Tag Archives: British Airways

Love is in the Air This Valentine’s Day

With Groundhog Day behind us and St Patrick’s Day ahead, it makes sense to celebrate a cheesy holiday in February. Valentine’s Day puts love, roses and chocolates in the minds of some while others grimace and wait for it to end. Airports can be emotional places on the best of days and when matters of the heart are front and center February 14th, many airlines and airports smile and feel the love.

One airline is doing their part to ease the heartache of solo travel by facilitating match-making in flight. Australia’s JetStar is offering personalized feng shui analysis, and will pairup passengers with compatible zodiac signs, or at least those wishing to find love with a fellow traveler.

Singapore Airlines got in the spirit in 2014 at Singapore Changi Airport where passengers were offered heart-shaped chocolates and serenaded by crew members performing love songs. British Airways believes love is a shared experience and is running Valentine’s specials with romantic extras such as the “Perfect Kiss Guide” through the most romantic spots in Prague.

Whisking your sweetheart away for a romantic is weekend is grand, but if you want more than a holiday and you’d like to lock your travel buddy in for life, here are an array of in-flight proposals to help you execute the perfect question-popping technique in flight. And if surprising your significant other with an in-flight proposal isn’t romantic enough, you’ll love the marketing stunt by viral video experts WestJet. In an effort to promote their #WestJetLove contest this Valentine’s Day, the airline launched a video campaign, hosted by WestJet flight attendant Ian. The video follows the story of two men as they fly to Barbados with their girlfriends and plan their proposals. The catch: The men don’t know when they’ll be proposing, and Ian delights in playing with their emotions. In true WestJet form, the video is heart-warming, inspiring and most of all, romantic.

If you’re planning to travel this Valentine’s Day beware of the love in the air. You never know when it may waft over you and what the effects might be. All you can hope for is that it comes in the form of a chocolate.

Streaming in the Air


This article originally appeared in The Education Issue of APEX Experience.

Binge-watching began with the invention of DVD box sets more than a decade ago, and gained popularity as a natural result of DVR and on-demand services. Now, inexpensive streaming networks like Netflix and Hulu have made bingeing the norm – and not on the ground.

According to Maura Chacko, vice-president, development at Spafax, airline passengers expect to consume media at 30,000 feet in the same way they would on the ground.

“Passengers do request having not only the most current seasons of programming available onboard, but also box sets of full seasons, or as many episodes as possible … especially on long-haul flights,” says Chacko, who oversees the in-flight entertainment (IFE) television programming for many of North America’s major airlines.

For Chacko, binge-watching television onboard definitely “enhances the passenger experience.” Many airlines have responded by providing full-length television series on their IFE systems. Some offer streaming entertainment systems via onboard servers, allowing viewers to stream binge-worthy content on their own devices. The House of Cards, Netflix’s first original series to win an Emmy, has been added to several airlines’ IFE catalogues, including Delta Air Lines, United and Qantas. British Airways has launched its own in-flight HBO channel, offering favorites such as True Detective and Game of Thrones. Passengers don’t even have to wait for takeoff to tune in.

Qantas’ recently overhauled in-flight entertainment system, Q Entertainment, includes a higher volume of content, designed to accommodate passengers with binge-watching tendencies. Olive Wirth, Qantas Group executive of brand marketing and corporate affairs says, “This means … 100 hours more TV and movie content, 160 hours of box set viewing, triple the number of new release albums and double the number of blockbusters.”

Chacko confirms that an airline’s television package matters more than ever before. “The price of a flight is always going to be the main differentiator when passengers are picking one airline over the other, but if you have similarly priced flight tickets and one of them offers 300 TV shows while the other airline only has 20…” she trails off, concluding that passengers are more likely to pick the flight with more TV shows.

For many airlines, binge-worthy entertainment is only one step towards a more customized and connected IFE future.

See our list of binge-worthy programs to check out!

Airplane Name Game

What’s in an airplane name? Branding, creativity and popular opinion, turns out. We explore how the different names for aircraft and airliners are chosen. For more, read Cameron Watt’s “An Airplane Named Desire” in The Education Issue

MD11, Archiefnummer: 12028-008 © KLM (Photo: Capital Photos)

MD11, Archiefnummer: 12028-008 © KLM. Image via Capital Photos

All of KLM’s MD-11s were named after powerful women. Mother Teresa, Marie Curie and Florence Nightingale are among the 10 women chosen. The last MD-11 flight, made in October 2014, displayed the name “Audrey Hepburn.”

First Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner Begins Final Assembly

First Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner Begins Final Assembly

The Dreamliner, Boeing’s 787 twin-engine airliner, has become a household name, but it almost wasn’t given that moniker. Three other names – eLiner, Global Cruiser and Stratoclimber – were also on Boeing’s shortlist. If it had been up to Boeing’s employees, the 787 may have been named Global Cruiser, but after putting it to a public vote, Dreamliner won by a small margin.

Stephen Colbert. Image courtesy of Colbert for Senate.

Stephen Colbert. Image via Colbert for Senate.

Virgin America’s inaugural flight from New York to San Francisco in 2007 was on “Air Colbert” an A320 named after Stephen Colbert, the Comedy Central satirical-pundit.

A British Airways Concorde in flight. Image courtesy of Museum of Flight.

A British Airways Concorde in flight. Image via Museum of Flight.

Concorde’s name reflects treaty between the United Kingdom and France that led to its construction. A simple amalgamation of the French word “concorde” and the English word “concord,” meaning harmony, union and agreement in both languages. Ironically, the “e” was temporarily removed by UK Prime Minister Harold Macmillan in response to a dispute with French leader Charles de Gaulle, but it was permanently restored in 1967.


JetBlue promoted their in-flight “Fly-Fi” Internet service with an Airbus A320 repainted in binary code and called: CONNECTED TO 01000010 01001100 01010101 01000101. True to form, the binary translates to “blue.”

Elvis Presley boards his Convair named Lisa-Marie.

Elvis Presley boards his Convair named Lisa-Marie.

The Convair 880, a narrow-body jet produced by Convair (a division of General Dynamics) is simple and to-the-point, but its history is far from it. The airliner was initially called the Skylark, then had its named changed to Golden Arrow. Eventually name-bestowers settled upon the Convair 600 and then 880 – a reflection of the airlines top speeds in mph. Elvis Presley bought one in 1975 and named it Lisa Marie, after his daughter – and it could be yours now, if you’re in the celebrity plane memorabilia market.

Image courtesy of Icelandair

Image via Icelandair

Iceland’s volcanoes might be remembered for disrupting air traffic in 2010, but Icelandair makes the most of them: offering in-flight views of the lava-spewing formations and naming their entire fleet after them.

Major Airlines Celebrated Some Big Birthdays in 2014

Image via World Airline News
KLM celebrates 95 years. Image via World Airline News

Aviation is aging beautifully! In addition to the 100th anniversary of the first commercial flight taking place this year, 2014 saw some big milestones for a number of airlines. Over and above big cakes with lots of candles, we looked at how some airlines marked their birthdays.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, touted as the oldest airline, celebrated 95 years in October with a new “KLM 95 Years” logo on one of its MD-11 aircraft, as well as laying the first stone for a new KLM lounge at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

To celebrate 85 years, LAN Airlines treated passengers to an in-flight fashion show. Cabin crew modeled retro hostess uniforms from the 1950s onwards.

Delta Air Lines opened the Delta Flight Museum in Georgia to mark their 85th Anniversary of Passenger Service.

Hawaiian Airlines marked their 85th anniversary by distributing Wrigley’s gum, honoring a long-time tradition of assisting passengers with ear pressure.  South African Airways turned 80 this year, acknowledging various milestones throughout their history and announcing the addition of 20 new aircraft to their fleet.

Hawaiian Airlines celebrate 85 years with Wrigley’s gum

British Airways marked their 40th anniversary by releasing a list of top 40 trips to take before you’re 40, while Air Malta turned 40 with a ‘look back’ video. Virgin Atlantic’s 30th was celebrated by a new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner called ‘Birthday Girl’.

The industry has grown experientially since that initial single-passenger flight 100 years ago, with airlines now flying over three billion passengers per year.  Celebrations continue into the new year with more airlines achieving milestone anniversaries. In 2015:

  • Qantas: 95 years
  • American Airlines: 85 years
  • Air India: 85 years
  • TAP Portugal: 70 years
  • Thai Airways: 55 years
  • Air Canada: 50 years
  • Ryanair: 30 years
  • Emirates: 30 years
  • EasyJet: 20 years
  • JetBlue: 15 years
  • Virgin Blue/Virgin Australia: 15 years

The Top 10 Social Airlines of 2014

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 2.02.53 PM

In 2013 it was reported that airlines were the most social industry on the internet and there was no slowing down in 2014. Many airlines are fully engaged in social media, promoting contests and specials, cracking jokes and providing useful flight information. Predominantly on Facebook and Twitter, airlines are getting personal with their passengers.  The idea of social media as essential customer service has really taken off this year with best response times to customer queries happening in, sometimes less than, minutes. We took a look at what it takes to be top of class in 2014.

Simpliflying released their Best in Social Media a few months ago and Skift has their picks in. To determine our favorites we looked at the frequency of posts, engagement with passengers (unscheduled activity) and a healthy variety of content. 24/7 coverage was noted and bonus points awarded for posts that made us LOL (visit hashtag #AirNZHobbitNose for a quick giggle.)

Continuously Royal Dutch Airlines KLM surfaced with innovative campaigns, an ability to listen and understand passenger’s needs combined with a willingness to take risks to surprise and delight travelers! Their #happytohelp campaign saw a broad range of customers issues solved in real time through quick responses, creative measures and available resources.

Honorable mention goes to JetBlue. Their friendly and timely engagement demonstrates the value they place on happy customers. Kudos awarded for going over and above to respond to comments that don’t require responses in an effort to get to know travelers.

In no particular order, below is our list of ten of the best for 2014. Quirky videos, great hashtags and awesome giveaways are all elements of a successful social media campaign but the quality that flows through the list below is the connection to the passenger. Engagement is the ingredient many brands are missing and it’s what sets the leaders apart. The standards are set high for 2015 as airlines continue to wow passengers and staff through innovative social campaigns.


Delta Air Lines

Air New Zealand

Southwest Airlines

American Airlines


British Airways


Cebu Pacific Air

Virgin America

Show us your #OfficeInTheSky!

A photo posted by Virgin America (@virginamerica) on