First is flying with British Airways

  • Courtesy: British Airways.

Since The First Wing opened on April 5, the new exclusive check-in area for British Airways’ First, Gold Executive Club and oneworld Emerald customers at Heathrow Terminal 5 has welcomed nearly 200,000* travellers through the dedicated security channel leading directly into the Galleries First lounge and Concorde Room.

That’s around 1,800 customers a day transferring through The First Wing from check-in to the lounge. The smoothness and convenience of the innovation has resulted in great customer feedback and has also reduced the number of customers travelling through the normal security search areas, delivering a benefit for all fliers.

The airline is continuing to invest in other improvements to First, including a refresh of its flagship Concorde Room at Heathrow Terminal 5 to be unveiled in October 2017. The lounge, which is exclusively for First customers will receive an updated look and feel, as well as improvements to the terrace area.

  • Courtesy: British Airways.

Additionally new Liberty London washbags will take to the skies at the end of July. The kits feature prints from Liberty’s vintage textile archive. The ladies’ version features an eye-catching print called ‘Indiana’ flower pattern in a range of blues, while the male washbag showcases a more understated black and grey paisley design called ‘Arundel’.

The gentlemen’s washbag features Refinery’s revitalising moisturiser, lip balm, deodorant stick and shave gel as well as a razor, brush and comb, toothbrush/toothpaste, eye mask, socks, ear plugs and pen. The ladies’ kit includes Aromatherapy Associates triple rose renewing moisturiser, hydrating hand lotion, renewing cleanser and deodorant stick, along with a lip balm, cotton wool pads, toothbrush/toothpaste, hairbrush and pen.

  • Courtesy: British Airways.

Alex Cruz, British Airways’ chairman and CEO, said: “We know that our First customers are used to the very best in life and have very exacting standards. They rightly expect every part of their journey with us to cater to their needs, so we’ve focused on areas that we know matter to them. First Wing enables them to maximise their time, whisking from kerb to lounge through the fast track security channel. And we’ve paid attention to the details that make a difference on board too, through elements such as the updated Liberty washbags and the ability to pre-order a preferred meal.

“From the feedback we’ve received from our First fliers, these changes are making a real difference to their experience, driving great customer reaction and there’s more to come with the revamped Concorde Room at Terminal 5, due to be unveiled this October.”

*: Actual volume of customers through First Wing between April 5 and July 24, 2017 is 199,200.

Source: British Airways.

British Airways announces partnership with the White Company

Courtesy: British Airways.

British Airways today (July 04th, 2017) announced its plans to give customers a great night’s sleep in the sky through a partnership with the luxury lifestyle brand, The White Company.

The iconic British retailer will supply bedding and amenity kits in Club World as part of the airline’s £400m customer investment plan, with a focus on excellence in the premium cabins and more choice and quality for all.

Later this year, customers travelling in Club World between Heathrow and New York JFK will be given a new elegant day cushion which will double up as a fantastic lumbar support when working or relaxing on board

Courtesy: British Airways.

Exclusively for British Airways, The White Company have also designed a bespoke, luxuriously soft large pillow and white cotton pillowcase to enhance customers’ comfort and to help them sleep well in the sky.

Customers will also be given a super-soft woven blanket with satin trim and a specially developed luxury duvet to improve their quality of sleep, as well as a padded mattress cover giving an extra layer of comfort. The new bedding from The White Company will then be gradually rolled out across British Airways’ other long-haul routes.

The new Club World amenity kits come in an elegantly designed bag from The White Company and contain products from the retailer’s ‘Restore & Relax Spa Collection’, as well as a super-soft jersey eye-mask, offering a further touch of luxury in the sky.

Courtesy: British Airways.

Alex Cruz, British Airways’ chairman and CEO, said: “Our investment in Club World has started and we’re kicking off by helping our customers sleep even better in the skies. Partnering with The White Company, another quintessentially British brand renowned for quality and style, is the first step in a multi-million pound investment for our premium customers.”

Chrissie Rucker MBE, founder of The White Company, said: “We are passionate about creating the best night’s sleep for all our customers and I’m truly delighted to now be working with British Airways to ‘sleep well in the sky’. I hope you love the result as much as we do.”

The White Company opened its first international flagship store in New York last month at 155, Fifth Ave in the city’s Flatiron district.

Courtesy: British Airways.

British Airways is also introducing a number of measures on board to maximise available shut-eye time for customers in Club World.  Breakfast cards will also be given out so customers can select if they wish to be woken for breakfast and if so, what they would like.

In autumn a new restaurant-style premium dining service will begin in Club World, with display trolleys allowing customers to select dishes from a choice of freshly prepared starters and desserts served on beautiful new table settings.

Source: British Airways.

S7 Airlines takes delivery of its first A320neo

Courtesy: Airbus.

S7 Airlines, one of Russia’s leading carriers, member of Oneworld global airline alliance, has taken delivery of its’ first A320neo which is on lease from BOC Aviation. The aircraft is the first Airbus to feature the airline’s new livery and is also the first NEO to be operated in Russia.

Powered by Pratt & Whitney engines, S7’s aircraft features a comfortable two-class cabin layout, (eight business and 156 economy class seats). The airline will operate the aircraft on domestic and international routes. Since the first aircraft entered service in 2004, S7’s Airbus fleet has grown to 44 A320 Family aircraft.

The A320neo Family incorporates the very latest technologies including new generation engines and Sharklets, which together deliver more than 15 percent fuel savings at entry into service and up to 20 percent by 2020. With more than 5,000 orders received from over 90 customers since its launch in 2010, the A320neo Family has captured some 60 percent market share.

Source: Airbus.

Skytrax: Finnair awarded “Best Airline in Northern Europe” for the 8th year in a row

Courtesy: Finnair.

Finnair has been named, for the eighth consecutive year, as Northern Europe’s Best Airline at the World Airline Awards at the Paris Air Show.

Organised by Skytrax, the results are based on an independent survey of more than 19 million passengers from 105 countries that took place between August 2016 to May 2017 covering 325 airlines.

“We are proud that Finnair has once again been recognised by Skytrax and passengers from across the world as the Best Airline in Northern Europe. We are committed to providing the very best experience to our passengers throughout their journey and we constantly develop our service both on the ground and in the air while staying true to our renowned Nordic hospitality”, said Piia Karhu SVP, Customer Experience at Finnair.

Finnair has invested significantly in their growing A350 fleet and customer experience from the point of booking through to check-in and on board service.

Piia Karhu continued: “Finnair will continue to enhance our great personal customer service by innovating the travel experience by using the latest digital solutions to enhance the customer experience. We now have our Nordic Sky Wi-Fi portal installed on every long haul aircraft and the use of our mobile app has continued to grow.”

Continuing the digital trend, in 2017 Finnair was the first airline in the world to launch Alipay onboard, in addition, successful face recognition trials were conducted at Helsinki Airport check-in with Finnair frequent fliers.

“Digital transformation is one of our core strategic targets, however, we continue to develop all areas of the customer experience such as our well-received collaboration with top chefs in our long-haul Business Class cabins and our enhanced lounge experience in conjunction with new partnerships”, notes Piia Karhu.

The World Airline Awards by Skytrax are regarded as the primary benchmarking tool for passenger satisfaction levels of airlines throughout the world. The passenger survey analyses customer satisfaction for the overall airline passenger experience, at both the airport and on board the aircraft: check-in to boarding, seat comfort, cabin cleanliness, food, beverages, in-flight entertainment and staff service.

Source: Finnair.

British Airways: Customers love to join the Club on domestic flights

Courtesy: British Airways.

British Airways’ new business class cabin on domestic UK flights is proving a real hit with nearly 70,000 customers choosing the premium service in the first six weeks of its operation.

Alex Cruz, British Airways’ chairman and CEO, said: “Club Europe is proving incredibly popular with our customers on domestic services. In just a month-and-a-half we’ve had nearly 70,000 take to the skies with us and the feedback we’re getting is great.

“Customers are telling us that they love the new consistency throughout their travels with us. They are getting the smooth, easy experience they want, particularly for those transferring on to our European and long-haul networks. They’re also enjoying the additional benefits, and the improved catering and service that we launched across all our Club Europe services at the same time.”

Customers can take advantage of all the benefits related to the cabin, including lounge access, more personal space to work or relax, complimentary food and drink, dedicated check-in desks and priority boarding and a generous baggage allowance of two cabin bags and two checked bags.

The cabin features a 2:2 configuration with the middle seat free. The seats are bridged with a stylish ‘central console’ table, providing Club customers with a broad, functional space for drinks, snacks and personal devices, freeing up the main table for work or a meal.

The airline has also enhanced the catering for all Club Europe services across its short-haul network, including a new service style, a new crockery design and improved menus more closely tailored to the length of flight and time of day.

The airline’s domestic services around the UK and Ireland with Club Europe include flights between:

  • London Heathrow – Aberdeen, Inverness, Leeds Bradford, Manchester and Newcastle
  • London Heathrow/Gatwick – Belfast
  • London Heathrow/Gatwick/London City – Edinburgh and Glasgow
  • London City – Isle of Man

Prices start from £199 return.

Four hundred million pounds will be spent on Club World with an emphasis on improved catering and sleep, and a new seat in the future. At Heathrow a First Wing check-in area with direct security and lounge access has launched, and lounges around the airline’s network are to be revamped and improved. The Club Europe cabin has also been introduced on UK domestic services and all customers can look forward to the latest generation Wi-Fi across British Airways’ long-haul and short-haul fleets over the next two years.

Source: British Airways.

Airbus demonstrates regular customer delivery flights with sustainable jet fuel

Courtesy: Airbus.

Showing its strong commitment towards eco-efficiency, Airbus becomes the first aircraft manufacturer to offer its customers the option of delivering new jets using a blend of sustainable jet fuel.

The 15th A350-900 for Cathay Pacific departed Toulouse on June 1st, bound for Hong Kong, with a 10 percent blend of sustainable jet fuel in its tanks. Since the first delivery in May 2016, all of Cathay Pacific’s A350s have been delivered in this configuration.

The biofuel delivery flight concept, originally devised by Cathay Pacific in 2015 is now in full operation and this latest delivery flight confirms that the supply chain set up a year ago by Airbus and Total is functioning correctly, from the fuel production, through an integrated management at its Saint-Martin Toulouse site and to the customer delivery.

“This is a major step for Airbus and a first for the regular delivery of new production aircraft. It enables us to demonstrate that aviation biofuels are today a reality. We now target to expand this initiative to all our delivery sites, close to our customers,” said Frederic Eychenne, Head of New Energies at Airbus.

The first delivery flights from Hamburg, Germany and Mobile, US, using this type of biofuel are planned as of 2018. Since 2016, Airbus has offered this option for its delivery flights from Toulouse.

The aim is to continue reducing the carbon footprint of each flight starting with the aircraft delivery. Eychenne said: “Right from the first day of operation, an airline can clearly demonstrate its aim of reducing carbon dioxide emissions, thus helping to meet the commitments of the international civil aviation community.”

Through its brand new design with the latest cutting-edge technologies, the A350 XWB has a lower fuel burn and therefore lower CO2 emissions than the aeroplane it replaces, so when sustainable jet fuels are included as part of the operation, the net CO2 emissions reduction factor becomes even greater.

 As part of its environmental strategy, Airbus intends to continue its efforts by collaborating with all stakeholders in the biofuels sector. “Through this partnership with Cathay Pacific and Total, we have demonstrated that it is possible to set up supply chains for fuels with a low carbon footprint,” Eychenne added. “This initiative confirms Airbus’ commitment to environmental efficiency and its support toward international aviation’s emission reduction targets.”

Source: Airbus.

Finnair and Finavia test face recognition technology at Helsinki Airport check-in

Courtesy: Finavia.

Finnair and Finavia, together with Futurice, will test the use of face recognition technology for the check-in process of Finnair flights at Helsinki Airport. During the test period taking place between May 2 until May 23, the companies will gather information on the applicability of face recognition technology to the airport environment and the systems and processes used by the airline. Finnair has invited a group of 1,000 frequent flyers to take part in the test.

“Face recognition technology could offer possibilities for smoothening the departure process from the customer’s point of view, and eliminate the need for a boarding pass,” says Sari Nevanlinna , Head of Ground Experience and Ancillary at Finnair. “This test will give us information on the applicability of face recognition technology for our processes, and the impact it has on the customer experience.”

Finnair customers taking part in the test will use a test application to send their face portraits to the test system. When checking in to their flights, customers will use a designated check-in desk, where the face recognition technology will be installed. A customer service agent will then check the customer’s travel information and indicate in the test system if the face recognition was successful.

“We want to make air travel flow even smoother and be involved in further developing the customer experience,” says Heikki Koski , Vice President of Helsinki Airport for Finavia. “Facial recognition is part of the larger megatrend of biometric recognition, and it will enable “Hands in the pockets” travelling, where you no longer need any travel documents. When all travel-related information is digitized, it takes less time and is easier to get through the checkpoints at the airport. Last year, we tested facial recognition technology at the employee security control and the results were very encouraging.”

The system used in the test is provided by Futurice, and built using widely available hard- and software as well as cloud-based services, and with a strong view to the customer experience.

“We use face feature based face recognition technology, which turns facial images into untraceable biometrics IDs,” says Tuğberk Duman , Project Manager at Futurice. This enables us to identify registered passengers on the go without having to store images. This test will provide useful information on the use of this solution for environments with large customer flows and tight security needs.”

Source: Finnair.