Welcome to the PaxEx Update, bringing you the top headlines for passenger experience in the week ending August 30, 2019.
LATAM unveiled its first 777-300ER with the new Premium Business cabin on board. The carrier chose the Vantage XL seat from Thompson Aero and an updated IFE solution from Panasonic Avionics for the plane. All ten of the 777s in the fleet are slated for retrofit, as are the 767s. New delivery 787s and A350s will also have the new seats on board.
At the MAKS air show in Moscow Irkut put its MC-21 single-aisle aircraft on display with a fitted passenger interior. The plane features the widest fuselage in its class, leading to a cabin layout with wider seats and aisles. The first class cabin shows off a pair of catering trolleys next to each other as a way of bragging about the width. Jumbo sized overhead bins, too. Beyond that, however, the interior looks rather dated, with the seats and IFE not particularly exciting.
Wrapping up the cabin discussion, Spirit Airlines confirmed that its next batch of new planes will include an updated seat and even a full-sized tray table. Sometimes it is the little things that really make a difference.
India’s push for inflight connectivity inches ever closer, though still no guarantees. The government published a rules update that allows for the use of electronics in the cabin on a WiFi network, assuming the aircraft and WiFi systems are certified for such and the pilot approves. That rule takes effect in mid-September but timing for an aircraft to actually activate connectivity remains a 2020 focus.
We talked a couple weeks ago about Southwest Airlines dropping its Newark operations. That gap is to be backfilled by Frontier, with a 15-destination route plan launching in mid-November. The carrier will avoid peak afternoon flights, hoping that helps keep its operations running with fewer delays.
On the loyalty front, United Airlines announced that its MileagePlus points no longer expire. The move reverses a policy set at the beginning of the decade and puts United in company with Delta and JetBlue for US airlines with a more generous view on how a points balance should behave, even if the impact to actual loyalty is unclear.
We’re taking the show on the road next week with a visit to the World Aviation Festival in London. Keep an eye on PaxEx.Aero all week long for news from the show!