TAP Portugal's new lie-flat business-class seats. Image: TAP Portugal

TAP Portugal’s new lie-flat business-class seats. Image: TAP Portugal

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

Qatar Airways Claims Industry First With “Party of Four” Business-Class QSuites


The competition to woo premium passengers is heating up, and airlines are meeting the challenge with proprietary designs. Qatar Airways’ highly anticipated business-class QSuite was revealed today at ITB Berlin, following other recently launched patented firsts including United Airlines’ Polaris business-class seat and Delta Air Lines’ fully enclosed business-class suites. With retractable privacy panels, QSuites can be joined to create a double bed or a private room for four – features Qatar Airways claims are industry firsts. “[W]e offer more choices than any other airline. It only makes sense to give you the choice to make your own cabin-within-a-cabin, creating double QSuites or quadrants,” said Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker at today’s ceremony.

Panasonic Avionics Seeks Dismissal of CoKinetic Lawsuit


Panasonic Avionics is planning to pursue an immediate dismissal of the lawsuit filed last week by CoKinetic Systems. The software company claims Panasonic engaged in unlawful practices to monopolize the market for in-flight entertainment software and media services. In a statement, PAC said, “The allegations are without merit and Panasonic Avionics intends to contest the suit. This lawsuit involves a dispute around the commercial terms of a long-standing business relationship between CoKinetic and Panasonic Avionics.” PAC also said that the timing of the lawsuit was “suspicious,” given that CoKinetic had issued a press release celebrating the companies’ 10-year partnership last October.

[PHOTOS] TAP Portugal Debuts First of Seven Retrofitted Airbus A330s


TAP Portugal has debuted the first of seven refreshed Airbus A330s, featuring fully flat business-class seats. The refurbished aircraft, named João Gonçalves Zarco, includes 25 business-class seats, each transformable into a bed that’s six feet three inches long, featuring a reading light, table with storage space, a cup holder, USB ports and individual electrical sockets. The aircraft’s economy-class seats have been upholstered in green and gray textiles; also included is an economy-plus section with more space and seats that recline further. The Portuguese flag carrier also presented its new Recaro CL6710 business-class seat at ITB Berlin this week. The new product will be linefit on its upcoming A330neo fleet.

European Parliament Votes to End Visa-Free Entry for US Citizens


The European Parliament voted last week to temporarily suspend visa-free travel for Americans visiting the EU. The vote is the latest episode in a dispute, which has been simmering since 2014, over the way travelers from certain EU countries are treated by the US. While most EU citizens can travel to America without a visa, those from Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland and Romania must still obtain one. EU legislators want the entire 28-member bloc to be treated equally, with European Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos pushing for “full visa reciprocity with the new US administration.” However, the vote is nonbinding, and it will be up to the European Commission to decide whether to implement the recommendation.

[PHOTOS] Flight of the Sea Turtle: ANA Reveals Special Livery for First Airbus A380


All Nippon Airways has unveiled a special livery that will appear on its first Airbus A380, scheduled for delivery in early 2019. The design features green sea turtles and was chosen from more than 2,000 submissions received in an open competition organized by ANA. The Japanese carrier says the superjumbo will be named “Flying Honu,” and will service its Tokyo–Honolulu route. ANA says it also plans to support activities in Hawaii to protect green sea turtles, which are in danger of extinction, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Hughes Unveils Dual Ka- and Ku-Band Terminal Supporting Speeds Over 400 Mbps


In-flight entertainment software and services company CoKinetic Systems has filed a lawsuit against Panasonic Avionics after the companies recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of their software licensing partnership. The company is seeking damages exceeding $100 million, alleging that Panasonic knowingly engaged in a series of anticompetitive practices aimed at forcing CoKinetic out of the market. “CoKinetic has worked every day on behalf of airlines and their passengers to open the in-flight entertainment market to free and fair competition. This lawsuit is an unfortunate but necessary step towards accomplishing that goal,” said Todd Higgins, managing partner of Crosby & Higgins LLP and CoKinetic’s lead attorney. “Without competition, airlines pay too much, wait too long and struggle to innovate.”

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