United Polaris: The Story Behind the Airline’s New Business-Class Seat
United Airlines’ first Boeing 777-300ER made its inaugural flight yesterday, carrying press to experience the Polaris seat in flight for the first time. The seat will officially launch this Thursday, on the airline’s Newark–San Francisco route, with the first international flight scheduled for March 25. The United Polaris seat is based on a product concept by Acumen Design Associates and is the result of collaboration between the design consultancy, United, PriestmanGoode and Zodiac Aerospace. “Normally when you go from a step-over product to an all-out access product, something’s got to give,” said Anthony Harcup, associate director at Acumen. “But this is such an efficient preservation of living spaces, and access to the seat, that it made the decision very easy for [United].”
Qantas Announces In-Flight Streaming Partnerships With Netflix, Spotify and Foxtel
Qantas has announced it will offer complimentary access to Netflix, Spotify and Foxtel on Wi-Fi-equipped flights. The in-flight partnerships aim to persuade passengers into signing up to the on-demand entertainment services, with Netflix and Spotify promising free 30-day trials and Foxtel offering three days of complimentary streaming. Passengers will need to use their own devices to access the streaming services, which will be available later this month on one of the airline’s Boeing 737s, before a fleet-wide rollout in June. “What a lot of people relish about flying is being able to catch up on their favorite TV shows or watch movies they didn’t get to see at the cinema,” said Qantas group executive Olivia Wirth.
XL Airways Becomes First Airline to Offer wIFE From Immfly on Long-Haul
XL Airways has become the first airline to offer Immfly’s wireless in-flight entertainment platform on long-haul flights. Branded as XL Cloud, the hardware was installed at the beginning of the year and lets passengers stream a wide selection of content to their personal devices. “Making our product ready for long-distance aircraft has encouraged a significant growth opportunity,” said Pablo Linz, cofounder of Immfly. “We are now exposed to a higher volume of passengers who have an average of 10 hours to enjoy our content, and as part of our ambition to continuously improve the passenger experience, we have developed new product features such as a games channel and an onboard chat.”
Czech-Based Inter-Informatics Unveils Cabin Class Divider for Narrow-Body Aircraft
Inter-Informatics Group, a Czech Republic-based design engineering company, has developed a class divider for Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 aircraft. Called C-spacer, the Crystal Cabin Award-nominated component attaches to seat tracks without affecting the recline of seats directly in front. Airlines also have the option of including in-flight entertainment screens, USB ports and power outlets to the divider, and can chose between a variety of colors and surfaces. “[We want] to help airlines to be more flexible without compromising passenger comfort,” said Radek Rezny, executive director at Inter-Informatics.
Air France-KLM to Invest $213 Million in Big Data by 2020
Air France-KLM is planning to invest more than $213 million on digital and data development by 2020. The airline group launched an internal big data platform in 2015, and is now one of a few companies in the world that collects and makes use of online and offline customer data to make personalized offers, according to Air France-KLM CEO Jean-Marc Janaillac. “It’s going to be our priority and quite important in terms of revenues because we do think that this possibility to have a personal link with customers will enable us to get €200 million [$213 million] in additional revenue,” explained Janaillac during Air France-KLM’s 2016 results presentation to analysts.
Delta Brings Back Free Economy-Class Meals to 12 Domestic Routes
Delta Air Lines announced yesterday that it will be bringing back free in-flight meals for coach passengers on 12 transcontinental domestic routes. Starting on March 1, the carrier will offer complimentary meals in economy class on flights from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to Los Angeles and San Francisco, followed by 11 additional routes as of April 24. The new menu will include options like cheese and fruit plates, veggie wraps and smoked turkey sandwiches. “When we tested this concept, our customers loved it and appreciated it so we decided to implement it in our most strategic markets,” said Allison Ausband, Delta’s SVP for In-Flight Service.