Here are the most-read “Comfort and Ambience” stories from this year’s APEX Daily Experience newsletters. To receive breaking passenger experience industry news in your inbox on a daily basis, subscribe here.
Previewing Cathay Pacific’s Upcoming Airbus A350
Australian Business Traveller has previewed Cathay Pacific’s upcoming Airbus A350 jets scheduled for service in March. The airline’s twenty A350-900 aircraft feature updated interiors – business-class cabins benefit from extra storage space, forward-sliding tray tables and tilting HD displays, while premium economy seats include padded foot rests and a slight increase in legroom. The new jets will also be the first of Cathay Pacific’s international fleet to offer in-flight Wi-Fi.
Alaska Airlines Launches Refreshed Livery
Alaska Airlines yesterday unveiled its first major brand overhaul in over 25 years, showcasing a new design featuring an update of the company logo and iconic Eskimo face. “Our company has a unique personality and a vibrant spirit that our Eskimo has personified for almost half a century,” says Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden. The brand update is not a radical departure from the previous design, something which Sangita Woerner, the airline’s vice-president of Marketing describes as “not a revolution, [but] an evolution.” Over 40 airplanes will be painted with the new livery by the end of year.
Saudia Shows Off Its New 787 Dreamliner Interiors
Saudi Arabian Airlines has unveiled the aircraft cabins of its first two Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners received last week. The interiors were created by Honour Branding, which began working on the 787-9 cabins in August 2013. The London-based design consultancy opted for a 1-2-1 seating configuration in Saudia’s business class to fit a total 24 B/E Aerospace Super Diamond seats. Meanwhile, the new economy-class cabin features 274 seats in a 3-3-3 arrangement.
FAA Issues Removal of Some Zodiac Aerospace Seats
The FAA has issued a notice requiring more than 10,000 Zodiac Aerospace seats to be removed from service due to alleged design flaws, which it says could injure passengers during high-impact incidents. The US agency’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was released Wednesday and applies to seats fitted inside Bombardier, Embraer and Boeing regional jets. Affected airlines include US carriers Delta Air Lines, Envoy Air, Island Air, Republic Airlines, SkyWest Airlines and United Airlines.
United’s Polaris Concept Puts Business Class First
At a press event in New York City yesterday, United’s CEO, Oscar Munoz, introduced the airline’s redesigned business class. Called Polaris, the concept features 180-degree lie-flat seats and 16-inch screens. Passengers can enjoy meals like lobster mac and cheese and will have access to exclusive content from HBO, Vevo, the Tribeca Film Festival and more. The program, which involves the production of more than 6,000 seats, is the largest North American business-class seat order in history. Scheduled to begin service in December of this year, Polaris marks the airline’s official shift away from three classes, leaving American Airlines as the only major US carrier still flying international first class.
A First Look Inside Southwest Airlines’ Heart Cabin
Southwest Airlines rolled out a new cabin interior on board three Boeing 737-800s this week. Southwest’s customized Boeing Sky Interior cabin, known as Heart, comes equipped with 175 pre-reclined slimline economy seats manufactured by B/E Aerospace and is a follow-up to the airline’s Evolve seats introduced in 2012. All 175 seats come upholstered in blue synthetic leather and feature a 32-inch pitch and adjustable headrest. The Heart cabin features a sculpted ceiling, curved overhead bin, colored LED mood lighting, large rounded interior windows and a redesigned passenger service unit.
Suite Deal: Delta to Debut Fully Enclosed Business-Class Cabins on A350 Fleet
Delta Air Lines is planning an industry first by debuting fully enclosed business-class suites on its upcoming Airbus A350 fleet. The carrier will take delivery of the first of 25 wide-bodies in September 2017, and will configure each with 32 Delta One suites. Designed in collaboration with London-based Factorydesign, the suites feature a sliding door to create a private area for passengers, 21-inch-wide seats and 18-inch HD seatback displays. “This product is meant to be as close to a private jet experience as possible and is driven by our customers, who were telling us that they wanted more privacy,” says Tim Mapes, Delta’s CMO.
Details of BA’s Airbus A350 Business-Class Seat Revealed
Design details and images of British Airways’ Club World business-class seat on the airline’s forthcoming Airbus A350 fleet have surfaced on the Australian Business Traveller website. The leaked internal BA documentation shows that while the British flag carrier will retain the alternating forward-backward layout of its current business class, a number of improvements are in the offing. The website says the new seats will have direct aisle access, convert into lie-flat beds and be fitted with seatback in-flight entertainment displays that are nearly 50 percent larger, upsized from 10.4 to 15.3 inches.
Inside AA’s First Boeing 787-9 With Premium Economy Cabin
American Airlines took delivery this week of its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, ahead of its planned entry into service on October 6. The aircraft comes linefit with AA’s new partitioned premium economy cabin, which is the first of its kind offered by a US carrier. The new cabin class is installed in a 2-3-2 configuration and features B/E Aerospace-manufactured seats with 38-inch pitch and extendable foot, leg and headrests. The premium economy cabin comes equipped with a Panasonic in-flight entertainment system and in-flight Wi-Fi.
Aeroméxico Unveils Dreamliner Interior Featuring a Home-Style Kitchen Bar
Aeroméxico has revealed the new interior for its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, featuring a premium class product and an in-flight bar area. The Clase Premier cabin includes 36 Super Diamond B/E Aerospace seats deployed in a 1-2-1 layout, guaranteeing aisle access for every passenger and 18-inch HD seatback displays. The communal walk-up bar area, designed by transport architecture specialist New Territory, aims to create a welcoming kitchen-style environment. “We designed the social space to feel and work less like a traditional bar and more like a beautiful domestic space,” says Luke Miles, director of New Territory.