United’s Triple Seven(th) heaven

Courtesy: United Airlines.

United Airlines will add the Boeing 777-300ER to its 2017 flight schedules this weekend, with the airline’s newest aircraft type featuring the all-new United Polaris business class seats starting regularly scheduled service in February 2017. The aircraft’s entry into service will also mark the debut of United’s new wide-body cabin design.

With the flight schedule update this weekend, United will offer one round trip six days each week between Newark Liberty International Airport and San Francisco International Airport between Feb. 16 and May 4. The airline expects to begin 777-300ER intercontinental service between San Francisco and Hong Kong on March 25, with the aircraft replacing a Boeing 747-400 currently being used on the route. Flight and aircraft schedules are subject to change.

United expects to place into service all 14 aircraft in its 777-300ER order in 2017.

All-New Business Class Seat

“Our 777-300ER fleet represents a new era in premium air travel,” said Julia Haywood, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer of United. “With United Polaris business class we are providing reimagined inflight dining, new amenities, the first United Polaris lounge at Chicago O’Hare International Airport and now this custom designed seat, all of which make for a tailored experience that prioritizes comfort and sleep.”

United’s 777-300ER aircraft will offer a modern, spacious interior envisioned in partnership with design firm PriestmanGoode, including the airline’s all-new United Polaris business class seat. Each United Polaris suite-like pod will feature direct access to the aisle, a 180-degree flat-bed that measures 6’6” and 23 inches wide with infinite seat recline options and one-touch lumbar support, ample storage, multiple surfaces that enable passengers to dine while working, universal A/C power as well as 2-USB ports, a 16-inch high-definition entertainment screen, electronic privacy dividers for seats in the center of the cabin, mood lighting and an illuminated “Do Not Disturb” sign. Additionally, a new marble-topped bar unit offers customers in business class a place to grab a mid-flight drink or snack.

This new seat represents the latest in the continued roll-out of United Polaris, the airline’s most significant product transformation in more than a decade, featuring a reimagined, sleep-enhancing experience for intercontinental travelers.

The Boeing 777-300ER aircraft will feature 60 seats in business class in a 1-2-1 configuration with direct-aisle access from all seats.

Cabin Experience

Throughout the aircraft, the cabin interior is comprised of bespoke branding elements as well as carpets, fabrics and wall laminates – that, like the United Polaris seat, were specially designed for United, as well as redesigned lavatories which include modern finishings and farmhouse-style sinks. With a focus on providing a more tranquil journey for customers, the new cabin design features LED mood-lighting to complement sleep and assist with time-zone changes as well as textured and softer touch materials which not only provide a more premium feel, but will absorb aircraft noise and other sound within the cabin.

United Economy

Seats in United Economy will offer two United Private Screening options – personal on-demand entertainment with high-definition seat-back monitors and USB ports along with United’s personal device entertainment, enabling customers to play thousands of hours of movies and television programs on their electronic devices. Customers also will have access to in-seat power outlets and the opportunity to purchase satellite Wi-Fi.

The aircraft will feature 102 seats in United Economy Plus in a 3-4-3 configuration with 34 inches of pitch, and 204 United Economy seats in a 3-4-3 configuration with 31 inches of pitch.

Source: United Airlines.

Boeing, SWISS confirm additional order for 777-300ER

Courtesy: Boeing.

Courtesy: Boeing.

Boeing and Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) today (October 26th, 2016) confirmed a new order for one 777-300ER (Extended Range), valued at $339.6 million at list prices. The Swiss airline had previously ordered nine 777s and taken delivery of six this year as it continues to establish the 777-300ER as its flagship.

“The 777-300ER will be the backbone of our long-haul fleet for many years to come,” said Peter Wojahn, Chief Technical Officer, Swiss International Air Lines. “As one of the largest operators of the 777-300ER in Europe we can offer our passengers unrivalled frequency and passenger comfort to a number of intercontinental markets thanks to this super-efficient long-haul aircraft.”

The 777-300ER is the most fuel and cost-efficient airplane in its class as well as the most reliable twin-aisle aircraft in the world. It also has the highest cargo capability of any passenger airplane.

“We value the continued confidence SWISS places in the 777 program and are honored that the 777-300ER will continue to play a prominent role in the airline’s expansion plans,” said Monty Oliver, Vice President, European Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

The 777-300ER has consistently won many accolades including “Best Aircraft Type” based on passenger preference polls, “Best in Class” based on fuel burn, passenger load cost and performance and “Best Residual Value for a Twin Aisle Airplane” among others.

Source: Boeing.

Air France-KLM signs a partnership agreement with Gogo to equip its long-haul fleet with WiFi

Courtesy: Air France - KLM.

Courtesy: Air France – KLM.

On 29 September 2016, Air France-KLM signed a partnership agreement with Gogo, a world leader in broadband Internet provision and entertainment in the airline industry, to offer its customers connectivity services on board its long-haul flights.

68 Air France Boeing 777 and 15 Airbus A330 as well as 29 KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Boeing 777 and 12 Airbus A330 will be equipped with WiFi on board starting from end 2017, a total of 124 long-haul aircraft.

With this new joint Air France and KLM agreement, the Group’s passengers will benefit from WiFi during their trip by staying connected around the world with their family, friends or business partners, on their smartphone, laptop or tablet. On the in-house Air France-KLM designed onboard portal a freely accessible environment is available where customers can find relevant information about their flight, arrange travel details and find entertainment beyond the state of the art seat-back inflight entertainment systems.

The 2Ku product from Gogo offers a future-proof platform based on the latest antenna technology, bringing flexibility to adapt to growing demands from our customers.

We want to offer our customers the best possible solution to stay connected. By installing the latest WiFi technology on board on more than 120 aircraft in our long-haul fleet, we are once again illustrating our ability to innovate and provide all our passengers with the best possible experience – Michel Pozas Lucic, Vice President Customer Innovation and Care at Air France-KLM.

Boeing 787 already equipped with WiFi
On Air France-KLM’s long-haul fleet, passengers already enjoy WiFi on board the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, with currently 8 aircraft operated by KLM and the first aircraft operated by Air France as from 9 January next year. The Group’s Boeing 787, which offer WiFi on board, are equipped by Panasonic Avionics, and offer the same portal and products as planned on the rest of the long-haul fleet.

Source: KLM.

Air France increases services on its Paris – Cancun route

Courtesy: Air France.

Courtesy: Air France.

To meet the strong market demand, Air France will fly to Cancun throughout 2017 from Paris-Charles de Gaulle, increasing the number of services to 4 weekly flights during the 2016-17 winter season, operated by Boeing 777-300 (468 seats) and 3 weekly flights during the 2017 summer season, operated by Boeing 777-200 (312 seats).

“By launching services by A380 on the Paris-Mexico City route in January 2016, Air France was the first airline to fly to Central and South America with the super jumbo. With today’s announcement of Paris-Cancun services throughout the year, which so far have been operated only in winter, Air France-KLM is confirming its development strategy on the Mexican market. These direct flights to Cancun all year round offer our French and European passengers direct access to the Riviera Maya, a very popular region with tourists”, said Patrick Alexandre, EVP Commercial, Sales and Alliances at Air France-KLM.

Flight schedules for the 2017 summer season (in local time):

AF650: leaves Paris-Charles de Gaulle at 12:15, arrives in Cancun at 16:05;

AF651: leaves Cancun at 18:20, arrives at Paris-Charles de Gaulle at 11:00.

Flights operated on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Discover Cancun, gateway to Yucatan with Travel by Air France

Air France offers all curious, demanding and passionate travelers a digital and original travel blog: travelby.airfrance.com. With two new cities added each month, Cancun is one of the 104 destinations available. In this way, Air France customers can explore a wide selection of hidden restaurants, boutique hotels and scenic spots, drawn up by people who love their city (bloggers, e-influencers, journalists, etc.).

Air France has designed this guide not only as a source of inspiration to help customers choose a destination, but also as a real travel guide during their stay.

Air France-KLM, European leader to Central and South America and the Caribbean

During the 2016-17 winter season, the Air France-KLM group will operate up to 18 weekly flights to Mexico:

4 weekly flights between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Cancun, operated by Air France;

7 weekly flights between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Mexico City, operated by Air France;

7 weekly flights between Amsterdam-Schiphol and Mexico City.

Air France, the first airline to serve Mexico City by Airbus A380, also offers services between Paris and Mexico City on a codeshare basis with Aeromexico, providing a wide range of connecting opportunities on the Mexican airline’s domestic network.

Leader in Central and South America and the Caribbean in terms of seat capacity, Air France-KLM serves 27 destinations* in this region, and offers more than 261 weekly flights on departure from Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam-Schiphol.

*: Aruba, Bogota, Bonaire, Brasilia, Buenos Aires, Cancun, Cali, Caracas, Cayenne, Curacao, Fort de France, Guayaquil, Havana, Lima, Mexico City, Montevideo, Panama, Paramaribo, Pointe à Pitre, Port au Prince, Punta Cana, Quito, Santo Domingo, Saint Martin, Santiago, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro.

Source: Air France.

KLM flies Paralympic medal winners back to the Netherlands

Courtesy: KLM / Marco Spuyman.

Courtesy: KLM / Marco Spuyman.

On reaching Dutch airspace, the KLM aircraft was again flanked by two F-16s of the Royal Netherlands Air Force, as was the case after the Olympic Games. The aircraft was given a festive “shower of affection” by the fire brigade on its arrival at Schiphol. The athletes were welcomed by René de Groot (Chief Operating Officer of KLM) and Harm Kreulen (Managing Director of KLM The Netherlands).

On arrival at Schiphol, the athletes passed through an honour guard of KLM personnel in uniform on their way to the busses that brought them to Tivoli/Vredenburg in Utrecht for the official reception ceremony. The Netherlands won a total of 17 gold medals, 19 silver medals and 26 bronze medals at the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Source: KLM.

Orangepride: KLM’s unique orange aircraft to promote the Netherlands

Courtesy: KLM / Menno Mennes.

Courtesy: KLM / Menno Mennes.

The introduction of the special aircraft was partly prompted by a social media post KLM published on King’s Day 2015. At the time, KLM’s followers were presented with a picture of an orange aircraft, along with the question: “Should we colour orange next year on King’s Day? #OrangeExperience”. 30,000 likes and 2,500 positive responses later, KLM rolls out its only orange aircraft today.

KLM will deploy the orange Boeing 777 on routine flights within the network and, whenever possible, during events that offer opportunities to promote the Netherlands. The aircraft will debut this summer and will be in operation on the Rio de Janeiro-Amsterdam route during the Olympic Games. On 22 August, KLM will use its orange Boeing to operate the “Medal Flight” that brings the Dutch Olympic heroes home.

Painting procedure
335 litres of paint were used to spray the aircraft orange fading into KLM’s distinctive blue. Applying the colours in multiple, thin layers, requires less paint and the sustainable, chromate-free paint can be easily washed off. The colours of the Dutch flag have been incorporated in the transition between orange and blue, completing the aircraft’s Dutch image. It took a team of 35 people four days to spray on the orange livery.

More about the KLM Boeing 777-300
The KLM version of the Boeing 777-300 has a completely revamped interior, with full-flat seats in World Business Class and more legroom in Economy Class, ensuring greater comfort for passengers. In addition, the inflight entertainment system has been fully renewed and adapted throughout the cabin. By the end of this year, KLM will have replaced more than 80% of its intercontinental aircraft cabin interiors.

Source: KLM.

United Airlines unveils a new way of travel with Polaris Business Class

United Airlines today unveiled its latest product, the Polaris Business Class, the most significant product transformation of the airline in more than a decade, featuring a re-imagined Business Class experience, with total comfort from the pre-flight to the end of the flight.

An exclusive product comes with a really transformative experience; the airline has chosen to outfit its wide body fleet with a custom designed – exclusive to United seat – instead of than selected options already in the market. This class was designed by Acumen Design Associates and PriestmanGoode and manufactured by Zodiac Seats United Kingdom. All seats in United Polaris will have access to the aisle, full flat bed with almost two meter-long (1.98 meters).

The class has an idea, which is crafted as individual, the suite is like pods where the customer personal suite will feature a “Do Not Disturb” sign, mood lighting, one-touch lumbar support, several storage areas, multiple surfaces for simultaneous working and dining, a 16-inch high-definition entertainment screen and, for seats in the center of the cabin, electronic privacy dividers. Complementing the new seats, United and PriestmanGoode have also conceived an all-new look for the United Polaris cabins.

Everything designed in Polaris cabin has the idea to rethinking the Business Class experience, the airline has performed more than twelve thousand hours of research and the sleep was one of the key priorities for international Business Class travelers. Polaris’ design and sleep-enhancing focus was inspired and informed by insights from hundreds of clients and employees, in-flight product simulations and more than one hundred product evaluations.

In order to provide a more pleasant and relaxing sleep, several other amenities were designed with United’s customers sleep in mind.

The company has worked with luxury specialty store Saks Fifth Avenue for custom designed bedding. Everything has been thought to provide the best sleep in the sky; bedding collection will feature plush duvets, lightweight day blankets and a large and small pillow for each United Polaris customer. Mattress cushions will be available upon request.

On flights longer than 12 hours, United Polaris pajamas will be available by requesting, however, slippers will be available on all flights. A gel-cooled pillow will also be available upon request. New amenity kits will feature ergonomically designed eye shades, calming lavender pillow mist and additional products from Soho House & Co.’s Cowshed Spa.

With the introduction of United Polaris, the airline intends to donate tens of thousands of pillows, blankets and other in-flight service items to Fisher House Foundation, which United and its employees have long supported.

A high elevated dining experience will be available on the flight. Upon boarding, the passenger will be welcomed with a pre-flight beverage of his/her choice and gourmet chocolate. In the air, customers will enjoy regionally influenced in-flights menus updated seasonally, which will be developed with The Trotter Project and its critically recognized chefs.

Be prepared for an upgraded wine experience, with the highest quality options curated exclusively by United’s Master Sommelier. On board service will also include made-to-order signature ice-cream sundaes, a dessert cart with a variety of petit dessert options, chocolate truffles and wine flights. On daytime flights longer than eight hours and on all flights longer than 12 hours, hot mid-flights snacks such as lobster macaroni and cheese will be available.

Lounges for United Polaris customers will also be opened in nine locations around the world – the only lounge of its kind offered by a United States airline to Business Class clients – that will feature custom designed chairs, private daybeds, spa-like showers and chef-inspired hot meals served in a boutique restaurant setting so passengers can refresh and dine before boarding their aircraft. Premium sparkling wines and spirits, refreshing snacks and bottled water will also be available.

Chicago O’Hare International Airport will be the place of the first United Polaris lounge, which will be opened on December 1st, 2016. Eight other airports will airports will receive these new luxury lounges in 2017, they are: Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), Houston (IAH), New York (EWR), Washington Dulles (IAD), Tokyo (NRT), Hong Kong (HKG) and London Heathrow (LHR).

United Polaris will be available on all long-haul intercontinental flights on December 1, 2016, with the new in-flight food and beverage experience, new custom bedding from Saks Fifth Avenue, new amenity kits and the new United Polaris lounge in Chicago. United Polaris will first take flight in December on the Boeing 777-300ER (walk-up bar unit on board) and subsequently on Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner and Airbus A350-1000. The Boeing 767-300 and 777-200 will be retrofitted.

Named after the North Star, United Polaris is the shining new star of business class travel that flyers can turn to for a tranquil and restful journey.

Images: Courtesy of United Airlines.

Video: Courtesy of United Airlines.