Big data and sustainable packaging key themes at Passenger Experience Week

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Passenger Experience Week continued on April 3 2019, as innovations aimed at aviation, rail and cruise operators were showcased to thousands of attendees. Taking place at the Hamburg Messe, international suppliers, exhibitors and VIPs – including Quebec’s Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade – took to the show floor looking for the latest advances in the passenger experience industry.

Spanning three co-located events – Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX), World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) and Passenger Technology Solutions (PTS) – day two covered hot topics across the passenger experience industry such as biometrics, big data and eco-friendly packaging.

Excellence in aircraft interiors

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, AIX continued to showcase the very best innovations in lighting, seating and inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC), with hundreds of exhibitors presenting their latest solutions to enhance the passenger experience.

Following Tuesday night’s Crystal Cabin Award ceremony, now in its 13th year, the finalists presented their winning solutions to an audience of aviation leaders in the CabinSpace Live Seminar Theatre at AIX. Paperclip Design was named as the winner of the Visionary Concepts category, with the award presented by event director Polly Magraw for the Peacock Suites, a unique configuration of first class cabins that can be customized into family compartments, with anything from a bunk bed, to a three-room luxury suite.

James Lee, the company’s founder, who has previously won a further three Crystal Cabin Awards, said, “These awards have helped me build a career in aviation and I’m delighted to have won this year’s Visionary Concept award, which rewards creativity and innovation.”

The CabinSpace Live Seminar Theatre saw suppliers and airlines discussing the future of inflight entertainment, with representatives from Burrana, Gogo Commercial Aviation, FlightPath 3D, Touch Inflight Solutions, TAP Air Portugal and Cirium explaining how airlines can realistically provide passengers with free inflight connectivity, as well as identifying new ways that intelligent content creation can improve passenger engagement and deliver ancillary revenue streams for airlines.

The show was this year attended by Quebec’s Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade, who was introduced to some of the show’s most exciting new innovations and products.

Sustainability onboard

Across the exhibition halls at WTCE, the Taste of Travel sessions attracted the biggest audience with ground-breaking moves forward in sustainability, plastics and onboard beverage services.

Sustainability was top of the agenda at yesterday’s WTCE when a panel, led by Philip Chadwick, editor of Packaging News, gave attendees an insight into the alternative materials available for packaging of products sold onboard, as well as environmentally-friendly alternatives for cutlery, straws and stirrers for hot drinks.

The panel, including Vassilios Georgeakopoulos, director of product innovation & concepts for LSG Group; Peter Rooke, Art and Science International; and Johannes Kloess, managing director of Galileo Watermark, offered advice and presented a picture of the future onboard environment as the aviation industry joins the global movement to reduce plastic use.

A second session introduced by Sajida Ismail, head of inflight product & service at British Airways, saw more than 150 attendees descend on the Taste of Travel Theatre to mark the celebration of the airline’s centenary year.

Led by British Airways’ executive chef, Mark Tazzioli, the session explored the airline’s £6.5 billion investment in upgrading its services, while samples from the airline’s new menu – prepared by Wolfgang Stoiber head chef at Do&Co – was met by applause from a captivated audience.

Elsewhere on the show floor, a number of new product launches were revealed, with exhibitor Buzz unveiling its luxury skincare line Sunday Riley and announcing its debut in United Airlines amenity kits this month.

New exhibitors to the show also revealed a wide range of exciting products for the aviation, rail and cruise industries. Benjamin & Blum unveiled its bottled cocktails that celebrate the golden era of classic cocktails; OMG – Oh! My Gim offered attendees a chance to sample its modern plant-based seaweed snack in four flavors including Sea Salt & Perilla Oil, Sea Salt & Spicy, Sea Salt & Vinegar and Sea Salt & Wasabi; while Chum Fruit Snacks showcased its 100% natural, healthy fruit snacks including apple, strawberry, berry and peach. The company also revealed its new 0.4oz packaging format, appealing to travel operators looking for lightweight and healthy snacks for onboard consumption.

Tech hacks

Passenger Technology Solutions saw the Pax Tech Hack continue as developers worked for another 24 hours. The show’s first ever hackathon – with supporting organization from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) – will conclude today as winning teams compete to take home a €5,000 cash prize at the final presentations, starting at 13:00 (CET) on Thursday, April 4.

PTS Seminar Theatre sessions included speakers from Open Jaw Technologies and Amadeus on the importance of blockchain, while Immfly co-founder Jimmy Martinez von Korff spoke about why today’s digital travelers need transport companies to ‘be there beyond the flight’. The topics in discussion covered seamless IFE from ground to sky, insights into using emerging technologies, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AI).

Passenger Experience Week

Andrea Lenke, customer experience manager at Lufthansa Group commented, “The co-located events allow us to look at the bigger picture – I work in passenger design so although I am here for AIX, I can learn information on the latest developments on the catering side should a project in this area arise.” Ethan Grossman from Alaska Airlines added that Passenger Experience Week is the ‘biggest and best event of its kind internationally’.

Katie Murphy, portfolio director for Passenger Experience Week said, “This year has already been a tremendous success – thousands of attendees have been impressed with the products and services showcased at Passenger Experience Week which reflects the innovation and commitment which so many exhibitors have shown throughout all three co-located shows.”

The final day of the event takes place today, with a chance for attendees to network and source new products, and to seek forecasts and insight in seminar sessions from some of the most experienced experts in the industry.

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Alasdair joined the team in 2015 and works across a number of titles and websites for UKi Media & Events. He has been a journalist for 10 years, covering everything from travel and technology to sport and entertainment, and brings a wealth of experience, and pedantry, to the team. Away from the office, he is a celebrated snood connoisseur, determined to cycle no matter what the weather decides to hurl from the sky, and driven by a quest to find the very finest, and more importantly the next, slice of cheesecake.

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