Six new amenity kits for premium travellers

American Airlines amenity kits

QANTAS

INTRODUCED Beginning May 1, 2017

CABIN CLASS Business class

AVAILABILITY International flights

COLLABORATORS 16 Australian creatives 

INFO Announced last week, Qantas’ new range of international business class amenity kits have been developed in collaboration with 16 Australian artists, photographers and what it calls “digital influencers”. Each of the kits will feature artwork from one of the collaborators (eight types each for men and for women), with two designs launching every few months.

qantas.com

JAPAN AIRLINES

INTRODUCED March 28, 2017 

CABIN CLASS First class

AVAILABILITY International flights

COLLABORATORS Porsche Design

INFO Japan Airlines’ new international first class amenity kits are available in two colours – red for flights from Japan and grey for flights to Japan. The kits themselves feature the essentials, including a toothbrush kit, mouthwash, ear plugs, eye mask, brush, moisture mask, and pocket tissue. However in addition to these, hand and body cream, facial spray and lip balm all designed by German lifestyle brand Porsche Design are also included. And while not technically part of the new amenity kits, a separate Porsche Design top and trousers are also offered in their own black case.

jal.com

AIR FRANCE

INTRODUCED February 20, 2017 

CABIN CLASS First and business class

AVAILABILITY Long-haul flights

COLLABORATORS Clarins and Clarita

INFO Available until August, Air France’s latest amenity kits for its premier customers come in two varieties. The business class bags come in four colours – blue, grey, orange and turquoise – and include Clarins products, such as moisturiser. Meanwhile the first class offering is a rectangular box coming in light blue or orange and featuring Carita’s Lagoon skincare products.

Meanwhile back in January, Air France also unveiled new black and yellow/red amenity kits for its premium economy passengers onboard its long-haul flights.

airfrance.com

HONG KONG AIRLINES

INTRODUCED February 16, 2017

CABIN CLASS Business class

AVAILABILITY Long-haul flights

COLLABORATORS Clip, Ricebowl Republic, L’Occitane

INFO Another carrier that has partnered together with local creatives to develop their amenity kits, Hong Kong Airlines began offering four different bags each bearing unique designs depicting notable Hong Kong sights and landmarks. These include the Hong Kong skyline, Star Ferry, Hong Kong Tramways and a rickshaw.

In-flight experience specialists clip and local design house Ricebowl Republic developed these bags together with Hong Kong Airlines. Meanwhile, French skincare brand L’Occitane has lent its shea butter ultra-rich lip balm and hand cream to the ensemble.

hongkongairlines.com

AMERICAN AIRLINES

INTRODUCED January 2017 

CABIN CLASS First and business class

AVAILABILITY Long haul and transcontinental flights between New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles

COLLABORATORS Cole Haan, 3Lab, CO Bigelow, and Clark’s Botanicals

INFO This is the second time American Airlines has collaborated with designer Cole Haan to develop its amenity kits. Arguably the most sleek and professional looking kits on this list, they also feature products from 3Lab, CO Bigelow and Clark’s Botanicals products, much like its previous iteration.

The kits are available in grey, burgundy, navy and black, with the first class version able to be reused as a tablet holder. First class travellers also now get a new set of grey and navy pyjamas.

aa.com

QATAR AIRWAYS

INTRODUCED December 2016 

CABIN CLASS First and business class

AVAILABILITY Long-haul flights

COLLABORATORS Brics and Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio

INFO Qatar Airways has introduced a medley of different amenity kits since December last year, including separate bags for economy class passengers, short- and medium-haul passengers, and first and business class passengers. Of these, the latter are undoubtedly the most impressive, developed in collaboration with fashion house Brics and Italian skincare brand Castello Monte Vibiano Vecchio.

The first class offerings follow Brics’ Bellagio series of bags with two leather strips across them, while the business class kits follow its Sintesis line of trolley bags. Four colours are available in total, with black and grey offered for men and burgundy and white for women. Inside are lip balm, facial mist, and anti-ageing moisturiser.

qatarairways.com

American Airlines to end New York JFK-San Juan service

San Juan, Puerto Rico

American Airlines to end New York JFK-San Juan service

The carrier has served the Puerto Rican capital from JFK for more than 46 years

American Airlines is to cease flying from New York JFK to San Juan in Puerto Rico, a route it has served for more than 46 years.

USA Today (https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/flights/todayinthesky/2017/04/03/american-airlines-ending-new-york-jfk-san-juan-flights/99979246/) has reported that American will discontinue its twice-daily JFK nonstop service to San Juan on August 22. The airline, which has flown JFK-SJU daily since it acquired Trans Caribbean Airlines in 1971, called the move “a difficult decision” based on route profitability and supply and demand.

San Juan was once a major Caribbean hub for American, but the airline has been cutting back service to the airport and across the Caribbean for several years now. Jet Blue and, to a lesser extent, Southwest Airlines have moved to increase their Caribbean service in response. For example, JetBlue – which has its biggest hub at JFK – now flies five round trips daily to San Juan.

Delta Air Lines also has four daily flights between the two airports, while United serves the Puerto Rican capital from its hub at nearby Newark.

American will still operate a total of 21 flights daily to San Juan from its other hubs in Charlotte, Chicago O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami and Philadelphia.

aa.com

American Airlines reportedly in discussions to buy stake in China Southern

China Southern Airbus 380

American Airlines is reportedly in advanced talks with China Southern Airlines regarding purchasing a stake in the Chinese carrier, according to the South China Morning Post.

The Hong Kong newspaper is reporting that the negotiations are centred about an approximately US$200 million investment by American Airlines in the Hong Kong-listed shares of China Southern. The Chinese airline, which has an estimated market value of about US$10 million, is the largest airline in Asia in terms of passenger numbers, while American Airlines is currently the world’s largest airline.

The purchase would give American Airlines – a member of the Oneworld alliance that doesn’t currently have a mainland Chinese partner airline – a stronger foothold in the Chinese aviation market, which the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts will become the world’s largest aviation market by 2024.

In 2015, Skyteam member Delta Air Lines purchased a US$450 million stake in China Eastern Airlines. China Southern is also a member of the Skyteam alliance.

American Airlines has been looking to expand its presence in the Asia-Pacific region over the past few years. In November last year, the carrier was dealt a blow when the US Department of Transportation blocked a bid for American Airlines and Qantas to expand their joint venture.

China Southern meanwhile has been expanding its fleet, having placed an order for 12 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft last October.

aa.com; csair.com

Six creative in-flight safety videos

Air New Zealand's Summer of Safety in-flight video

Air New Zealand has become something of a leader in the field of in-flight safety videos, ever since it unveiled its Lord of the Rings-inspired “An Unexpected Briefing” video in 2012. Now, the airline has just released its newest precautionary film – a star-studded Kiwi-style road trip titled Summer of Safety.

But the southern-hemispheric airline is far from the only carrier to launch interesting, innovative and sometimes purely entertaining in-flight safety videos. Here are six of those released recently:

Turkish Airlines – digital illusions

Released: November 2016

YouTube star Zach King, known for his short magic videos, joined Turkish Airlines last month for its new safety video. In it, the illusionist plays with perspective and video editing to create a safety film that has him fold laptops into pieces of paper, pull a fastened seatbelt through his waist and don a life vest by literally throwing on a t-shirt emblazoned with the image of a life vest.

Air New Zealand – Hollywood

Released: July 2016

Continuing the theme of block-buster movies set by its 2012 safety flick, Air New Zealand developed a Hollywood-themed video earlier this year starring actress Anna Faris (Brokeback Mountain and the Scary Movie franchise) and New Zealand actor Rhys Darby (of Flight of the Conchords fame). Starting as a police action spoof, the video quickly runs the gamut of Hollywood genres, from romance to horror to Western.

Pegasus Airlines – Marvel

Released: June 2015

Another Turkish carrier to make the list, Pegasus Airlines went a similar direction to Air New Zealand, employing the power of Hollywood for its in-flight video, namely the super-human characters from Disney’s Marvel universe. Partnering with Disney Turkey, the airline created a video featuring well-known Marvel characters including Thor, Black Widow, Captain America, Iron Man, Loki, Hawkeye and Odin explaining airline safety regulations. Though it should be noted the original Hollywood actors that play the superheroes in Marvel’s blockbuster films did not reprise their roles for the safety demonstration.

American Airlines – Futuristic flying

Released: September 2016

With its sterile white backdrops, mirrored hallways and interactive moving sets, American Airlines’ clip resembles the beginnings of a sci-fi space adventure as much as an airline safety video. Directed by Jeff Tremaine, who’s been behind commercials including Bud Light’s Super Bowl “Up for Whatever” ad, the video was intended to offer passengers a safety demonstration that was “an unexpected treat for the eyes and ears”.

Qantas – In the Outback

Released: February 2016

Much like Air New Zealand’s “Summer of Safety” video, Qantas’ instructional video takes the opportunity to showcase the activities and natural splendour offered by the airline’s host country. Scenarios include a life-jacket demonstration at Bondi Icebergs, brace position demos during a yoga class on Hamilton Island and an emergency slide evacuation at Josephine Falls in Queensland.

Delta Air Lines – Play safely

Released: October 2016

If Pegasus’ Marvel-themed video felt as though it was geared for a more millennial audience, Delta’s video game-themed instructional film is perhaps even more so. Featuring references to modern and classic video game genres, including sports simulators, arcade-style fighting games and 2D platformers, the video is easily among the more creative takes on the traditional safety demo to come out in recent years.

Delta adds nonstop Washington DC-Los Angeles route

Delta Airlines flight

 

Delta Airlines has announced a new service between Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Los Angeles International Airport beginning April 24 2017.

The once-daily service will be the first nonstop route between the two locations to offer a fully flat seat in first class.

In addition to the fully flat seat, first class customers get accelerated check in and security and Premium Boarding. Drinks and in-flight meals are complimentary.

Ranjan Goswami, Delta Vice President of Sales, West Region, said: “We know that for Delta customers in L.A. and D.C., ‘how’ you get there is important. As the only airline to offer full flat-bed seats between these markets, our customers will arrive rested and productive – and it’s that premium distinction in the customer experience that differentiates Delta.”

The flights will be operated on Boeing 757-200 and offer 16 fully reclining first class seats, 44 Delta Comfort premium economy seats, and 108 standard economy seats.

First class is configured in four rows of four seats, two on each side of the aisle, with a seat pitch of 76 inches (193cm). Delta Comfort and economy each sit three on each side of the aisle. Seat pitch in Delta Comfort is 35 inches (89cm) and seat pitch in economy is 31 inches (79cm).

Rates begin at $177.10 one-way in economy, or $604.85 in first.

delta.com

American Airlines to serve Dallas–Seoul Incheon with B787-9

American Airlines premium economy seat

American Airlines intends to operate the B787-9 on its Dallas/Fort Worth–Seoul Incheon route starting next year.

According to routesonline.com, the Oneworld member currently operates the B777-200ER on the route, but will replace this with the Dreamliner from February 16, 2017.

The decision means that American Airlines can introduce a premium economy product on its flights to Seoul.

There will be 30 seats in business (1-2-1), 21 in premium economy (2-3-2) and 234 in Main Cabin economy (3-3-3), of which 27 have been designated as Main Cabin Extra seats with up to six inches of extra legroom.

Service times will remain unchanged, with flight AA281 departing Dallas daily at 1050 and arriving in Seoul at 1625 the following day. The return flight, AA280 takes off from Incheon at 1830 before touching back down in Dallas at 0610.

For more information, visit aa.com

American Airlines launches non-stop Hong Kong to Los Angeles flights

American Airlines B777-300ER

American Airlines today launched direct flights between Hong Kong and Los Angeles (LAX) Terminal 4.

The new route is American’s second from Hong Kong to the United States and joins the daily Dallas /Fort Worth service. It is also American’s 14th Asia Pacific service.

The plan is for this to become an immediate codeshare with Cathay Pacific’s own LAX flight.

The new service offers connections to more than 220 daily flights reaching over 70 destinations from Los Angeles Terminal 4.

American Airlines is promising easy connections using the “Terminal 4 Connector”, which allows passengers to go between Terminal 4 and Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) without having to recheck their luggage.

Erwan Perhirin, American’s vice president of Asia Pacific said: “LAX has invested heavily in airport improvements and the new connector between TBIT and Terminal 4, which is American’s domestic terminal, means you connect underground. In the other direction, you would through-check your bags and connect airside from Terminal 4 to TBIT, allowing premium passengers to use the airside lounges at the terminals to shower and relax.”

For passengers arriving this means luggage is bag tagged for the final destination but has to be collected and then “redropped”. In the other direction it is simply redropped.

Lounge options range from the Admirals Lounge and Flagship lounges in Terminal 4 to the Oneworld lounges and, depending on tier level in Oneworld, departing gates and personal preferences, the Cathay and Qantas lounges in TBIT.

Flight times are:

Depart HKG at 2020. Arrive at LAX at 1840 (same day).

Depart LAX 0155. Arrive in Hong Kong at 0810 (next day).

Thomas Scruby, commercial director, Hong Kong, Southern China and Southeast Asia said that the flight would attract both the local market but also act as a gateway to mainland China and Southeast Asia.

“Hong Kong doesn’t just include Hong Kong, ” Scruby said, “but also the Pearl River Delta which is a market of 42 million people and there’s a lot of connectivity from that. For instance, we have big groups from Southern China flying on the flight this evening.”

Improved aircraft utilisation has meant the new service is possible with the addition of just one extra B777-300ER serving the Hong Kong market. Previously the Hong Kong to Dallas flight meant the aircraft waited in Hong Kong for many hours – by offering a second US service, utilisation has been improved.

aa.com

Four new amenity kits

American Airlines amenity kits 2016

AMERICAN AIRLINES

INTRODUCED March 2016

CABIN CLASS First and business class

AVAILABILITY International first and business class, as well as domestic transcontinental first class

SKINCARE PRODUCTS PARTNER(S) 3LAB Skincare, C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries and Clark’s Botanicals

INFO Multiple kits have been produced with each of the skincare brands differentiated by cabin and class of service. The international first class kit for example comes with 3LAB skincare products, while the international business class one contains those by C.O. Bigelow. Meanwhile, the domestic first class kit is stocked with Clark’s Botanicals products. Click here for a more detailed list. All kits however feature a custom bag designed by Cole Haan, as well as toothbrush, toothpaste, eyeshade, socks, and earplugs.

aa.com

 

ALL NIPPON AIRWAYS

INTRODUCED June 2016

CABIN CLASS Business class

AVAILABILITY Long-haul services between Japan and Europe, North America (excluding Honolulu) and Sydney

SKINCARE PRODUCTS PARTNER(S) Neal’s Yard Remedies

INFO ANA’s new kit, a pale-coloured pouch, is made of natural canvas and features the Neal’s Yard Remedies branding on the face. Inside, users will find the British retailer’s Bee Lovely Hand Cream (10ml), a White Tea Facial Mist (10ml), Sheau Nut (4g) and Orange Organic Lip Formula. This is complemented by ANA’s own brand toothbrush, toothpaste, eye mask and earplugs.

ana.co.jp

 

DELTA AIR LINES

INTRODUCED July 2016

CABIN CLASS Delta One

AVAILABILITY All Delta One flights, which includes international flights as well as domestic services between New York JFK and Los Angeles/San Francisco

SKINCARE PRODUCTS PARTNER(S) Kiehl

INFO Delta continues its successful partnership with luggage manufacturer Tumi to develop multiple amenity kits that differ based on the flight traveled. Delta One passengers flying domestic will receive either hard- or soft-cased Tumi bags, while those on international flights will receive a navy hard-sided kit when flying out of the US, and a soft-sided black amenity kit on inbound US flights. All kits also feature Kiehl skincare products, which include Lip Balm #1 and grapefruit-scented hand and body lotion infused with aloe vera and oatmeal.

delta.com

 

EMIRATES

INTRODUCED July 2016

CABIN CLASS Economy class

AVAILABILITY All long-haul routes

SKINCARE PRODUCTS PARTNER(S) N/A

INFO Gulf carrier Emirates has introduced the world’s first interactive amenity kits in economy class. The new kits features Blippar augmented reality technology, which enables passengers to “unlock immersive content on mobile devices”. Using the Blippar app, travellers can scan their amenity bags to unlock content including activities and health tips that are refreshed every six moths. The kits come in six different designs (based on the six regions of Emirates’ network), with each stocked with an eye mask, earplugs, toothbrush and toothpaste, and socks.

emirates.com

American Airlines partners with British Michelin-starred chef for first class menus

American Airlines Mark Sargeant menu

American Airlines has partnered with British Michelin-star chef Mark Sargeant to create a new menu for its first class passengers on routes from the UK.

Dishes include starters of poached native lobster, and roasted duck with hoisin barbecue sauce, mains including slow-cooked West Country pork belly with fennel seed and white bean cassoulet, and barbecue short rib of Angus beef with sweet potato champ and red cabbage slaw, and dessert choices including a warm spiced Victoria plum crumble with English custard or vanilla ice cream.

The Mark Sargeant menu is available on flights from Heathrow to Chicago O’Hare, Los Angeles, New York JFK, Miami and Dallas Fort Worth.

Sargeant owns three restaurants – Rocksalt and The Smokehouse in the coastal town of Folkestone, and The Duke William in Ickham –and is the chef director of Plum and Spilt Milk at The Great Northern Hotel in London (Business Traveller reviewed this restaurant last year).

At the same time US chef and television personality Maneet Chauhan has created a new menu for business and first class passengers on flights between the US and Europe, with a selection of the main courses also available on flights to Latin America.

aa.com

American Airlines offers all in-flight entertainment for free

MSN 5834 American Airlines

American Airlines has started offering in-flight entertainment for free on all domestic flights with seatback entertainment systems or wifi.

Customers travelling with the Oneworld carrier are now able to enjoy premium shows such as HBO’s critically acclaimed “Game of Thrones” TV show as well as new movie releases like “Captain America: Civil War”, “The Boss” and “The Lobster”.

This is a significant upgrade to the passenger experience on domestic flights, as American had previously only offered a portion of its entertainment options for free.

Seatback entertainment is offered on nearly 300 of the airline’s aircraft, with more being added every month. While American Airlines’ domestic mainline aircraft and two-class regional jets may not have seatback screens, they do offer in-flight wifi. Passengers can download the carrier’s mobile app during their flight, and gain access to streamed entertainment content.

“American is further investing in and personalising how our customers travel by giving them the most in-flight entertainment options onboard our aircraft,” said Fernand Fernandez, American’s vice president – Global Marketing.

“Our employees do an outstanding job taking care of our customers and combined with a fleet of aircraft that is the youngest of the US carriers and onboard products like complimentary premium entertainment and snacks, American is creating an unmatched travel experience that all of our customers can enjoy.”

For more information, visit aa.com

Clement Huang