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October 22, 2020



Today's Top Stories


American Airlines Tests Mobile ID Verification

Passengers flying American Airlines at Dallas/Fort Worth International (DFW) and Reagan National (DCA) airports have a new option for validating their identity when checking a bag. The carrier, in partnership with a third-party provider, will allow for app-based ID verification as travelers drop off checked bags. The process allows them to avoid handing ID to an agent, another step towards the contactless journey experience. American is cooperating with the TSA to evaluate the technology in advance of potentially expanding deployment. The carrier has also made other digital improvements, including customer support chat and travel credits accessible directly in the app.

American Airlines | Related There’s an App for That: New App Clips and Widgets Added to American Airlines Mobile App — American Airlines



Spirit Airlines Revamps Loyalty Program

Spirit Airlines will launch a significant overhaul of its Free Spirit loyalty program on January 21, 2021. The new program prolongs the validity of points and offers flexible ways to redeem them, while adding more generous rewards. One of the key differences in the new program is that accumulation of points will be based on dollars instead of miles. Eligible members can pool their points with up to eight others to earn reward flights. “Families and friends who vacation together should be able to use their points together," said Ted Christie, Spirit Airlines president and CEO.

APEX Media | Related Spirit Airlines Overhauls Airports with Cutting-Edge Automation Aimed at Limiting Face-to-Face Interaction and Expediting Check-in — Spirit



Narita Launches Airport COVID Testing Facility

Tokyo’s Narita Airport is the latest to establish a COVID testing facility, offering travelers quick results in advance of departure. The new service will be provided in cooperation with the Nippon Medical School Foundation, offering tests 24/7 and results within two hours. The PCR test service can handle up to 700 passengers per day and can scale up as demand rises. Prices start at $380 if booked in advance and increase for walk-in or after-hours timing.

Japan Times | Related Paris airports to introduce antigenic Covid-19 tests — Connexion France



SITA Smart Border Kiosks Planned for Schengen Zone Updates

Industry technology provider SITA is ramping up its solutions to support the new EU Schengen Zone border rules slated to take effect from 2022. The TS6 Automated Border Control Kiosks are a flexible platform, able to accommodate the rules today and future updates. This includes the capture and validation of biometric details as well as both digital data sharing and paper receipts. Ultimately the goal is to allow passengers to pass through the gates using only facial recognition, tied to government-issued identification, as they enter and leave the Schengen Zone.

Passenger Terminal Today | Related EU shuts door to travel from Canada, lets Singapore in — BNN Bloomberg



Microsoft Plans SAFs Purchase With Alaska Airlines

Microsoft will offset the cost of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAFs) for Alaska Airlines as part of an update to the company’s corporate travel with the carrier. The company will purchase credits directly from SAF supplier SkyNRG and then transfer them to the airline to be redeemed on flights from Seattle to Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose, the three largest markets for Microsoft. The approach is a step beyond carbon offsets for travel, as it hopes to reduce the emissions by up to 75% before they occur, rather than buying credits against emissions made.

The Verge | Related Red Rock and Shell Sign Agreement to Market and Distribute Low-Carbon, Sustainable Aviation and Diesel Fuel — Aviation Pros



Air Canada Expands Jetz All-Business Class Routes This Winter

Air Canada is extending its all-premium Jetz service to multiple destinations this winter. The dedicated sub-fleet of A319 aircraft will carry passengers to eight warm weather markets from a trio of Canadian gateways. The planes typically transport professional sports teams and musical groups while on tour. With those markets gone, however, Air Canada hopes to deliver a more comfortable passenger experience and a version of in-flight social distancing, without blocking seats on board. Bookings are now open, with the initial tranche of Jetz flights operating during the Christmas period between December 12, 2020 and January 6, 2021.

Air Canada | Related Air Canada launches all-premium Jetz flights for winter leisure travel — Paxex.aero



Air Astana Launches Signature Scent

Air Astana’s in-flight hand soap and facial mist are sporting a new scent, designed specifically for the carrier by Galileo Watermark. With musky base notes and hints of cedarwood, an aromatic heart of rose and rosemary and top notes of birch and bergamot, the elements are anchored in the Altai mountain region. The carrier hopes that the signature scent will provide passengers a clear transition from the airport terminal to the flight, indicating that the relaxing portion of the journey has begun.

Amenities Magazine | Related John Horsfall Launches Sustainable Scented Airline Pillows — APEX Media





Before earbuds and noise-canceling headsets, passengers used stethoscope-like devices where sound traveled through a hollow plastic tube.

This week, we're featuring throwbacks from past issues of #APEXExperienceMag. Read the latest issue here.

> Tweet of the Day

Our amazing daughter going through @ATLairport while in virtual school on the #airport #PlaneTrain continuing school with gate-to-gate connectivity via @SouthwestAir @GlobalEagle. Great to travel with my family to @LASairport for a long weekend of outdoor activities!

Dr. Joe Leader @joepleader


Association News

APEX Announces 2020-2021 Board of Directors

During APEX's first digital Annual General Meeting yesterday, the association announced the makeup of the 2020-2021 Board of Directors. Those re-elected include President: Anton Vidgen, Air Canada; Vice President: Andres Castañeda, Aeroméxico; Treasurer: Joan Filippini, Paramount Pictures; Director: Akira Mitsumasu, Japan Airlines and Director: Zina Neophytou, BBC Studios. Stefan List, Airbus was elected as a new Board Director.


Find Out More About GX+ North America on The Weekly Wrap

This episode of The Weekly Wrap features an exciting interview with president of Inmarsat Aviation, Philip Balaam, about how Inmarsat’s GX+ North America is offering the aviation community a premium in-flight connectivity experience. Also up for discussion are Seamless Air Alliance’s latest guidelines for in-flight connectivity hardware and Spirit’s new loyalty program. Subscribe to the APEX YouTube channel or watch previous episodes.


> Quote of the Day

"Our open architecture network delivers unique value with the redundancy and resiliency needed to scale a premium internet service to every passenger, from gate to gate."

Mark Richman, Intelsat
Read the article


Until 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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