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October 17, 2023



Today's Top Stories


Qatar Airways Moves To Free Fast Wi-Fi With Starlink

Qatar Airways has partnered with Starlink to offer free inflight Wi-Fi to all passengers. This is a significant upgrade from their current paid service, which offers slower speeds. With Starlink, speeds are projected to be as high as 350 Mbps, based on early tests. While the launch date remains undisclosed, the service is in its pre-launch phase. However, Starlink’s aircraft dish may only be approved for most of Qatar Airways’ fleet by 2024. Starlinks low Earth orbit satellites ensure faster latency and encompass over 2,100 micro-satellites.

Executive Traveller | Related Qatar Airways Introducing Free Starlink Wi-Fi – One Mile at a Time



Southwest Makes A-List Status Easier To Earn, Adds Perks

Southwest Airlines is enhancing its A-List elite status program to make it easier for members to earn and enjoy benefits. Starting January 1, 2024, the requirements to achieve A-List and A-List Preferred status will be reduced. Credit card spending will earn tier qualifying points at double the rate, benefiting cardholders of select Southwest Rapid Rewards cards. From November 6, 2023, A-List Preferred members will get up to two complimentary drinks per flight. From spring 2024, members can combine cash and points for flight bookings.

One Mile At A Time | Related Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards program changes – USA Today



Star Alliance Opens Second Lounge At Paris Airport

Star Alliance has inaugurated its second lounge at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, spanning 1,300 sqm in Terminal 1. Open to first and business class passengers, Star Alliance Gold status holders, and specific club members, the lounge can house over 300 guests. Designed by Gensler, it offers runway views, French-inspired interiors, a welcome bar, wine bar spotlighting Gerard Bertrand wines, and a tea salon. Additional amenities encompass a winter garden, outdoor courtyard, shower suites, and private workspaces. The Alliance now boasts seven branded lounges globally.

Business Traveller | Related Star Alliance lounges at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport – Executive Traveller



CesiumAstro Plans 2025 Commercial Entry For Aero ESA After A320 Trial

CesiumAstro, after a successful demonstration of its dual-beam Ka-band active phased array terminal, is set to trial the hardware on an Airbus A320 next year, aiming to enter the commercial IFC market by early 2025. The electronically steerable antenna (ESA) will undergo multiple in-flight tests to assess performance and reliability. Unlike other ESAs, CesiumAstro’s offers simultaneous connectivity across varying satellite constellations. Despite current ESAs facing drag concerns, CesiumAstro's design is slim and they’re exploring integrated radome solutions to further minimize profile. The ESA can cater to both commercial and military frequencies.

Runway Girl Network | Related Safran sits pretty as Airbus breaks vertical integration of IFC – Runway Girl Network



Melbourne Airport To Expand Virgin Australia Arrivals Hall

Melbourne Airport is investing $81 million to expand the Virgin Australia arrivals hall, nearly doubling its size. The expansion, set for completion in 2025, will feature a new baggage carousel, upgrades to existing carousels, and a ground floor connection between Terminals 3 and 4. The enhancements aim to offer Virgin Australia passengers 85% more baggage carousel space and quicker baggage delivery. Virgin Australia is focusing on enhancing passenger experience, including introducing a baggage tracking tool and investing in aircraft cabin refurbishments.

Future Travel Experience | Related Melbourne Airport to pour $81m into Virgin baggage claim upgrades – Australian Aviation



Belgian Craftswomen Design Exclusive Amenity Kits For Brussels Airlines

Three Belgian entrepreneurs have collaborated to design a unique amenity kit for Brussels Airlines’ business class passengers on long-haul flights. The two-year project aims to elevate in-flight experiences by reflecting Belgian artistry. Handbag designer Griet Aesaert crafted the kit pouch, artist Elisia Poelman provided the imaginative inner linings inspired by her artwork, while Dr Barbara Geusens of Nomige added tailored skincare items. The airline will release new designs every six months, emphasizing Belgian excellence and creativity.

Aviation24.be | Related Emirates Unveils New Amenity Kits Highlighting Endangered Species – Breaking Travel News



New Premium Leisure Airline Beond Unveils Passenger Experience Concepts

Launching in November 2023, Beond is introducing itself as the “world’s first premium leisure airline,” connecting Europe, Asia, and the Middle East to the Maldives. Their Airbus A319 accommodates 44 passengers in a lay-flat setting. Beond is partnering with Clip for bespoke in-flight dining. The custom-made tableware features fine China, with golden watermark designs, crafted in collaboration with William Edwards and Chilewich. Cutlery, developed with Robert Welch, complements the luxurious onboard experience. Beyond dining, Beond offers 180-degree lie-flat seats, lounge access, and possible chauffeur services. Initial routes include Riyadh, Munich, and Zurich.

APEX | Related All-business Beond airline to commence operations in November – Business Traveller




Today’s picture comes from @nickyoungphotos, featuring an Air New Zealand Boeing 777-300ER aircraft at Auckland Airport.

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

> Tweet of the Day

#PaxEx: @FlyingBrussels Creates Boutique Hotel Experience with New Kits

The Afritraveller @Afritraveller


Association News

Register for FTE APEX Asia Expo – Preparing for Tomorrow’s World

FTE APEX Asia Expo, 8-9 November 2023, at the Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre in Singapore, is the largest free-to-attend passenger experience and business performance expo for the air transport industry. It will provide a unique platform for the industry's most innovative suppliers from across Asia and further afield to come together to showcase their latest products, services and solutions designed to help airlines improve end-to-end customer experiences, reduce costs, increase revenues, and enhance sustainability and operational efficiency. The networking and business development opportunities are immense, and our AI matchmaking app, powered by Swapcard, provides incredible access to the most progressive companies in the industry, with whom you can connect to help redefine your organization’s passenger experience and business performance strategies. Learn more and register.


> Quote of the Day

“With Starlink set to support the entire Qatar Airways fleet, passengers travelling between over 160 destinations around the world will be able to stay connected with the most advance high-speed internet service from space.”

Jonathan Hofeller, SpaceX’s Vice President of Starlink Commercial Sales
Read the article


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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