As part of a fleet renewal, Air France has taken delivery of its first Airbus A220-300, the company’s latest addition to its fleet on its short and medium-haul network.

Air France unwraps its first Airbus A220-300

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As part of a fleet renewal, Air France has taken delivery of its first Airbus A220-300, the company’s latest addition to its fleet on its short and medium-haul network.

As part of a fleet renewal, Air France has taken delivery of its first Airbus A220-300, the company’s latest addition to its fleet on its short and medium-haul network.

By 2025 Air France will have integrated the 60 A220-300s ordered in 2019 to gradually replace its Airbus A318s and A319s as well as several Airbus A320s.

“The arrival of a new aircraft is always a special occasion for an airline. All the Air France teams have spent over two years preparing for this moment and we are excited to see our customers discover the optimal comfort offered by this aircraft. The cabin is more spacious, brighter, and offers full Wi-Fi-connectivity, further contributing to the upmarket positioning of our offer,” said Anne Rigail, CEO of Air France.

The Air France Airbus A220-300 has 148 seats, in a 3-2 seat configuration (5 seats across) offering 80% of customers a window or aisle seat. It offers two travel cabins, Business and Economy, and access to Air France Connect, the airline’s in-flight Wi-Fi service, provided by Intelsat.

“We are honoured to partner with Air France and delight their passengers with a superior inflight connectivity experience on Airbus’ state-of-the-art A220 aircraft,” said John Wade, President, Commercial Aviation of Intelsat. “This award expands the total Intelsat fleet at Air France to 143 aircraft, including widebody B777s and A330s. Air France is the third airline partner to select Intelsat on the A220 airframe and our first 2Ku line-fit European airline partner.”

“Accessing the internet and being able to stay in touch with family and friends while traveling has become a must have for our customers,” said Fabien Pelous, Senior Vice President Customer Experience of Air France. “We are happy to partner with Intelsat to provide this service to our customers.”

The seat is the widest on the market (48 cm). It reclines to 118 degrees and has an adjustable headrest, leather upholstery and an ergonomic seat cushion for enhanced comfort. A wide solid tray table, cup holder, a pouch for storing magazines and books, individual USB A and C ports and tablet or smartphone holder integrated into the backrest complete the package.

The cabin, the most spacious and brightest in its category, is decorated in the Air France signature colours – shades of blue, a strong presence of white providing light and contrast, and a hint of red symbolise the airline’s ‘excellence and know-how’. The carpet revisits the traditional ornamental herringbone pattern, symbolising the emblematic Haussmann-inspired world of Parisian apartments.

Large panoramic windows provide natural light for the duration of the trip. From boarding to landing, specially-adapted cabin mood lighting settings create bright, dynamic lighting for the welcome and disembarkation phases and softer lighting for a more relaxed, serene atmosphere during the flight. The spacious baggage racks are easy to access. The central aisle is particularly wide, allowing customers to move about at ease.

Finally, as on the entire Air France fleet, the air in the cabin is renewed every three minutes thanks to a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air)-type filter air recycling system that eliminates 99.9% of particles and viruses.

Inmarsat has released its Passenger Confidence Tracker 2021

Study reveals extent of wanderlust and passenger confidence

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Inmarsat has released its Passenger Confidence Tracker 2021

Insights from more than 10,000 passengers reveal that demand for flights is returning but rebuilding passenger confidence requires consistent global safety protocols and digital technology that minimise touchpoints.

In total, 60% say they would happily take to the skies by the end of the year (compared to only 47% last year), with air passengers in Greece the most confident about flying with an airline today (29%), followed by Australians and Brazilians (both 20%). The study also showed that taking a flight improves the confidence of airline passengers towards health and safety issues by 20%, showing that the experience of flying is very reassuring.

These are some of the findings of Inmarsat’s Passenger Confidence Tracker 2021, the largest and most comprehensive global survey of airline passengers since the pandemic began.

The number of passengers who expect to travel less frequently has dropped by 6% in comparison to Inmarsat’s 2020 Passenger Confidence Tracker. However, with 84% of respondents believing their travel habits are likely to change post pandemic, the onus is firmly on airlines to ensure their service offering keeps pace with the evolving requirements of passengers.

Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “There is no denying that the past 18 months has been a turbulent time for airlines and passengers alike. However, the latest International Air Transport Association (IATA) figures show that demand for both international and domestic travel is gaining significant momentum. In order to maintain and even accelerate this growth, it’s essential to rebuild passenger confidence and ensure their evolving needs are met in a post COVID world.

“Our latest Passenger Confidence Tracker, the largest global survey that Inmarsat Aviation has ever commissioned, offers detailed insights into the main areas of confidence and concern around air travel, direct from the passengers themselves. Such findings will allow airlines to increase their focus on key priorities and seize the exciting opportunities ahead as the industry continues its long-term recovery.”

Following the pandemic, the passenger service experience was regarded as the most important factor when it comes to the enjoyment of a flight globally (46%), with the highest responses coming from India (67%), Brazil (67%), Indonesia (59%) and China (57%).

The survey also indicates that greater importance should be placed on customer experience, because interacting with airline personnel was seen to help instill the most confidence for passengers during a flight. This made passengers the most confident in Mexico (55%), the US (51%), UAE (50%), Brazil (49%), Greece (42%), Canada (41%), Australia (39%) and the UK (36%).

While onboard, digital technology helps to improve confidence by keeping passengers connected and minimising their contact with others, including cabin crew and fellow passengers. In addition, 41% of respondents believed in-flight Wi-Fi had increased in importance after the pandemic, compared to 30% for in-flight entertainment. In-flight Wi-Fi was the most important factor for the US (55%) and Canada (41%).

“A digital transformation was already underway in the aviation industry, but the pandemic has undoubtedly fast-tracked its implementation,” added Balaam. “As the trusted connectivity provider for airlines throughout the world, Inmarsat has experienced higher passenger usage for our inflight broadband solutions compared to pre-COVID levels, showing the desire to stay connected has only amplified. Airlines are also embracing innovating new ways to enhance their onboard experience using connectivity, with a major focus on touchless experiences in keeping with today’s passenger expectations.”

The study also reveals that factors such as region and age influence the individual preferences of passengers. In the Americas, passengers report that in-flight Wi-Fi, the passenger service experience and in-flight entertainment are more important now than before the pandemic. In comparison, passengers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) consider free baggage and extra legroom as more important.

For further insights from Inmarsat’s 2021 Passenger Confidence Tracker, download the full report here.

The ‘Passenger Confidence Tracker’ is a global survey of airline passenger attitudes in light of COVID-19, commissioned by Inmarsat and carried out by market research company Yonder. It is the largest known global passenger survey since the outbreak of the pandemic. Yonder conducted an online sample of 10,110 online interviews among respondents who have taken a flight for leisure or business in the last 24 months. Invitations were sent out on a nationally representative basis. Respondents were surveyed across Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, UAE, the UK and the US.

Collins Venue CMS

Flying Colours Corp. installs blended Venue and Alto switches

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Collins Venue CMS

Flying Colours Corp., has completed a 240-month heavy inspection for a Bombardier Global aircraft, that has included the installation of a Collins Venue Cabin Management System, blended with Alto Aviation switches. The controls are specifically designed to fit into previous switch panel location holes resulting in a solution that maximises client budget and reduces installation time significantly.

To support the existing Ka-band connectivity upgraded routers were repositioned to support cabin and flight deck connectivity. To optimise rest, relaxation, and productivity the AIMSKYLAB sound proofing system was integrated, considerably reducing noise in the cabin. Externally the aircraft fuselage was stripped and repainted to deliver an as new look to the airframe.

“Our experience installing the blended Venue and Alto Switch offering and our capacity to fulfill maintenance, interior, paint and avionics tasks makes Flying Colours Corp. an attractive choice for aircraft owners. Undertaking all the work at a single venue reduces down time and maximises budget which is also very appealing. For this customer the result was an improved ownership experience with improved connectivity, reduced noise levels and a new-look fuselage,” explains Eric Gillespie, Executive VP, Flying Colours Corp. “We have a consistent pipeline of Global heavy checks coming through the facility and our experience just keeps strengthening. This makes us a great option for owners looking for a provider that can meet all their maintenance, interiors, repairs and overhaul needs.”

The 240-month inspection involves completely stripping the aircraft down to the frame, enabling an in depth look at the aircraft fuselage to check for signs of everything from stress fractures to corrosion, as well as other issues that may have affected the structural integrity of the aircraft. The cabin was also laid bare, with panels, carpets, insulating surfaces floorboards, monuments, fairings, and side ledges removed for assessments and overhauls.

Image: Collins Venue CMS.

Air Canada Rouge has lifted the lid of its seats (premium) and crew uniforms being introduced on nine A321s from this autumn

Air Canada Rouge resumes service with refreshed offerings

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Air Canada Rouge has lifted the lid of its seats (premium) and crew uniforms being introduced on nine A321s from this autumn

Air Canada Rouge, Air Canada’s leisure airline, has provided a glimpse of the cabin interior that will grace nine Airbus A321 aircraft from its 39-aircraft Rouge Fleet.

These nine aircraft feature a new contemporary interior design with Rouge brand accents and will be configured with leather seats offering a 30-inch seat pitch in the Economy cabin. The A321 Rouge aircraft also offer upgraded personal power options, including USB-C ports, and a convenient personal electronic device holder integrated into the seatback.

With the resumption of Air Canada Rouge service, which had been suspended since spring 2021, passengers can also enjoy recent product and design enhancements onboard all Rouge aircraft. This includes an upgraded streaming entertainment, providing passengers with complimentary access to tv and films via their own device or through a complimentary, sanitised iPad in Premium Rouge.

Rouge flight attendants will also be sporting a new uniform featuring many pieces of the award-winning Air Canada mainline uniform, accented with new neckwear and brevets to represent the Rouge brand.

All Air Canada Rouge flights are operated with narrow-body Airbus aircraft offering high-speed Wi-Fi (available for purchase) and a choice of Premium Rouge and Economy services. Customers travelling in the Premium Rouge cabin will be offered a complimentary bar and beverage service, and a complimentary meal on flights over two hours, or a snack on flights of shorter duration.

The first Airbus A321 aircraft to feature the improvements will enter service later this autumn.
“Air Canada Rouge remains integral to Air Canada’s overall strategy. As we emerge from the pandemic, we anticipate increased demand for vacation travel and from customers flying to enjoy overdue visits with family and friends. Air Canada’s leisure airline is ideally suited to serve this market with a compelling array of leisure destinations and an inviting travel experience so that the holidays begin as soon as customers board an Air Canada Rouge aircraft,” said Jon Turner, Vice President Inflight Services and President, Rouge Operations, at Air Canada.

United Airlines is to purchase 270 new Boeing and Airbus aircraft - the largest combined order in the airline's history and the biggest by an individual carrier in the last decade

United makes major commitment with largest aircraft order in its history

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United Airlines is to purchase 270 new Boeing and Airbus aircraft - the largest combined order in the airline's history and the biggest by an individual carrier in the last decade

United Airlines is to purchase 270 new Boeing and Airbus aircraft – the largest combined order in the airline’s history and the biggest by an individual carrier in the last decade. The ‘United Next’ plan will have a transformational effect on the customer experience and is expected to increase the total number of available seats per domestic departure by almost 30%.

When combined with the current order book, United expects to introduce more than 500 new, narrow-body aircraft: 40 in 2022, 138 in 2023 and as many as 350 in 2024 and beyond. That means in 2023 alone, United’s fleet will, on average, add about one new narrow-body aircraft every three days.

United’s new aircraft order – 50 737 MAX 8s, 150 737 MAX 10s and 70 A321neos – will come with a new signature interior that includes seat-back entertainment in every seat, larger overhead bins for every passenger’s carry-on bag and the industry’s fastest available in-flight Wi-Fi, as well as a bright look-and-feel with LED lighting. The airline expects to fly the first 737 MAX 8 with the signature interior this summer and to begin flying the 737 MAX 10 and the Airbus A321neo in early 2023.

In addition, United intends to upgrade 100% of its mainline, narrow-body fleet to these standards by 2025, a retrofit project that, when combined with the number of new aircraft joining the fleet, means United will deliver its state-of-the-art in-flight experience to tens of millions of customers at an unprecedented pace.

United expects it will have on average 53 premium seats per North American departure by 2026, an increase of about 75% over 2019, and more than any competitor in North America.

“Our United Next vision will revolutionise the experience of flying United as we accelerate our business to meet a resurgence in air travel,” said United CEO Scott Kirby. “By adding and upgrading this many aircraft so quickly with our new signature interiors, we’ll combine friendly, helpful service with the best experience in the sky, all across our premier global network.”

Adding these new 737 MAX and Airbus A321neo aircraft means United will replace older, smaller mainline jets and at least 200 single-class regional jets with larger aircraft, which the airline expects will lead to significant sustainability benefits compared to older planes: an expected 11% overall improvement in fuel efficiency and an expected 17-20% lower carbon emission per seat compared to older planes.

United’s new aircraft reflect a vastly improved customer experience standard – United’s signature interior – that places a premium on the overall comfort of flying – more overall available seats in the market, more premium seats on each aircraft, as well as better entertainment, overhead storage and technology features. These standards will be applied to the airline’s retrofit plan – a nose-to-tail transformation of its mainline, narrow-body fleet – that is expected to be 66% complete by 2023 and 99% complete by the summer of 2025.

United’s new narrow-body jets will help the airline increase its total seats per departure for North American flights by 30 seats, or almost 30%, by 2026. At the same time, the airline will quickly grow the number of United First and Economy Plus seats for customers seeking an elevated experience.

United’s 737 MAX 8 has 16 United First seats and 54 Economy Plus seats – more than double the number of extra leg room seats offered by competing airlines on similar-sized aircraft. The 737 MAX 10 – the largest member of the MAX family – makes up the majority of United’s new order and will include 20 United First seats and 64 Economy Plus seats and the new A321neo aircraft are expected to have a United First and Economy Plus seat count similar to that of the 737 MAX 10.

“We’ll deliver a better, more consistent experience, with more features for more customers, faster than ever. While some airlines are reducing the number of economy seats with extra leg room, United will offer the most premium seats in North America, taking a different, more customer-friendly approach,” said Andrew Nocella, United’s EVP and Chief Commercial Officer. “This is United playing to our strengths – the location of our US hubs means we’re uniquely positioned to focus on premium products, business travel and global flying like no other US airline. Our new, signature interior creates a more consistent product across our mainline fleet – with a focus on the amenities that customers value most like seat back screens, fast Wi-Fi and extra storage – to further set ourselves apart.”

United’s in-flight entertainment – 13-inch high-definition screens in every first class seat and 10-inch HD screens in every United Economy seat on the 737 MAX – includes free access to more than 2,800 selections including movies, TV shows and international selections, as well as audio playlists, podcasts, and games. Customers also can watch documentaries and live concerts through United’s exclusive collaboration with the Coda Collection. Plus, every seat on these aircraft has access to electrical power and USB charge ports and provides a seatback experience with accessibility features for people with hearing or visual disabilities.

Each new 737 MAX and A321neo will have the industry’s fastest available in-flight Wi-Fi that lets customers stream video from online services. The aircraft also will have Bluetooth technology throughout for easy connections between wireless headphones and the seatback entertainment screens.

United’s new, significantly larger overhead bins will provide space for one carry-on bag for every person onboard, addressing several of the biggest pain points among customers and employees. United expects that the availability of these larger bins will help alleviate gate crowding and anxiety, reduce the number of gate-checked bags and decrease the time it takes to board.

United’s A321neo aircraft will feature Airbus’ Airspace cabin design, which brings the following passenger-pleasing enhancements: unique welcome and customisable hero lighting (which helps reduce jet lag); new slimmer sidewall panels for extra personal space at shoulder level; better views through the windows with their redesigned bezels and completely integrated window shades; the latest full LED lighting technologies; the largest overhead bin in class; and new lavatories with hygienic touchless features and antimicrobial surfaces.

SWISS has unveiled its new Premium Economy Class,

SWISS reveals new Premium Economy Class

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SWISS has unveiled its new Premium Economy Class,

SWISS has unveiled its new Premium Economy Class, as it seeks to strengthen its premium positioning in the growing leisure travel segment.

Premium Economy Class supplements its existing Economy, Business and First classes of travel from the fourth quarter of this year. SWISS Premium Economy Class travellers will enjoy greater privacy and enhanced in-flight comfort, a major contributor to which will be the newly developed fixed-backshell seat. Premium Economy customers will also be offered a wide range of in-flight cuisine, along with double the Economy Class registered baggage allowance and priority boarding. The new Premium Economy Class cabin will gradually be installed aboard all 12 of SWISS’s long-haul Boeing 777-300ERs from the fourth quarter of this year. The entire SWISS Boeing 777-300ER fleet will feature the new Premium Economy Class cabin by the start of the 2022 summer schedules.

“We are delighted that, in introducing our new Premium Economy Class, we are meeting our customers’ growing demand for more privacy, more comfort and more individuality,” said SWISS CEO Dieter Vranckx.

Each SWISS Boeing 777-300ER will be equipped with 24 latest-generation Premium Economy Class seats from seat manufacturer ZIM. The seat is simple to recline and integrated into a fixed backshell to ensure zero intrusion into the personal space of the passenger behind. The new seat is wider than an Economy Class seat: between 46 and 48 cm, compared to 43.4. Seat pitch has been extended from the 78.7 cm of Economy Class to 99 cm, which translates into substantially more legroom. The new Premium Economy Class seat further features a greater recline and is additionally equipped with a fold-out leg rest. The seat’s covers have been produced by Lantal of Bern, Switzerland.

SWISS Premium Economy travellers will be issued with a complimentary amenity kit that is specifically manufactured using sustainable materials. They will also receive their own high-quality noise-reducing headphones to complement the seat’s 15.6-inch in-flight entertainment monitor. Personal reading lamps will provide suitable lighting on night-flight services; and electronic devices can be charged using the seat’s in-built USB-A socket.

SWISS Chief Commercial Officer Tamur Goudarzi Pour states: “Our new Premium Economy Class is tailor-made for our previous Economy Class customers who are looking to enhance their air travel experience and enjoy the benefits associated with higher travel classes. In international comparison terms, our SWISS Premium Economy Class is very clearly positioned as a top travel product.”

SWISS’s in-flight cuisine has also been specially tailored to the new class of travel. Premium Economy travellers will be offered an elderberry welcome drink, and will be able to choose from three hot meals all served on china tableware. The selection includes a dish from the award-winning ‘SWISS Taste of Switzerland’ in-flight culinary programme, together with a vegetarian option supplied by Hiltl. “Our Premium Economy guests will be able to choose their in-flight meal according to their personal wishes and tastes,” CCO Goudarzi Pour explained. “And we’ll also be able to count on our long-standing partnership with Hiltl for our vegetarian offerings, for which we’re seeing an ever-growing demand.”

SWISS Premium Economy customers will be able to download two publications from the extensive eJournals portal onto their digital device free of charge ahead of their flight.

The new SWISS Premium Economy Class can also be experienced live and full-size in a 3D augmented reality model.

Gulf Air 70th anniversary branded A321neoLR

Gulf Air receives new 70th anniversary edition Airbus A321neoLR

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Gulf Air 70th anniversary branded A321neoLR

Gulf Air has taken delivery of its new Airbus A321neoLR, designed with the special 70th anniversary Golden Falcon livery which showcases the airline’s iconic and vintage design from the last century with a revamped look.

The aircraft is the second of the 17 A321neo aircraft order which includes eight equipped with flat-bed seats.

The new aircraft premieres 16 new flat-bed Falcon Gold seats and 150 economy class seats. All seats are equipped with latest in-flight entertainment technology and in-seat comfort features that are practical and user-friendly for every passenger. The new aircraft will also be equipped with Wi-Fi.

JetBlue's new A220-300 features There are six rows of ‘Even More Space’ seating,

JetBlue unveils A220-300 onboard customer experience

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JetBlue's new A220-300 features There are six rows of ‘Even More Space’ seating,

JetBlue has revealed the custom-created cabin design of its new Airbus A220-300, having taken delivery of the first of 70 earlier this month.

“With the A220 we’ve taken a state-of-the-art aircraft and added our award-winning touch to bring to life an experience only JetBlue could dream up,” said Jayne O’Brien, head of marketing and loyalty, JetBlue. “We look forward to welcoming customers onboard our newest aircraft, with incredible onboard comfort, one-of-a-kind design elements and unparalleled entertainment and connectivity.”

JetBlue’s A220 is outfitted with 140 Collins Meridian seats, offering an expanded width of 18.6 inches, the widest available for a single aisle aircraft and the widest in JetBlue’s fleet. In a first for the airline’s fleet, seating is arranged in a two-by-three configuration.

There are six rows of ‘Even More Space’ seating, each with enhanced cushion comfort and adjustable headrests with premium Ultraleather, a softer, more breathable vegan leather material.

A contoured seatback design at knee level creates additional living space for every customer, whilst the custom designed seatback storage with mesh pockets is perfectly sized for water bottles and loose items.

Additionally, there is easy-to-reach in-seat power, featuring AC, USB-A, and USB-C ports.

The in-flight entertainment system is courtesy of Thales AVANT, which at each seat provides a 10.1 inch, 1080P high-definition screen, offering 30 channels of DIRECTV with DVR-like pause and rewind functionality, full seasons of shows, hundreds of movies, and premium content from HBO & SHOWTIME. Picture-in-picture function and an enhanced, 3D flight map offers multiple ways to track time to destination. Personal handheld device pairing capabilities for use as a remote or gaming controller is also present.

An expanded Fly-Fi connectivity from Viasat provides coverage to nearly the entire JetBlue network.

Other aspects include bigger windows for better views and creating an overall spacious feel; more spacious overhead bins for additional carry-on bag capacity; custom LED mood lighting designed with lighting scenarios that change with time of day or phase of flight; redesigned front galley partitions to enhance customer privacy near crew workspace; lavatories featuring subway tile patterns – a nod to being New York’s Hometown Airline – and gender-neutral signage unique to JetBlue. There are also custom-created front and rear wall panel patterns, which incorporate dots and dashes from Morse code “to spell out something fun”.

Emirates has unveiled its new Premium Economy product on its latest A380

Emirates unveils Premium Economy

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Emirates has unveiled its new Premium Economy product on its latest A380

Emirates has unveiled a brand-new Premium Economy for its A380, as part of a wider product enhancement and refreshed look across all cabins onboard its newest A380 aircraft.

Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline said: “The Emirates A380 is already one of the most sought-after travel experiences in the skies, and now we’ve made it even better. While others cut back, Emirates is working hard to restore the products and services that we’ve had to suspend or adjust due to pandemic precautions and introduce new offerings and enhancements. True to our fly better promise, Emirates continues to invest to offer our customers the best possible experience.”

Emirates’ remaining order of five A380s will be delivered with premium economy cabins over 2021 and 2022. Emirates’ premium economy seats will also be installed on some of its Boeing 777X aircraft which are only due to join the fleet in 2023. Emirates is considering plans to retrofit its existing A380 fleet.

The premium economy cabin, located at the front of the main deck, with three lavatories dedicated to customers offers 56 seats in a 2-4-2 cabin layout.

A customised seat design from Recaro, based on the PL3530, the seat offers a pitch of up to 40-inches, 19.5 inches wide, and reclines 8 inches. According to Recaro, its PL3530 design team prioritised state-of-the-art features like the ones found in upscale German cars and combined it with the spirit of Dubai. The seat features a bronze trim, a distinct finish, and a cream-coloured leather dress cover, complete with a one-of-a-kind anti-stain leather with stitching and a wood panel finishing similar to Business Class.

First deliveries of the seats began in Q4 2020, and at least 250 shipsets will ultimately be installed on Emirates’ fleet.

The seat’s ergonomics offers best of comfort with its recline and movable calf rest enabling a highly relaxed lazy position, additional storage compartments, and six-way adjustable headrest also contribute to passenger sleeping comfort.

Each seat has a 13.3” screen and easily accessible in-seat charging points, a wide dining table and side cocktail table.

Until more Premium Economy seats enter its inventory, the airline intends to offer these as spot upgrades for its valued customers on a discretionary basis.

The aircraft’s 14 First Class private suites have also been widened and taller doors, for even more privacy and comfort.

Cabin detail and finishes have also been refreshed with new motifs and colours, including modern fittings in the Shower Spa.

Emirates has retained its A380 Business Class seats which offer direct aisle access for every passenger, reclines to a fully-flat position, and offers personal mini bars, ample personal storage and a high degree of privacy.

All 76 seats have been refreshed to feature champagne-coloured leather covers and wood finishing, inspired by executive jets, similar to the Business Class on Emirates’ Boeing 777 Gamechanger aircraft.

The same classic colour scheme has also been applied to the Onboard Lounge at the back of the upper deck, for the exclusive use of First and Business Class passengers.

The airline has also replaced all 338 Economy seats onboard its newest A380 with ergonomically designed seats that come with full leather headrests and flexible side panels which can be adjusted vertically for optimum support. Each features a wood grain finish on tray tables, as well as a 13.3” personal screen.

Throughout the A380 interior, customers will see new finishes and design touches featuring the Ghaf (prosopis cineraria) tree motif, as well as the clean and airy champagne colour scheme with wood panelling and bronze accents from Emirates’ latest Boeing 777 Gamechanger interiors.

All cabin classes are equipped with the latest generation of Emirates’ ice in-flight entertainment system offering improved and superior image quality. Each in-seat screen will feature ultra-wide viewing angles, a capacitive touch screen, LED backlight and full HD display.

Passenger using a PED

Delta takes significant step towards free Wi-Fi with Viasat deal

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Passenger using a PED

Delta Air Lines has this week finalised a deal with high-speed Wi-Fi provider Viasat for the airline’s future connectivity needs.

Adding Viasat’s next-generation satellite technology (Ka-band) to the fleet will give the airline more options to modernise how customers stay connected and enjoy content while flying high. According to Ekrem Dimbiloglu, Director of Brand Experience – In-flight Entertainment and Wi-Fi, it is also “a significant step on the airline’s path to free Wi-Fi for its passengers.”

Discussing how the new partnership and technology will unlock the future of Delta’s onboard experience, Dimbiloglu said: “Staying connected is a key part of our customers’ lives both at home and during travel, and we are taking big leaps forward to deliver an unparalleled experience that puts connectivity and personalisation front and centre. Best-in-class connectivity takes our vision for a reimagined brand experience to the next level and has long been a focus for us as a business.”

The agreement with Viasat comes following Delta’s decision last summer to amend its exclusivity agreement with Gogo. The move enabled the US airline to work with a competing Wi-Fi provider.

“Delta is committed to optimising the customer journey, and we’re committed to helping them build a foundation toward a better in-flight internet and entertainment experience,” said Rick Baldridge, Viasat’s President and CEO, commenting on the deal.

“We have a proven in-flight connectivity solution that is high-quality, streaming-capable and can scale to meet Delta’s growing customer demand. We’re proud to be part of their connected ecosystem,” he added.

Delta’s aircraft will be fitted with Viasat’s latest Ka-band IFC system and will be compatible with Viasat’s complete fleet of satellites, including Viasat’s first-generation spacecraft and partner satellites; its second-generation spacecraft ViaSat-2, and the forthcoming ViaSat-3 class of satellites, which are expected to offer global coverage with nearly eight times more capacity than Viasat’s current fleet.

Glenn Latta, Delta Air Line’s Managing Director – In-flight Entertainment & Wi-Fi, explained that Viasat’s high-speed satellite-powered technology changes the game for what the airline can offer. “We now have additional capability and next-gen technology too make sure [customers] have a more consistent connection to their favourite sites, including the ability to stream the entertainment of their choice on their flight. It also lays the groundwork for future enhancements and personalisation with the seatback screen that customers will love.”

Noting that the airline has come a long way since CEO Ed Bastion delivered a keynote address at CES 2020, in January last year – when he shared the airline’s vision to focus on a seamless, connected customer experience rooted in personalisation – Dimbiloglu added that: “Though 2020 required some shifts in focus areas as a result of the pandemic, we still clearly see a future rooted in deepened customer interactions with technology.

“As Ed said at CES, delivering free Wi-Fi that is high-quality and streaming capable requires thorough testing to ensure our technology can handle the demand.”

While there’s no indication of when free Wi-Fi might be available, Viasat’ technology will begin appearing onboard Delta aircraft this summer, starting with its new delivery of A321 ceo, 737-900ER and select 757-200 aircraft. That is more than 300 mainline narrow body aircraft.