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September 15, 2023



Today's Top Stories


Delta Air Lines Overhauls SkyMiles Elite Status, Sky Club Access

Delta Air Lines is making changes to its Delta SkyMiles and Delta Sky Club access based on customer feedback. The new requirements for SkyMiles Medallion status will be higher than the current requirements. Delta is also introducing access restrictions to the Delta Sky Club, effective 2024 and 2025, to address crowding issues. These changes include new visit allotments for Delta Amex Reserve Card and Amex Platinum Card holders, and removal of Sky Club access for Delta basic economy fare passengers and Delta Amex Platinum Card holders. The changes aim to preserve the exclusivity and experience of loyal customers.

One Mile At A Time | Related Delta Loyalty Program Changes Reward Biggest Spenders Most - WSJ



Airline Industry Executives Warn of Prolonged Air Travel Disruptions

Airline executives warn that the shortage of air traffic controllers, which could cause travel disruptions, is unlikely to ease soon, and might take 5-7 years to break even. The US faces a staffing shortage of nearly 3,000 positions, affecting recovery from weather disruptions. Airlines for America chief Nick Calio proposed university certification programs and reducing flight levels at major New York-area airports to alleviate the problem. The FAA had requested a 10% reduction of summer flights at major airports, but JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said it might not be enough and emphasized the importance of advanced notice from the FAA.

Entrepreneur | Related Airline executives raise alarm that air traffic controller shortage will continue disrupting flights for years - CNN



KLM Opens Newly-Remodeled Crown Lounge At George Bush Intercontinental Airport

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines recently unveiled renovations to its Crown Lounge at Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport. The 4,000-square-foot lounge, next to gate D16, features over 100 seats, new flooring, wallpaper, fixtures, upgraded bathrooms, and ergonomically designed furniture made from eco-leather and recyclable materials. The lounge also displays the Delft Blue house collection and artwork reflecting KLM’s cabin interior design. Open from 6:00 to 21:00, it offers rotating meals and various drinks, and is accessible to KLM, Air France, and SkyTeam partners’ passengers.

Simple Flying | Related Capital One Opens A 2nd Lounge At Dulles International Airport - Simple Flying



Seven Leading Airlines Revamp Business Class Seats

The business class experience has evolved significantly, with some airlines even abandoning first class. Leading airlines are offering suites with sliding doors, more space, bigger screens, and personal closets. For example, Cathay Pacific’s ‘Aria’ suite, Air India’s refurbished business and first class suites, and Lufthansa’s ‘Allegris’ business class all offer privacy and modern amenities like wireless charging and Bluetooth audio streaming. Etihad Airways, Air New Zealand, American Airlines, and Qantas are also upgrading their business class offerings with features like private suites, spacious side shelves, sliding privacy panels, and wireless device charging. These upgrades reflect a trend towards enhancing privacy, comfort, and technology in business class travel.

Executive Traveller | Related United Introducing New Polaris 2.0 Business Class Product This Month - View from the Wing



Virgin Australia Launches Luggage Tracking Tool

Virgin Australia has launched the nation’s first airline baggage tracking tool on more than two-thirds of its domestic network. This follows a successful pilot in May 2023 and is part of a $400 million investment in digital innovation and customer experience. Guests can track their checked baggage via the Virgin Australia app, which is expected to reduce fear of losing bags and increase guests checking in baggage. The initiative is part of a broader transformation program which includes a $110 million upgrade of the interior cabins of its Boeing 737 fleet, new websites, app upgrades, and other first-to-market technology.

Travel Daily Media | Related Virgin rolls out bag-tracking tech, Qantas to follow - Executive Traveller



Emirates Celebrates Oktoberfest On Board

Emirates is celebrating Oktoberfest on flights to and from Munich, Hamburg, Düsseldorf, and Frankfurt from 16 September to 3 October. The flights will feature Bavarian starters, main courses, and desserts in Economy, Business, and First Class. Additionally, snacks will be available in the A380 onboard lounge, and classic Oktoberfest dishes and Loewenbrau beer will be offered at airport lounges. The menu includes a variety of traditional German dishes like Obatzda, fleischpflanzerl, apfelstrudel, and German apple cake, along with a selection of other snacks and desserts in the onboard lounges.

Inflight | Related Enjoy Oktoberfest in the skies as Emirates celebrates German festival - Gulf News



Avianca Adds Braille Signage Onboard Its Aircraft

Avianca has introduced the Braille system on its airplanes to improve passenger experience and accessibility for visually impaired travelers. Currently, three planes are equipped with Braille signs at key points, and more are planned as part of the Avianca Accessible program. This initiative is part of a broader effort in the airline industry to make travel more accessible. United Airlines, an Avianca partner, also plans to introduce Braille systems to its entire fleet by 2026.

Simple Flying | Related United Becomes First US Airline to Add Braille to Aircraft Cabin Interiors - Metro Airport News




Today’s picture comes from @chuck.belanger.70, featuring a Sun Country Airlines Boeing 737 aircraft arriving at Fort Wayne International Airport.

Use #APEXPOTD for the chance to be featured in the APEX Daily Experience newsletter!

> Tweet of the Day

✈️ ✅ Rare aircraft type alert! 🚨 ✅ Finally scored a Polaris #PaxEx seat on this 4hr segment.

WTC @FormerlyWTC


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

“The same weather that in the past we could have managed through now can cause hundreds of delays or hundreds of even cancelations.”

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby
Read the article


The next newsletter will be out on Monday.



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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