Onboard Hospitality 92 December/February 2022

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dec-FeB 2023 Issue 92 Let's talk talent We're championing the creative change-makers...
DEC-FEB / 03 onboardhospitality.com Inside this issue... 38 38 2023 launch: Be in it to win it 40 Criteria: Do you have what it takes to win an award? 42 Meet the judges: Our expert panel so far 44 Testimonials: Why winning matters to your team 46 In conversation: Sue Williams REGULARS 7 Industry update / 20 In debate: Rebuilding kitchen capacity Global perspective We tour the stands at FTE-APEX Asia Expo and Onboard Hospitality ForumAsia on pages 26-29, and look back at IFSA-APEX Expo on pages 32-33. SHOW REVIEWS 26 34 ONBOARD TECH INNOVATION Artificial Intelligence Using it onboard to support passengers Focus on: Focus on: SmartSky 14 FOOD & BEVERAGE 14 Food safety: New IFSA guidelines unveiled for onboard F&B 16 In conversation: Allergy expert Caroline Benjamin 18 Nuts inflight: Time to go nut-free? 22 Rail catering: Tech-driven change 25 Take your pick: Vegan snacks 54 DESIGN & INNOVATION 54 Seating: Latest innovations 56 Focus on: Mirus Aircraft Seating 57 Focus on: Impactful partnerships 52 PEOPLE 52 Employee retention: In conversation with Mike Pooley 58 RETAIL 58 Wine in cans: Trending products 61 Take your pick: Botanicals 62 In conversation: Nestlé 48 COMFORT & WELLBEING 48 Uniforms: Sending a message 50 Staff safety: Risk of violence / 64 Intelligence: 36 OneWeb 37

To ongoing recovery...

April Waterston april.waterston@onboardhospitality.com

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Jo Austin (For Taste of Travel enquiries: jo.austin@onboardhospitality.com), Julie Baxter (julie.baxter@onboardhospitality. com) Bev Fearis & Jessica Pook


Roger Williams



Sue Williams sue.williams@onboardhospitality.com

ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Craig McQuinn craig.mcquinn@onboardhospitality.com

Welcome to Onboard Hospitality’s first edition of 2023. Let’s hope for a bright year ahead and that the sector’s recovery continues.

In this edition, Gottfried Menge discusses some of the creative ways in which kitchens responded during the pandemic and Mike Pooley outlines the importance of recognition in staff retention.

Technological developments, including ever-improving satellite coverage, mean that onboard connectivity is better than ever and set for further enhancements. We talk to some of the key players.

On a personal note, it’s an honour to be part of the wonderful Onboard Hospitality team. We’re looking forward to meeting you in person at events throughout 2023. At the WTCE in Hamburg, we’ll announce the winners of the Onboard Hospitality Awards. To coincide with their January launch, we’re taking a look at their judging, origins and why they are more important than ever. Looking ahead, our next edition will have a sustainability focus. Please get in touch if you have related stories or other issues that you’d like to share. We’re looking forward to continuing to represent the voices and viewpoints of people working in the industry over the months ahead. I hope you’ll enjoy this issue.

Looking ahead...


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Fly on the wings of perfection in terms of cleanliness, hygiene and safety.

Security and safety are the most important values an airline can offer. A great number of checks are required before the captain and cabin crew are finally able to welcome the passengers on board. This includes making certain that travellers will receive a clean and hygienic service. With our professional warewashing systems for inflight catering, we at MEIKO are guaranteed to reach the recommended level in purity, hygiene and cleanliness. Sustainable, economic and efficient. From small business airports to large international traffic hubs: discover the versatility of our tailor-made warewashing systems.

Professional wash-up systems for Inflight Catering

industry update


onboardhospitality.com industry update / 7
stories from across the industry
10 12 08 Drink up Virgin Atlantic serves Tom Savano canned cocktails across all flights In style New Libyan airline, Crown Airlines, reveals crew uniform from SKYPRO 09 First returns Cathay Pacific resumes its First class service post-pandemic Partner for change deSter has committed to sustainability by joining The Shift

New kids kits on Air Astana

Air Astana has revealed details of its new children’s amenity kits in partnership with Kaelis.

The airline is celebrating its 20th anniversary, and with these kits aims to bring aviation history to young travellers with a fun twist.

Children aged 3-6 will receive a Magic Carpet Kit, consisting of a bag that unfolds into a picnic carpet for them to use with family and friends post-flight. It also includes a selection of activities related to the early days of aviation to keep them entertained onboard.

Older kids aged 7-11 will receive a retro Pilot Aviator Kit, with a bag big enough to be reused for school. Both kits have a pair of headphones for children to enjoy the entertainment onboard, and use after the flight. kaelis.world

Crown Airlines reveals uniforms

Crown Airlines has revealed the new uniforms designed for its cabin crew and pilots, in partnership with uniform management supplier, SKYPRO.

Female crew on the new Libyan airline will sport a rich purple peplum suit jacket with ornate black embroidery paying tribute to Libya’s rich culture.

Accessories inspired by Sabratha mosaic patterns include a matching pink and purple silk scarf and purple hat, with the complete uniform reflecting the brand’s strong main colour.

Male crew will wear a uniform of the same colour with the same black embroidery, fastened and accented with a gold button. flycrown.ly

Anuvu has announced the continuation of its long-term partnership with Singapore Airlines, extending its contract to provide full inflight entertainment and content services for the airline’s passengers.

The long-term contract spanning movies, TV and audio aboard

Singapore’s fleet will begin in December 2022.

The new agreement builds on the partnership and a successful history of joint industry acknowledgment for Singapore Airlines’ inflight entertainment. anuvu.com

Novel Food’s Primadeli range offers baked snacks celebrating Italian flavours using classic recipes.

Two variations of baked crostini –Pizzeria Bites and Olive Bites – are available in snack bags and as part of a deli box with ambient dips. novel-foods.co.uk

onboardhospitality.com 8 / industry update
Top stories from across the industry
Anuvu Novel Foods
Singapore Airlines extends partnership with
from Italy

First class returns on Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific’s First class service has made a return, initially on select flights to and from London Heathrow and soon to be followed by Paris and Tokyo (Haneda) over the coming months.

Since early December, passengers have been able to fly First class with Cathay Pacific on the airline’s daily London Heathrow flight. First class will also be returning to Cathay Pacific’s Paris flight from 18 January 2023, followed by its Tokyo (Haneda) flight from February 2023.

General Manager Customer Experience and Design, Vivian Lo said: “We know our customers have been eagerly anticipating being able to fly First class with us again, and we are delighted to be offering it on routes that we know are incredibly popular with them. cathaypacific.com

Sky ‘no longer the limit’ for 5G connectivity in EU

Following a decision by the European Commission, airlines in the EU will be able to provide the latest 5G technology on their planes, alongside previous mobile technology generations.

Passengers aboard flights in the EU will be allowed to use their mobile phones to the maximum of their capacity and features, just like with a ground-based 5G mobile network. Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market, said: “5G will enable innovative services for people and growth opportunities for European companies. The sky is no longer a limit when it comes to possibilities offered by super-fast, high-capacity connectivity.” digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu

Indian packaging solutions specialist UFlex, has launched a number of new solutions for 2023 including Flexseal Ecocoat – an eco-friendly aqueous dispersion application coating specially designed for the inner side of paper cups as a replacement for PE coating. uflexltd.com

Mediterranean foods supplier Dina Foods has introduced smart QR codes on its new-look packaging for its Paninette flatbreads range that link to recipes and more information. It has also launched two new Paninette variants sourdough and oregano. dinafoods.com


Qatar Airways chose Sport 24, produced by IMG and exclusively available in-flight from Panasonic Avionics, in partnership with Inmarsat, to provide its passengers with 56 live FIFA World Cup matches directly on their personal devices. panasonic.aero

industry update / 9
Top stories from across the industry
UFlex innovates World Cup onboard Paninette flavours


deSter joins The Shift

deSter has announced that it is now a member of The Shift, a Belgian sustainability community.

The Shift brings together over 540 companies, NGOs, public and academic institutions with a common goal to actively work together towards a more sustainable economy and society.

deSter claims this has been a logical next step with its ESG Strategy, and that it is looking forward to getting to know other members and actively sharing progress and expertise in the field.

Sustainability has long been a priority for deSter, with the company focusing on developing ecofriendly packaging and manufacturing processes. dester.com

PLAY, the Icelandic low-cost carrier, has selected MOST to provide it with onboard retailing and payment solutions including software, hardware and payment gateway services.

Starting December 6 2022, PLAY upgraded from its existing card readers onboard and implemented three of MOST’s modular payment solutions: most.Retail, most.Pay and most.Onthego. The deployment covers PLAY’s entire fleet of A320 family aircraft.

“We are delighted to be working with an energetic airline brand such as PLAY as it continues to expand its fast-growing route network across North America and Europe,” said MOST CEO Jan Blanchard. most.io; flyplay.com

Versilia Solutions appointed by Avianca to launch buy on board

Versilia Solutions has been appointed by South American carrier, Avianca, as its Buy on Board partner.

Versilia Solutions will create a bespoke Buy on Board retail offering across all aspects of the retail value chain for the carrier. This will include

providing training in support of the airline’s 2,000 plus cabin crew, creating a compliant and robust trading infrastructure and developing a retail service for domestic and international flights from Avianca’s five operating countries.


Festive Fun on Virgin

Passengers travelling in every cabin on selected Virgin Atlantic flights from 24th-26th December will be able to tuck into seasonal favourites, featuring roast turkey with all the trimmings and a mushroom and butternut squash Wellington. virginatlantic.com

onboardhospitality.com 10 / industry update
Top stories from across the
PLAY selects MOST’s end-to-end payment solution

Top stories from across the industry

Dolce Carollo joins DFMi

U.S. broker DFMi had added Italian snack and meal supplier, Dolce Carollo, to its portfolio of suppliers.

Dolce Carollo’s history dates back 50 years. In 1966 the founder, Vincenzo Carollo, opened the pastry shop “Miramare” in the Sicilian town of Carini, next to the historic castle. The shop started as a family business, but quickly became hugely successful in catering and desserts, and eventually turned to exporting delicacies, meals and desserts outside of the region.

The family started with foods for cruise lines, cafeterias and airport restaurants throughout Italy. Soon they began serving meals on Italian and European airlines.

A proud family business, Dolce Carollo has been passed down three generations, while continuing to share

CPCS collects food waste

Cathay Pacific Catering Services (CPCS) has committed to increasing its sustainable credentials by joining a pilot scheme for food waste collection.

Overseen by the Environmental Protection Department, the scheme will see food waste generated by CPCS in Hong Kong collected, separated and transferred to O.Park 1 where it will be converted into energy and compost.

In a statement shared on LinkedIn, the company said: “As a large-scale flight kitchen and catering services provider, it is unavoidable that food waste is generated during the daily operations of CPCS. To make good use of organic resources and avoid landfill disposal, we have joined the “Pilot Scheme on Food Waste Collection” launched by the

the dream to all of Europe and worldwide markets.

Safety is a priority and the company's entire manufacturing process is in compliance with the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety and IFS. Dolce Carolla has also obtained a Halal certification and is in the process of obtaining a Kosher certification. dfminc.biz; dolcecarollo.it

Ethical eggs for gategroup

gategroup has pledged to make its entire egg supply chain cagefree by 2025.

The caterer has pledged that all egg (shell egg, liquid egg and mixes containing more than 80% egg) purchases globally will conform to certified standards of animal welfare that meet or exceed those dictated by local legislation. Its global, groupwide, minimum welfare standard is ‘barn’ (cage-free) eggs. gategroup is working with its partners and suppliers to achieve its goal of 100% cage-free eggs throughout the Group by 2025.

Hannah Surowinski, Global Corporate Relations Coordinator, The Humane League, said: “On behalf of the entire Open Wing Alliance, The Humane League commends gategroup’s ability to spearhead an accelerated model of progress towards higher animal welfare—having already transitioned 75% of its global egg supply to cagefree sources.”

Francisco Moreno, gategroup’s Chief Operations Officer said: “We have always cared about maintaining a sustainable, ethical supply chain—but we have a responsibility to do more. gategroup.com

Environmental Protection Department since 2021.

“Recently, CPCS is proud to be awarded the appreciation certificate for participating in the scheme. We promise to continue our efforts in achieving sustainable development through food waste recycling.” cpcs.com.hk

industry update / 11

Top stories from across the industry

Celebrating 20 years of En Route

En Route International is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a series of events over the coming months.

Formed in 2002, En Route has developed working partnerships with many of the world’s most recognised airlines and airline catering organisations. Onboard culinary, packaging and service innovations remain the focus of the company as it enters a third decade of business.

“I’m very proud to see that after 20 years, En Route continues to push the envelope with innovative and revolutionary culinary and service ideas, and that we’re continuing to grow our capabilities with a robust full-service offering to the travel industry,” said Nick Wiley, En Route’s Global Managing Director. enroute.com


Tom Savano’s travel-inspired luxury cocktails are now available on all Virgin Atlantic flights.

After trialling the cocktail brand’s bottled libations as part of the Upper Class experience onboard the A350 Leisure aircrafts, the carrier will now offer Tom Savano’s new ready-to-drink canned cocktails across the airline’s entire fleet. Once onboard, travellers will be able to enjoy a choice of two Tom Savano canned cocktails – a 250ml classic Mojito (8% ABV) and a 125ml Amalfi Sundowner Negroni (15%.). tomsavano.com

AirFi partners with AirAsia Group and AirAsia Wi-Fi SmartSky showcase

AirAsia Group airlines will be leveraging AirFi’s portable streaming hardware and open software platform to deploy the AirAsia digital experience (formerly Rokki) across their non-connected fleets.

Rolling out over the coming months, AirFi solutions will deliver a ‘seamless’

in-cabin extension of AirAsia’s acclaimed travel and lifestyle “superapp” digital ecosystem.

“We’re so excited to begin a new partnership with one of the most innovative airline groups in the world,” said AirFi CEO, Job Heimerikx. airfi.aero

Starting in December 2022, SmartSky Networks and Honeywell Aerospace have been showcasing the reliability and value of the SmartSky Air-toGround (ATG) network across the USA with a number of demonstration flights. smartskynetworks.com

onboardhospitality.com 12 / industry update
Tom Savano cocktails to be served across all Virgin Atlantic

Bangkok Air Catering upbeat for the future

Entry into Thailand became easier on 1 October 2022, when requirements for travellers to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID19 test result was lifted. This has boosted tourism and speeded the recovery of the aviation business both domestic and international. With an upsurge in visitor numbers, more flights have been arriving and departing.

For all of us at Bangkok Air Catering, it was a signal to reaffirm the core values that make us Thailand’s leading airline caterer. First and foremost, we deliver only the finest international cuisine. Second, we sustain the highest standards of hygiene and safety, in keeping with international standards. Next, the premium quality of the meals we provide is matched by the level of our service. Our fourth commitment is to robust levels of productivity. And finally, we employ the most effective operating systems, constantly seeking ways to refine and improve.

These principles have never been more important and the success of Bangkok Air Catering is founded on them. We’re confident they’ll continue to guide us to fresh achievements as more and more flights return to the skies.

Here are some key facts and figures reinforce our positive outlook.

• During the first half of 2022, only 16 or 17 of our 29 airline partners were operating. Now, 19 are active and more are expected to follow soon.

• Compared with 2019 figures, the number of flights we served in October recovered by 49% and the number of meals by 74%.

• Fully open since October, our Chiang Mai unit is serving rising numbers of meals on CNX-BKK, CNX-KBV-BKK and CNX-HKT-BKK routes.

• Our Bangkok Suvarnabhumi unit has gained three new airline partners — Starlux, AirAsia and MGA Airlines. And since December, Air Canada has been operating four 787-9 flights a week.

• BAC at Bangkok Don Mueang started a partnership with Nok Air in June, while BAC Phuket has been serving Oman Air’s flights since the PhuketMuscat route launched in November.

• S7 Airlines and Azur Air are resuming international flights this winter.

At the time of writing, news is breaking of restrictions on domestic travel being eased in China. As that country had become Thailand’s biggest tourism market when COVID-19 struck, we’re hoping it’s sign of even better things to come.

onboardhospitality.com AdvertoriAl bAngkokAircAtering.com
Bangkok Air Catering, your Catering Partner at Thailand's International Airports

Safe food

IFSA unveiled its new World Food Safety Guidelines at the APEX/IFSA Expo, Stuart Forster explores their implications

The World Food Safety Guidelines (WFSG) is a comprehensive, 89-page document designed to help the aviation catering industry meet and exceed food safety standards. It's a complex publication, as reflected by the 118-page implementation guide issued alongside it.

Delivering safe in-flight catering worldwide is a challenge, and the guidelines have evolved out of collaboration between members of the International Flight Services Association (IFSA), the Airline Catering Association (ACA) and federal regulatory agencies in the USA. The goal has been to establish safe operating standards for catering and consumption onboard. As operational demands change, so too have the guidelines, now

revised for the first time in six years, for this fifth and latest edition.

The guide overviews food safety management system requirements and protocols to ensure onboard aircraft catering meets consistently high standards of quality and safety. Their implementation ensures more robust food safety processes within caterers and suppliers.

“The implementation guide is intended as a tool for caterers to update and enhance their food safety programmes by incorporating elements of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) scheme and the Food Safety System Certification (FSSC 22000), which is an International Organization for Standardization (ISO)-based, globally recognised standard for best practice. It defines the standards

onboardhospitality.com 14 / FOOD SAFETY

and includes templates for required procedures and forms to support implementation,” explained United Airlines’ Vanessa Lindstrom, an IFSA board member and the co-chair of its Government Affairs and Education Committee which oversaw the new publication.

Future-proofing safety

Canan Mendes, Global Head of Food Safety and Compliance at LSG Group, was part of the collaborative review. He said: “We were striving to develop a future-proof set of guidelines for food safety that was specifically designed for the needs of our industry.”

Summarising the probable impact, he added: “Additional requirements always open up room for the improvement of the food safety culture that all of our employees contribute to, so we will certainly work on that. Additional training and programmes motivate employees and increase productivity. From an airline perspective, I think they will benefit from new additional management system requirements integrating multi-disciplinary areas on the caterer side, such as sales, culinary, HR and the operation.”

Both Mendes and fellow collaborator Manjit Sohal, Head of Food Safety - Global Performance and Compliance at dnata Catering accept the guidelines will need to be regularly updated going forward. Sohal said: “The WFSG should be under unremitting review and updated if continuous improvement opportunities are identified or collaboration highlights potential concerns that

need to be addressed. The standard is wideranging and based on the established principles of Hazard, Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP), which is widely used as a systemic preventative approach to food safety.”

Lacking status

WFSG aims to help caterers proactively contain or mitigate risks to avoid negative impacts, but applying the system and using its documentation is voluntary points out special meals manufacturer Marc Warde of Libero Special Meals. He said: "These guidelines should act as a minimum standard for suppliers and caterers. It seems a shame the system is not regarded or officially audited as the official framework and requirement. There are also some omittances, one of which is a specific high-level microbiological framework for ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook foods with values that serve as a minimum guide and allowances for those producing food to the airline industry. Rather more challenging – and not cover – is the use of ingredients which are prohibited in many countries but allowed in others. That is certainly a subject for the next review."

He also has concerns that there are weaknesses in the guidelines around allergen management as no values as parts per million are cited. "The WFSG is purported as a high-level document but only the most basic information is given on allergen and special meal provision, I think we need experts unassociated with the aviation industry to audit and add perspective." •

onboardhospitality.com FOOD SAFETY / 15

Taking food allergies seriously

Food-hypersensitive (FHS) passengers – people with severe allergies – need to see clear and consistent policies from airlines. This will help save lives but also makes sense for airlines too.

When things go wrong FHS passengers can become very ill or even die. Survivors who have had a poor experience share those experiences on social media, which can be potentially damaging to an airline’s image.

Statistics from 12,000 flights indicate that medical emergencies occur on almost one in every 600 flights. Approximately 7.3% of those have to divert and land at an alternative destination. Of those, around 40% are due to severe allergic reactions.

In 2017 Emirates revealed that each diversion cost between $50,000 and $600,000. Making changes will clearly save money as well as saving lives.

In my view, too little is done by airlines to give FHS passengers the confidence

to travel safely. Typically, however, FHS passengers are willing to travel an additional 45 to 60 minutes and pay more to fly with their airline of choice. These passengers tend to share their positive experiences and stay loyal to companies that are considerate of their needs.

Being able to contact an airline prior to flying is key but currently seems difficult. Making contact in advance is also no guarantee information will be communicated appropriately.

The World Allergy Organisation (WAO) has recommended that all airlines remove nuts from menus. However, that recommendation has been broadly ignored. Good practice would be for airlines to emphasise their allergy policy at the time of booking. Pre-departure emails, messages printed on tickets and onboard announcements should then be used to remind passengers of the policy.

Airlines should consider all aspects of the passenger journey in their allergen management policy.

During the booking process, FHS passengers should be able to book meals and cabin baggage to bring food and medicine onboard. Then at the gate, priority boarding for FHS passengers would mean they have time to clean the area surrounding their seats.

Snacks given out should not contain nuts or gluten and cabin crew should have adrenaline pen training in case of need.

Introducing food safety guidelines which consider the needs of FHS passengers would be a step that helps satisfy customers and save lives.

Caroline Benjamin founded Food Allergy Aware (fatc.co.uk) to help hospitality providers support FHS customers

onboardhospitality.com 16 / Food SAFETY
Both passengers and airlines would benefit from more consistent policies on allergies says Caroline Benjamin, Founder of Food Allergy Aware
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No nuts, PLEASE

It’s nuts, isn’t it, that something so delicious as nuts can actually be life-threatening to some people, and even kill.  Even madder is the fact that this seems to be an issue few in the airline industry dare broach.

So what is the right thing to do about the consumption of nuts during flights? The truth is, most of us know but who among us is brave enough to act? Here I want to lay out some facts and fiction to help those responsible for the decision-making to fully understand.

Rising risks

Peanut allergies among children in Western countries have doubled in the past decade. Peanut allergies are emerging in Africa and Asia too. Research shows that 1.76% of people in the UK have tree-nut allergies; while in the USA, more than 3.9 million people have tree-nut allergies and 6.1 million people have peanut allergies.

In 2015 research showed that nearly 100,000 new nut allergy cases were being diagnosed annually in the USA and UK. Additionally, 1 in 50 primary school-aged children were affected in the USA, Canada, UK and Australia. Alarmingly, in the last two years alone these and other food allergies have risen 300% worldwide in children. This is unprecedented.

Nuts onboard

Aircraft are essentially flying tubes travelling at high speed with recirculating air and that

means danger for those with severe nut allergies.   Exact risks and distance dangers within the cabin vary by individuals but there are multiple reports of passengers sitting as far away as 10 rows from nut eaters and having allergic reactions. Diverting an aircraft because of a severe allergic reaction is expensive and inconveniences the other passengers. It makes sense to avoid this on many levels beyond 'just' the passengers health.

Spurious ‘arguments’

There are numerous spurious arguments offered against removing nuts from aircraft. They include claims that it’s difficult to stop passengers from bringing their own nuts onboard; that it’s wrong to tell a passenger that they can’t have something they want; that nuts are part of some peoples' culture; that those with severe allergies should not fly or should wear masks; and even that for those who love eating nuts, eating them is a right.

Such voices remain loud. That doesn’t mean they should dominate the argument. A generation or so ago, smoking on flights was commonplace. For the good of all passengers, bans were introduced and now anyone flouting the rules can face a fine and possible arrest. Why can’t we have similar regulations for consuming nuts?

Saving lives

There are some simple fixes for ending this danger. It would be easy at the point of booking tickets to inform passengers that an airline is nut-

onboardhospitality.com 18 / FOOD SAFETY
It’s time for all airlines to introduce nut-free policies argues special meals manufacturer and dietetic meals specialist Marc Warde

free and explain why: it’s down to the increase in nut allergies, which can be airborne. If one life is saved by banning nuts in-flight, you made a difference. Surely a compelling argument.

Automated announcements before and after boarding would act as a simple reminders. Nuts are no longer allowed in most UK schools. If children manage, I’m sure passengers can.   Nuts are a delicious snack. I personally like them, although my own businesses are completely nut and peanut free. And I am sorry for nut farmers and manufacturers, but this really is a matter of life or death and there are so many tasty nut-free alternatives to choose from for onboard service.

In the privacy of my own home and in restaurants that serve them I will eat nuts but I don’t have a problem with not eating them for the duration of a flight. They are a preference, not an addiction.

One of my friends has a severe nut allergy. When they visit, I go out of my way to make sure my home is spotless and all nuts are safely packed away. Surely airlines should offer that kind of genuine, caring hospitality.

Engage empathy

For those who argue it’s ‘not my problem’ if someone has a food allergy, I ask where is your empathy and compassion? What if someone you love had a life-threatening food allergy? The world is changing and we simply no longer need to serve nuts. Chefs are innovative and creative and can come up with delicious alternative recipes that don’t contain nuts.

Many people with allergies refuse to fly. They fear the attitudes they will encounter aboard aircraft and the life-threatening potential impact of being exposed to allergens.

As a special meals manufacturer and dietetic meals specialist, I am regularly trying to overcome the lack of understanding and empathy around the potentially deadly impact of allergens. If you won’t listen to me, please have a chat with the various anaphylaxis associations around the world. Take a look at the World Allergy Organization’s recommendations telling every government and every airline in the world to stop serving nuts.

Not taking action when you finally recognise and engage with the facts is... simply nuts.  •

onboardhospitality.com FOOD SAFETY / 19
Not taking action when you recognise the facts, is simply nuts

Back to business


It's a very straightforward answer, the market is dry. Pre-pandemic, we were a company of around 50,000 employees globally – I think we lost something like 15,000 to 20,000. We lost a big chunk of our wisdom. With that, we lost experience and knowledge.

People have left the industry. They are gone. We are trying to attract new talents. The market price of salaries in the hospitality industry is a lot higher than before the pandemic.

We need to build up and train our people. We are investing a lot of time and money in this but it doesn't come overnight, it takes time.

We are trying to attract people and give them benefits so that they will stay. But it's hard to attract skilled labour.



This summer was difficult. In operations, finding truck drivers was a challenge in Europe and lockdowns were severe in Asia.There was a chain reaction and supplies didn't come through so a lot of substitution had to happen. There were painful moments…menus were not printed and I think crews had to work much harder than before.



Not because of the pandemic. We already applied Advanced Production Techniques (APT) in our kitchens. Central Recipe Assembly (CRA) is one way of avoiding wastage and bringing consistency to the recipe and dish itself.

We have introduced sous-vide cooking and doing hot-fill means we don't need to prepare

20 / IN DEBATE onboardhospitality.com
Caterers face big challenges as they ramp up their global kitchen services. Stuart Forster assesses the difficulties with gategroup's Gottfried Menge

basic sauces every day. This is helping in production.

We also went into industrial kitchens, looked at the mass production process of frozen meals and learned from there. It's helping.


GM Before the pandemic, gategroup's business was 100% to do with travel, mostly on airlines – nothing to do with schools or canteens. During the pandemic, we looked at how to diversify.

We came up with the idea of dark kitchens or cloud kitchens. We cook for brands in city locations – it could be Uber Eats or Delivery Hero. People order, then it is delivered.

We also invented the brand Uqonic Chefs. We were working with top chefs including AnneSophie Pic, Andreas Caminada, Dominique Crenn, Mauro Colagreco and Peppe Guida. We produced and packed their gourmet menus, it created a gourmet home dining experience.


Gottfried Menge, VP Group Culinary Excellence at gategroup is based in Switzerland. He has over 35 years of global experience.


At a company level we do a make or buy analysis to decide if it makes sense to find somebody. Why not, if it makes our life easier and we find a good partner who can produce consistently? Pastries and dessert production is a very competitive market and

except for in a few of our kitchens, we have outsourced them to reliable and top quality producers. I would not say that we do this as standard as we are investing in culinary and culinary talents. We want to bring chefs back to our kitchens and do as much as possible in-house.



A lot of Premium travel today was Business before the pandemic. Customers are indicating that they will spend more money for better and higher quality meals. Maybe it will bring streamlining and investment into quality products – maybe more organic or animal welfare labels.

I see that comfort food is coming back. People are looking to feel at home and eat what they know when they travel. That makes them comfortable.

IN DEBATE / 21 onboardhospitality.com

Tech drives rail catering change

Across continents, passenger levels aboard intercity trains are mostly back to 2019 levels. That’s great news for railways, caterers and suppliers who have endured a lean time during the pandemic.

According to feedback from International Rail Catering Group (IRCG) members, passenger confidence in Europe rose from only 10% in May 2020 to over 95% in September 2022. The continent has the highest density rail network in the world and dozens of active train operators.

Figures from the International Union of Railways (UIC) shows this buoyant market has grown nearly 10% since 2014, recording its highest total of 583 billion passenger kilometres in 2019. In the same period, the Americas saw slower progress, growing by only 1.9%, while Asia and the Middle East saw the highest growth at a healthy 15%. That’s due mainly to China’s investment which has supported construction of the world's largest high-speed rail network. Nonetheless, ongoing lockdowns may have shrunk China's 2022 volumes.

Confidence in rail travel is booming in much of the world and a new ridership is driving changes in catering strategies, reports Roger Williams

Leisure is new business

With many companies keeping the brakes on travel, there are fewer business passengers on weekdays, but longer weekends are stoking the appetite of adventure-hungry leisure travellers.

Successful event trains, such as Switzerland’s Glacier Express, show just how much leisure customers love having gastronomy onboard. “Leisure customers are looking to enjoy onboard dining as part of their journey experience, and their expectations are often higher as they are paying for themselves rather than being on business expenses,” said Tim Uebersax, Panoramic Gourmet’s CEO.

That recognition is fuelling a rethink by some intercity railways where meals are currently limited to a weekday business demographic.

New passengers, new habits

Rail’s green credentials also attract younger travellers. Recent Bank of America research shows Millennial and Generation Z dietary preferences are driving a marked shift in consumption habits when it comes to meat and alcohol.

Caring for the planet is raising demand for plant-based food dishes and rail operators are responding. Christian Hölbl, the Chief Operating Officer of Austrian onboard caterer DoN, said: “We recognise dietary tastes are changing, with more and more people visiting our onboard Bistros requesting vegetarian and vegan meals. IRCG’s recommended ‘Best Practice’ is for all onboard caterers to put food sustainability and nutrition at the forefront of their onboard catering offers,” .

Scan and buy

Passengers also now expect finger-tip control of everything via their smartphones. That’s led some railways, such as LNER in the UK, to invite passengers to scan a QR code, generate a café bar menu and place orders for service to their seats. This opens the way to accessing live train info, special offers, seat upgrades and other benefits too. In turn, this helps railways better understand consumer preferences, build brand loyalty and grow ancillary revenue.

On French TGV’s, self-select order screens are positioned throughout the train for a click and collect service from the bar. “The easy-to-use menu screens have been really well received by customers and have helped raise average transaction values and customer satisfaction levels,” said Benoit Vignon, Newrest’s VP of Sales Group.

At the same time, the walk to socialise at the onboard café bar is still enjoyed by many passengers.

Apps to order

Rail caterer JLV was one of the first companies to offer customers an app to for café bar orders. Available in Czechia on CD trains, it rewards multiple purchases and regular customers.

Petr Pospisil, JLV’s COO warned: “As well as the system being easy to use, the products purchased by customers online, whether onboard or pre-order, must be available and accurately delivered, on time, every time. Failure to provide the preferred selection will deter customers from ordering online again. Also,

Failure to deliver preordered selections will deter passengers from online ordering

rewarding loyalty and offering special offers are really important to build up sales.”

Delivery to (s)eat

Ordering food online for home or workplace delivery is commonplace in modern society. Yet the equivalent pre-order service for trains has been an underutilised strategy by many railways, complicated by the way tickets are sold and that specific train reservations aren’t always required.

Shaun Hopper, in charge of train catering development for international caterer SSP, said: “I see great opportunities to raise sales and reduce waste through pre-order for intercity trains. By developing online partnerships with ticket agencies and utilising existing ground-based food

production facilities, we can offer customers a huge range compared to traditional onboard menus. This could be through click and collect from a station outlet, or for pre-departure delivery onboard or to the lounge, or served in the lounge after arrival – all personalised to match the customer’s journey arrangements.”

And why not? As long ago as 1871, long before the internet, hungry travellers could order a wonderful luncheon basket to be delivered to their train by English station caterers Spiers and Pond. Now more than 150 years later, great onboard catering and hospitality can still help delight customers and make their ‘ticket to ride’ a really enjoyable experience…all caterers have to do is make it as accessible and tempting to passengers as possible.

Roger is the IRCG chair. For further inisights and advice on the travel catering market contact roger@thecateringexplorer.com. •

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There are great opportunities to raise sales and reduce waste through pre-order


Popcorn expert Joe&Seph's is already a firm favourite onboard, but did you know they have a range of vegan flavours? Dark Chocolate, Toffee Apple & Cinnamon, Coconut & Cacao, Salted Caramel and Olive Oil, Sea Salt & Black Pepper are all vegan-friendly. joeandsephs.co.uk

Vegan snacks

Veganuary is popularising vegan lifestyles. April Waterston details six snacks suitable for plant-based pioneers...


NOMO's – short for 'No Missing Out' – range of chocolate is not only veganfriendly but also free of nuts and gluten. In addition to a selection of flavoured snack bars, NOMO offers seasonal snacks. For example, its chocolate reindeers are ideal for the holiday season. nomochoc.com




A British lunchbox favourite, cheese and onion flavour crisps get a vegan makeover thanks to Kettle Chip's partnership with Sheese. Sheese & Red Onion Kettle Chips offer a familiar taste that's vegan-friendly and gluten free. kettlechips.co.uk

Naturally high in protein, My Sweet Chickpea has reinvented the humble chickpea with its roasted, chocolate-covered vegan snack. Flavours include Coconut, Cappuccino, Tiramisu, Cinnamon, Banana Cheesecake and Strawberry Cheesecake, all topped off with a coating of dark chocolate. mysweetchickpea.co.uk

Proven to enhance digestive health and boost your immune system, Perkier's snack bars boast high-protein content and probiotic fibre, and are boosted with vitamins B5, B12 and calcium. They're also carbon neutral. Flavours include Cranberry, Chocolate and Blueberry and Dark. perkier.co.uk


The LOVE CORN crunchy corn snack range is made with simple ingredients that are entirely vegan-friendly and gluten-free. Flavours include Sea Salt, Smoked BBQ, Salt & Vinegar, Cheese & Onion and Habanero Chilli. lovecorn.com


In review

Forum Asia in focus...

the Onboard Hospitality Forum

– Asia made a successful return to the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Singapore, in November after a three-year long, pandemic-induced hiatus.

Set within the FTE APEX Asia Expo, the event attracted 1,800 registrations from 47 countries. It is now firmly established as Asia-Pacific’s biggest free-to-attend passenger experience and business performance expo.

This was billed as the 'comeback show' for the region, showcasing the very latest products and services, sharing learnings and ideas, and developing understanding of the APAC market – set to be the fastest growing region in the coming years.

The event included exhibition stands, conference debate and product development briefings.

transformation in action

The expo's theme was ‘Transforming Tomorrow’s Journey’ and this was reflected in the agendas on both the Conference and Expo stages.

Speakers included Daniel Coleman (Founder and CEO, Future Travel Experience) Dr Joe Leader (CEO, APEX/ IFSA), Barathan Pasupathi (CEO, Jetstar Asia Airways), Jeffrey Goh (CEO, Star Alliance), Tan Lye Teck (Executive Vice President – Airport Management, Changi Airport Group), Sumesh Patel (President, Asia Pacific, SITA) and Riad Asmat (CEO, Air Asia Malaysia).

They shared perspectives on successfully attracting, empowering and retaining employees. Collaboration, innovation and digital transformation plus sustainability and the passenger experience were also discussed.

onboardhospitality.com 26 / event review
We're not going to solve all sustainability problems in one hit but there are a whole load of small steps we can take which are not just greenwashing nick wiley, md en route
As business rebuilds, The Onboard Hospitality Forum –Asia supported recovery and reinvention within the FTE-APEX Expo in Singapore. There was a lot of optimism and positivity on show
crAiG mcQuinn Forum eXHiBition director

Sustainability onboard

A session focusing on ‘Making Sustainability Work Onboard’ brought together Azman Ahmad (GM Product Management, SAUDIA), Nick Wiley (Global MD, En Route International); and Matt Crane (Group Head, SATS Global Innovation Centre and Founder of the Aviation Sustainability Forum).

The debate provided insights into what each organisation is doing to make onboard service greener, followed by a candid discussion on the confusion around what is needed, and the urgent need for greater collaboration on a clear industry plan of action. Crane said: "It is vital that the industry lines up together and collaborates on sustainability best practice. Once we get investment in the establishment of clear standards and best practice, we can go to the regulator and lobby for regulation change to support that practice."

Around the stands... SAtS evolves its offering SATS has been actively investing in long-shelf life technologies to strengthen and scale up its culinary and food production capabilities. During the show, the team showcased a selection of fresh-frozen and ambient meals that support airlines and caterers in delivering better food waste management.

The products were presented as quality alternatives to the current

fresh, cook-chill options, and were shown as a way to aid airlines looking to cut waste without compromising on taste and nutrition values.

SATS and subsidary partner, Monty’s Bakehouse, reported inflight buyers in the Asian market were seeking sustainable food solutions and catering options that meet consumer demand for safe, healthy and convenient foods for a variety of different diets.

Monty’s Bakehouse's frozen handheld snacks were highlighted for their innovative and sustainable packaging designs, as well as the wide range of both sweet and savoury pastry options now available.

SATS is building additional revenue streams from new market segments and is tapping into shared synergies with Monty’s Bakehouse. Together they have created a new Global Innovation Centre in Singapore and invested in large scale production facilities across their network, including in Singapore, China, India and Thailand. These offer capabilities and solutions for both aviation and non-aviation sectors.

Looking ahead, the goal is to expand and grow the business by harnessing food technologies and building resilience in the supply chains.

Global-C looks ahead

The Global-C team predicted many carriers will make major service upgrades in 2023. They reported a real optimism about the future, with many airlines looking for solutions to drive change in both front and back cabins.

The supplier’s NeverLeak containers drew a lot of interest from Asian airlines looking to emulate the success of Singapore Airlines. SIA worked with SATS, using these containers to bring regional dishes to its short haul services in a way not done before.

Also on show was new, fully

onboardhospitality.com event review / 27
There was real optimism about the future, and we expect many carriers making major upgrades wAyne costiGAn, director GloBAl-c

rotable equipment for economy meal services supported by recycling solutions in the region and beyond.

Key issues being debated on the stand were the impacts of budget controls on buying decisions, supply change challenges post-pandemic and strategies to make inflight services more sustainable.

The team is responding to anticipated demand by doubling down on bespoke meal service equipment for carriers in all regions and investing in its design and development skills, as well as forging partnerships with onboarding-capable manufacturing partners in all areas of the world.

Social impact from FOrMiA FORMIA reports a continuous shift in airline customer demand towards products which drive positive social change and environmental impacts.

The company is already on a journey to become a net-zero carbon company by 2030 and now offers carbon neutral amenity kits to airlines. This was a hot topic with inflight buyers who were interested to learn more about the eco-processes and FORMIA’s sustainability partner, REBEL.

Key to sustainable progress is using sustainable materials, collaborating with purposeful brands, offering circular solutions and shifiting the focus towards consciously-designed concepts which lessen environmental impact and support social change.

new materials from Zibo

For inflight buyers in the Asian market, the key priorities in the post-pandemic era are environmental protection and sustainability, according to Zibo Rainbow. The team showcased new designs and new materials to fit this brief and is developing more for production at its six manufacturing outlets where it creates inflight tableware, bedding and amenity kits.

onboardhospitality.com 28 / event review
There is now a positive global consensus on sustainability. We believe it will lead to more collaboration between the entire value chain of airline suppliers nAtAlie soleBo, FormiA
It is vital that the industry lines up together and collaborates on sustainability best practice
crAne AviAtion sustAinABility Forum

Bayart's eco-focus Bayart Innovations showcased a range of eco-friendly comfort products offered in response to the growing demand for sustainable alternatives.

Products on the stand included an eco-friendly amenity kit featuring a cork structure, kids kits designed with a re-usable, post-flight function, washable headsets and inflight blankets made with RPET.

The team was keen to highlight breakthrough fabrics and thoughtful designs which combine the company’s French luxury heritage with local twists and affordable price points.

tech updates

There were new products and innovations from technology suppliers at the show.

AirFi showcased its ‘In-Seat Ordering’ solution, which is now live on airlines including Scoot, easyJet, Corendon and Binter Canarias, and forms the backbone of its ‘Mall in the Sky’ platform. The company also introduced visitors to ‘LEO’ – its innovative, light-weight and low-cost connectivity solution using patented window-mounted antenna technology.

Ditto offered live, cross-platform, real-time demos of its Intelligent Edge Platform, with use-cases such as real-time meal ordering, cabin crew collaboration, maintenance collaboration and baggage scanning.

Inflight Dublin highlighted Everhub – a one-stop-shop for airlines, incorporating content, design, hardware and software into a single wireless IFE offering.

Collins Aerospace highlighted its Connected Aviation Solutions business which provides revolutionary digital solutions supporting a fully connected digital aviation ecosystem.

SITA showcased its SITA Flex solution, a next-generation platform that facilitates innovation via APIs to give passengers greater journey control.

Unilever debuts

Unilever made its debut at the Onboard Hosptiality Forum – Asia presenting its long-established retail brand products as offering ideal solutions for inflight travel packs. The team reported innovation and sustainability within amenity kits as a key topic for debate on its stand, where discussions provided opportunities to showcase successful projects and the business's track record. The team was keen to explain its environmental credentials and options for new formats.

Inmarsat Aviation launched its ‘APAC Passenger Experience Survey 2022’ and David Coiley, Asia Pacific Regional Vice President for the company shared details of the survey as part of his presentation in a conference session focused on ‘Successfully digitalising the aircraft cabin’. He explained that the new research conducted among 4,000 APAC airline passengers finds that 74% value inflight wifi, and 83% would rebook with an airline if high-quality connectivity was available on the flight. “Passenger demand for fast and reliable wifi has never been higher, so providing access to such services is absolutely essential for airlines,” said Coiley. •

onboardhospitality.com event review / 29
Passenger demand for fast and reliable wifi has never been higher, so providing access to such services is absolutely essential for airlines
dAvid coiley ApAc vice president inmArsAt AviAtion

Celebrating 30 Years of Partnership

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In review

A busy APEX / IFSA Expo...

Members of the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) and International Flight Services Association (IFSA) gathered in Long Beach, California, in October. More than 1,700 delegates from over 350 companies attended the 2022 Expo in Long Beach.

Dr Joe Leader, APEX/IFSA CEO, said: “APEX/IFSA doubled both its attendance and results from last year and even beat a decade-old record for airline attendance at the end of the event.

For both our airlines and suppliers, the dramatic return of travel was reflected in a brisk return of business at the show."

Eight airlines were presented with a World Class award during the awards evening on October 26. Guest experience ratings and audits by industry professionals were used to assess airlines for the 2023 awards. China-based Xiamen Air was named along with the seven airlines that were previous recipients.

“World Class assesses everything that matters to today’s traveller. It’s a vigorous audit. It’s very challenging…We invited 12 airlines this year and we’re qualifying eight,” said Keith Yates, the Executive Chairman of Yates + Partners, in Long Beach.

A new structure

This year's event had a new structure. Meetings took place at booths over the first two days of the expo. A meeting of the board of APEX and IFSA governors opened the third day and delegates were invited to attend a Thought Leadership Conference.

“For 2023, we will double attendance yet again by co-locating with FTE Global. This is exciting for us as FTE Global

onboardhospitality.com 32 / event review
We will double attendance again in 2023 by co-locating with FTE Global
Dr. JoE lEaDEr, IFSa/aPEX CEo
We were excited to participate at the IFSA Expo and conference. It was good to reconnect with existing customers, meet new ones and show them all our complete line of products
rMt Global PartnErS

is known as the CES of aviation,” said Leader, comparing the Future Travel Experience event to the Consumer Technology Association’s annual electronics-focused trade show.

“That has been the natural gravity of both APEX and IFSA: advancing the future of travel in a customer-centric manner,” added Leader.

Attendees’ perspectives

We asked attendees how they found the event:

Ellie Parkes, Business Development Manager at John Horsfall, said: “This year’s IFSA was a whirlwind! We had pre-booked meetings with existing clients and were pleased to meet several new ones too. The show-stand allowed us to display a wide selection of our onboard textiles, which clients may not see at headquarter meetings when we’re focused on a particular project. We look forward to 2023!”

Tim Zandbergen, the Sales Section Manager of his ANA Catering's Global Sales Department said: "ANA Catering attended IFSA to find the latest industry trends, products and to interact with airlines, caterers and suppliers. We believe relationships are key to our company. In addition, we attended to support the IFSA organization, to represent the Asia-Pacific Region and to promote awareness of our ANA brand,"

David Heissenbuttel, RMT Global Partners’ Director of Sales and Marketing, said: “RMT Global Partners

was excited to participate in the IFSA expo and conference. This is our 12th year exhibiting with only a break for the recent pandemic. It was good to reconnect with existing customers and meet new ones to show them our complete line of products,”

Dan Day, the Executive Vice President of AMI Inflight, has attended the event across four decades. He said: “The value I see of attending IFSA, which I have been doing for 37 years, is to meet with my colleagues, customers and competitors in a socialising environment where business is primary. At times business can take a step back to enjoy friendships developed over the years. In addition, the seminars at the Innovation Pavilion can be rewarding as well as finding new products on the exhibition floor.”

Similarly, Jennifer Green, the President of Procurall, cited the human element of meeting face-to-face with customers and potential new clients as a reason why attending the expo proved rewarding. “Like most exhibitors, Procurall attends APEX/ IFSA to elevate brand awareness and visibility, showcase new products, peruse the competition and explore the wide array of new business possibilities the Expo offers. But above all, APEX/ IFSA offers an ideal venue to strengthen bonds with existing customers, learn more about their aspirations, goals and initiatives and how we can assist in ensuring all are achieved,” she said.

Philippe Schleret, Telesat’s Vice President – Aviation said: “For us it has been a really good show because we met with the channels and the airlines. It has been a very busy show. I think the market, in general, appreciated the education and liked to hear what is coming with our constellation for in-flight connectivity.”

APEX Tech will be held in California in March and the 2023 APEX/IFSA Expo will be in Long Beach from 19-21 Sept. •

onboardhospitality.com event review / 33
The expo offers an ideal venue to strengthen bonds with customers
JEnnIFEr GrEEn, ProCurall

Virtual assistants take flight

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is increasingly part of everyday life. Chatbots on websites, virtual assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Siri, and self-driving cars all utilise AI to make decisions. As connectivity improves, AI seems set to become integral to passenger experiences too.

According to research published by the accounting firm PwC, AI has the potential to enhance productivity and benefit customers while contributing $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030.

Accenture lists improved end-to-end efficiency,the ability to make intelligent offerings and superior customer service among the benefits of AI.

Alex Tange, the CEO of New York-based company ICM Hub, is at the heart of this trend. He says: “In short,

we say we are building conversational AI platform for airlines that help passengers pre-flight, in-flight and post-flight. The idea is to enable contactless travel. The crew call button, for example, really is outdated because it doesn't help the cabin crew to be more effective. The call comes with zero information so crew don't know if it is a life-and-death situation or somebody simply asking for an extra pillow.”

Enabling passengers

“Through AI technology we can enable a system that gives passengers additional information when they request something onboard. Perhaps they might request movie information through the inflight entertainment system. They could say something like: 'I want to watch something that recently came out' or

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE onboardhospitality.com
Stuart Forster talks with Alex Tange of ICM Hub about the growing use of Artificial Intelligence onboard...

'I want something with a specific actor' and those choices just launch, they don't have to sift through the content. This is especially helpful as the content choice grows,” adds Tange.

“Maybe the passenger wants to explore the menu and order something. If it's a domestic flight and a payment transaction is involved, that could be done in the chat; the cabin crew would get a notification of the order, and they would fulfil it. This way the cabin crew optimise their trips onboard,” he adds, suggesting that airlines, cabin crew and passengers are all winners.

AI will also bring additional sales opportunities for airlines, he predicts: “They are now able to get more products and more ancillary offerings in front of passengers at the right time. The passenger experience is changing so they get instant attention; it's like they have a personal, virtual assistant and can get their attention at any time. They don’t have to wave and be lucky that a flight attendant sees them.”

Hosted locally

Development of the newlylaunched product took two years. Hosting the AI algorithms locally on a cabin server makes them accessible without the need of internet connectivity.

“The passenger types questions in natural language, that gets pinged to the server where the Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithms are located, then translated and passed to the back-end system for a response," he adds.

Typing natural language on a PED maximises and even enhances the solution’s capabilities, he explains:

“Through natural language we can understand the context around what the passenger wants. As more people chat with the system, the smarter it gets. If they were just pushing buttons there would be less opportunity to collect this natural language data. And it's only the natural language data that can improve the AI.”

When aircraft dock, chat transcripts can be downloaded and analysed. Then the system can be trained and new content or responses uploaded to the system's server.

This kind of virtual assistant can be made accessible on both personal electronic devices (PEDs) and seatback displays. It is available via Thales, and was first showcased at the Aircraft Interiors Expo. It could be live onboard by mid-2023.

“The system is all white labelled, so passengers wouldn't see our company’s name, the system would appear with the airline's brand, feel and colours. The passengers see some interactive content, click in and see a chat window opens...It might mention their name, welcome them personally and ask: How can we help you?” says Tange.

ICM Hub's focus is aviation but it could be a logical step to employ travel-related use cases on other modes of transport. Tange predicts that as in-flight connectivity improves AI applications will become more mainstream and five years from now a cloud-based solution will be used during journeys.

Above: Seatback displays can become more intelligent.

Left: Alex Tange at his ICM Hub trade show booth.

onboardhospitality.com ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE / 35
The passenger experience is changing so they get instant attention; it's like they have a personal, virtual assistant


OneWeb is on track to complete its Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite network in 2023. Stuart Forster explores the significance of this step...

OneWeb’s global network is set to revolutionise in-flight connectivity by offering capacity of more than a terabyte per second. That means throughput of hundreds of megabytes per second for every aircraft.

“By mid-2023 our full constellation of 648 satellites will be in place and we'll be offering aviation services from the back end of the year," says Nick Maynard, OneWeb’s Director of Marketing for Mobility.

Launch progress

36 OneWeb satellites entered orbit on 23 October 2022 aboard an MVM3 rocket that blasted off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota. It was the first dedicated commercial launch by NewSpace India Limited and India's biggest-ever satellite launch.

Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, OneWeb was launching satellites aboard Soyuz rockets from Kazakhstan. International sanctions in response to Russian aggression meant OneWeb had to find other launch partners. Before Christmas the company sent a further 40 satellites into orbit aboard a SpaceX rocket.

"It's an exciting time to be at OneWeb. We've got great partners and we're creating a solution that's been developed for the aviation industry by the aviation industry. We're working with Panasonic, Intelsat and Eutelsat; our distribution partners. We're also working with technology providers like Ball Aerospace, Stellar Blu and Hughes to create a connected ecosystem,” explains Maynard.

“We're not doing this on our own, so the airlines have that peace of mind. We know it's a complicated process and we're leveraging decades of experience. It's an approach that's resonating really well with the airlines,” he adds.

"The ecosystem is our differentiator against other LEO operators; it's for the industry, by the industry with a support

network that will hold your hand – no matter where you operate.

Bridging the divide

We're the only ones who are going to be offering LEO and GEO capabilities to realise the benefits that multi-orbit, multi-constellation delivers,” says Maynard.

"The mission is to bridge the digital divide. Connection everywhere changes everything and we can already see that in Alaska, where we're connecting communities to the internet for the very first time. The whole point of the activity is to allow people to realise their full potential - you can't do that without connectivity these days. Wherever you are, consistent connectivity is important and will only become ever more so."

36 / FOCUS ON onboardhospitality.com
This is a solution for the aviation industry, by the aviation industry

SmartSky Networks

SmartSky to tailor and create bespoke experiences for passengers. On a practical level, that can mean being able to order food on the aircraft and pay at that moment.

SmartSky Networks is an airto-ground (ATG) connectivityfocused company headquartered in the USA. Providing network, hardware and software, its goal is to deliver “data flow that transforms aviation” according to Britton Wanick, Vice-President of Marketing and Partnerships at SmartSky.

SmartSky offers three products to help achieve that objective. Using cell phone towers, its air-to-ground network facilitates connectivity to and from the aircraft. The company makes antennae that fit aboard regional aircraft and business jets. Thirdly, SmartSky has a digital platform, Skytelligence, for sharing information and hosting applications whose functionality includes providing situational awareness to pilots and is an example of utilising Aviation Data as a Service (ADaaS).

By delivering the network, antennae and digital platform, SmartSky supports getting data off the aircraft to application developers who create apps, “so passengers are connected with a great experience; and pilots have the situational awareness they need. It’s all part of what SmartSky is delivering to elevate the experience of flying. Our focus is on business aviation, primarily in the continental United States, where our network is,” explains Wanick.


The company works with regional carriers that tend to be underserved by larger in-flight connectivity providers. “Some communications equipment cannot fit on top of a regional aircraft due to size, weight and power limitations. But SmartSky’s lightweight air-to-ground system works really well,” says Wanick.

Service layers and applications enable

Utilising contextual data about passengers and their flight elevates opportunities for advertisers to reach their target audience, explains Wanick: “If you know more about the passenger and their activities, you can serve them better on the plane. An example is a plane that's flying from LA to Vegas and being able to offer a discount for hotel accommodation or a discount for a limo ride from the airport to your hotel – in-flight based on the browsing activity of that individual. Those are some of the things that bi-directional connectivity provides you the opportunity for and helps enhance

FOCUS ON / 37 onboardhospitality.com
July 2022 SmartSky Networks achieved nationwide network coverage in the continental USA. Stuart Forster explores the company and its vision…
Passengers are connected with a great experience

Welcome to your 2023 aWards...

Our industry is changing and changing fast. The joy of travel is returning with new products and services, and essential reinventions driving the travel industry’s recovery worldwide.

Behind every touch of joy onboard is a talented team with a vision and a determination that makes change possible, delivering it every day.

Now is the time to give credit where credit is due and recognise the talent and creativity of your team.

The 2023 Onboard Hospitality Awards will stand as the beacon of positivity in a post-pandemic world. They will showcase just how our sector’s people lavish love, care and consistency during air, rail and cruise journeys and transform the onboard passenger experience.

Step forward change-makers, now is the time to earn the widest possible recognition for all that you do for your clients and their passengers. Now is the time for the industry to recognise the creativity, passion and innovation of its hard-working people.

Read full details at onboardhospitality.com/awards 38 / OnbOard hOspitality awards 2023
The only awards that matter! Our awards are a beacon of positivity, showcasing the best in the business to give your teams the real, independent recognition they deserve for the wonderful work they do...
we're ChampiOning the Change-makers…

we're building respeCt thrOugh reCOgnitiOn...

why entering has neVer been mOre impOrtant than nOw... Nothing builds respect for your business and for the onboard hospitality sector like the Onboard Hospitality Awards.

These awards are the way you can shine a light on outstanding products and services, and give the amazing teams which are behind them the kudos they richly deserve.

This has never been more important than it is now, as the industry faces down a recruitment and retention crisis and works to build recognition and prestige for the roles and rewards it offers to its people.

Enter your products and services into the 2023 Onboard Hospitality Awards and you can ensure your people get the kind of real respect and recognition that builds team spirit and long term commitment to doing a great job.

Entering the Onboard Hospitality Awards has never been more important. Here's why...

reCOgnise yOur peOple:

Our rigorous and accountable judging process, ensures only worthy winners collect an Onboard Hospitailty Award. The prestige of each award

brings acclaim to your team and boosts in-house morale. It aslo strengthens client relationships and your company’s reputation. As teams rebuild, HR specialists confirm nothing fuels commitment like awards that make staff feel truly valued.

spOtlight their skills:

All entries and winners feature in Onboard Hospitality magazine and onboardhospitality.com for over six months. This is your chance to share your products’ stories and spotlight the creativity and innovation of your teams.

Celebrate yOur ChampiOns: Identify the team behind each product and service entered so we can celebrate the commitment and hard work of the people behind them. Let us share their successes with the whole industry and help rebuild pride and respect for those the recovery is relying on.

Free listing On Finder

Every company that enters will also be listed for FREE on Onboard Finder (usual cost £300) our essential suppliers' contact directory. onboardhospitality.com/finder

hOspitality awards 2023 / 39
Read full details at onboardhospitality.com/awards OnbOard

Industry awards can be complex and even controversial. Yet from their start, in 2014, the focus of the Onboard Hospitality Awards has always been on making sure the awards are authentic, accountable and scrupulously fair.

These are YOUR industry awards, administered by us at Onboard Hospitality. We want you to understand what is being assessed and how decisions are made. We are committed to sharing the processes and the thinking behind every step. We adhere to total transparency.

If you have any queries about any stage, please ask and we will provide you with an answer.

Please enter your products. Doing so helps ensure that innovative and hard-working team members get the recognition they deserve.

Read full details at onboardhospitality.com/awards 40 / ONBOARD HOSPITALITY AWARDS 2023
These are the Oscars ofawards"onboard
WE'RE FOCUSED ON FAIRNESS... CATEGORIES... We have 10 categories to ensure entrants are fairly assessed against others in a similar field. Our categories aim to cover the entire onboard experience: • Best Onboard Amenities Kit • Best Onboard Beverage • Catering Innovation of the Year • Best Onboard Service Equipment • Best Onboard Kids Kit/Service/Catering • Best Onboard Snack • Best for Sustainability Onboard • Best Use of Onboard Technology • Best for Onboard Textiles • Best for Wellbeing Onboard

What we're looking for...

Our online voters will have their own key criteria in mind but, when it comes to the final judging day, we ask the panel to assess the products against the following criteria...


How does this product support the industry's constant drive for change and improvement.


The all-important ‘wow’ factor adds to every passenger experience. Is the design special or unique, does it make an impact?


Items must be easy to use by crew or passengers. Simpler is often better.


In addition to these categories, our Ones to Watch showcase focuses on products and services targeting the sector but not yet onboard. For these the judges identify strong onboard potential.

Cabin Concept of the Year Award

In recognition of the fact that multiple suppliers often work together on significant projects, this award goes to the airline with the best new cabinwide innovation of the year, featuring multiple products/service touchpoints.

QUALITY: Quality design, materials and finishes can add to the ‘feel good’ factor in all classes.


Onboard products need to be robust. Judges assess if the product is fit for purpose and will stand the test of time.

LIFE SPAN: Products need to balance value for longevity, with attention to sustainability.

TASTE: Our judges know all about catering onboard and how taste changes in the air. Food and beverage entries are judged for their service suitability, taste and presentation or packaging.

CONTENT: The contents of an amenity kit can be innovative, whatever the budget. Our Judges look for new and on-trend products, interesting brand collaborations and effective functionality.



Champion Ours is a people-centred industry and this award recognises an individual whose work and leadership has helped drive the industry forward.

WEIGHT: With fuel-efficiency a priority, product weight is increasingly important.

Ultimately, it is how the product adds to the customer experience that really matters. Products need to make customers feel good. Our judges look for elements that add to the passenger’s journey and make it special.

Read full
at onboardhospitality.com/awards

We're committed to honest & transparent JUDGING...

Key to the enduring success of the Onboard Hospitality Awards is our unique judging process of which we are extremely proud.

Our judges

Our judges include experts with many years of onboard hospitality experience. They include buyers and decision-makers from airlines as well as chefs and caterers, industry consultants and professional travellers. Last year alone, the international panel brought together experts from Canada and the US, Australia and Europe. People with experience of working on every continent are represented and involved.


Your peers

All entries are first voted for online by our international readership. This allows for informed peerto-peer recognition. Those eligible to vote are our readers – the buyers and suppliers of onboard hospitality – the people we believe are best placed to recognise a good product or service, or a true innovation. These are the people –you and your industry colleagues – who really are in the know; industry insiders with expertise in the field.


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Now an independent consultant, Sue has 22 years' crew experience and four years in the BA supply chain team. She understands what works best at all levels. SUE WAPLE Gerard is the chief stategy officer for Cuisine Solutions and the CEO of The Culinary Research and Education Academy. His culinary reputation and know-how is of world renown. GERARD BERTHOLON Formerly BA's head of inflight global supply chain, Karen has over 30 years airline product experience, and is now an independant consultant and passionate sustainability advocate. KAREN MACKENZIE Restaurateur and culinary consultant Marc runs gluten-free restaurants, the Niche Free-From Kitchen and the special meals manufacturing business Libero. MARC WARDE 20 years' experience at SWISS and Lufthansa Group product department, Benedict has worked across all classes and still flies occasionally as an active Maître de Cabine. BEN FANCONI Former cabin crew, Caroline has spent 35 years actively marketing and developing food and packaging solutions and is now an independent consultant working on projects with partners around the globe. CAROLINE THOMPSON A senior analyst at Valour Consultancy, David specialises in IFEC and aircraft digitalisation, including both cockpit and cabin solutions. DAVID WHELAN Following 15 years as crew for British Airways, Shelley has extensive experience of inflight service and a clear understanding of what passengers and crew want. SHELLEY DAUNCEY APOT Asia founder and CEO, Keerthi Hapugasdeniya is an international celebrity chef who works with catering service providers to the airline industry. HAPPY K Nik runs a consumer airline food site inflightfeed.com and writes on airline food trends. He also offer consultation services to airline catering companies worldwide. NIK LOUKAS

Expert conclusions

Our thanks go to all those who get involved and vote online. Together you help make these awards the most authentic and accountable in the business. The results of the online votes are collated and fed into the work of the judging panel. Our judges then combine the results of the online vote with their own assessments, made when they meet in person as a distinguished panel. At this day-long judging event they also have the chance to see entry samples first hand. They form a powerful knowledge bank, with a wealth of expertise around the user experience and onboard service practicalities. We thank them for their support and dedication to the often difficult task of identifying the very best products.


It is time to put your products and services in the frame for 2023 assessment and recognition. Entries for the 2023 awards open on January 1. For more details contact Sue.williams@onboardhospitality.com

Read full details at onboardhospitality.com/awards

With over 30 years experience, Mike has led a number of prestigious onboard design projects - as former Head of Design at British Airways, as a consultant and now as Brand Experience Director at Acumen Design Associates. MIKE CRUMP The Hayward Partnership's experienced founder and managing director provides management consultancy and interim services to the travel catering and retail sector worldwide. LANCE HAYWARD Senior consultant at The Hayward Partnership, Sandra and has over 25 years of airline experience, most recently as senior VP customers United. SANDRA PINEAUBODDISON
Judging day brings together experts with vast experience from around the globe. They work tirelessly with a serious commitment to identify worthy winners every year
Roger has specific expertise in rail catering and is the chair of the International Rail Catering Group. He has 40 years of high-end travel catering experience in over 20 countries. ROGER WILLIAMS Ryan is the chief operating officer of Future Travel Experience and spends his days deep in the detail of aviation technology and trends. He leads the debate in tech innovation and support for start ups. RYAN GHEE

Why I love awards…

As the industry rebuilds and teams work to creatively add value to the passenger experience, we ask established players why awards matter…

THE JUDGE Simon Soni Director Guest Experience

Activation, WestJet Judge 2014-2022

Everyone likes to be recognised for their efforts and for a job well done. There are many awards that can help organisations to do this but the most meaningful are those where there are clear criteria and where the judging process is transparent and carried out by peers in the industry, with relevant recognised credentials.

The development of products and services for onboard involves multiple teams and disciplines across an organisation – from finance teams and procurement to project management, design, logistics and supplier management teams, as well as the front-line teams who will work with the new items onboard. An award can be a great validation of the many months and months of work across these multiple teams. Oftentimes those working on part of a launch rarely see the outcome of what they've worked on but an awards process provides an opportunity to explain the integral role everyone has played.

In itself, the process of applying can also provide a great opportunity for carrying out a project retrospective. It can be a great reminder to the business of work done and achieved.

It is a chance to look back and to

again get creative, as the team thinks about how to showcase the work it has done; explain what worked well and what was learnt along the process.

An award win is a very public pat on the back and goes a long way in boosting morale and rewarding your team

While entering really does provide benefits, clearly it is winning that is the true icing on the cake. Winning an award provides a great boost for the part individuals played and shows the positive result of working together on a project win.

This boost, where the award is widely communicated, can be of benefit to the whole organisation and a reason to celebrate in what is a highly competitive, hard-working and challenging industry.


Wilbert de Louw CEO Foodcase International

Winning an Onboard Hospitality Award is the best recognition we could have had from the inflight industry.

For us, success reflected the fact that

we were bringing new food concepts to the industry and that the concept was appreciated as a way to help the industry develop a better onboard passenger experience.

More importantly, winning the award brings recognition for the hard work of our dedicated development team and our production partners, and gives them all a chance to look up from the day-to-day and celebrate their own work before moving on to a new project programme.

Winning an award also comes with an obligation to set a new target for the following year and try and win again! Our development team is already looking ahead and more eager than ever to present a new, and hopefully award-winning idea, in 2023.


This year Retail inMotion was delighted to win five awards with succcess coming through various of its teams...

Anita Visvanath Category Manager F&B, said: "Winning an award is a validation, showing we are on the right path. This year that was especially true given that passengers were returning after a long time away so the awards felt even more special than usual. We discovered the brand behind the Hakuma Premium Iced Tea at a leading trade fair and after tastings

Read full details at onboardhospitality.com/awards 44 / ONBOARD HOSPITALITY AWARDS 2023

and negotiations, we selected it for the 'Austrian Melangerie' programme on Austrian Airlines. We were beyond thrilled it won an award. Awards help team motivation and add an extra sparkle to one’s working day. They also help customers recognise what we do and brings us closer to them."

Manuel Hübschmann Head of Retail, agreed: "Winning the award for the best service equipment was special as it provided external appreciation for the hard work of our experienced operations team who ensure every new product concept is also feasible.

Every year the team is excited about the Onboard Hospitality awards as they have helped provide external recognition and appreciation for various teams and departments within the Retail inMotion value chain and given us much to celebrate."

Aleksejs Romanovs, Key Account Manager, added:

"Winning an award in the competitive technology section was a blessing in itself, but it's more than just that. We ran for the award with our customer, airBaltic, as the solution had been developed collaboratively. The success was thanks to a great partnership and winning was huge reward. We all felt very proud."


CEO, AirFi.aero

Nothing feels better than being recognised for your efforts by an objective (not to mention expert) panel of your industry peers. A win in this way is a very public pat on the back and it goes a long way in terms of boosting morale and rewarding the team's efforts.

Adding the winner's logos to our marketing collateral and displaying our trophy is a way to show current and prospective customers we're recognised in the market and leaders in our field.

AirFi won in 2020 for our in-seat ordering deployment with Scoot Airlines and that was very rewarding for the entire team. When I was presented with the Industry Champion Award this year, that was especially meaningful for me personally.

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An award can be a great validation of the many months of work across multiple teams and departments


Awards bring a chance to celebrate success. Sue Williams, Publisher of Onboard Hospitality, explains why a fair process matters

When the idea first came to me in 2014, I knew the success of the Onboard Hospitality Awards was reliant on transparency and integrity. The awards highlight the creativity and innovation of our industry. The only way to ensure that was to invite our readership to vote on who should win and have the voting endorsed by a panel of highly respected and independent international judges. And our judges would be able to put forward any outstanding products that they felt had not been selected.

Next year we will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Onboard Hospitality Awards. Long may they continue to reflect the very high standards of our industry. Confidence in the awards' fairness has built over time and there are benefits to all who take part. As the leading media organisation in the sector, we are able to give all

entrants good publicity in print and online.

Fair process

We felt the only way to achieve that was to create a comprehensive range of categories and to give our readership — the buyers and suppliers of onboard hospitality — a role in the decisions. Our judges have always been drawn from the industry and that further ensures the value and practicality of products and services is assessed.

In the first year, we attracted 60 entries. The quality and number of entries quickly grew stronger and stronger. It was up 50% in just a year and was one shy of doubling by 2016. Prior to the pandemic, we were attracting around 200 entries each year.

In 2020 Craig McQuinn launched our successful Cabin Concept awards for airlines. That helped take the Onboard Hospitality Awards a step further. Our

annual awards ceremony in Hamburg has always been well attended and has become one of the major social functions at the World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo.

The year ahead

The 2023 awards open for entries as the industry gets back to business and looks to champion those building products and services that support the recovery. I am confident entries will continue to reflect the very high standards we have come to expect.

The dedication and hard work our judges, the Chair of the Judging Panel Jo Austin, former Editor Julie Baxter has made these the most highly respected awards in our industry—I cannot thank the team enough.

Sincere thanks to everyone over the years who has put their trust and belief in these awards either by entering or voting. May we all be winners! •

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Designed by crew,

for crew. designs, with a focus on improving

At Sky Soles we put our heart, passion and countless design hours into crafting specialised footwear for the aviation industry. We take pride in consistently innovating our designs, with a focus on improving quality and in-flight comfort.

Learn more about our innovative design approach at skysoles.com

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Uniforms and their messages

Uniform design policies are evolving. They are not just about brand but need to appeal to both passengers and employees too, discovers Stuart Forster...

Uniforms are not merely practical workwear. They ensure staff are easily identifiable, can forge a sense of team belonging and, beyond that, are a way to project a brand's image.

Keith Yates, the Executive Chairman of Yates + Partners, and his team have worked with many travel brands on this and he identifies three key steps.

The first thing is to define what the brand seeks to align with. Next comes work to identify a look and style that resonates brand integrity with the target audience. And third is gathering customers feedback regarding the value proposition.

Yates recently worked on the branding design for Bahrain International Airport’s luxury lounge, The Pearl, and recalls: “This was an interesting process. Inclusion was an important factor for the brand, with a view to encouraging all types of guests to visit and spend time in the lounge; while generosity – a fundamental element of Middle Eastern hospitality, and openness were also drivers in shaping the lounges."

During the process, airport representatives were presented with life-sized models of the proposed uniforms for chefs, lounge ambassadors and bar hosts. “We talked about the brand and asked questions such as does this uniform signal inclusion? Does it exclude? Is it too formal? Does it fit with the Middle Eastern view of generosity?” recalls Yates of a key meeting.

“By giving our client real things to consider, I think they were able to understand much more about what they

onboardhospitality.com UNIFORMS

wanted. Uniforms are integral elements in branding,” he adds

He believes the same principles apply for onboard uniforms and branding, saying: “My personal view is the presentation or expression of the crew in the cabin is more about how an airline intends to position its brand than anything else. A good example is how Virgin Australia ditched its casual shirt look for the more classic red dressy look of the current uniform with the intent to better position the carrier with the ‘travelling for business’ customer.”

Employee priorities

Nikki Dines, Air New Zealand’s Chief People Officer, believes uniform supports team spirit. She says: “Our people feel really proud wearing the Air New Zealand uniform, which is intrinsically linked to the airline’s brand identity. We are continuously reviewing our uniform and grooming standards to understand what is important to our customers, our people and the environment we are operating in.”

Since 2019 the airline has allowed employees to display tā moko (culturally significant Māori tattoos) and tattoos. “This is part of our wider mission to create an environment where Air New Zealanders feel comfortable to be themselves,” explains Dines of a policy which allows people to express their individuality and cultural heritage.

“Air New Zealand remains committed to

building and nurturing a diverse workplace that reflects the make-up of Aotearoa [New Zealand]. We know having an inclusive tattoo and tā moko policy helps us to attract a wide range of people to join the airline, and to support our Air New Zealand employees to be themselves,” says Dines of the benefits.

Likewise, Virgin Atlantic allows visible tattoos and has a uniform policy that factors in self-expression. Changes to uniform policy were in part designed to broadened the airline’s appeal as an employer. “We have seen cabin crew applications increase as a result of our change and the campaign around it, and have also received applications from more diverse applicants,” reveals Anna Catchpole, the airline’s Senior PR Manager.

“We really listen to our people. They are our greatest asset. This update came as a result of a conversation with our new recruits and similarly, in 2019, we offered our cabin crew the choice whether to wear make-up as well as the option to wear trousers and flat shoes,” she says. Being comfortable with a uniform and all it stands for is important for staff in an industry that continues to face recruitment issues following the pandemic.

Left and above: Uniforms convey subtle brand messages to customers.

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Uniforms are an integral element of branding

Keeping staff safe

Workplace violence is on the increase. Yasmine Mustafa, CEO of ROAR for Good, highlights the challenge and how managers can act to keep employees safe at work

It's a strange and uneasy time. People are angry, and on edge. As a result, workplace violence has soared. This is particularly true in the US and in aviation. A survey by the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA) in 2021, showed 85% of attendants had dealt with an unruly passenger, and 17% said a passenger had physically assaulted them. The poll surveyed nearly 5,000 attendants, so that's 850 physical assaults in 2021 alone.

Unfortunately, this isn't a one-off; workplace violence has increased across the hospitality sector, and not just in the US. Employees of cruise ships, trains, bars, healthcare facilities and anywhere with public interaction are feeling the brunt of tensions.

Employees have more to fear from workplace violence than a fat lip or a broken nose. According to a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) report, the US sees almost 2 million violent workplace incidents a year, causing 400 people to lose their lives annually.

There's no simple solution, but there are things managers can do to lower the risks. Knowing the different types of workplace violence, how to spot potential threats and relevant actions can all help prevent a minor incident from escalating.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are four main types of workplace

50 / STAFF SAFETY onboardhospitality.com

violence: ciminal intent; customer/client; worker-onworker and personal relationships. Understanding the nature of a violent situation can help managers act quickly and effectively.

Criminal intent

Just as the name implies, this involves perpetrators who have some kind of illegitimate agenda, such as robbery. When managers encounter criminal intent, their most prudent move is to keep their employees and the culprit calm. They should instruct all employees to comply with the offender's requests. People committing violent crimes are on the brink, so staying calm, complying with demands, and making sure not to agitate the robber is usually the best way to keep everyone safe.

Customer aggression

Most customers wouldn't dream of assault but about 50% of employers in the US have reported a customer physically assaulting an employee, according to the University of Connecticut Health Center. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also says there are many unreported instances of workplace violence.

Customer/client violence is the trickiest violence a manager has to navigate but it's usually do-able.The key is diffusion. When customers assault personnel, there's usually a lengthy build-up before things get physical. It starts with verbal insults or threats over some perceived issue.

Often, the best way to handle aggressive customers is to calmly approach the pair and intervene early, asking the employee to go and do something else. The employee has become the indirect object of the customer's rage and a fresh face and new set of ears can go a long way toward avoiding further escalation. At the very least, the would-be victim is out of harm's way, and the manager gets a shot at resolution.

The objective is to get the anger to subside, so the manager should use empathetic language and avoid anything that seems combative. Usually, the customer will calm down and discuss their grievance reasonably. If not, it's time to get law enforcement involved as subtly as possible.


Managers should take the time to carefully study their employees. Sometimes, two people just don't like each other and it might not be the fault of either of them. Managers who know their employees

can group them in a way that reduces tension and promotes a peaceful, productive work environment. Other times, managers notice that a particular employee is constantly hostile and explosive. These employees are often violent incidents waiting to happen. Sometimes, the best thing to do in these situations is to simply let them go.

It's personal

Managers can't always predict when an employee's angry partner is going to barge into the workplace and cause a scene. Most of the time, there's no real immediate danger; the mere mention of law enforcement might be enough to get an employee's disgruntled partner to leave, after which managers should talk to the employee and find a way to avoid such incidents in the future.


For the same reason they conduct fire drills, managers should talk to their teams about the possibility of a violent situation and what to do if one arises. Managers should warn their employees about the dangers of provoking angry customers or colleagues and discuss peaceful resolution tactics with them.Nobody should have to worry about violence when they go to work, but that's the unfortunate reality. Managers are in a position to mitigate a lot of the damage caused. Paying close attention to employees, intervening when necessary, and having a solid response plan can all help make sure everyone gets home safely.

Based in Philadelphia, ROAR is a woman-certified and mission-driven technology company dedicated to cultivating safer workplaces. •

Nobody should have to worry about violence when they go to work, but that's the unfortunate reality

Putting People First

Identify your most valuable people and make sure they know you value them, says independent coach and business advisor Mike Pooley of The Hayward Partnership

staff retention, significant levels of churn, along with unprecedented stress and burnout are now hot global issues.

Successful retention actually starts with best practice in recruiting and the hire of ‘fit for purpose’ talent. Candidates that transition into your organisation need to gel and harmonise with the business. Hiring management is particulary tough. You need a stong fit between a candidate and the open role and between the candidate and the organisation’s culture. That marriage of the critical traits, the ‘DNA’ of both the business, and the applicant, is essential and must strongly reflect the hiring company’s strategy and direction of travel.

It’s also vitally important to onboard and induct your motivated new team members, with a focus on early orientation, to really welcome them.

Globally, our industry has faced an immediate need to mobilise thousands of employees to support the recovery.

For caterers this has been a colossal and stressful undertaking, prompting

struggles to onboard well and to instil loyalty and commitment.

recognition and value

Gallup polls and HR experts indicate that a general lack of appreciation is the thing that drives people out of the workplace. It’s not easy to guarantee retention but key to success is recognition. Indeed, recognition, along with mentoring (buddying) and inclusion, are three of the top ways to keep good people in your business.

Rates of pay and remuneration must be realistic. However, beyond salary banding, a commitment to training, mentoring and succession planning can really enhance an organisation’s planning and strategy development. These interpersonal acts of encouragement and bonding can check the ‘temperature’ of employees and, importantly, identify the real rising stars – whose own commitment and retention is business critical.

A recent global survey of 500 HR and talent leaders suggests that only around 30% of people in the workplace

52 / In conversatIon onboardhospitality.com
52 / vaLUInG PeoPLe

right now feel 'reasonably sure' they’re in the right job. That means close to 70% of people are potentially drifting and don’t feel appreciated – that's a lot, even if you are sceptical of the number. The fact that they don’t feel emotionally or culturally attached to the business just shows how important it is to demonstrate employee recognition.

Management buy-in

Ensuring your senior leadership embraces a connected, team spirited, and motivational style of management is also key.

Any industry in flux, faces challenges. Customers demand businesses are more creative, more constructive and more sustainable but those same businesses may not have the resources to flex in the way the market demands, and that becomes a double whammy. Leaders have to engineer robust, more productive, and essential strategic shifts because human capital cannot always keep up.

You also have to look at whether you’ve got the right people. Are they

the most productive and bringing real value to the business? It’s always a tough stance but businesses have to focus on refining and stabilising their workforce with optimal processes and the best employee assets.

Investing in people

When it comes to training and succession planning, managers must invest in those they cannot afford to lose. They need a defined management strategy and a culture that leans towards the agile minds of employees who can help make a transformational shift. We all value guidance, and training is a key element in gaining the respect, commitment and contribution of each staff member. Everybody needs to feel they are getting the right advice and training to do the job to the best of their abilities.

Look at the talents in your team and organisation. Who do you rate because of their personality, output, and interaction? Make sure it is also these people who get involved in mentoring and buddying-up to those

who are joining you.

Check in on your people, how was their day and if needed, what would help make tomorrow better? It’s all about taking precious time to appreciate the cultural and emotional comprehension of a workforce. Don’t overlook what is meaningful to them. We need to work on people’s confidence and on people’s recognition that what they’re doing each day matters wherever they fit in the organisation.

We want people to fit seamlessly in the workplace but must understand the sum of all the different parts. You have to mould and encourage, you have to train and motivate that in. If there is a lack of empathy or a willingness to engage, then the appetite to come to work every day can soon diminish

Finally, more than ever we need a resilient employee. You can have the best investment in technology, productivity and infrastructure but if you lose sight of your people and their contribution, then your business model can quickly become more vulnerable.

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Take your seats

Satisfying customers and improving sustainability were factors behind Spirit Airlines' choice of the HAECO seating that will be fitted in aircraft. Stuart Forster learns more

Spirit Airlines plans to take delivery of 33 new aircraft from the Airbus A320 family during 2023. They will be fitted with HAECO Vector Light and Vector Premium seating.

Making that seats selection started with a seats show. "We invited a number of different vendors to bring their products, then we took a look at all of them," explained Lania Rittenhouse, the Vice President of Guest Experience, Brand and Communications at Spirit Airlines.

“Then we started iterating additional improvements in the seat, unlocking every possible way to reduce the weight of this seat, for additional sustainability, to increase the usable space for the guest, and to increase the comfort. Those are the three main goals and I think we've hit the nail on the head," she added.

The majority of the ultra-low-cost carrier’s routes are within the USA. Some are in Latin America and the Caribbean.

In 2019 the airline began rolling out Acro Series 6 and Acro Series 3 seating across its fleet. “It gave us an incredible increase in guest satisfaction" recalls Rittenhouse.

Thinking big

A key feature of the airline is its Big Front Seats, which offer additional space and comfort compared to seating elsewhere in the cabin. The introduction of HAECO’s Vector Premium seating as Big Front Seats is intended to add comfort and

provide greater privacy.

"What we've done is broaden out the shoulder space, so everybody has a bit more comfort when you're sitting back in the seat," explained Rittenhouse.

Notably, the headrest has been expanded and passengers no longer need to disturb the person sitting next to them to open up the console and pull up the foldable tray. The tray has been expanded.

Economy seating

"To us, sustainability is huge. We are already one of the most fuel-efficient airlines in the country today. But we don't want to rest on our laurels. Between our new NEO engines, which also save about 15% more fuel, the weight of the seat is incredibly impactful to us," said Rittenhouse.

Introducing the Vector Light means a weight saving of approximately 11 ounces per seat. For the airline that translates into significant annual fuel and cost savings.

"It adds to our sustainability efforts as well. Every little bit that we can save – whether it's in better materials, working with more composites, lighter weight materials, more durable materials – is something that we try to do every time we're thinking about improvements in the product," explained the VP.

Forged aluminium used to make the spreaders and seat legs saves weight and is durable. Cast

54 / XXXXX onboardhospitality.com

titanium in the armrests also helps save weight and the Vector Light seats feature an ergonomic, carbon fibre seatback.

The seats will have a minimum 28-inch pitch, which is typically measured from seatback to seatback. Rittenhouse took issue with that, explaining, "I don't particularly like the term ‘pitch’ because we believe that 'usable space' is a much better term for what our guests are able to experience."

Space and comfort

The seats are deeper than their predecessors and headrests have been added to Economy seats. Additional padding in the seat promises extra comfort. The curvature of HAECO Vector Light seats means that they provide more effective legroom than flat-backed alternatives. "We were able to unlock an extra two inches of space there for additional comfort," she added.

In terms of width, there will be an additional

half-inch of space in each of the seats. The aisle and window seats will measure 17.5 inches across while the middle seats will be 18.5 inches broad.

"When we're developing a seat, we're developing it for the Spirit business model and we're developing it for Spirit guests. Our guests are incredibly price-sensitive, they want to have the best possible value that they can get…we are constantly trying to find ways to pack additional value into the purchase proposition," said Rittenhouse.

Maintaining the space in the aisles was also a factor behind Spirit’s decision to order HAECO seating. Aisle space is key to getting people and luggage on and off quickly. A cantered leg design means that the seats can be moved an inch and a half closer to the aircraft wall. "As an ultralow-cost carrier that's very high utilisation, we have to turn the aircraft very quickly," explained Rittenhouse.

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Opposite: Stitching on Spirit Airways' new Economy seating. Above: Spirit's new HAECO-made Big Front Seats. SEaTing

Mirus Aircraft Seating

Densification and sustainability are key issues impacting the choice of aircraft seating according to industry insider Ben McGuire…

Ben McGuire, the CEO of Mirus Aircraft Seating, regards cabin densification as the key trend in seating. At the same time, it is important to provide passengers with optimal space and comfort. This is driven by airlines wanting to ensure that space onboard is optimised to capacity while keeping passengers as comfortable as possible.

“In today’s climate, where cabin densification is a priority for airlines, and passengers are also seeking more space and privacy, it is important for seating manufacturers to bridge the gap and balance these demands through innovative and cutting-edge products,” he says.

“At Mirus, we are responding and improving the lives of the 95% of passengers who fly Economy, by giving them increased levels of comfort and space through clever seating solutions. Our new Kestrel seat blends unequalled levels of passenger living space and comfort in an ultralightweight, slimline, fixed back economy seat; boasting a 28-inch pitch

and weighing in at just 7.5 kilograms fully dressed,” he adds.

Another priority for airlines is sustainability. Saving fuel is possible by minimising the weight aboard aircraft.

“The Kestrel’s design and weight ensures ample fuel-saving opportunities for airlines, consequently offsetting emissions and reducing overall costs of operation,” says McGuire. Additionally, he explains that the look and feel of the cabin aren’t to be underestimated. Airlines want to ensure that

their seating blends well with the aircraft and core branding. It’s also important to retain quality and comfort over time.

“We offer flexible customisation options to our customers so that we can deliver the right seating solutions for their unique needs. We also offer Mirus Care – the most generous and transparent warranty policy available on the market – to reassure customers of our commitment to both the quality of our products and our ongoing service,” says McGuire of his company’s aftersales service.

56 / FOCUS ON onboardhospitality.com
It is important to provide passengers with optimal space and comfort

Impactful partnerships

QR code on the kit’s label, enabling a real connection with the community and the story behind the kits.

This year, FORMIA celebrated its 20-year anniversary of curating meaningful moments. Over the past two decades, the company has facilitated exclusive airline and brand collaborations, bringing consciously-designed products to millions of passengers worldwide.

Marisa Pitsch, Chief Customer Experience Officer, joined the team in early 2020 to drive FORMIA’s humancentred approach and experience-led thinking at the heart of its customer experience strategy.

This has led to an increased focus on developing a full 360 integrated approach with FORMIA’s airline customers and brand partners that incorporates mindfulness of the planet through their sustainability strategy, positively impacting communities and providing passengers with thoughtful branded experiences adding value to

every touchpoint of their journey.

Purposeful partners

Recently, FORMIA facilitated the partnership between Delta Air Lines and Mexican apparel brand Someone Somewhere, a certified B-corporation, along with natural skincare specialists Grown Alchemist for the airline’s latest amenities program.

Someone Somewhere combines Mexican handcrafts with innovative products, working with artisans across Mexico’s most underprivileged states and using traditional production processes passed down from generations.

Through this bag for Delta, passengers empower communities to thrive. The partnership has already generated jobs for over 250 people in five of Mexico’s most vulnerable states.

Passengers can meet the artisan who created their amenity kit by scanning a

Grown Alchemist shares Delta’s enhanced focus on wellbeing, with each product thoughtfully developed to offer passengers a unique wellness experience as part of the new collection of amenity kits. To support Delta’s pledge to eliminate single-use plastics, FORMIA introduced recycled aluminium tubes.

The result was a collaboration between purposeful partners with shared values.

"For FORMIA, it’s these meaningful, responsible collaborations that drive us to continue offering enhanced experiences for airline passengers and leave them with lasting memories and extended connections with the airline and brand long beyond the journey," said Pitsch formia.com •

FOCUS ON / 57 onboardhospitality.com
A human-centred approach and experience-led thinking can result in meaningful partnerships that create a lasting, positive impact, says FORMIA...
The result was a collaboration between purposeful partners


Cans that can

Canned wines. To many the very pairing of those two words sounds like an oxymoron, an aberration, an impossibility. But market trends suggest wine purists who resist the very concept are increasingly in the minority

Market intelligence company, Straits Research, is predicting the global market will reach over $725m by 2030 – up from a 2021 value of $241m.

Consumer demand has rocketed as the inclination towards ready-to-eat, ready-to-drink, consumption has grown. Convenient, portable, single-serve wine servings align with today's busy lifestyles and outdoor socialising, especially fuelled

by Covid lockdowns and meeting up restrictions. Despite being home to some of the world’s finest, most traditional vineyards, Europe and the US dominate the canned wine market but there are also strong sales in the Asia-Pacific region, especially India and China, thanks to the rising urbanization and western influence.

Benefits of cans

Eco-credentials are also influencing the trend as many claim metal cans are less expensive to create and transport, and have a higher recycling rate than glass. Studies also show cans are cheaper and easier to stock and stack, meaning less breakage.

Market trends suggest canned wines are increasingly popular with consumers as well as offering sustainability and operational benefits to onboard service, says Julie Baxter
58 / Canned

The eco-impacts of the aluminium extraction itself however remains controversial but for one group of wine experts the eco-benefits are clear. The Wine Traders for Alternative Formats (WTAF) is an alliance of premium and innovative wine companies promoting quality wine in new formats.

The group believes changing formats is the only way the wine industry can significantly cut its carbon footprint. Oli Purnell, of Copper Crew, says for the alliance: “Manufacturing and recycling of glass bottles is wine’s biggest greenhouse gas contributor. In order to minimise the carbon footprint of the wines we drink, we need to seek out wines in alternative packaging wherever possible. Switching from glass to alternative formats could save as much as 750,000,000 KgCO2e of emissions every year in the UK alone. This is the equivalent of taking 350,000 cars off the road overnight, and is well over a third of the carbon footprint of wine consumed in the UK.”

They, along with wine experts and commentators, are calling for the introduction of tax incentives for carbon-friendly alternative packaging to reduce reliance on single-use glass bottles.

Purnell adds: “Viable alternative formats include boxed wine, canned wine, kegs, returnable glass bottles, paper bottles and pouches, all of which come with vastly reduced carbon footprints and other benefits. Crucially, there is little or no perceivable difference in quality between these

formats and wine in glass bottles for wines drunk within a few months of purchase, as most are.”

ideal for onboard

For onboard service, the convenience value of cans is well established for beers, cocktails and soft drinks, and is increasingly popular for ready-mixed spirits too. Wines have traditionally been offered in single serve bottles (glass or plastic) in Economy or presented with some ritual from full sized bottles in premium cabins. However, the popularity of canned wines on the ground is clearly generating interest for onboard too.

Delta launched ‘The Betty’ last summer, a sparkling wine in a can from Une Femme. A classic Blanc de Blancs, The Betty was made specifically for the airline. Then earlier this year, Delta added a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Chardonnay in cans from Imagery Estate Winery, a Sonoma winery led by award-winning winemaker Jamie Benziger.

The airline says the wine’s aluminum packaging reduces annual plastic use by up to 250,000 pounds. The wines are also grown sustainably, as certified by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, adding to the eco-messaging and supporting the airline’s

/ 59
Pictured: Wines in cans are being launched around the world
Canned wine

commitment to sustainable air travel and its goal

From the UK, The Uncommon canned range of sparkling wines is featured in British Airways’ High Life shop, and Virgin Atlantic offers it in tasting sessions for Upper Class passengers on aircraft with its The Booth social area.

Henry Connell, founder of the range identifies both convenience and wine wastage as key saying: “Single-serve aluminium cans help reduce the billion litres of wine thrown away each yearfizz that goes flat - it’s a perfect solution. Cans chill in just 15 minutes too; are endlessly recyclable and very lightweight. Their carbon footprint is 80% lighter than glass.”

The sector is strong on innovation which is driving new branding partnership and brings good appeal for onboard retail. The Canned Wine Co., for example, has launched an exclusive partnership with the National Gallery to release limited edition artist labels on three canned wines. These labels feature artwork from Vincent van Gogh, Paulus Theodorus van Brussel and Paul Gaugin.

art on cans

Judith Mather the Buying and Brand Licensing Director at the National Gallery Global Limited says: “The Canned Wine Co. has created a range of beautifully designed canned wines that showcase the National Gallery’s artworks in a very fresh and original way.”

Canned Wine Co.’s Head Wine Buyer, Ben Franks, tackles head-on any suggestion that quality or

taste is inferior with a canned product. He says: “Our wines are sourced from some of Europe’s finest winemakers with a focus on quality. We work with our winemakers to make the wines ready for the canned format, with maturation in tank or barrel prior to canning so they taste at their best. Given the legendary status of the artists we’ve secured for the cans, we made sure the finest wine is canned inside.”

The company’s mission is to revolutionise the wine industry by making exciting, quality wines more accessible and sustainable. They source single-variety, vintage wines from some of Europe’s most talented winemakers and prioritise sustainably grown vineyards. They also partner with Every Can Counts to support the aluminium recycling, something the travel sector also needs to consider as aluminium recycling infrastructure is still limited at most airports.

In India, Sula Vineyards, India’s renowned wine brand, launched its first-ever canned wine under the brand name Dia Sparkler. In the US, the Molson Coors Beverage Company added a line of canned wine spritzers under the Movo brand. The flavours include Blood Orange Sangria, Raspberry Rosé, and Peach White Blend.

In the UK, Canvino puts a strong focus on provenance credentials and millennial-friendly pastel packaging for its lightly sparkling, fresh and fruity Bianco and medium-dry lightly sparkling Rosé from Italian grapes. The wines are created without artificial CO2 to be as close to the bottle equivalent as possible. They also offer wine-based cocktails - a take on an Aperitivo Spritz and a Raspberry Bellini.

Canned wines are clearly a trend with legs, and that’s not just a description from the tasting notes.•

60 / Canned wine
Winemakers can make the wines ready for the canned format, with maturation in tank or barrel


Said to be the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirit, Seedlip sources ingredients from the English countryside for its three blends: Garden 108 (peas, hay, spearmint, rosemary and thyme; Spice 94 (bark and citrus distillates); Grove 42 (orange, lemongrass and ginger). seedlipdrinks.com

Best of botanicals




LUXLO is a juniper-led lowalcohol spirit created using nine carefully selected botanicals, all individually distilled by a master distiller. Targetting gin lovers, there are four in the range: Ginny; Pomegranate and Raspberry; Blood Orange and Passion Fruit. luxlospirits.com


A pair of tropical nonalcoholic spirits. Light & Zesty is a blend of Inca berry, citrus and spice botanicals to be served with tonic; while Dark & Spicy is a warming infusion of dark tropical pineapple notes, ginger and kola nut spices and works as a rum alternative served with ginger ale and lime. calenodrinks.com

This range is positioned as non-alcoholic aperitifs and includes Herb Verde, a blend of mint rosemary, gentian & thyme; Spiced Rhubard, a sweeter option with a spicey kick from juniper, chilli and ginger; and Orange Chichona, a bitter orange blend with cinchona and 17 herbs. They are designed to mix with sparkling water or soda. drinkskitchen.online

A non-alcoholic base designed for a natural, aromatic spritz. There are three flavours: Mountain, Marine and Forest. The first blends cherry blossom, strawberry and rosehip botancials; the second draws on umami flavours of kelp, bergamot and sea buckthorn; while the last uses sustainabily sourced saffron, vanilla and honeyed orange blossom. everleafdrinks.com


Marketed as a 'free-from alcohol, full of spirit,' this South African product is created using a unique triple-distillation process in custom-built vacuum still. It includes nine hand-sourced botanicals, many of which are indigenous to South Africa and some of which are foraged from the owner's own farmland. mahalabotanical.com

Botanicals sit in a new category of no- and lowalcohol brands which no longer seeks only to mirror established spirits, says Julie Baxter

Unlocking travel retail growtH reqUires a reimagining of tHe category

Nestlé is working to make food the most purchased category in travel retail. Here General Manager Stewart Dryburgh explains how

the food category can fuel considerable growth for our industry. It is already the second most purchased category, and the number one driver of crosscategory purchasing. It is however under-exploited in travel retail.

Beyond confectionery

The industry’s historic focus on confectionery means the wider food category is significantly under developed. We don’t want the industry to sell less confectionery but we do want to exploit the other opportunities too.

We need to meet consumer needs –going beyond price. This means value and engaging consumers across their journey, showing leadership on the environment and providing a keen sense of place.

Confectionery is the beating heart of travel retail but our research shows

there is a range of opportunities beyond that. Based on that research we are focused on coffee and wellbeing categories, developing Nescafé as a global coffee icon and tapping into the global mega trend of wellbeing, with Nestlé Health Science brands for vitamins, minerals, herbals and supplements for the travel retail sector. We also plan to exploit regional opportunities wherever relevant. In terms of engagement, our digital platforms will actively communicate with consumers across the passenger journey; and on sustainability our ambition is to have 100% sustainable sourcing for coffee and cocoa, and 100% recycled and recyclable packaging. We have been cutting carbon since 2019 and launched vegan Kit Kat this year

with the goal to make Kit Kat a net zero product by 2025. Smarties are in already in paper packaging and Quality Street will be next.

Unlocking potential

Unlocking the potential of travel retail requires a reimaging of the category. Confectionery is resilient and will remain key but we can drive monumental growth by strategically adding global food brands, and tactically deploying local food brands that consumers love as a memory of their trip or as a gift.

We need a category management-led approach that develops travel retail beyond confectionery, holistically. There are some exciting opportunities. Food can be the number one purchased category in travel retail, I'm sure.

62 / In conversatIon onboardhospitality.com

Looking ahead to Hamburg

What: Passenger Experience Week including WTCE and AIX Expos

Where: Hamburg Germany

When: June 5-8

Plans are already well in hand for the 2023 World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) which will return to Hamburg in June 2023.

Kicking off with the Passenger Experience Conference, the day before the show opens, the week of June 5-8, will once again see the industry descend on the Hamburg Messe Congress Hall and Exhibition Centre for three days of meetings, product sampling, networking and inspirational debate. Co-located with the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX), the 2022 show attracted nearly 5000 delegates and 250 exhibitors.

The Taste of Travel Theatre in collaboration with Onboard Hospitality Magazine is slated to return once more in 2023 with a new line-up of thoughtprovoking panel discussions, chef demonstrations and product showcases. We're already sourcing ideas and panellists


so do get in touch with stuart.forster@ onboardhospitality.com if you'd like to get involved. Also back for 2023 is the Onboard Hospitality Awards ceremony, taking place on the Tuesday evening. Join us as we reveal and celebrate the very best of our industry. worldtravelcateringexpo.com

Rail talk


February 28March 1

Aviation Festival Asia Suntec, Singapore terrapinn.com

May 15-16

Middle East Rail Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, UAE terrapinn.com

June 5

What: Aviation Festival Asia

Where: Singapore When: Feb 28 –March 1, 2023

Aviation Festival Asia is designed as a show for the airline and airport leaders and senior executives. It offers opportunities to develop business partnerships in the Asia region and gain insights into software, services, sustainability, marketing and distribution. The 2023 event expects to bring 2,500+ executives together to be inspired by 250 speakers. terrapinn.com

What: Middle East Rail

Where: Abu Dhabi When: May 15-16, 2023

Middle East Rail is designed to inspire, encourage knowledge exchange and

showcase innovative solution providers who promise world-class excellence and infrastructure delivery. It brings together public and private transport operators, government, engineering and construction, logistics and technology providers to plan and develop future projects. terrapinn.com


Passenger Experience Conference; WTCE and AIX, Hamburg Messe worldtravelcatering expo.com

noveMber 8-9

Future Travel Experience Asia Expo /Onboard Hosptiality Forum Marina Bay Sands, Singapore futuretravelexperience. com

EvEnts / 63

Festive feelings

The world view

We're going global every day by going social. Meet us in the virtual world via Twitter and LinkedIn. Here's just some of the digital chat you may have missed... Follow us for more: @OBHMagazine and linkedin.com

Air Canada is celebrating the holiday season with a new, heartfelt short film with a message of togetherness. The adorable animation stars a baby loon bird who gets separated from its family on the annual journey south for the winter. The baby loon finds its way back to its loved ones in an unexpected way that is sure to give viewers a jolly surprise, whilst reminding us of the true meaning of the holidays –that is, being together.


Back to basics

Would you forgo a toilet onboard to save a few dollars? It seems a lot of Americans would! Research conducted by the travel search engine ‘WayAway’ revealed that a majority of Americans would consider options like flying standing up, having no access to a bathroom or taking five stopovers if it meant a cheaper flight. For a 50% discount, 31.6% would fly standing up, 29.2% would fly with no access to a bathroom, and 35.4% wouldn't mind five stopovers if it meant saving some cash.


Grab and go

United Airline's newest club experience at Denver International Airport sees passengers able to grab a snack before their flight without reaching for their wallet. Located near Gate B60, at United Club Fly, members can quickly grab a pre-packaged snack (or two... or three...) or drink and go right to their flight. There's also a next-level coffee bar for latte lovers. Eligible passengers simply need to scan in with their boarding pass.



To celebrate Virgin Voyage's Valiant Lady’s unforgettable 'MerMaiden' voyage, 457 Sailors gathered in Miami wearing a kaleidoscope of vibrant mermaid tails, setting the Guiness World Records title for the largest gathering of people dressed as merpeople. This 'mer-mazing' attempt included lively music, elaborate makeup, 'shelfies', a few stadiumstyle waves and champagne showers once the adjudicator announced that the record was officially beaten.


onboardhospitality.com 64 / GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE

Give us a tune...

Southwest Airlines surprised passengers this autumn with the gift of ukuleles onboard. Passengers on a Long Beach-Honolulu flight were greeted by staff members from Guitar Center as they made their way onboard. Once at their seats they each found a Mitchell MU40 Soprano ukulele and colorful, Hawaiian-themed Road Runner carrying case. With their new instruments in tow, passengers were invited to take part in a lesson and enjoy a serenade down the aisle from a pro. Let's hope no one boarded with a migraine...!

Non-fungible fun

airBaltic has made great strides to keep up with digital currencies since it became the first airline to accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as payments for flight tickets in 2014. Now the Latvian flag carrier has hit a digital milestone. Since its release of 10,000 nonfungible tokens (NFTs) called ‘Planies’ at the beginning of October 2022, the airline has issued more than a million loyalty programme (airBaltic Club) points. In less than two months, over 2,300 Planies have been issued which allows their owners to passively earn loyalty points.


Beach clean-up

The team at FORMIA participated in a beach cleanup in November to help promote and raise awareness of plastic waste reduction. The day was planned as part of FORMIA's ongoing partnership with Beyond Plastic – a local grassroots organisation that runs beach clean-ups in Hong Kong. Beyond Plastic holds monthly beach cleanups at different beaches around Hong Kong and have engaged more than 3000 people since they began in 2019, collecting more than 50000 kgs of plastic waste.


New routes

Qantas has been celebrating the launch of a selection of new routes within the APAC region. A new route from Brisband to Haneda Airport, Tokyo was celebrated with Japanese flags and geishas. After 15 years, Qantas' Sydney-Seoul route has also made a return, celebrated in the airport with cuddly characters and people in traditional Korean attire greeting passengers at Sydney airport.


onboardhospitality.com GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE / 65
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