Passenger Experience Week kicked off yesterday (2 April), with thousands of aviation, rail and cruise line professionals descending on Hamburg Messe to identify the latest solutions and services that will transform their customers’ journeys.
With three co-located events – Aircraft Interiors Expo, World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo and Passenger Technology Solutions – covering the entire passenger experience industry, Passenger Experience Week reaffirmed its position as the best place to source products, learn about new trends and meet new contacts.
It was a sentiment echoed by several of the airlines in attendance, with Arne Glaess from TUI fly commenting: “The objective for us to be here is to liaise with our suppliers and find solutions to our current projects, and this is the most important and efficient place to do this.”
And exhibitors were also full of praise for the industry’s leading event, including Ingo Wuggetzer, Vice President Cabin Marketing at Airbus, who commented: “We have more than 100 of our customers visiting and meeting with us over the next three days, and they in turn also have the opportunity to see everyone else in the cabin business in one location too.”
Innovation galore at AIX
Digitalisation was one of the buzzwords at this year’s AIX, with a number of suppliers presenting innovative new solutions, including Panasonic Avionics which announced the launch of its new Arc Inflight Map Platform – a revolutionary 3D inflight map application and service for its NEXT and X Series inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) systems.
Gaston Sandoval, VP of Product Line Management and Head of Marketing at Panasonic Avionics, commenting: “Digital transformation is very important for the industry because the demands for the passengers are increasing dramatically. They are looking for similar experiences that they see on the ground when they are flying and the only way that can be accomplished is by changing the paradigm and being able to create new platforms, and we believe we can help airlines on that journey.”
Meanwhile, Immfly continues its global expansion, with US-based long-haul carrier Eastern Airlines announcing at the show that it will be installing the company’s cutting edge WIFE platform on nine Boeing 767s in the coming months.
As airlines continue to strive to deliver the ultimate passenger experience, they continue to invest in new seating. Both Recaro and Collins Aerospace announced new solutions at the show, with the former revealing its CL3710 and SL3710 models that will set a new standard for comfort in the sky for the economy long and short range respectively.
Collins Aerospace took the opportunity to launch its revolutionary new M-Flex™ Duet, a cabin monument that transforms the aircraft doorway into a self-serve social zone or cabin attendant working area.
Elsewhere, Airbus and American Airlines revealed that 300 of the airline’s A321s will be equipped with XL bins in line fit and retrofit, adding 40% volume and making the boarding process quicker and more efficient. And in the Cabin Space Live Theatre featured presentations from Qatar Airways, Saudia and CabinCracks, while Airbus BizLabs ran a pitch event where a number of start-up businesses presented their products or services to the company.
The very best of food and drink
With Passenger Experience Week covering all aspects of the journey, many attendees crossed into the three co-located events, including Suesan Chen from United who added: “We have a number of teams represented at the show. We have IFEC people, soft products, like food and amenity kits, and onboard hard products, looking more at the seating and cabin interiors.”
And as passengers increasingly demand that the onboard food and drink options match the quality and choice available in their favourite restaurants and retailers, World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) continued to attract the crowds.
One of the biggest attractions at the show was Monty’s Bakehouse who wanted to demonstrate the company’s capabilities as much more than just a producer of class-leading hot snacks. It recreated its Innovation Centre at WTCE, and presented a range of incredible new product lines for 2019, accompanied by highly innovative and sustainable packaging solutions.
En Route International, a leading provider of food and service solutions for the onboard travel market, was another capitalising on the audience attending Passenger Experience Week. It launched ‘Four The Future’ – a new strategy aimed at reducing its impact on the environment and helping its customers meet their individual environmental targets.
During the show, a number of exhibitors presented in the Product Take Off session – an exclusive opportunity for new companies joining WTCE 2019 for the first time. They received expert advice and insights from a panel of industry leaders including Roger Williams of the International Rail Catering Group, James McIntyre of MSC Cruises, Colin Talbot of Alpha LSG and Martin Bucholtz from LSG Group.
After presenting their products to the panel, each exhibitor received advice and recommendations on how to make their product more suitable for use onboard with insights into packaging, ingredients and branding.
Technology in focus
The second edition of Passenger Technology Solutions (PTS) demonstrated an array of solutions that will enable the aviation and rail industry to become more efficient and deliver a more seamless journey.
During today’s PTS Seminars, industry leaders discussed how technology will affect the passenger experience in 2025. Speakers were in agreement that mobile automation, such as sending departure information via Siri and including third party delivery apps bringing food orders to gates and planes a la Deliveroo and Uber Eats, will come to the fore.
They discussed how data driven decision making and using biometric data will help boost passenger experience, along with the need for airlines to make each journey bespoke for passengers in order to generate different revenue.
Meanwhile, on the exhibition floor, FrontM announced the launch of its Always-On AI Software Platform for the air passenger ecosystem. It offers passengers a ‘ground like’ digital experience to explore, engage and shop, from the comfort of the airline cabin, with applications ranging from inflight moving maps, with built-in e-commerce, to passenger self-service apps and from internet-sponsored services like hotel booking to social entertainment apps like in-flight chat.
Tomorrow at Passenger Experience Week
The event continues tomorrow with another day of opportunities to source innovative products and hear from some of the industry’s foremost experts.