Inflight editor Alexander Preston summarises the latest happenings across IFEC and cabin technology.

Last August, an HSBC/BRDC market research study revealed that 51% of air travellers have started a conversation with a stranger, while for some (one in 50) their fellow passenger has become the love of their life.

Never ones to miss an opportunity, airlines have been quick to notice this trend.

In advance of next week’s Valentine’s Day, British Airways has launched its annual pop-up, ‘Love is in the Air’ IFE channel.

This year, films include new releases such as Crazy Rich Asians; Juliet, Naked; and The Shape of Water as well as classics like True Romance and An Affair to Remember.

As a token of its appreciation, Japan Airways and Japanese confectioner LOTTE will hand out an originally designed LOTTE Ghana milk chocolate on Valentine’s Day for passengers on JAL-operated flights. Last year, both parties handed out the popular bite-size chocolate to passengers on all domestic flights. As the carrier received favourable reviews, the service will now be expanded to international flights departing from Japan.

The bite-size Ghana milk chocolates are a favourite across all age groups in Japan.

But sometimes Cupid’s arrow misses it mark.

Delta and Coca-Cola’s partnership began in 1927, but this year’s romance-themed campaign for Diet Coke has left a sour taste on social media.

For a number of weeks, Delta has been handing out Diet Coke branded napkins that contain a variety of messages encouraging passengers to flirt with one another. One reads: “Because you’re on a plane full of interesting people and hey… you never know,” while another encourages passengers to: “Be a little old school. Write down your number and give it to your plane crush. You never know…”

But the flirtatious nature has been criticised as being ‘Creepy’. In response, Coca-Cola Co. issued a statement to Atlanta Business Chronicle that said: “We sincerely apologize to anyone we may have offended. We worked with our partners at Delta to begin removing the napkins last month and are replacing them with other designs.”

For its part Delta said: “We rotate Coke products regularly as part of our brand partnership, but missed the mark with this one. We are sorry for that and began removing the napkins from our aircraft in January.”

While airlines may wish for their passengers to be like Jeffrey Osborne and On the wings of love, some find themselves more 10CC and I’m not in love.

There will be more signs of appreciation next week in Dubai as Inflight Middle East Awards crowns this year’s winners on 12 February. Good luck to all and don’t forget to register to attend the two-day Workshop.

The editor’s comment is published weekly as an accompaniment to the Inflight e-newsletter. If you do not currently receive our email updates, you can subscribe here.

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