American has partnered with Apple Books showcasing Oprah's Book Club

American Airlines turns over new leaf with Apple Books

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American has partnered with Apple Books showcasing Oprah's Book Club

American Airlines has extended its partnership with Apple with a new collaboration with Apple Books.

The airline has created a curated collection, highlighting Oprah’s Book Club picks and other genres.

Eligible AAdvantage members who fly on American will get one of Oprah’s most popular selections free on Apple Books. In honour of Black History Month, The Water Dancer by National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates is the first free ebook offered through this program.

“Travel and books connect us with other places and cultures in ways that are invaluable to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Alison Taylor, Chief Customer Officer at American. “We hope our partnership with Apple Books and Oprah’s Book Club will encourage thought-provoking discussions that are critical to eliminating the systemic racism Black Americans still face today.”

Passengers can watch Oprah’s interview with Coates on the Apple TV+ channel via American’s free in-flight entertainment or by checking out The Water Dancer custom reading guide available in American Way.

This collaboration with Apple Books further complements other entertainment offerings from Apple for American Airlines customers — including the dedicated Apple TV+ in-flight channel on wireless or seatback entertainment featuring Apple Originals, or Apple Music where subscribers can stream 70 million songs, thousands of curated playlists, artist-hosted radio stations, music videos and more for free in flight on Viasat-equipped planes.

Flagship Cellars - American's new at-home wine experience

American Airlines launches at-home wine experience

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Flagship Cellars - American's new at-home wine experience

American Airlines has launched a wine delivery service.

The Flagship Cellars at-home wine experience allows anyone 21 years or older to select their wine preferences at vinesse.com/flagshipcellars.

Customers can select from curated collections of mixed wines, build their own custom box, or purchase a monthly wine subscription which includes three prestigious wines for US$99.99, including delivery.

American will hand-pick wines from its Flagship wine collection, chosen by an award-winning master sommelier exclusively for American. The curated collection features exclusive ultra-premium wines at a lower price and with AAdvantage mileage benefits.

“For wine lovers around the world, wine provides a deeper connection to the places they enjoy visiting,” said Alison Taylor, Chief Customer Officer at American. “We created Flagship Cellars to provide more ways for customers to enjoy our Flagship wine even if they aren’t flying in one of our premium cabins.”

Wines considered for the American Airlines wine program undergo a thorough process. Twice a year, the wine experts identify top selections based on their notes and historical data on what has been most popular with customers around the world. The team meets with its award-winning master sommelier to blind taste wines before presenting final options to a variety of American team members to solicit feedback and identify which wines are best suited for onboard and in lounges.

A dog recognised as a service animal

US bans emotional support animals in the cabin

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A dog recognised as a service animal

US airlines have begun enforcing a ban on emotional support animals, following a final rule issued in December 2020, by the US Department of Transport (DOT).

The DOT’s final rules bring the definition of a service animal into alignment with the Department of Justice’s definition under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), defining a service animal as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability. This does not include emotional support animals (ESAs).

“Airlines are committed to promoting accessibility for passengers with disabilities and ensuring their safe travel. The Department of Transportation’s final rule will protect the traveling public and airline crewmembers from untrained animals in the cabin, as well as improve air travel accessibility for passengers with disabilities that travel with trained service dogs,” stated A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio. “We commend Sec. Chao for her leadership in both aviation safety and passenger accessibility.”

A broad range of stakeholders including consumer, disability, labour and service dog training organisations have advocated for changes to stop this abuse.

As of 11 January 2021, Alaska will only transport service dogs, which are specially trained to perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability.

“This regulatory change is welcome news, as it will help us reduce disturbances onboard, while continuing to accommodate our guests traveling with qualified service animals,” said Ray Prentice, Director of Customer Advocacy at Alaska Airlines.

Under the revised policy, Alaska will accept a maximum of two service dogs per guest in the cabin, to include psychiatric service dogs. Guests will be required to complete a DOT form, which will be available on AlaskaAir.com, attesting that their animal is a legitimate service dog, is trained and vaccinated and will behave appropriately during the journey.

Alaska will continue to accept emotional support animals under its current policy for reservations booked prior to 11 January 2021, for flights on or before 28 February 2021. No emotional support animals will be accepted for travel after 28 February 2021.

Delta’s updated policy includes input and guidance from our frontline teams, as well as recommendations from its Advisory Board on Disability.

“We applaud the DOT for making this change and acknowledging the concerns that Delta and many other stakeholders have raised for the past several years,” said Allison Ausband – S.V.P., In-Flight Service. “The DOT’s final rule enables airlines to put the safety of all employees and customers first, while protecting the rights of customers who need to travel with trained service animals.”

“Delta’s updated policy follows a nearly 85% increase in animal incidents since 2016, including urination, defecation and biting,” said David Garrison – S.V.P. Corporate Safety and Security. “Our top priority is the health, safety and comfort of Delta customers and our people. We strongly believe this policy change will enhance the overall travel experience for everyone.”

Delta will lift its ban on pit bull type dogs that meet documentation requirements for trained service animals.

From 1 February, to ensure accessible travel for individuals with disabilities while protecting the safety and well-being of customers and team members, American will ask customers traveling with service animals to complete a DOT form attesting to the dog’s behaviour, training, and health. The airline will require this form to be submitted electronically 48 hours in advance of a flight unless the reservation is booked within 48 hours of travel. A service animal’s authorisation will be valid for one year or until the expiration of its vaccinations.

AA Festive playlist

American Airlines introduces new Wi-Fi subscription plan

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AA Festive playlist

American Airlines has introduced a new Wi-Fi subscription plan, agnostic of service provider.

The new plan replaces the Gogo monthly subscription, previously only valid on Gogo- and Viasat-equipped aircraft. As of 10 November, passengers can purchase a subscription that’s valid on all three Wi-Fi providers: Gogo, Panasonic and Viasat.

Customers with a monthly Gogo subscription will receive notice from 16 November with instructions on how to move their current subscription plan to the American Airlines Wi-Fi Subscription Plan.

To purchase or move to the American Airlines Wi-Fi Subscription Plan, customers need to be an AAdvantage member and have an email and primary credit card with a US billing address saved in their AAdvantage account.

American recently began the rollout of aainflight.com, a new in-flight Wi-Fi portal that provides a unified entertainment and connectivity experience. The portal enables customers to use their AAdvantage credentials and stored credit card information to purchase flight passes for internet access on aircraft equipped with Gogo and Viasat internet services. If customers don’t have an AAdvantage account and prefer not to sign up for one, they can continue to purchase individual flight passes as a guest.

The airline has also launched its annual holiday channel featuring holiday classics including A Christmas Story, Home Alone and Elf. All in-flight entertainment on board American flights is free and can be streamed to a passengers’ own electronic device.

Apple Music with its curated playlists like Holiday Hits, R&B for the Holidays, and Children’s Christmas, can also be accessed for free in flight on Via-Sat equipped flights.

American Airlines work through of SurfaceWise

American first airline to use SurfaceWise2

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American Airlines work through of SurfaceWise

In the coming months, American will begin using SurfaceWise2 for electrostatic spraying on surfaces inside its aircraft with plans to use the product throughout its entire fleet, including those in its American Eagle regional partners.

The SurfaceWise2 solution from Allied BioScience is the first-ever long-lasting product to help fight the spread of the novel coronavirus that is approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“SurfaceWise2’s long-lasting defense provides a layer of protection against viruses not offered by any other solutions on the market,” said Maha El-Sayed, PhD, Allied BioScience Chief Science Officer.

“SurfaceWise2 creates an invisible barrier on surfaces, which physically breaks down and kills virus cells,” said Dr. Charles Gerba, a leading infectious disease expert. “This helps protect passengers and crew members against the transmission of coronavirus via surfaces, particularly on high-touch areas such as seats, armrests, tray tables and overhead bin doors.”

A selection of Tapis 9 Series soft touch synthetic leather

Cabin dividers get soft touch treatment from Tapis

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A selection of Tapis 9 Series soft touch synthetic leather

In partnership with Ultrafabrics, Tapis Corporation has released its latest cabin interior material, having been launched with American Airlines on their recent 737-800 upgrades.

The 9-series is an advanced soft touch synthetic leather for use in cabin dividers and series is the only polycarbonate product on the market today that is compliant with the flammability requirements for vertical surfaces.

The material comes standard with anti-microbial, silver ion technology embedded in the surface layers that prevent leaching and efficacy loss. The polycarbonate finish is chemically engineered to be resistant to cleaning and disinfection from a host of approved products commonly used in fogging and hydrostatic sprayers, and can it is claimed, can be safely cleaned with alcohol, quaternary ammonium, bleach and hydrogen peroxide-based cleaners without damaging the product.

According to Tapis, when combined with the correct component materials, the 9-series can be thermoformed into complex curves to ensure minimal encroachment into the space of other passengers and allowing full uninterrupted recline between classes. The lightweight buildup allows it to be used successfully with hanging cabin divider styles to ensure maximum airframe compatibility, as demonstrated with American Airlines.

The aircraft’s class dividers from Jamco America feature a soft eyebrow-type hanging divider which has an increased surface area to allow greater separation within the cabin, further minimising the airflow and micro-organism transition throughout the cabin.

The new class divider solution can be customised with the use of precise, thermoformed logos or embroidery to enhance branding and aesthetics.

American Airlines rolls out new in-flight Wi-Fi portal

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American Airlines has begun the phased launch of a new in-flight Wi-Fi portal that provides a unified entertainment and connectivity experience.

The portal simplifies the sign-on process across the airline’s domestic network.

Customers can use their AAdvantage credentials and stored credit card information to purchase flight passes for internet access on aircraft equipped with Gogo and Viasat internet services. If customers don’t have an AAdvantage account and prefer not to sign up for one, they can continue to purchase individual flight passes as a guest.

Passengers can continue using their Gogo Wi-Fi subscription on Gogo and Viasat flights.

American also plans to introduce the American Airlines Wi-Fi Subscription Plan. More details on this transition will be shared in the future.

Member carriers of Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organisation representing the leading US airlines, are to “vigorously” enforce face covering policies, putting rigor around rules requiring passengers and customer-facing employees to wear facial coverings over their nose and mouth.

US airlines to enforce wearing of face coverings

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Member carriers of Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organisation representing the leading US airlines, are to “vigorously” enforce face covering policies, putting rigor around rules requiring passengers and customer-facing employees to wear facial coverings over their nose and mouth.

Member carriers of Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organisation representing the leading US airlines, are to “vigorously” enforce face covering policies, putting rigor around rules requiring passengers and customer-facing employees to wear facial coverings over their nose and mouth.

Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines will be implementing the following policy updates regarding face coverings:

  • Preflight Communications: Each airline will clearly articulate its individual face covering policy in communications with customers, which may require passengers to acknowledge the specific rules during the check-in process.
  • Onboard Announcements: Onboard the aircraft, crew members will announce specific details regarding the carrier’s face covering policy including the consequences passengers could face for violating the policy.
  • Consequences for Noncompliance: Each carrier will determine the appropriate consequences for passengers who are found to be in noncompliance of the airline’s face covering policy up to and including suspension of flying privileges on that airline.

“US airlines are very serious about requiring face coverings on their flights. Carriers are stepping up enforcement of face coverings and implementing substantial consequences for those who do not comply with the rules,” said A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio. “Face coverings are one of several public health measures recommended by the CDC as an important layer of protection for passengers and customer-facing employees.”

The measures are expected to remain in place throughout the COVID-19 public health crisis.

All passengers are required to wear a face covering throughout the travel journey on the leading US airlines, as clearly stated on each airline’s website.

Recent posts on social media have highlighted instances of passengers not adhering to respective airline policies. In one instance that has since gone viral, a passenger was removed from an American Airways flight for refusing to comply with the face covering protocol.

Facemasks

Airlines introduce compulsory face mask measures for passengers

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Facemasks

From 4 May, a number of airlines are introducing mandatory requirements for passengers to wear face masks onboard.

Passengers flying with the Lufthansa Group and its airlines will be required to wear a face mask covering the nose and mouth on board their flights. In addition, the group recommends that passengers wear them throughout the entire journey. This includes prior to and after the flight, and throughout the airport when the required minimum distance cannot be guaranteed without restriction. All flight attendants on Lufthansa Group flights in direct contact with customers will also be required to wear a mask.

All passengers are requested to bring their own face mask and a reusable fabric mask is recommended, but all other types of coverings such as simple disposable masks or scarves are also acceptable. The airlines will inform their passengers in advance by SMS or e-mail and on their websites about the new regulations.

The obligation to wear the mask will preliminarily apply until 31 August 2020.

The current regulation of Lufthansa Group Airlines to keep the neighbouring seat free in Economy and Premium Economy Class will no longer apply, as wearing the mouth-nose cover provides adequate health protection.  Due to the current low occupancy rate, seats will nevertheless be allocated as widely as possible throughout the cabin.

In the US, JetBlue passengers customers will be required to wear a face covering during travel. The policy comes after the airline began requiring all crew members to wear face coverings while working. JetBlue has modelled its policy on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines that indicate all individuals should wear a face covering in public to help slow the spread of the COVID-19.

This new policy will require customers to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth throughout their journey, including during check-in, boarding, while in flight and deplaning. Customers will be reminded of this requirement before their flight via email and at the airport by both terminal signage and announcements. Small children who are not able to maintain a face covering are exempt from this requirement.

CDC guidance defines a suitable face covering as an item of cloth that should fit snugly against the side of the face, be secured with ties or ear loops, include multiple layers of fabric and allow for unrestricted breathing. The CDC recommends surgical masks and N-95 respirators be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders.

From 1 May, American Airlines will start the process of distributing sanitising wipes or gels and face masks to its customers. This offering will expand to all flights as supplies and operational conditions allow.

Masks will be required for flight attendants during every mainline and regional flight. In addition, the airline has added a drawer in the galley on every mainline flight containing personal protective equipment, including masks for flight attendants and pilots, and other sanitising items.

American Airlines introduces temporary reductions to in-flight catering

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American Airlines is reducing flight attendant-customer interaction and maximising space between customers on aircraft as it responds further to coronavirus (COVID-19).

 To further provide for social distancing and minimal contact between flight attendants and customers, American will offer limited food and beverage options from 27 March through 30 April. The reduced service will be based on flight length and destination. Full service will resume once the COVID-19 situation has stabilised. American is exploring and expects to make bottled water and snacks available at the gate in the near future.

For all flights shorter than 2,200 miles (typically less than 4 1/2 hours), alcohol will not be available in Main Cabin, but will be available on request in first class. Beverages will be available on request and limited to water, canned beverages or juice. No snacks or food for purchase will be served and meals will not be offered in first class.

For all flights longer than 2,200 miles (typically more than 4 1/2 hours), including transcontinental and flights to Hawaii alcohol will not be served in Main Cabin and Main Cabin Extra except on long-haul international flights. Alcohol will be available in first class and other Main Cabin beverages will be served as usual.

No snacks or food for purchase will be served. Main Cabin meals will be served on long-haul international flights. First and business class meals will be served on one tray versus in courses.

American will also suspend pre-departure beverage service on all flights.

“Our flight attendants spend the most time with our customers and play a critical role in ensuring the safety and well-being of our customers,” said Jill Surdek, Senior Vice President of Flight Service. “As a result of working with our flight attendant team and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, we are taking these necessary steps today and will continue to update our policies in response to guidance from the CDC.”