Virgin Atlantic is retiring its Boeing 747 fleet

Virgin bids farewell to its 747 with on-board pop up dining experience

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Virgin Atlantic is retiring its Boeing 747 fleet

Virgin Atlantic is giving aviation enthusiasts the chance to say farewell to its last Boeing 747 before it enters retirement.

Hosted at the airline’s Heathrow hangar on 12 December, during a three-hour experience, visitors will enjoy a full aircraft tour, including below deck and cabin crew and pilots sleep, areas of the plane the public rarely seen by the public. Additionally, they will enjoy a three-course a-la-carte meal, inspired by Virgin Atlantic’s on-board cuisine, from the comfort of their own Upper Class suite.

Proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to The Trussell Trust.

Virgin Atlantic pilots, cabin crew and engineers who have worked on the 747 will be present to provide first-hand accounts on what life was like on-board the jet.

Corneel Koster, Chief Customer and Operating Officer at Virgin Atlantic, commented: “The much-loved Boeing 747 has played an important role in Virgin Atlantic’s story.  It carried our first passengers to New York 36 years ago on our inaugural flight and over the years has transported countless millions of holiday-makers and business travellers safely around the world.  As we close this chapter and continue the transformation towards a cleaner, greener fleet, what better tribute than to showcase the Queen of the Skies one last time.  I’m delighted we’re able to offer this opportunity to a lucky few to be part of aviation history, before we say our fond farewells to this iconic plane.”

LSG is using VR for product presentations

LSG Group turns to VR for product presentations

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LSG is using VR for product presentations

To comply with social distancing rules and overcome travel restrictions, LSG Group is exploring the potential use of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) during workshops when introducing concepts and products to its clients in the near future.

In order to bring dishes, trays and in-flight equipment into virtual reality, they must be professionally illuminated and photographed. From an elaborate main course to a simple bread roll, every single component is captured on a turntable up to 400 times in 10k resolution. These composite shots create a detailed digital image that looks photorealistic in virtual space. “In addition to digitising existing products, 3D prototypes of non-food products that don’t even exist yet can be created,” said Dr. Jan Christoph Meyer, Head of Global Product & Service Development at the LSG Group.

Virtual presentations can be conducted through VR glasses, controllers and other equipment provided to guests, which will help them navigate through the presentation room.  Where physical interaction is not possible, tool like Microsoft Teams or Zoom can be used.

Communication in VR is also possible as each participant is given an avatar through which he or she is visible to the other people in the room. This virtual twin can even carry things around, label whiteboards and sticky notes. It can also interact with the other participants and invite them to a private conversation in a separate room.

A smartphone or tablet can be used for augmented reality via a corresponding app such as Instagram or Facebook.

According to Robin Sippel, Head of Global Procurement Digitalisation, Data Management & Tools., VR and AR are not a substitute for real” product presentations. “We rather see the tool as a supplement to a conversation when touching, smelling and tasting do not play a central role. Of course, these are things that cannot be simulated even with the best 3D technology. At least not yet, I should perhaps say.”

LSGgroup logo

gategroup completes acquisition of LSG’s European operations

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LSGgroup logo

gategroup Holding has formally completed the acquisition of the European operations of LSG Group from Deutsche Lufthansa AG.

Financial details have not been disclosed.

This closing completes the transaction, which was announced on 9 December 2019, following its approval by the EU Commission. In compliance with its commitments to the European Union, gategroup has signed binding agreements to divest parts of its existing German in-flight catering operations, a minority interest in an in-flight catering kitchen at Brussels airport and some catering assets at Rome (FCO) and Paris (CDG) airports. gategroup expects to complete the divestments in Q1/2021.

The transaction comprises LSG’s in-flight catering operations in Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Spain as well as the global equipment business trading under the SPIRIANT brand. It also includes the European convenience food operations trading under the Evertaste brand, the Ringeltaube retail outlets as well as its European train catering and lounge operations.

“This milestone also marks the beginning of a new chapter for the LSG Group and everyone else who works in the same industry,” said LSG Group CEO Erdmann Rauer. “It is a different world full of unique challenges, but we are confident in the fact that together with our customers we will find the right solutions with the same creative spirit, dedication and hard work that has brought us this far.”

gategroup will introduce a new Lufthansa-dedicated Studio 50/8, a culinary think tank and exclusive house of inspiration. This is one example which shows the joint passion and commitment of Lufthansa and gategroup to enhance customer experience from end-to-end and with this, defining a new airline catering industry standard.

Swiss-TasteofSwitzerland_Rindsentrecôte-Tataki mit Senf-Chutney_Business Class

SWISS introduces Canton Fribourg cuisine onboard

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Swiss-TasteofSwitzerland_Rindsentrecôte-Tataki mit Senf-Chutney_Business Class

SWISS is introducing the latest creation under its SWISS Taste of Switzerland in-flight culinary programme.

From 2 December until the end of May 2021, the first and business class guests on long-haul services from Switzerland will be to enjoy typical cantonal specialities accompanied by selected regional cheeses.

The meals have been concocted by Alexandra Müller, head chef at the Romantik Hôtel L’Etoile in Charmey, Canton Fribourg.

For SWISS’s First Class customers Müller has created a selection of starters and main courses that include leek with egg yolk cream and truffle vinaigrette followed by venison with a Cuchaule crust and Botzi pear, a well-known Canton Fribourg delicacy. And for dessert SWISS First travellers can choose from a white and dark chocolate Toblerone mousse with Breton biscuit crumble or meringues from local bakery Angélo Rime with double cream and a Mirabelle plum compote. SWISS will also be offering its passengers further popular specialities from the Fribourg region in the form of saucisson du Vully and moitié-moitié fondue.

Long-haul business class travellers from Switzerland will be offered a starter of beef entrecôte tataki with a beetroot-pear salad and Gruyère blue cheese. Alexandra Müller’s main-course creation is a braised beef brisket with demi-glace and sweet potato purée. Business dessert is a yuzu lemon meringue pie with Canton Fribourg’s famous Gruyère double cream.

Both SWISS first and SWISS business travellers can sample a 15-month-matured Gruyère Vieux AOP, a Vacherin Fribourgeois Vieux AOP or a Bleu de la Gruyère, all produced by small local cheesemakers.

SWISS’s “SWISS Taste of Switzerland” concept, which has been running since 2002, invites a different Swiss-based chef every three months to help showcase Switzerland’s culinary variety by devising locally-inspired in-flight meal creations. In a first for the programme, Alexandra Müller’s Canton Fribourg concoctions will be featured on board for a six-month period, until the end of May 2021.

Finnair has partnered with K-Store to sell its signature blueberry juice

Finnair sells signature drink across Finland

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Finnair has partnered with K-Store to sell its signature blueberry juice

Finnair has made its signature blueberry juice drink available to buy in K-group grocery stores across Finland.

First introduced in 2014, the airline serves approximately one million litres of the drink on board Finnair flights every single year.

Finnair’s branded blueberry juice drink is produced in Turku on the southwest coast of Finland, by leading European juice producer, Eckes-Granini.

In keeping with Finland’s and Finnair’s commitment to sustainability, the airline’s blueberry juice is manufactured with 100% renewable energy.

Marika Nieminen, VP Finnair Kitchen, said: “Blueberry juice has been a distinctive part of the Finnair customer experience and it is loved by many of our customers.

“We wanted to offer this delicious drink, which has become a firm favourite of the Finnair in-flight experience to our customers who have a taste for travel and want to enjoy Finnair from the comfort of their own homes.”

In October, Finnair began selling ready-made Business Class-inspired meals in supermarkets so customers could enjoy a ‘Taste of Finnair’ in their own home.

As well as offering those missing flying the ability to recreate the inflight dining experience on the ground, the initiative also helped secure the jobs of catering staff who were called back from furlough, because of the pandemic.

Singapore Airlines has introduced new menus to economy class

Singapore Airlines introduces new short-haul economy class meals

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Singapore Airlines has introduced new menus to economy class

As part of its new economy class meal concept, Singapore Airlines (SIA) and SilkAir are to introduce a wider range of main courses on flights under 3.5 hours from 1 December 2020.

More than 40 new dishes will be available on rotation on different flights, and will served in a new packaging solution, designed jointly by SIA and its Singapore-based catering partner SATS.

The leak-proof box and cup made of Forest Stewardship Council certified paper, a dessert box and a cutlery pack made of bamboo with a paper wrap, replaces SIA’s plastic casserole service ware, allowing it to retain gravy and soupy dishes without any seepage. It is also oven-safe and resistant to overheating, ensuring that food quality is preserved even after reheating.

The new service ware reduces the amount of single-use plastics, including cups and polybags for cutlery, on the meal tray by 80% by weight. Leftovers on the tray, including the new service ware, will be brought back to Singapore, sent to an eco-digester at SATS, and converted into pellets that can be used as refuse-derived fuel. The onsite processing of waste reduces approximately 60% of catering waste and further reduces emissions from transportation to the incinerator. In addition, the use of lighter paperware helps to reduce fuel consumption on flights.

Iberia has introduced a new menu from DO & CO across all flights

Iberia introduces new in-flight dining service

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Iberia has introduced a new menu from DO & CO across all flights

Following the takeover of catering services for Iberia and Iberia Express in Madrid during the first quarter of 2020/2021, DO & CO have introduced a new dining service onboard Iberia focused on local and seasonal ingredients and the Mediterranean diet.

The new food service is presented with new tableware and linen on all short, medium and long-haul US flights. This new equipment will be gradually implemented in the remaining destinations.

In business class on short- and medium-haul routes, Iberia will serve a hot breakfast, including a selection of omlettes and freshly made butter croissants served alongside fresh seasonal fruit, a superfood bowl of craft yoghurt with seeds and berries plus coffee, tea and fruit juices. On longer flights, a plate of Spanish cheese and cold cuts is included.

After 10:30 a.m., passengers on flights within Spain or to/from Portugal will be served a gourmet cold snack and a main dish plus fresh fruit.

On flights longer than one and a half hours departing after 10:30hrs, customers can enjoy a hot lunch or dinner, which includes a fresh salad starter, and a choice of main dishes that will always include a vegetarian option, as well as a home-made dessert, such as double chocolate cake, almond and orange cake, or white chocolate mousse with berries. On longer flights an additional plate of Spanish cheese is included as appetiser.

On medium-haul flights longer than four and a half hours, Iberia is introducing a new concept for economy class – a selection of healthy wraps and a sweet treat served with cold or hot drinks, including freshly made tea and coffee.

On long-haul flights, business class passengers on long-haul flights can enjoy a main meal which includes a cold starter followed by a choice of three hot dishes, which include roast lamb  with smoked roast peppers on a bed of pea and edamame mousseline, or Langostines with homemade tomato and Parmesan sauce served with grilled broccolini and rice. The vegetarian option in November is a spinach quiche with Manchegan cheese and a mild Romescu sauce. November desserts include a passion fruit pannacotta and a Spanish cheese plate (Mahon, Manchegan with paprika and goats cheese).

Depending on the time of day and destination, before landing there is a second service of either a breakfast or afternoon snack and on the longest flights, there is an additional service between meals including salads, fresh fruit and sweet or salty snacks.

On long-haul flights economy passengers will have the choice of two hot main dishes, such as baked chicken and seasonal vegetables with home-made tomato sauce served with rice or rigatoni with home-made tomato sauce, topped with roasted aubergines. The new desserts for long-haul flights includes a chocolate mousse, one of DO & CO’s flagship products.

As the flight approaches its destination, a second service of a breakfast or afternoon snack is served in economy with a selection of juices and hot drinks. On longer flights the service between-meals in economy, depending on the destination, features tapas boxes, sandwiches, sweet or salty snacks, water and juices.

Collage of new enhanced amenities from Mint experience

JetBlue refreshes Mint experience

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Collage of new enhanced amenities from Mint experience

JetBlue has announced the first major refresh of its JetBlue Mint service, introducing a completely new lineup for Mint, including Delicious Hospitality Group, Tuft & Needle, Wanderfuel and Master & Dynamic.

The new partners will transition into all Mint flights over the next six weeks, appearing on flights as early as 18  November.

“JetBlue’s reimagined Mint is turning the journey itself into a destination, offering the comforts of a premium travel experience at a more affordable price point,” said Elizabeth Windram, Vice President of marketing, JetBlue. “This onboard refresh allows us to reset that high bar we set in 2014, with the very best in dining and hospitality, comfort and wellness at 35,000 feet. And for those who can’t wait to see what we have in store for our London flights, well let’s just say this is a little teaser for what we have in mind.”

JetBlue tapped SoHo-based Delicious Hospitality Group (DHG) to bring their inventive culinary style, extraordinary wine and cocktail programs, and tactile dining aesthetics to the skies. Developed in partnership with Chef/Owner Ryan Hardy and Wine Director Grant Reynolds, the new Mint dining experience was created by reimagining elevated hospitality in-flight. It will feature a rotating menu of small plates that customers can choose from, individually inspired by each of DHG’s three restaurants, starting with Charlie Bird. Once onboard, customers will enjoy high-quality fare prepared with seasonal ingredients, alongside a selection of international wines and craft cocktails to be shaken on-board. To complete the experience, DHG redesigned plate ware to mimic their New York City table tops and has shared access to their revered music playlists capturing the ambiance synonymous with dining in one of their restaurants.

JetBlue has also collaborated with Tuft & Needle, the digitally native mattress company that pioneered the bed-in-a-box trend, to develop a cohesive sleep experience onboard. Travelers can relax with a convertible blanket with a built-in foot pocket, a memory foam lined pillow with a pillowcase and snooze kits that include a matching eye mask and ear plugs.

JetBlue is introducing its new “wellness kit” concept. Developed in partnership with Wanderfuel, a brand that specialises in carefully curated travel kits designed with leading nutritionist Sarah Wragge, the airline’s four wellness kits will provide customers with a rotating selection of healthy snacks, supplements and personal care items. Travelers will receive one of four kits catered to the time of day and destination they are flying to: Awake, for breakfast and morning flights; Flow, for lunch and dinner flights; Sleep, for shuteye flights; and Renewal, for Caribbean flights.

Mint customers will enjoy premium headsets from New York City’s luxury audio brand, Master & Dynamic. The custom-for-JetBlue MH40 Over-Ear headphones come with noise reduction, a brilliant, genre-agnostic sound profile, and a vintage aviation-inspired design.

SWISS, Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines tail fines

Lufthansa Group to introduce new onboard catering retail service

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SWISS, Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines tail fines

From 2021, economy class passengers on short and medium-haul routes from Lufthansa, SWISS and Austrian Airlines will be offered a new range of food and beverages for purchase.

“Our current snack offer in economy class does not always meet the expectations of our guests,” explained Christina Foerster, Member of the Executive Board Lufthansa Group responsible for Customer, IT & Corporate Responsibility. “The new offer was developed on the basis of feedback from our customers. With the high-quality offer available for purchase, our passengers will be able to decide what they want to eat and drink on their journey.”

Based on their respective brand identity, Retail inMotion designed individual product concepts together with the airlines. The common denominator will be the emphasis on fresh, regional highlights, as well as a carefully selected and curated assortment of snacks and drinks.

The new offer will be introduced in phases as of Spring 2021: Austrian Airlines will launch first, followed by SWISS and Lufthansa and the new products will be revealed by individual airlines over the coming months.

According to the Group, the new range not only implements the highest quality standards, from preparation to presentation, but also showcases the airline’s continuous investment in sustainability practices through environmentally friendly products and packaging. This in turn will reduce food waste through customised production.

Through the new collaboration, RiM will contribute to the Lufthansa Group’s goal of offering passengers a larger selection of products onboard and boosting passenger satisfaction while always remaining focused on sustainability and process innovation.

“Our customers want more choice and quality,” said Heike Birlenbach, Chief Commercial Officer at Lufthansa Airlines. “With RiM as a retail and IT partner, we can optimally implement the new concept and offer our customers a broader, high-quality selection of food and beverages onboard in the future.”

On Air catering van outside Inflite the Jet FBO at Stanstead Airport

On Air Dining to serve Inflite The Jet Centre

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On Air catering van outside Inflite the Jet FBO at Stanstead Airport

On Air Dining is to become the new inhouse service provider for Inflite The Jet Centre (ITJC), part of the Inflite Group of companies, based at London Stansted Airport.

On Air Dining will continue to offer Halal food, catering for an expanded Middle East client base.  It has two high loaders servicing wide-body business jets, one based at Stansted, the other at Farnborough Airport. Its team of chefs has also enhanced and expanded its plant-based menus, in response to widening dietary needs.

On Air Dining will continue to produce its high-end takeaway business One Fine Dine, an innovative cold food kit you assemble and cook at home. Created this Spring, during the first lockdown, serving customers in London and the Home Counties, One Fine Dine appeals to home-based chefs, who occasionally want to create something special for family and friends.