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September 11, 2023



Today's Top Stories


United To Launch Polaris 2.0 Business Class Product

United Airlines is launching Polaris 2.0, a refresh of its business class product, including new sustainable bedding and amenity items. The original Polaris was introduced 7 years ago with significant improvements in meals, blankets, and amenities. However, cost overruns led to cutbacks. With the introduction of Polaris 2.0, United is replacing its Saks bedding with sustainable products, to reduce single-use plastics on board. Although the new product aims to be more sustainable, there are concerns that the quality of the offering may be compromised.

View From The Wing | Related United readies new Airbus A321XLR Polaris business class - Executive Traveller



Cathay Pacific Planning To Retrofit Its A330 Cabins

Cathay Pacific is planning to retrofit the cabins of its Airbus A330 jets with “some urgency,” according to CEO Ronald Lam. The move aims to simplify the number of layouts, as the airline currently operates its A330s in up to five configurations. This could result in fewer A330s with a premium economy cabin, making it easier for the airline to transfer aircraft between routes and minimize the impact on passengers. There is also speculation that some A330s might get regional business class recliners instead of lie-flat beds, although Cathay Pacific has not confirmed any details.

Executive Traveller | Related Cathay Pacific Announces New "Aria Suite" Business Class Debuting Next Year - View from the Wing



Hamad Airport Partners To Implement Digital Passenger Assistance Kiosks

Hamad International Airport, in collaboration with Atos and Royal Schiphol Group, has launched Passenger Digital Assistance Kiosks to streamline travel experiences. The kiosks offer easy access to information, help in navigation, and enable live video calls to customer service agents. They support 20 languages and provide information on flights, airport services, retail and F&B outlets, and passenger events. Suhail Kadri, Senior VP of Technology and Innovation at the airport, said the kiosks are part of a broader digital strategy to transform passenger experiences with the help of industry innovation leaders.

Future Travel Experience | Related Hamad International Airport partners with Atos and Royal Schiphol Group - LogisticsGulf



Viasat On Securing Basic Interoperability With GX Via Minor Tweaks

Viasat is working on an interoperable aero terminal that will communicate with both Viasat and Inmarsat Ka-band GEO satellites to support inflight connectivity. Although the company has not publicly disclosed its timeline, company president K. Guru Gowrappan stated that they have a good internal plan. The interest in this topic increased after Viasat’s ViaSat-3 Americas satellite encountered a reflector deployment anomaly. Despite challenges, Viasat remains confident in its GEO-focused approach in civil aviation and sees LEO as part of its wider future, as indicated by a recent contract awarded by the US Defense Information Systems Agency.

Runway Girl Network | Related Viasat considers options should ViaSat-3 Americas fix remain elusive - Runway Girl Network



Alaska Airlines’ Mobile Verify Programme To Enable Passport Verification From Home

Alaska Airlines has introduced a Mobile Verify programme, powered by Airside, an Onfido company, that allows travellers to verify their passport from home, eliminating the need to wait in line at the airport. The programme is part of the airline’s vision to transform the airport experience by enabling guests to control their digital identity on their smartphone, ultimately allowing them to move through every airport touchpoint without taking out identification documents. The airline is investing in technology to make processes traditionally available only at the airport possible from a smartphone, aiming to get guests through the lobby in five minutes or less.

Future Travel Experience | Related Airside and Alaska launch verification partnership - Airports International



SWISS Unveils New Menu For Long-Haul First And Business Class Customers

SWISS has introduced a new menu for first, business, and premium economy class passengers on long-haul services from Switzerland, as part of its ‘Taste of Switzerland’ inflight dining programme. The menu, inspired by Michelin-starred L’Atelier Robuchon restaurant, is created by Olivier Jean, executive chef at The Woodward hotel in Geneva, and includes regional specialties, wines, and cheeses from the Geneva region. The menu features dishes such as lobster bisque with lobster medallions, ricotta gnocchi and chive oil, miso-marinated pike-perch with port wine sauce, and poached char with lemongrass sauce. The ‘Taste of Switzerland’ programme, running for 20 years, has featured 81 guest chefs representing all 26 Swiss cantons.

Business Traveller | Related SWISS opts for Geneva fine dining on autumn flights - Aircraft Interiors International



London Luton Airport Unveils Series Of Passenger Improvements

London Luton Airport is investing over £30m to enhance passenger experience, including a £8m development of a new two-story restaurant with a mezzanine floor overlooking the departure lounge, accommodating up to 500 diners, set to open next year. This is part of an investment program that includes several new shops and restaurants, upgraded toilet and washroom amenities, and a children’s play area. A £20m refurbishment of the security hall, including new state-of-the-art body and CT scanners, is already underway. The airport has invested £12m in enhancing facilities across the terminal this year, resulting in excellent passenger feedback.

Passenger Terminal Today | Related Luton Airport expansion plans to be heard - BBC News




Today’s picture comes from @mca_photog, featuring a United Airlines Boeing 757 aircraft.

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Association News

APEX/IFSA Global EXPO - Register now!

APEX/IFSA Global EXPO, co-located with FTE Global, is where the largest gathering of airline executives from around the world come together to network, forge new partnerships, share unique insights, collaborate and meet with the top exhibitors demonstrating the latest innovation and technology. Join us in Los Angeles for the most comprehensive end-to-end airline passenger experience marketplace in the industry from 19-21 September. Click here for more details.


> Quote of the Day

“Later this month, we’re launching new United Polaris, Premium Transcontinental, Hawaii and International United Premium Plus (UPP) bedding, as well as pilot and flight attendant crew rest bedding. This change is part of a sustainability initiative to reduce single-use plastics on board. After this change, we will have no single-use plastics on our customer bedding in the premium cabins.”

United Airlines’ internal memo
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The next newsletter will be out tomorrow.



The Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) encompasses a network of airlines, businesses and professionals that are committed to providing a world-class airline experience for passengers around the globe. Every day, APEX members are improving every aspect of the airline experience, from designing, building and installing seating, entertainment and communications systems on commercial aircraft, to airport lounges and in-flight dining. Visit apex.aero for more information. APEX is professionally managed by Kellen Company, the premier global association management firm with offices and representation in the United States, Europe, China, the Middle East, India and Southeast Asia.


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