Image: Eric Salard

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

Backlash After United Denies Boarding to Employee-Pass Travelers Wearing Leggings

NPR | MARCH 27, 2017

United Airlines barred two teenage girls from boarding a flight on Sunday morning because they did not meet the dress code requirements for special pass travelers, causing a social media uproar. The girls, who were about to board a flight to Minneapolis from Denver International Airport, were denied boarding because a gate agent deemed their leggings inappropriate. The incident was reported on Twitter by Shannon Watts, a traveler who was waiting to board a flight to Mexico. Upon landing, her tweets had been widely shared, often with criticism directed to the airline, including by Academy Award-winning actor Patricia Arquette.

[PHOTOS] Virgin Atlantic Unveils Redesigned Airbus A330 Upper Class Cabin


Virgin Atlantic has unveiled its new Airbus A330 Upper Class cabin, which has been redesigned to resemble its Boeing 787 product. The airline will refit all 10 of its A330s with Upper Class seating by early 2018. The new interior’s layout and design will resemble that on Virgin Atlantic’s Dreamliner fleet, and will include new lie-flat beds, more overhead locker space, a redesigned bar and touchscreen displays in each suite. The premium economy cabin will also see changes in the form of a “Wander Wall” concept – a communal standing area for passengers to stretch their legs, chat with other travelers or grab a snack.

Takeoff Delayed: Qantas Postpones Launch of ViaSat Domestic In-Flight Wi-Fi


Qantas has postponed the launch of its domestic in-flight Wi-Fi service due to “stability issues,” and is rescheduling its launch to the middle of the year. A media event and test flight of the service that had originally been planned for today was also canceled. The airline is working with ViaSat to fix issues discovered during the testing phase of the system, which will allow passengers to stream in-flight movies and TV. “We were preparing to open it up to media and customers this week as we continue our fine-tuning over the next few months,” Qantas said, “but some stability issues have emerged that we need to fix before customers can use it.”

IFC Competition Builds Down Under as Virgin Australia Announces Gogo 2Ku Trial


Virgin Australia says it’s planning to start a three-month in-flight Wi-Fi trial on board one of its Boeing 737-800s next month, reflecting heightened competition with Qantas for Internet connectivity over Australian skies. Virgin is partnering with Gogo and Optus Satellite to equip 2Ku hardware on domestic and trans-Tasman flights. The airline has also signed deals with Netflix, Stan and Pandora, which will allow passengers to stream content for free during their flight. “We are confident that by working with Gogo and Optus Satellite and using their proven technology, we can deliver the best possible and most reliable connectivity and entertainment experience in the air,” said John Thomas, Virgin Australia’s group executive.

Major Automotive Supplier Working With Boeing to Develop Aircraft Seats


Automotive seat supplier Adient yesterday announced plans to work alongside Boeing with a view to developing aircraft seats. The company, which is one of the world’s top two suppliers of passenger car seats, has signaled it wants a slice of the growing aircraft interiors market, at a time when global sales growth for automobiles is expected to slow. “Through discussions with Boeing, we believe there’s an opportunity for Adient to raise the bar on the aviation passenger experience,” said the company’s CEO, Bruce McDonald. Adient says it’s also open to working with other aircraft manufacturers, such as Airbus, Embraer and Bombardier.

Cathay Pacific Confirms 10-Across Economy Seating on Boeing 777s


Cathay Pacific has confirmed it will move to 10-across seating in a 3-4-3 layout for the economy-class cabins on its Boeing 777 fleet. The Hong Kong-based carrier says the changes will be made between mid-2018 and 2020, and will see the addition of new “ergonomically designed” seats offering a width of 17.2 inches, recline of six inches and pitch of 32 inches. Cathay Pacific will also increase the size of its economy-class 777-300ER seatback screens from nine to 12 inches, with a “much higher resolution.” Cathay Pacific said the move to 10-across seating “has involved extensive research and customer testing to ensure that the new product not only meets the expectations of customers, but exceeds them.”

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