Hello and welcome to the PaxEx Update, bringing you biggest headlines on what’s changed for passenger experience in the past week.
First up is inflight connectivity where Inmarsat made the big news of the week, announcing that the SAS A350s will fly with the GX Aviation product on board starting later this year when the first aircraft for that fleet is delivered. Even bigger news, however, is that Inmarsat plans to add polar coverage north of the 65th parallel thanks to a partnership with Norway’s Arctic Satellite Broadband Mission. That news adds coverage across the North Pole, where enough planes fly offline that it could shift the market dynamics.
Next up, some significant changes to economy class dining.
United Airlines made headlines early in the week when it announced its stroopwafel snacks would be served on all domestic flights, regardless of departure time. Previously they were only available for morning departures. The move simplifies catering plans and gives passengers what they seem to want.
Delta followed up by announcing a major revamp to its long-haul economy class service, adding a departure cocktail plus mix-and-match choices more commonly found in the premium cabins. The shift extends the service window, a potential drawback especially for shorter transatlantic flights, but overall it appears a nice upgrade.
Finally, JetBlue launched a new program where it will give its Mosaic elite members a meal voucher on the ground when flights are delayed more than two hours. Everyone hopes this is a benefit that never gets used, but it is a nice nod for those affected.
Switching to the frequent flyer space, Singapore Airlines used the word “enhancement” in a product announcement which can only mean bad things for its program members. The carrier will cull its award waitlist starting at two weeks from departure, ending the ability for a close-in seat opening up for those travelers. Presumably this targets many who played games with refundable tickets as well as helping drive more revenue on last-minute sales of seats.
Come back next week for more updates on what’s new in the passenger experience world!