer experience, customers will see a real change to the cabin.

From the beginning of February, the airline is introducing new dining options, including a third meal choice for their main course, as well as a more substantial hot second meal later in the flight.

Launch menus, will include braised British beef with roast new potatoes, onion soubise and bourguignon sauce, roasted guinea fowl with braised red cabbage, green beans, roast potato and mustard and chive jus and rigatoni pasta in a creamy garlic and herb sauce with leek, pumpkin and baby spinach.

Customers travelling in World Traveller Plus have the ability to pre-order their main meal up to 24 hours before departure, guaranteeing their first choice for their main meal.

The airline is also be investing in its World Traveller Plus amenities, with new amenity kits, quilts and pillows to be introduced in the spring.

Last year British Airways unveiled a new World Traveller Plus seat at Gatwick. The seat features a 50% larger entertainment screen, as well as a six-way adjustable leg, foot and headrest to suit customers of all heights.

The seat will feature on the airline’s A350 aircraft, when it arrives later this year.

gategroup invests in venture fund Cockpit Innovation

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gategroup is to invest in Cockpit Innovation, the Israeli-based industry venture fund.

According to the company, the investment will help identify new airline and passenger needs, provide access to a number of projects and start-ups as well as shorten their introduction to market. As a result, gategroup will enhance the customer experience by providing best-in-class solutions combined with cutting edge customisation.

“gategroup is constantly seeking out groundbreaking new ideas in culinary, retail onboard and technology solutions to enhance the customer experience and bring additional value to our airline customers,” said gategroup’s CEO Xavier Rossinyol.

“Working with Cockpit Innovation will provide unparalleled access to new consumer insights and trends, as well as to a first-class network of startups worldwide to further accelerate delivery of our innovation strategy,” added Rossinyol.

Air France provides Healthy menu

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As of 9 January 2019, Air France customers have been able to pre-order a new “A la Carte Menu” named Healthy, offering fresh, gourmet products on board a long-haul flight.

Available in Premium Economy and Economy cabins on-board long-haul flights as of 1 April, the Healthy Menu comprises a starter, a main dish, cheese and dessert.

The Healthy menu is available for purchase from 90 days up to 24 hours before the flight’s departure.

As an alternative to the complimentary menu served on board, Premium Economy and Economy customers can choose from six A la Carte Menus, including five (Ocean Menu; Tradition Menu; Healthy Menu; FAUCHON Menu; My Fun Menu) on departure from Paris and three (Ocean Menu; Tradition Menu; Italia Menu) on departure from the French Overseas Departments, US, Canada, Africa and Asia .


New on-board snack reflects taste of Malaysia

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Malaysia Airlines has launched an innovative new hot handheld snack, exclusively developed by En Route, in collaboration with the in-flight and customer experience team at Malaysia Airlines.

The hot snack, consisting of two pastries and a calzone, draws upon the cultural heritage of Malaysia by bringing together Malay, Chinese and Indian flavour influences.
The hot snack trio, which consists of a delicious lamb rendang, Chinese barbecue chicken and tandoori paneer, will be enjoyed by passengers flying on selected flights from Australia to Malaysia. There will also be a vegetarian option available, which includes vegetable rendang, Chinese barbecue tofu and tandoori paneer.

David Helm, director, Asia Pacific & Middle East for En Route International, said: “When we were initially presented with the brief by Malaysia Airlines; we were asked to provide a solution that was different to other hot handheld products in the market and something that really provided a point of difference. By working collaboratively with the team at Malaysia Airlines, our talented NPD and creative teams, we were able to offer a solution which we are all very excited about.

“Whilst En Route brought the innovation and concept to the table, Malaysia Airlines strongly supported the flavour profiling to ensure the end result would meet the most discerning of palates, suited to all passengers.”

Virgin introduces non-alcoholic cocktails

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Virgin Atlantic has launched the world’s first on-board no and low alcohol cocktail menu.

The No Lo menu has been designed in partnership with Seedlip, the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirits and Regal Rogue, the Australian quaffing vermouth and is available across in Economy, Premium and Upper Class cabins.

The menu has been created to offer customers choosing not to drink alcohol on-board, a grown up option with unique flavours.

Mark Murphy, food and beverage manager at Virgin Atlantic commented: “With the global trend of no and low alcohol cocktails, Seedlip and Regal Rogue are the perfect partners to bring this option to our customers. There’s a big focus across the airline industry on reducing the amount of alcohol consumed in flight, and we’re delighted to be leading the way by offering our customers across all cabins a selection of zero and low alcohol alternatives.”

Founder of Seedlip, Ben Branson says: “Virgin Atlantic is renowned for its world class cocktail offering and we’re so proud to be part of it. As a brand we champion inclusivity, flavour and experience over ABV and so we look forward to bringing an exclusive selection of Nolo cocktails to guests when they’re travelling.”

Icelandair taps into craft beer culture

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Icelandair have introduced a new onboard beer inspired by Icelandic winter light.

Named after the glow of the Icelandic snow, Snæbjört (snie-bioert), the pale ale is inspired by the Icelandic winter.

The beer is brewed with American hops Azacca, Mosaic and El Dorado and American Ale yeast bringing passengers a hoppy and fruity taste with a sweet aroma of pineapple, mango and passionfruit. Brewed by the Boyne Brewhouse in Ireland, the beer also contains an abv of 5%, a homage to the average temperature within Iceland all year round.

Kristján Jóhannesson, head of inflight catering at Icelandair commented: “We want to provide an exciting twist to our passengers on-board experience with us. We are constantly looking at innovative ways to enhance our passengers experience and by brewing limited edition seasonal pale ales like the Snæbjört, passengers can understand the culture of Iceland from a sip of their drink.”

The Snæbjört pale ale replaces its popular predecessor, the 737 Max IPA as the alternative in-flight beer. Passengers can enjoy the new Icelandair special edition pale ale on-board and in the Icelandair Saga Lounge at Keflavik International Airport and it will be available for all passengers on board flights across the Icelandair network from both European and North American destinations.

Studio Culinaire Servair announce Guy Martin as president

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Servair, a gategroup member, has appointed Michelin star chef Guy Martin as president of its Studio Culinaire for a two-year period.

Martin, is one of the founding members of Studio Culinaire Servair, which was created in 2009, bring to together Michelin star chefs and experts to raise the quality standards of in-flight catering.

As a part of gategroup, Studio Culinaire Servair is dedicated to identifying trends and innovations to optimise the chefs’ creations. It also aims to ensure professional excellence along the entire production chain by offering training courses and workshops.

Martin succeeds Joël Robuchon, who passed away in August and had led Studio Culinaire Servair since its formation.

In 2016, Martin won the title of Best Airport Restaurant for his “I Love Paris” restaurant situated in Terminal 2 of Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport. Since 2002, he has created numerous menus for the “La Première” and “Business” classes of Air France.

Effective 1 January 2019, Anne-Sophie Pic (pictured right) becomes the Studio’s latest culinary ambassador. She is the only French female chef to have three stars in the Michelin Guide as of 2007, and with a total of 7 Michelin stars for her restaurants in Valence, Paris, London and Lausanne she is the most star-studded French female chef in the world.

Xavier Rossinyol, CEO of gategroup announced, “We are extremely pleased that Guy Martin, a founding member of Studio Culinaire Servair, will take over the reigns as head of the studio. His passion for culinary excellence will continue to transform the industry and to further elevate the on-board dining experience. We are also very excited to welcome Chef Anne-Sophie Pic to the group. We are convinced that her creativity and impeccable standards align perfectly with those of Studio Culinaire Servair and we look forward to her contributions.”