Tag Archives: delta air lines

High-Speed In-Flight Connectivity Helps US Carriers Compete in the Latin American and Caribbean Market

Delta Air Lines and Gogo have announced the installation of Gogo’s next generation 2Ku technology, which can deliver peak speeds of 70 Mbps, on 250 of the airline’s narrow-body aircraft serving long-haul domestic, Latin American and Caribbean routes and on new international aircraft as they enter the fleet. Installation of 2Ku systems on existing aircraft will begin in 2016.

Steven Nolan, director of Public Relations & Communications at Gogo, tells us that use of this service “definitely leans towards the business traveller today,” but there are also many applications of the technology that would also be attractive to those passengers headed for the beaches. “Social media is certainly a big activity, but passengers can definitely use the service to research and access destination related information,” Nolan points out.

This new Gogo installation is strategically advantageous to Delta Air Lines, as spokesperson, Paul Skrbec, explains. With the current air-to-ground systems, “connectivity ends once the aircraft goes beyond approximately 100 miles outside of the continental US,” he tells us. But the higher-speed 2Ku connection is delivered by satellite, which extends the range of coverage. “This phase introduced a shift to satellite-based service rather than air-to-ground largely because aircraft needed to be connected while they routed over large bodies of water,” he says.

Skrbec tells us that Delta’s passengers enjoy using Gogo’s services whether they’re traveling for business or pleasure, though he indicates that it is impossible to track specific numbers of passengers using the connection for each of these applications at this time.

“This phase introduced a shift to satellite-based service rather than air-to-ground largely because aircraft needed to be connected while they routed over large bodies of water.”– Paul Skrbec, Delta Air Lines

“Feedback from our customers tells us that offering in-flight Wi-Fi is important regardless of the reason why they are traveling or activities they use Wi-Fi for in flight,” says Skrbec. “Our goal is to improve their travel by offering a service that is helpful.”

JetBlue, which offers Fly-Fi high-speed Internet connections on its aircraft, has recently restated its commitment to the Latin American and Caribbean market, including further expansion of its charter services to Cuba.

By adding Wi-Fi service to its Latin American and Caribbean routes, Delta is now better poised to compete in this hot market. “Latin America and the Caribbean continue to be an important focus for Delta. As a global carrier, having a strong network at all points of the globe is important to ensure customers have the most options when they travel,” says Skrbec.

Networking In the Clouds

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Business travel can be time consuming. Often, hours spent in flight, without a solid Internet connection and little space, can be seen as time wasted. In an effort to evolve the flying experience and make the most of time spent in the air, some airlines are attempting to mix business and flying, creating opportunities to strengthen existing business relationships while also creating new ones. Even at 30,000 feet, there are valuable opportunities for networking with business travelers in the same situation.

Following the launch of their TakeOff Mode app for anxious flyers, last week, All Nippon Airways  announced the launch of Flight Connections. The website connects passengers’ LinkedIn profiles with ANA routes, showcasing a flight map of their global business connections. The aim is to encourage business travelers to visit more often, turning online connections into face-to-face interactions.

Also partnering with LinkedIn, last year Delta Air Lines launched their Innovation Class concept, which allows young and aspiring professionals the opportunity to spend a flight chatting with a leader in their field. Applications are vetted through LinkedIn by Delta Air Lines and selected applicants are awarded the undivided attention for the length of their flight. Multi-tasking mentors are able to share their expertise with a relevant seat-mate without adding another appointment to the agenda.

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And the networking opportunities aren’t limited to the sky. Some airports are helping business travelers take advantage of their layover time and offering up dedicated terminal space for networking. Paris Orly Airport has launched Espace business,” a free lounge area for business travelers who wish to network with partners or potential clients traveling at the same time. The service is free and offers users complimentary Wi-Fi and access to business news and content. San Francisco International Airport offers travelers a space they call #Converge@flySFO, a lounge dedicated to the exchange of ideas on technology, business or anything your fellow travelers may want to discuss.

Making flight connections isn’t a new concept. Several mobile applications like SeatID Travel, Planely, KLM’s Meet & Seat and Virgin America’s Here on Biz have been introduced in recent years, providing passengers with the opportunity to choose flights and seats based on the social media profiles of fellow passengers. Some applications allow access to other passenger’s profiles (with their permission) that travelers aren’t personally connected with. This is particularly valuable when traveling to or from conferences, allowing networking to continue off the tradeshow floor.

For busy professionals, the opportunity to use flights efficiently is valuable. These applications may also come in handy when looking for a seat mate who has indicated they’re planning to hunker down with their laptop and not make conversation.

For apps that facilitate connections for pleasure rather than business check out APEX’s Top 10 Social Networking Apps and Sites for Travelers.

Kids Flying Alone Can Get Everything But Plastic Wings

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Flying alone is probably a kid’s biggest dream, as well as a parent’s biggest nightmare. These days, the airlines have taken the blind adventure out of flying alone (if you’re a kid), as well as the uncertainty (if you’re a parent). While it used to be a case of pointing your kid toward the nearest airline staff member and racing off towards an adults-only weekend, today’s airlines have mandatory programs in place for unaccompanied children flying alone.

Generally, kids under five years old cannot fly by themselves, and those under 15 have to fly under an Unaccompanied Minors (UM) program. Such programs vary by airline, but none seem to include those awesome plastic pilot’s wings. Don’t you wish you kept yours? It’s too late now.

The cost for sending your child off on her own air adventure in the US ranges from $25 each way (Alaska Airlines, who for some reason will not fly a UM to Sun Valley, Idaho) to $150 (United Airlines, which describes it as a fee for “extra handling” – your kid may bristle at the nomenclature). You’ll often get free food or checked luggage thrown in. Some airlines offer special swag bags and handheld video game devices for UM passengers, but parents will value peace of mind most.

To keep young flyers occupied between security and boarding, Delta offers Sky Zones – dedicated UM lounges – at airports such as JFK, ATL, DEN, and SLC. Now your kids won’t have to re-enact scenes from Unaccompanied Minors.

If you’re traveling with kids and end up with extra time on your hands, some airports offer play areas so the little ones can blow off some steam. While San Francisco’s nightlife is grownup friendly, its airport is all about the kids: SFO boasts 11 nurseries and three play areas, as well as kids’ menus at several of its restaurants. PDX in Portland has two kids’ play areas, including one before you reach security – ideal if you’re picking someone up and have to wait. Chicago O’Hare International Airport has Kids on the Fly, which is as much a work of art as it is a playground.

KIDS ON A PLANE

Once aboard, forcing unaccompanied minors to serve coffee and peanuts is heavily frowned-upon, so airlines will often provide specialized in-flight entertainment for their young solo passengers. Emirates, for example, offers a Flying Camera channel that gives avgeeks-in-training a pilot’s-eye view of the flight. In addition to special in-flight programming for kids and teens, Lufthansa stocks board games, kids magazines and even offers young passengers a logbook for collecting information about the flight.

Airline childcare services are not limited to young ones flying by themselves. Sometimes you need an extra hand while flying with your brood; hey, maybe you left your smart cradle at home. Etihad Airways offers a Flying Nanny service to save your sanity. These airborne nannies don’t need flying umbrellas, since they’re in the cabin with you – and they can also keep an eye on unaccompanied minors.

Children’s needs and wants have been integrated into the travel experience better than ever before. Now, if only they’d bring back those plastic wings…

Streaming in the Air

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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!

10 Airline #TBTs That Will Teach You Something

Airlines like to reminisce about their shining moments just as much as we do. The #TBT, or #ThrowbackThursday, hashtag offers them a chance to share interesting historical tidbits, company milestones  – and maybe throw in the  odd humble brag every now and then. Click on the photos to begin the slideshow.

Curious for more on how airlines have capitalized on the #TBT hashtag? Read “Throwback Weekly” in The Education Issue.