Old Airlines, New Tricks

From the largest IFE screen on board to free tickets for first time fliers, airlines across the globe are finding new ways to reach out to travellers.

Largest IFE Screen: Korean Air, popular for it’s innovative concepts, has come up with another winner. The airline’s new First Class Suites (OZ First Suite ) will have 32-inch Panasonic high-definition screens – the world’s largest in-flight entertainment screens. Keeping to the concept of “hotel suites in the air,” the airlines will also have touch-sensitive seat function control units set up in the armrests as well. The suite will have individual air ventilation system, a mini bar and a cabinet for papers and electronic items. And the traveller can enjoy all these comforts depending on his mood (mood lighting controls are available) and in complete privacy (the airline offers a “Do Not Disturb” sign.)

iPads for better service: It’s all about the service and Iberia, the flag carrier airline of Spain, understands that. The airline will now offer the cabin crew and ground staff with ipads to give a more personalised service to passengers. Iberia’s new crew iPad contains the entire passenger manifest, real-time graphic information about the status of embarkation and shows the seat assigned to each traveller. The app also identifies members of the Iberia Plus loyalty programme and their membership level, as well as special needs of passengers, unaccompanied minors, those requiring special meals, etc.

Fly For Free: Mexican low-cost airline Volaris along with EnElAire decided to realise the dream of 15 people, who had never taken a flight before for free. The contest required the passengers to nominate friends or family and share their stories. The jury, made up of two Volaris employees and two EnElAire staffers then selected the top 15 stories and invited the winners for a free return flight with Volaris between Mexico City and Guadelajara. The contest winners also were taken on a behind the scenes tour at Guadalajara airport.

Virtual Goodies: It gets better for passengers flying Lufthansa. Along with Foursquare, Lufthansa offers customers special virtual goodies. Users can check-in virtually to gspecial badges, ranks and rewards.For instance, once connected with Foursquare and Facebook, a flier can earn badges such as the “Early-Bird-badge” by checking in before 6 in the morning.

No Kids Allowed: The all-business class upper deck on   Malaysia Airlines’ A380 is kids free. Yes, you read right. In order to appeal to business travellers, the airline implemented this much-debated rule to attract more business travellers. The all-business class also has Absolut Vodka branded bars and lounges and an in-flight duty-free shop.

Teddy On Board: Thompson Airways recently launched a novel front-desk process that allows children to ‘check in’ their teddy bear before they get on the plane. Teddies can be registered prior to flying and receive a special boarding pass, which can be exchanged for a VIB – ‘Very Important Buddy’ – tag at the gate.The idea is to ensure that the children don’t misplace their “favourite buddy” while boarding the plane.

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