SAUDIA Braille guides

SAUDIA extends Braille offerings for visually impaired and blind passengers

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SAUDIA Braille guides

Saudi Arabian Airlines has committed to providing services and products onboard for all visually impaired guests.

In 2015, SAUDIA became the world’s first airline to introduce a comprehensive flight guide in Braille, and this year marked World Braille Day (4 January) by extending the service across in-flight entertainment (IFE) and cuisine options.

Passengers can select a Braille cuisine option at time of booking through a simple step while making a booking from the airline’s website or by calling SAUDIA. IFE options include audio descriptive movies and content onboard.

Saudi Arabian Airlines prints all material in-house with its full-spectrum Braille printer in order to transform all materials and applications, such as special meals and menus, safety procedures and magazines in Braille for in-flight use.

Commenting on the services provided by the airline, Chief Executive Officer of SAUDIA, Captain Ibrahim S. Koshy said: “SAUDIA is committed to being an inclusive airline, providing amenities, services and support for all guests. We take pride in making our very best efforts to provide a comfortable, welcoming and hospitable experience from each point of the journey.”

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 specializes 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.

A single, intuitive, integrated platform allowing airlines to manage their ancillary revenue operations efficiently (Source AOE)

AOE to acquire SHIFTEO

By Ancillary revenues, FeaturedNo Comments
A single, intuitive, integrated platform allowing airlines to manage their ancillary revenue operations efficiently (Source AOE)

AOE is to acquire on-board sales and supply chain specialist SHIFTEO. The agreement includes SHIFTEO’s In-flight ePOS, Supply Chain Management and Back Office for Catering Management solutions.

When complete the unique functionality of the vendor-independent platform will integrate with simplified vendor management to give airlines the freedom to select and manage multiple caterers and duty-free suppliers right across location hubs and service stations.

Michael Raasch, CCO AOE Aviation commented: “AOE’s new platform provides airlines with powerful operational and competitive advantages that will drive new and stronger ancillary revenue opportunities.

“Additionally, in a new strategic cooperation with on-board technology experts Airfree, we also offer airlines complete connection and digital solutions on in-flight and IFE transactions. This completes an inflight solution that can not only accelerate airline recovery from the current crisis but also deliver stronger long-term performance.”

Peter Coelho, co-founder of SHIFTEO, added: “With sustainability the second-biggest priority on airlines’ minds after recovery, this model also has the potential to create immense savings in food waste, stock management, inefficiencies, last-mile delivery, fuel cost and theft/fraud,” he added. “Transforming just 20% of buy-on-board to E-Commerce and ten percent of passengers to pre-order their meals could result in savings of hundreds of millions of dollars per year across the airline ecosystem.”

AOE has also incorporated stronger IFE accessibility to support the integration of all aspects of its digital solutions following a partnership agreement with Airfree, the leading specialist provider of on-board E-Commerce frontend and caching technology.

Kian Gould, founder and CEO of AOE, outlines the potential influence of the new platform: “Connectivity is the golden key to future incremental revenue and these agreements gives us the agility to integrate our proven solutions into the entire value-chain of the world’s most forward-

“The global crisis has accelerated both digital behavior and the obsolescence of the traditional revenue models and, as we all know, digital behavior never regresses. The only one path to recovery is the one that the passenger is already treading – the digital path.”

The AOE-SHIFTEO transaction remains subject to additional regulatory approvals and is subject to final binding agreements.

Passengers can enjoy their favourite Singapore Airlines in-flight meals at home

SIA asks to Discover Your Singapore Airlines

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Passengers can enjoy their favourite Singapore Airlines in-flight meals at home

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has launched the Discover Your Singapore Airlines suite of experiences to engage with its customers during COVID-19.

The Discover Your Singapore Airlines experiences are the result of a market study and a comprehensive review, which also considered factors such as the attractiveness of the initiatives to SIA’s customers and members of the public, the environmental implications, and their financial viability. An idea for a one-off short tour flight, or a “flight to nowhere”, was also initially considered but not pursued after the review.

Restaurant A380 @Changi offers an exclusive dining experience an Airbus A380. Diners can choose from special menus for each cabin class. Options include the airline’s signature international cuisine, as well as the best dishes from a special Peranakan menu that has been designed by acclaimed Singaporean chef Shermay Lee. Limited slots for an exclusive pre-lunch tour of the A380 will also be available. All diners will receive KrisShop discounts, a limited edition goodie bag and additional gifts if they turn up in traditional heritage wear. Reservations start on 12 October 2020, and Restaurant A380 @Changi will operate on 24 and 25 October 2020.

Over two weekends in November during the school holidays, Inside Singapore Airlines will provide an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of our training facilities with a wide range of activities for the entire family. Visitors will be brought on a tour of more than 70 years of SIA’s history, get an opportunity to interact with pilots and cabin crew, and find out more about the intensive training that they undergo.

Children can enjoy craft activities such as balloon sculpting and making their own batik roses. They will also have the option to dress up and role play as cabin crew and take home their very own SIA sarong kebaya uniform. Adults can choose to operate a full flight simulator, taste some of our premium in-flight wine labels, and attend a grooming workshop. A selection of the most popular meals that are served on board SIA flights will also be on sale. Bookings open on 1 November 2020, and the tours will be held on 21, 22, 28 and 29 November 2020.

SIA@Home is for customers who are keen to enjoy the world-renowned SIA in-flight dining experience in the comfort of their own home. They can choose from 10 menus featuring exclusive First Class and Business Class meals, which will come complete with wine or champagne. Limited edition dining ware and amenities are also available depending on the package chosen. The special cabin crew concierge service for SIA@Home bookings opens on 5 October 2020.

SIA Chief Executive Officer Mr Goh Choon Phong commented: “There has been a lot of interest in our customer engagement initiatives over the last few weeks, and I would like to thank everyone for their great ideas and suggestions. We are very encouraged by and grateful for the enthusiasm and passion that we have seen. All of us are eagerly looking forward to welcoming you to discover your Singapore Airlines.”

Interior of SilverAir BBJ

Silver Air offers unrestricted charter use of Boeing Business Jet

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Interior of SilverAir BBJ

The Silver Air-managed Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) is now available for charter and uniquely without restrictions by the jet’s owner.

Based in West Palm Beach, Florida, the BBJ has an expansive 18-passenger configuration designed for personal and business travel.

Featuring a custom interior and master bedroom with a large bed, shower with exclusive steam feature, conference room, lounge area, and three lavatories, the BBJ is the first private charter with Gogo 2Ku fully worldwide high-speed internet connectivity. All onboard monitors have Apple TV for streaming and Sling TV for live TV. The galley is equipped with wine chiller, two microwaves, oven and De’Longhi coffee/espresso maker.

“BBJs are unique among private aircraft. Executive Liners, or Bizliners, are luxurious, they provide a next level VVIP experience, and the BBJ being managed by Silver Air is special even within this exclusive category. It’s state-of-the art, and the owner hasn’t put any restrictions on when we can charter it,” said Chuck Stumpf, Silver Air’s President of Business Development. “This BBJ offers flyers the ultimate in-flight experience whether you require space for your family or a working office in the sky. It’s more akin to an executive suite in a high-end hotel than a private jet.”

WK Thomas Quick serve meal boxes

WK Thomas steps up hygiene and personal protection offering

By Amenities, CateringNo Comments
WK Thomas Quick serve meal boxes

With COVID-19 introducing a new dimension to both food and beverage services onboard the aircraft as well as facilities management, WK Thomas, (WKT) has unveiled its ‘Essentials Range’ offering increased hygiene and personal protection. The collection covers a core range of personal protective equipment (PPE), disposable food packaging and hygiene products.

“Hygiene and personal protection are now more important than ever and will remain so for the forseeable future,” said WK Thomas Head of Travel, David Simpson. “Alongside our popular packaging ranges from hot food boxes and containers, to plates, single wrapped cutler and sealed cutlery packs – as well as our new Quick Serve meal boxes – offering our Essentials Range timely and practical support for businesses now operating under different rules.”

Alongside its range of hygienic food packaging and wrapped cutlery WKT’s Essentials Range PPE products include face masks, powder-free vinyl gloves, aprons and hairnets. Anti-bacterial soaps, hand sanitisers, touchless hand sanitiser dispenser stations and signage illustrating social distancing guidelines are also on offer.

With more than 90 years experience in the travel and catering sector, David Simpson underlines that, “We not only have the product range but are actively working alongside businesses to ensure a safe return to normal with the appropriate practices and procedures in place.”

Air India aircraft in flight

India relaxes restrictions on onboard services

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Air India aircraft in flight

The Government of India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation has relaxed its guidance on the provision of onboard meal services and in-flight entertainment.
Taken in consideration the concerns of stakeholders, Indian airlines will now be allowed to serve pre-packaged snacks, meals and beverages, depending upon flight time.

In all classes, tray set-up, plates and cutlery will have to be completely disposable with no re-use. In all classes, all hot and cold beverages will be in disposable cans/containers/bottles/glasses. There will be no pouring service and beverages will be served in single-use disposable units.

IFE, where available, can now be switched on, subject to strict compliance including the wipedown of all individual systems, with approved cleaning agents. Cleaning and disinfection is to take place prior to boarding of passengers.

Disposable earphones or cleaned and disinfected headphones are to be provided to passengers at the start of the flight. Each seat has to have its own dedicated IFE which can only be used by the passenger occupying the seat.

All passenger touchpoints will have to be carefully cleaned and disinfected after the flight.

Finnair distributes ‘Clean Kit’

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As of the beginning of July, Finnair has begun providing passengers with a new ‘Clean Kit’, containing a hand sanitiser, surface wipes, and an information leaflet packaged within an envelope that acts as a waste container.

Karim Al-Soufi, Finnair Vice President of Customer Experience, said: “Travelling with Finnair will feel different than before, with changes to our services and new types of procedures in place, such as the mandatory use of a mask on our flights.”

The kit has a special sustainable focus and features artwork by Finnish artist Reeta Ek. The paper product has been sourced using sustainable Finnish forestry fibers and the hand sanitiser has been supplied by Kyrö distillery. Better known for their award-winning world-famous gin, Kyrö changed its production focus to hand sanitiser to help combat COVID-19.

To prevent the coronavirus transmission, the wearing of masks by all customers and crew will continue to be mandatory throughout the entire journey, except during dining.

Customers are requested to ensure they bring enough masks for their journey, however, a limited supply will be available onboard upon request.

“We are delighted to be able to bring back familiar elements of our valued customer service while still taking good care of the hygiene and safety of our customers and staff.”

During July and August, the airline’s in-flight service will expand with coffee, tea, juice and water being served in economy class on short European routes (such as to Stockholm) and on Finnish domestic services.

On longer European flights, customers will be served a biscuit or a sandwich, depending on the length of the route. On long-haul flights, Finnair’s service returns closer to normal in both Economy Class and Business Class. However, the range of special meals and alcoholic beverages is still limited.

To limit the exposure of surface to touch, Finnair has also temporarily reduced the size of permitted hand luggage for customers. The new dimensions of hand luggage (55 cm x 40 cm x 23 cm) has been slightly reduced from 56 cm x 45 cm x 25 cm.

Economy Class carry-on baggage allowance is for one piece of hand luggage and a small personal item with dimensions of 40 cm x 30 cm x 15 cm. The total weight of hand luggage and personal belongings may not exceed 8 kg.

Business Class customers will notice a slight change with up to two pieces of hand luggage allowed to now include one personal item, such as a handbag, with a total weight of up to 10 kg.

SIA introduces #SIAcares

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Based on the advice of medical experts, regulators and partners, as well as feedback from its customers, Singapore Airlines (SIA) has introduced a range of health and safety initiatives, and enhanced several existing measures, in recent weeks as part of a comprehensive review of the end-to-end customer journey.

Information on the health and safety measures during the pre-flight stage, at the airport, on board the aircraft, and upon arrival is available in a new online  e-brochure, which will be sent to all customers before their flights.

These measures are part of the Company’s new #SIAcares initiative, which includes corporate social responsibility projects that will be rolled out in the coming weeks.

SIA has stepped up the cleaning procedures at all premises, including its SilverKris Lounges. Customers can enjoy a la carte meals instead of a buffet service at our lounges, where SIA staff wear masks all the time and gloves when necessary.

Every SIA Group aircraft undergoes an enhanced cleaning process before a flight. This includes aircraft fogging procedures that follow regulatory requirements. Common surfaces and areas such as windows, tray tables, handsets, in-flight entertainment screens, lavatories and galleys are wiped down with an approved strong disinfectant. Headsets, headrest covers, pillow covers, bedsheets, and blankets are also washed and replaced after every flight.

Ceiling-to-floor air flow patterns within the cabin help to limit the spread of viruses and bacteria. The air is also refreshed every two to three minutes. Every aircraft in the Group’s fleet is equipped with High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters, which remove more than 99.9% of particles including airborne viruses and bacteria.

Almost all lavatories in SIA aircraft feature contactless faucets and have anti-bacterial hand wash. SIA is also looking at a trial of an ultra-violet (UVC) light cleaning procedure on the ground for its lavatories before every flight.

From 8 June, all airlines in the SIA Group will provide their customers with a Care Kit that includes a surgical mask, anti-bacterial hand wipes and a hand sanitiser.

Crew will wear face masks throughout the flight, with the additions of eye goggles when interacting with customers and gloves during the meal service.

The airline has modified its in-flight food and beverage service to reduce the risk of contact for both our customers and crew members. Meals services have been suspended for flights within South East Asia and services to Mainland China due to regulatory reasons. Snack bags are provided to customers instead.

On long-haul flights, a single tray service has been introduced in First Class and Business Class in place of a table layout service. To boost the in-flight dining experience during this period, SIA is progressively reintroducing customer favourites such as the Airline’s signature satay and garlic bread from mid-June 2020. The airline says it will also discuss with the regulators how it can resume a course-by-course dining experience.

Digital food ordering services in the lounges and an in-flight e-menu will be introduced in the coming months.

The SingaporeAir mobile app is also being enhanced to provide customers with more information about the travel and health restrictions across its network. This will be personalised according to their booking.

The Company is working on a Print-n-Go solution, which would allow customers to print their boarding passes and baggage tags at airport self-service kiosks in a contactless way via the SingaporeAir Mobile App or a QR code.