Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary. Image: World Travel & Tourism Council

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary plans to offer free seats on flights within a decade. Image: World Travel & Tourism Council

Here are the most-read stories from this week’s APEX Daily Experience newsletters. To receive breaking passenger experience industry news in your inbox on a daily basis, subscribe here

Ryanair Chief Aims to Make Flights Free Within 10 Years


Ryanair could be offering free seats on flights within a decade, says the airline’s chief executive. Michael O’Leary disclosed his ambition to offer zero fares by making money from sharing revenues with airports instead. Speaking at the Airport Operators Association conference, he said European airports are offering Ryanair increasingly attractive deals, and that the possible reduction or elimination of the air passenger duty tax could lead to free flights. “We will be making our money out of sharing the airport revenues, of all the people who will be running through airports, and getting a share of the shopping and the retail revenues at airports,” said O’Leary.

Boeing Appoints GE’s Kevin McAllister as New Commercial Airplanes CEO


Boeing announced on Monday that Ray Conner stepped down from his position as CEO of its Commercial Airplanes division, but will stay on as vice-chairman until the end of 2017. Conner will be replaced by senior General Electric Aviation executive Kevin McAllister, marking the first time the Boeing division goes outside the company for the appointment of CEO. The change is part of the company’s goal of increasing annual services revenue from $15 billion to $50 billion within 10 years. Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said the change does not alter plans for developing new aircraft, but places an emphasis on generating revenue from servicing aircraft during their decades-long lives.

All Nippon Airways Targets US Pax With “Welcome to Experience Class” Campaign


All Nippon Airways’ (ANA) “Welcome to Experience Class” campaign focuses on the travel experience, rather than on cabin class distinctions. The program, which is aimed at US travelers, launched earlier this month with a high-energy music video featuring Steve Aoki, an American DJ with Japanese roots. “We chose to partner with Steve Aoki in particular because his Japanese heritage and passion for music and travel so closely align with ANA travelers,” said an ANA spokesperson. “He delivers an amazing experience at every show, and we aim to deliver that same unparalleled experience on every flight.”

Airbnb Pushes to Become a More Complete Travel Brand With Trips Platform


Airbnb has launched a new platform that it says will allow it to move beyond accommodation booking into catering to “every aspect of the trip.” The home-sharing company’s Trips platform will allow users to choose from types of experiences and places, with flight booking and additional services expected in the future. Around 500 experiences in 12 cities are currently offered by Airbnb hosts, such as making violins in Paris and marathon running in Kenya. “Airbnb is launching Trips, bringing together where you stay, what you do and the people you meet all in one place,” says Airbnb CRO Brian Chesky. “We want to make travel magical again by putting people back at the heart of every trip.”

DOT Revokes American Airlines–Qantas Joint Venture


The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has tentatively blocked Qantas and American Airlines’ application to expand their joint venture for routes between the United States and Australasia, citing competition concerns. The carriers submitted the application in June 2015, a few months before American launched flights between the US and Australia. The DOT said in a statement that the scale of the joint business – which would account for 60 percent of all seats on flights between the countries – meant air travelers would have few remaining competitive airline alternatives. American said it would file an objection, mentioning the department’s “significant departure” from prior decisions.

Gogo Shares How it Uses Social Media to Provide Customer Care Services


Scott Carmichael, Gogo’s senior manager for Social Media and Content, presented on the in-flight connectivity provider’s social care strategy at this year’s APEX EXPO in Singapore. While the company is active on 10 different social channels, it focuses its customer service efforts on Twitter and Facebook. Carmichael enforces a 10-minute response window and encourages Gogo’s social care team to go above and beyond what is expected by offering both proactive support and post-interaction support. “Everyone on social media leaves insights into who they are,” he said. “If you use that, then social media can be a fantastic opportunity. You can have fun with customers.”

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