Onboard Hospitality June/August 2024

Page 1


Cutting edge

Staying ahead of passenger expectations

2024 ISSUE 98



April Waterston april.waterston@onboardhospitality.com


Stuart Forster stuart.forster@onboardhospitality.com



Julie Baxter, Jessica Alexander, Bev Fearis


Kelly Stevenson, Steve Walpole, Melissa Adamski, Neal Baldwin, Richard Williams




Sue Williams sue.williams@onboardhospitality.com

ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Craig McQuinn craig.mcquinn@onboardhospitality.com



Caitlan Francis, Emma Norton & Colette Denham





CEO Martin Steady

SUBSCRIPTIONS Kay Fisher subscriptions@bmipublishing.co.uk




Regularly read in over 70 countries worldwide and mailed to our 25,000+ international database. Read this magazine in digital form, share it virtually or subscribe. If you are looking for a supplier or caterer, check out onboardhospitality.com/finder Connect online


� Onboard Hospitality at linkedin.com onboardhospitality.com


Happy days

The optimism and positivity in our industry at the moment is contagious.

In a full-circle moment, there's something we're happy to catch!

Five years after I first joined Onboard Hospitality, I am thrilled to find myself at its helm. I have big shoes to fill – both figuratively with the high standards set by former editors Stuart Forster, Julie Baxter and Jo Austin, but also literally in the size 11's (UK) left by Stuart...!

April Waterston

MANAGING EDITOR Onboard Hospitality

And what a good time to start. On Teams calls, beaming smiles light up my screen as I'm told stories of double-digit tenders, exciting partnerships and new products. Innovation is highlighted no better than in our 2024 Onboard Hospitality Awards Entries Guide, distributed with this issue and available online. As we celebrate ten years of the Onboard Hospitality Awards, we're thrilled to have received a record-breaking number of entries – a testament to the everincreasing commitment our industry has to enhancing the passenger experience. Please join us on May 28 at 5pm as we reveal this year's winners at WTCE's Taste of Travel Theatre.

In this issue expect forwardthinking features on food presentation (page 48), all things tableware (page 86), sleep (something we all need more of!) on page 102, and even what to do with the hairiest of passengers on page 114...

We look forward to reconnecting with you in Hamburg. For now, enjoy the read.


onboardhospitality.com WELCOME / 3
STUART FORTSER suggestions for technology or retailfocused features or interviews? Reach out with ideas to Stuart. SHEENA ADESILU
our weekly newsletter. Share your press releases and news stories to see them online.
CRAIG MCQUINN queries about the Onboard Hospitality ForumAsia or entering our awards? Please contact Craig.
Want to see your advert in our magazine or
Please contact Sue to

Inside this issue...


10 In the News: Recent updates

16 In Debate: Flexitarianism

20 Events calendar: Upcoming trade events

WTCE preview

25 What's new for 2024

26 In conversation: Polly Magraw

28 Taste of Travel: This year's programme

30 Foursight: WTCE Ambassadors

32 Exhibitor preview

Food & Beverage

48 Looking good: Food presentation

56 In conversation: Marcus Nilsson, En Route

58 New arrivals: Cheesies

60 Expert Insight: Kelly Stevenson

64 Focus on: Matcha

66 In conversation: Todd Traynor-Corey

68 Taking off: Snacks

70 Opinion: Good mood food

73 Feeling hoptimistic: Global beers

78 Global affair: Germany




84 In conversation: Stef Van de Perre, deSter

86 Setting standards: Tableware trends

96 Packaging: The power of design


102 Counting sheep: Aiding sleep onboard

108 Spa in the sky: Rejuvenation inflight

114 It's a dog's life: Pampering pets

117 How to: Scent power


120 Retail trends: What's new

123 How to: Menu card design

126 Crew training: Boosting sales


130 People on the move: Industry appointments

132 Why I love my job: Sergio Gomez, Driessen Catering Equipment


136 AIX preview: What to expect

141 In conversation: Vimal Kumar Rai

142 Reach for the stars: Inflight entertainment

150 AI in the sky: Looking ahead

153 Focus on: Headphones

08 / CONTENTS onboardhospitality.com
114 108 86 142 123 CONTENTS / 09 onboardhospitality.com

American Airlines' refresh

American Airlines has rolled out a series of onboard enhancements including reimagined amenity kits, bedding and new culinary dishes.

The refreshed kit designs feature new skincare products for

The refreshed kit designs feature new skincare products for First, Business and Premium Economy cabins on trans-continental departures. Regular inflight staples are now joined by an evolving skincare offer and limited-edition speciality kits from beauty retailer Thirteen Lune.

New bedding, pillows and sleepwear have also been rolled out featuring recycled materials from John Horsfall.

The new dual-sided Nimbus pillow is a collaboration between Ostrichpillow and Global-C for First and Business passengers, paired with ergonomic and sustainable lumbar support pillows and new duvets, a throw and fleece blankets. Nearly all of these products use recycled fibres and 100% recycled fill. Replacing plastic wrap with reusable bags is expected to save 25 tonnes of plastic waste a year.

The new menus are inspired by popular American Airlines destinations. Highlights include tortellini pasta for all cabins, chilled marinated chicken with mojo verde sauce in Business and a plant-based stuffed red pepper in domestic First class.

“Part of the magic of travel is connecting our passengers to the people and experiences that matter most to them. We’re taking that concept to the skies by introducing a new, dynamic onboard programme that’s inspired by feedback from our passengers and team members,” said Kim Cisek, Vice President of Customer Experience at American Airlines.



Plane Talking Products (PTP) has entered an exclusive partnership with luxury tableware specialist Steelite.

Steelite designs, manufactures and supplies hospitality tableware in over 140 countries and works with over 30 brands, including traditional British brand William Edwards. Alison Wells, MD PTP, said: “This collaboration significantly extends our product range and enables us to access a wide range of brands for airlines, as well as the latest trends and design inspiration for premium tableware.” Tim Harper, Sales Director at Steelite, added: “Tableware should do more than serve your food – it should serve your vision."

onboardhospitality.com 10 / IN THE NEWS


• Flying Food Group has a new partnership with Hainan Airlines to provide catering on flights between SeattleTacoma and Beijing. • LNER is offering free organic period care products on its trains and in its lounges in partnership with eco-friendly TOTM. • United Airlines is upping its overhead bin capacity by 80% with new bins on its Skywestoperated Embraer E175 fleet. • Etihad Airways has adapted its trolleys with a new multi-purpose tray, saddle rack and bar top designed to support crew inflight efficiency. • UK rail operator, Lumo, is collaborating with Flawsome Drinks to serve juices made from ‘wonky’ and surplus fruits.

Catering rebrand for Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific has rebranded its catering service as Cathay Dining. The new identity will be rolled out across passenger -facing channels and provide inflight dining solutions to Cathay flights operated to and from its Hong Kong base.

Alex McGowan, Chief Operations and Service Delivery Officer and Dining Chair at Cathay, said: “We have invested heavily over the years to transform Cathay Dining into a world-class provider of dining solutions and experiences. The new brand reflects this and underlines the important role that

dining plays in helping Cathay achieve its vision of becoming one of the world’s greatest service brands.”

Agatha Lee, Chief Executive Officer at Cathay Dining, added: “From our inflight cuisine to bespoke catering services, we take great care and pride in designing carefully-crafted dining experiences that are enjoyed by passengers travelling all around the globe with us."

Formerly known as Cathay Pacific Catering Services, the company operates the airline’s principal dining business in Hong Kong.

Aire Inflight FZE

Jebel Ali Free Zone Office

Warehouse No. FZSIAM06 P.O. Box 18424

Dubai, UAE

Tel.: +971 4 3319883

Mob: +971 506406533

johnson@aire-inflight.ae www.aireinflight.com

Dubai Office Galleria Office 204, 2nd Floor, Hyatt, Diera P. O. Box 18424, Dubai, UAE Tel.: +971 4 273 1024 Fax: +971 4 273 1034 Visit us at stand: 1F74

En Route goes regional

En Route is launching a new range of regional galley boxes ahead of this year’s World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE).

The regional galley boxes feature international snacking products and have been developed with an initial focus on French and Portugese products.

Each box features authentic produce sourced directly from the respective regions to align with a newly-introduced regional themes strategy inspired by the growing demand for customisation across the airline catering sector. Each component is packed in custom-coloured corrugated card buffet boxes. The outer packaging can feature bespoke branding design.

En Route is committed to sustainable, clean-label products with no preservatives or palm oil as well as actively working with suppliers who support charities that are making a positive impact across the supply chain, employing disadvantaged people, for example.

Helen Dore, Head of Category at En Route, said: “We’re thrilled to unveil these innovative galley boxes. Not only do they address the increasing consumer demand for personalised inflight experiences but they also serve as testament to our proficiency in sourcing, designing and delivering bespoke products on a global scale.”

The new range will be showcased at the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) as part of En Route's wider portfolio of passenger solutions including an award-winning cheese programme, artisanal bakery offering and global handheld snacks. En Route will be on stand 1F30.

Air Canada has added more than 100 new seasonal dishes rotating onboard alongside new snacks and drinks. The upgrade reflects the influence of culinary chef partners David Hawksworth, Vikram Vij and Jérôme Ferrer and showcases flavours, textures and fresh ingredients complemented by wines from sommelier Véronique Rivest. New additions include red Thai chicken and rice, chicken cacciatore, a classic pesto penne, a new pancake and maple syrup breakfast and savoury pastries from Monty’s Bakehouse. The new Bistro menu has the most extensive selection of fresh buy-on-board options in North America.

onboardhospitality.com 12 / IN THE NEWS AIR CANADA'S CULINARY UPGRADE
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• Linstol has opened a new office in Hong Kong’s business district which will serve as a regional hub to support its Asian airline partners. • Kaelis has partnered with Qatar Airways on a Hajj amenity kit for passengers on Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Highlights include a prayer mat, prayer beads and a tally counter for keeping track of religious rituals. • Bottega S.p.A. has expanded its non-alcoholic drinks range with a lemon liqueur called Limoncino 0.0, made using Sicilian lemons. • ITA Airways has partnered with Flying Food Group to deliver catering on its new route from Chicago to Rome • Aer Lingus has rolled out a new summer menu and expanded its inflight entertainment.


New trolley washer from Meiko

Meiko has introduced a single-chamber trolley washer for inflight catering.

Designed to accommodate 5,000-10,000 meals per day, the new machine is available in two models: TF-L and TP-L. Both can clean full- and half-sized trolleys onboard.

The hygiene technology company hopes to address challenges faced aloft, such as time pressure, hygiene, lack of space, low staff numbers and pressure to work even more efficiently. Complete with a


Thermolabel functionality, the new washer can clean up to two trolleys at a time. This is equivalent to 40 trolleys per hour, including drying.

Water consumption is 5 litres per trolley and one single washer uses less than 4m² of space.

It is also equipped with front- and through-loading options and can be fitted using a pit or ramp. A blue operating concept has been integrated, too. This means that everything blue can be touched, removed or cleaned.


JetBlue is introducing Blueprint by JetBlue, a personalised inflight experience platform allowing passengers to customise their journey.

It will begin with new inflight entertainment features, some of which have never before been implemented on a US airline. It includes a new seatback touchscreen features that mimic what passengers are used to experiencing with their favourite streaming platforms at home. New functions include watch party, content recommendations, pick up where you left off, saved favourites, saved settings and content partnerships. Deployment should be completed by the end of May 2024.

onboardhospitality.com 14 / IN THE NEWS

A flexitarian future

When it comes to omnivorous diets, moderation and balance are key. April Waterston invites gategroup's culinary team to explore the flexitarian trend

Do you see flexitariansim as a growing trend in passenger diets? If so, HOW MIGHT THIS IMPACT INFLIGHT MENUS?

MB Flexitarianism is a growing trend among consumers. We base our menu decisions on specific data insights. For instance, we know that one in four Americans reported eating less meat in a nationwide survey in 2020, and the EU predicts a sustained decline in meat consumption over the next decade. It is no longer enough to simply group vegetables together and call it an entrée. Instead, we focus on offering more thoughtful, complete, and compelling vegetarian dishes. We are also taking a modern approach to meatbased dishes by shifting the protein off the center of the plate and highlighting supporting elements.



In the airline catering space, it's crucial to differentiate between short-lived trends and enduring movements like flexitarianism due to the long lead time from development to flight delivery. While the trend of eating less meat is apparent, taste remains the top priority in food decisions, as per an IFIC 2023 Food Health Report. Creating something delicious at 30,000 feet is a challenge, considering the complexities of airline catering. Personally, I view developing vegetarian entrees as an opportunity to craft compelling options that even nonvegetarians or flexitarians would choose over meat-focused dishes.



People are choosing to eat less meat for various reasons, but the chart toppers seem to include environmental/

16 / IN DEBATE onboardhospitality.com

sustainability, health, and animal welfare concerns. Livestock production notably contributes to greenhouse gases, driving the growth of the faux-meat industry. However, these products faced criticism for being ultraprocessed and instead of being healthier are in fact similar to real meat in nutrition. Despite setbacks, the faux-meat industry continues to introduce new products, indicating a complex interplay of factors driving the flexitarian trend, not simply one or the other.



Our immersion in various food sectors provides us with invaluable insights into the flexitarian movement, where consumers are increasingly seeking plant-based options without fully committing to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. By staying abreast of innovations in plant-based ingredients across food markets, we gain a profound understanding of the desires of today's consumers, including those who fly with us. This knowledge allows us to anticipate and fulfill the evolving expectations of inflight passengers, ensuring that our menus align with current dietary preferences and lifestyle choices.

The gategroup culinary team includes Molly Brandt, Executive Chef Culinary Innovation; Oliver Fisher, Director of Culinary Excellence and Philipp Dischinger, Executive Chef for Food Solutions ,



We are deeply committed to sustainability across all facets of our operations, including our approach to food packaging and serviceware. Our subsidiary packaging company deSter plays a pivotal role in advancing sustainable practices within the industry, drawing upon expertise from both aviation and broader food solutions sectors.

One of our flagship initiatives, the Circular Value Chain, epitomises our dedication to sustainability. This innovative concept revolves around the use of reusable packaging manufactured by deSter, which is integrated into our delivery of delicious meals to various outlets such as supermarkets and coffee shops.

After enjoying their meal, consumers are encouraged to return the reusable packaging in exchange for a deposit – a system developed in-house to promote recycling and reduce waste. •

IN DEBATE / 17 onboardhospitality.com

See you in Singapore

Marina Bay Sands, Singapore • November 19-20

Onboard Hospitality is returning to Singapore on November 19-20 2024 for the next instalment of Onboard Hospitality Forum-Asia.

Once again we’ll be hosting the forum within FTE APEX Asia Expo 2024, now in its twelth year. Inflight catering, wellbeing, design and innovation specialists will meet within a dedicated zone, featuring exhibitors and educational sessions.

Building on past success, the event will again be held within the well-established Future Travel Experience (FTE) and Airline Passenger Experience Asia (APEX) Expo and will include a Hosted Buyers Programme supporting strong airline attendance and engagement.

We’re inviting key buyers to their own dedicated zone where they can interact with inflight catering, wellbeing, design and innovation specialists, join peer-topeer roundtable debates, evolve thought leadership for our sector, and hear from some inspirational speakers.

Onboard Hospitality's Associate Publisher, Craig McQuinn, says: “We are delighted to be returning to the Asian region once again for 2024. Working with the teams at FTE-APEX will help ensure we bring another cracking hospitality showcase to Singapore, with some great speakers being lined-up too."

With limited exhibition space remaining, interested suppliers should get in touch as soon as possible. Buyers can sign up to attend free-of-charge.

PREVIEW: ONBOARD HOSPITALITY FORUM ASIA 2024 / 19 B E A PART OF THIS EVENT IN 2024: craig.mcquinn@onboardhospitality.com
WANT TO BE A PART OF IT? Contact Craig today! T: + 44 7753745419 craig.mcquinn@onboardhospitality.com Combine tech talk with hospitality buying Discover innovative inflight catering from across the region It's Asia's biggest free to attend EXPO!


On the rails

WHAT: InnoTrans

WHERE: Berlin

WHEN: September 24-27 2024

The Messe Berlin is the venue of InnoTrans, the international trade fair for transport technology that takes place every two years.

Spread across all 42 of the host venue's halls, the show is sub-divided into five segments, including Rail Technology and Interiors.

The 2024 event will feature the new AI Mobility Lab exhibition area, Mobility+ Corner and AI Mobility Corner, Talent Stage and Speakers' Corner.

To give an idea of InnoTrans's scale, the 2022 edition attracted 2,771 exhibitors from 56 countries plus well over 137,000 visitors from 137 different countries.

InnoTrans's five Dialog Forums will take place in the iconic 1950s Palais am Funkturm, the venue of Berlin's largest ballroom. Additionally, the Rail Leaders' Summit will be hosted as part of the fair.

This year, for the first time, InnoTrans hosts the Railfluencer Festival. The invitation-only event will give mobility industry influencers and multipliers an opportunity to meet with exhibitors in an informal atmosphere.


Fine dining

WHAT: lunch!

WHERE: London

WHEN: September 18-19, 2024

Billed as "the contemporary food to go show", lunch! takes place at the ExCeL exhibition centre in London, England in September. It attracts more than 300 suppliers from the café, coffeeshop and food-to-go sectors, as well as transport catering buyers.

Food and drink, sustainable packaging and industryrelated technology will be showcased during lunch!. Additionally, free-to-attend seminars are held across three keynote theatres during an event that is cherished for its networking possibilities.

Casual Dining, lunch!'s sister show, will be co-located at the ExCeL in September.


CONTACT Messe Berlin GmbH Erik Schaefer Messedamm 22 · 14055 Berlin Germany T +49 30 3038 2034 Erik.Schaefer@messe-berlin.de
onboardhospitality.com 20 / EVENTS


JUNE 11-13

Future Travel Experience: EMEA with the theme Customer-Centric Innovation co-located with FTE: Ancillary & Retailing

The Dublin RDS, Dublin, Ireland futuretravelexperience.com

JUNE 25-26

World Passenger Festival

Messe Wien, Vienna, Austria terrapinn.com


TickEat Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes, UK tickeat.co.uk


Future Travel Experience: Global Transforming Air Transport Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach, CA futuretravelexperience.com


APEX/IFSA Global EXPO Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach, CA apex.aero


Future Travel Experience: Asia Expo with the theme Innovate to Grow co-located with the Onboard Hospitality Forum-Asia

Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Singapore futuretravelexperience.com; onboardhospitality.com


Air Expo Abu Dhabi Al Bateen

Executive Airport Abu Dhabi, UAE adairexpo.com



Palacio de Congresos de Zaragoza Zaragoza, Spain terrapinn.com

MARCH 26-27, 2025

MRO XPO India 2025 co-located with Aircraft Interiors India 2025 and the Aerospace and DefenceMRO South Asia Summit 2025

India International Convention & Expo Centre (IICC) Dwarka, New Delhi, India mroxpoindia.com

21 Join us as we reveal this year's Onboard Hospitality Award winners Tuesday May 28 2024 5pm
WTCE's Taste of Travel Theatre Hamburg Messe, Germany
Let SKYPRO revolutionize your Uniform Management. corporate.wearskypro.com info@wearskypro.com Uniform Revolution Welcome to the Circular Uniforms, Simple Management, Happy Employees. Visit us at Booth 1G40

Hello again,


It's hard to believe nearly a whole year has passed since we were last in Hamburg. Nevertheless, the time has come once again to prepare for four days of tradeshow fun!

The 2024 edition of the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE), co-located with the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) and Passenger Experience Conference (PEC) will take place May 27-30 2024 at its usual haunt, the Hamburg Messe in Germany. Over the next few pages you'll find further details on the show with exhibitor previews, details on the Taste of Travel Theatre programme, and hear from the WTCE ambassadors and Event Director, Polly Magraw.

Monday May 27 2024 will see the PEC focus on how to elevate onboard environments, services, and the experience for airline passengers.

The 2024 edition of the conference will feature three streams, discussing the changes to the passenger experience already in progress, how air travel experience should fit within collaborative and connected ecosystems, and how to maximise

the efficiency of delivering a future seamless passenger experience.

Experts from Air Canada, Airbus, Orson Associates, Gen Phoenix, Doy Design, Flying Disabled, Omnevo, Delta Air Lines, Boeing, Icelandair and more will take to the stage. Register to attend at passengerexperienceconference.com

WTCE/AIX will kick off on Tuesday May 28, with the show floors open for three


days. Across the two shows a combined 650+ suppliers will be on-hand to profile their latest product launches and innovations. The Onboard Hospitality team will be at stand 1E100 at WTCE and welcomes visitors, so please pop by and say hello!

Attendance at both WTCE and AIX is free. Register today at aircraftinteriorsexpo.com

onboardhospitality.com EVENT PREVIEW / 23
You can enter both the WTCE
AIX halls with one registration Discover the Taste of Travel agenda on pages 28-29 THIS YEAR MARKS TWELVE YEARS OF WTCE/AIX AT THE HAMBURG MESSE THE 2024 ONBOARD HOSPITALITY AWARDS CEREMONY

What's new at

WTCE 2024

In the spirit of innovation, the 2024 edition of World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) brings a range of new features and exhibitors...


WTCE has appointed a new official expert Ambassador panel for the 2024 exhibition. Designed to help highlight the key themes of the event, the four Ambassadors will focus on elevating three of WTCE’s main topics: health and wellbeing, sustainability and food and drink.

The Ambassadors include Julianne Ponan MBE, CEO of Creative Nature and passionate allergies campaigner; leading travel dietitian and nutritionist Melissa Adamski; Kelly Stevenson, former global wine and beverage manager at British Airways and current CEO of JetVine and Matt Crane, Co-Founder of the Aviation Sustainability Forum (ASF).

They will take centre stage in the Taste of Travel Theatre, where their sessions will enlighten attendees on the latest trends, innovations, and best practices in their respective fields.


WTCE 2024 will attract over 250 exhibitors, including some firsttimers. New this year is Koppert Cress, who will showcase its range of products that use all-natural, innovative ingredients.

Also exhibiting for the first time is Signature Cocktail Co. who will present its beverages which promise to ‘take passengers on a sensory taste journey’.

Discover Soothing Solutions, showcasing its Tonstix Travel Pops: consumables crafted to alleviate

travel sickness and promote a sense of calm in younger passengers.

Paxia will showcase its nextgeneration airline catering management platform, Paxia Cloud.

Onboard Hospitality Awardwinning company TUBES, known for its innovative beverage solution contained in a tube, will also exhibit for the first time at its own stand.


This year sees the introduction of a Steps to Sustainability feature, incorporating a dedicated feature area and trail.

The area, located in Hall A1, will celebrate the accomplishments of a select number of sustainable exhibitor products that will allow attendees to see the innovations leading the way for 2024, from companies including Sustainaholics, Hello Straw, Onyx Plate and Ly Company Italia.

Meanwhile, the trail will take attendees on a journey around the show floor to discover over 20 companies with the latest impactful products, ranging from tableware, food and beverage to amenity products, inspiring and enabling a more sustainable onboard experience for passengers.

worldtravelcateringexpo.com. •



Polly Magraw, Event Director, WTCE, shares her excitement as we prepare for the 12th edition of the Hamburg-based expo

This year marks the 12th edition of the Wold Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) in Hamburg. We are very excited to be returning with such a diverse range of new and existing show features.

Our aim, as always, is to provide the inflight catering, onboard services, and passenger comfort industries with a leading global event that enables attendees to learn, network and be inspired to enhance the onboard passenger experience.

We’re excited to launch the Steps to Sustainability feature, which incorporates a dedicated product showcase and trail.

We are also really looking forward to seeing the innovative product ranges on this year’s Wellbeing Walk-Through. With passenger wellbeing becoming increasingly important onboard, we want to ensure our visitors can truly immerse themselves in this trend and

learn about the brand-new innovations transforming passenger comfort.

Make the most of it

We have over 250 exhibitors confirmed for WTCE this year. From new companies and brands entering the onboard scene for the first time to more established suppliers, there will be thousands of new and innovative products to see. We recommend that visitors utilise WTCE Connect –our online show-planning tool with tailored supplier recommendations. This enables personalised searches for exhibitors that suit their needs with relevant products.

Meet the ambassadors

Our ambassadors, including Melissa Adamski, Kelly Stevenson, Matt Crane, and Julianne Ponan MBE, have been highly valuable to us as we have shaped the 2024 event. They will bring

an invaluable dynamic to the show, enriching the attendee experience through curated insights and driving impactful discussions around the latest trends and innovations in the onboard services industry.

Their expertise will be brought to life in the Taste of Travel theatre, where they will discuss product trends whilst emphasising WTCE’s key themes of health, wellbeing, sustainability, and food and drink.

During the show, visitors and exhibitors can book meetings with the ambassadors in the new ambassador lounge space, located on stand 1A10 via the WTCE Connect platform.

With such a successful launch this year, the ambassador programme has certainly given us plenty to think about for the 2025 show.

It's free to attend WTCE.

Register for your pass today at worldtravelcateringexpo.com •


Taste of Travel Theatre

Don't miss WTCE's outstanding seminar programme in partnership with Onboard Hospitality



Preventing inflight fraud is one of the most hotly discussed topics in travel retail today. Airlines are losing on average between two and 10% of inflight sales to payment fraud and lost transactions due to offline processing. This session features experts in fraud prevention, inflight retailing and onboard technology and looks at innovative solutions to help overcome the problem.

MODERATED BY: Maryann Simson, Director, Jetway Communications

11.45 – 12.30 INNOVATIVE APPROACHES TO NEXT-GENERATION PRE-ORDERING Industry leaders from across the globe converge to explore groundbreaking approaches to driving inflight retail and pre-ordering services for the next generation of travellers.

May 28-30


MODERATED BY: Joe Harvey, Deli Lites with Thorunn Gudmundsdottir, Icelandair, Salim Hazife, Food Folk, Brett Hooyerink, McGuire & Associates, Paul Bilham, Omnevo


Our expert panel will share their views on the how AI could influence fundamental aspects of our industry, including: passenger experience, sustainability, operations, compliance, and employees.

MODERATED BY: Lance Hayward, The Hayward Partnership with Max Pillong, Lufthansa Industry Solutions and Jon Harwood, dnata


The Aviation Sustainability Forum, supported by IATA, SATS Catering and many world-leading airlines, will publish the results of a comprehensive programme of Cabin Waste

Composition Audits. The results highlight the challenges the sector faces on cabin waste reduction, complexity and circularity, and the millions of dollars a year this is costing airlines, caterers, and the impact it is having on our environment.

Engineer, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Amsterdam, Michael Bauer, Cabin and

Officer Singapore Food Solutions, Ltd

MODERATED BY: Matt Crane, founding member of ASF and 2024 WTCE ambassador for sustainability, will be joined by Claire Luiten, Sustainability Engineer, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Amsterdam, Michael Bauer, Cabin and Cargo Architect and AIRBASSADOR at Airbus, Siang Han Goh, Chief Operating Officer Singapore Food Solutions, SATS Ltd , Daniela Stange, Corporate Sustainability Manager, IATA


team for the gathering the industry has been waiting for!

industry with over 200 entries.

Join the Onboard Hospitality team for the gathering the industry has been waiting for! Celebrating 10 years, this year reveals the very best in our industry with over 200 entries.

onboardhospitality.com 28 / WTCE PREVIEW: TASTE OF TRAVEL


Join Vimal as he derives inspiration from AI-led transformation in other industries and attempts to answer the question: Will AI really transform the inflight customer experience?

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Vimal Kumar Rai, Commercial Excellence Partners –Blue Skies – AI-led Inflight Customer Experience


How can we create a cohesive, well thought guest experience from the moment the passenger purchases their ticket through to arrival at their final destination? Our panel of experts discuss the fast moving developments in this space.

MODERATED BY: Alison Wells, Plane

Talking joined by Antony McNeil, Singapore Airlines Todd Traynor-Corey, Alaska Airlines, Vimal Rai, Commercial Excellence Partners, and Svenjand Steffen, LSG Lufthansa Industry Solutions



Kelly Stevenson of Jetvine together with Audrey Hart of Virgin Atlantic and Nathan Clemes, founder of Unrooted Drinks, serve their sensational health drinks and tell us the story of Africa's most legendary superfood.


– a force for improving the passenger experience

Culinary nutrition can be a star factor leading to innovative catering success. In this insightful session our experts discuss how advanced culinary concepts can be applied onboard to elevate both the passenger experience



Airlines will share latest trends in special diet requests and in managing the top 14 allergens to promote greater guest inclusivity.

MODERATED BY: Marc Warde, Foodcase International accompanied by Mel Berry, Iberia, Audrey Hart, Virgin Atlantic, Austrian Air, Simone Walli, Catering Manager Easyjet, Michelle Philpot and Julianne Ponan, Creative Nature

13.00 – 13.40 MARC WARDE, Foodcase International cooks up some allergen-free delights


cater to their needs; the evolving ecosystem and competitive landscape, and how to innovate and drive change in a dynamic environment.


Looking at the massive challenges facing our environment, Jennifer Piggott of Infinite Lives presents the business case for airlines in leveraging planet-saving tactics. She puts a spotlight on the customer experience and announces the launch of a carbon offset initiative.

SUPPORTED BY: Lorenzo Fasola Bologna, Chairman, Monte Vibiano and Yves Alavo, Founder and CEO, Nexus Brand IQ

15.45 – 16.30 WINE OLYMPICS What countries are home to the


most elite wines in the world? You decide! Join the fun in a comparative

Simon Soni and Anne De Hauw, experts in guest experience management, will lead a discussion with Amy James, British Airways, Director of Cabin Crew and Interim Director of Onboard Experience on the importance of understanding changing customer behaviour and how to

wine tasting event hosted by Intervine.

and also help solve some of the travel industry’s pressing issues.

MODERATED BY: Steve Walpole, Director and Consultant Chef supported by Melissa Adamski, APD Travel Dietitian, Nutted Out Nutrition, Salim Hazif, Managing Director, FoodFolk Australia, Aaron Brudney, Biotiful Gut Health and Kefir and Gwendal Hamon, Food Development Director, EnRoute


Steve Walpole and Kelly Stevenson enhance your dining experience with a range of quality health and wellness products and talk aout fine dining with Tom Allen of Blue Sky and Daniel Hulme of OnAir Dining. Free lunch!

onboardhospitality.com WTCE PREVIEW:
going to press Food sampling Drink sampling
/ 29 Programme details correct at time of




We ask this year's WTCE ambassadors for their individual expert opinions on the imminent future of onboard F&B...

As sustainability ambassador to WTCE this year, the challenges facing airlines in improving food and beverage sustainability are diverse. Some are relatively easy to solve whilst others are much more complex. The introduction of more sustainable materials and practices onboard requires passengers to be educated on the cabin waste problem and taken

At the heart of the issue is the legacy supply chain

with the airline on their journey to reduce cabin waste. Similarly, crew waste segregation and the removal of single-use plastics fall into the “relatively” easy-to-achieve basket.

At the heart of the issue is the legacy supply chain for the provision of inflight products and services from design to plate which is linear – “Take-Make-Waste”.

The WTCE Taste Of Travel session on Tuesday 28 May 14.30-16.15 called 'The growing issue of cabin waste & what’s needed to solve it', will unveil the results of the first in depth audits of cabin waste and re-set the aviation sector’s understanding of the problem and debate what’s needed to solve it.

Matt Crane Co-Founder of the Aviation Sustainability Forum (ASF)

30 WTCE PREVIEW: AMBASSADOR FOURSIGHT onboardhospitality.com

Over the next twelve months, customers will expect to see more choice generally across inflight food and beverage selections. This doesn't just mean options available, but a wider range of categories. Although many travellers like to indulge when they fly, there is an expectation that access (especially on longer flights) to healthier food and drinks will be possible, so

Airlines should target wellness in the air

airlines should really target wellness in the air. Leading on from this is the need for carriers to consider better quality brands, meaning quality ingredients in recipes and ethical and eco-friendly practices. Two good examples of this are The Unrooted’s wellness shots, packing a punch in flavour and going above and beyond in terms of their focus on people and the planet. Another brand to watch is The Pickle House with their spiced tomato juice that offers the goodness and great taste of real tomatoes and guaranteed top quality across the other ingredients, resulting in a readyto-go base for a Bloody (or Virgin) Mary onboard.


In the next 12 months, airlines should prioritise creating more inclusive menus in their food and beverage service. Firstly, with allergies on the rise globally, including the alarming statistic of 1 in 12 children being diagnosed with allergies in the UK alone, and every three minutes, someone in the US is rushed to the ER due to a food allergy reaction, it's imperative for

Demonstrate commitment to passenger safety

airlines to cater to diverse dietary requirements.

One significant step is offering better options for passengers with dietary requirements. This entails not only providing alternatives for common allergens, but also ensuring that these alternatives are clearly labelled and readily available. By doing so, airlines demonstrate their commitment to passenger safety and inclusivity. Furthermore, banning peanuts and tree nuts from all aircraft could significantly mitigate the risk of allergic reactions mid-flight. While it might seem like a drastic measure, many airlines have already done this with good feedback.

With a growing interest in nutritious food and wellbeing, there is an opportunity for the travel industry to look to nutrition science to create meal services that align with passengers' changing preferences. By having nutrition as a pillar of meal development and onboard service offerings, airlines can really elevate the passenger experience. It is not about taking away

Deliver on taste and pack a nutrition punch

‘comfort-style' meals or foods. The styles of meals that airlines say passengers like the most, is in fact quite the opposite. It is about optimising these meals to deliver on both taste and packing a nutrition punch. Prioritising wholefoods as an important component of meals and snacks is an important step, reducing reliance on ultraprocessed foods. This will also assist with maintaining focus on food quality – a factor which contributes greatly to creating an outstanding meal. Additionally, focusing on ways to deliver personalisation of food and beverage services can help manage expectations, dietary requirements, and food waste.

WTCE PREVIEW: AMBASSADOR FOURSIGHT / 31 onboardhospitality.com

World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo

Exhibitor preview


UBITE believes that every product should have the potential to be reused and recycled. At WTCE it will be showcasing its Zerocup concept. These high-end cups are suited for hot beverages and are made from agricultural waste. They are characterised by their porcelain-like feel, reusability and recyclability. Stand 4F51 Not




SATS is a global aviation services company and leading Asian aviation food solutions provider. It offers culinary expertise, product design, food technology, quality large scale production, and packaging innovation to enable high-end inflight dining experience across its customer network. Stand 1C60



Clip is a creative and design-driven agency in the aviation supply industry. It helps its customers create unforgettable journeys with elevated inflight products. It designs bespoke for each individual clients’ needs covering all inflight items: chinaware, glassware, flatware, textiles, sleepwear, skincare products and sustainable solutions. Stand 1E60

Cuisine Solutions


Cuisine Solutions, a leading manufacturer and distributor of sous vide foods, will showcase specialty selections from the U.S., France, and Thailand, where each of its three plants are located. Cuisine Solutions has a wide range of sous vide prepared products including proteins, sauces, grain and plant-based products, providing a complete meal solution. Its tasting menu will feature new offerings like Beef Pastrami and Biscuits & Gravy. Stand 4E10

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sure who to visit at WTCE? We've got you covered...

Manna from Heaven was founded almost 30 years ago in Sydney and is still a family-owned business today. As the longest continually serving food supplier to Qantas Airways, it has become very experienced in developing and producing bespoke products to meet its aviation clients’ requirements. As a manufacturer of handmade frozen food, it exports its range of products to airline catering companies who are seeking food with a ‘strong and clean’ provenance, worldleading food safety and Halal-certified products.  Stand 1D98

Flying Food Group


Flying Food Group is a large-scale airline catering company that provides top-tier passenger meals and non-airline catering snacks for over 70 leading airlines and high-level retailers nationwide. Stand 1A81



Cocohagen is an organic plantbased cocoa truffle from Denmark. Without added sugar and free from dairy and gluten, it is wrapped in a recyclable single pack. It has been designed with a strong focus on sustainability. Stand 1A84



Diskomat, the Swedish engineering company, with decades of experience in dishwashing room design and logistics, will exhibit together with Wexiödisk, the Swedish manufacturer of robust, innovative, energy-effective, high-quality dishwashers. At the stand, 1G10, you will find a demo of the Environmental Hero, the most economical and energysaving Cart Washer in the market. The Cart Pillar Lift, a necessary equipment to stimulate ergonomics in the dishwashing and traysetting operations, will also be demonstrated. Stand 1G10

Manna from Heaven FOOD & BEVERAGE
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AAB inflight understands that onboard hospitality is a highly-specialised operational business. If you are looking for out-of-the-box ideas that are guaranteed to accurately fit your airlines’ trolleys and trays, AABinflight is your partner.  Stand 1D41


When showers are out of reach, Swypes’ 100% biodegradable body wipes redefine in-transit hygiene, offering a sustainable and convenient alternative. With a dualsided design for exfoliation and cleansing, Swypes eliminate sweat, odour and grime, delivering a quick, water-saving and residue-free wipe down. Stand 1A116

www.flyingfood.com SEE YOU @ WTCE 2024 BOOTH 1A81 28, 29 & 30 MAY 2024 HAMBURG, GERMANY
world. FFG:
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We love creating delicious, diverse, award
culinary experiences for our customers and their valued passengers around the


PLAYin CHOC is a B-Corp certified UK manufacturer of organic plant-based chocolate and plastic-free toy gifts. Allergen-free, the PLAYin CHOC ToyChoc Box is a little box of joy suitable for every child travelling onboard. Stand 1A16



Find out why the world's top 10 airlines trust Cuisine Solutions with their first-and business-class guests.


Swedface, a producer of foam earplugs, will exhibit together with another Swedish company called GumPearl at Stand 1C118

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Kimirica Hunter is an Indo-Canadian joint venture that brings together over 35 years of expertise in creating sustainable products and luxury collaborations for passenger comfort amenities, sleepwear, children’s kits, skincare, bags and meal serviceware.

Home of the Fasola Bologna family since the 19th century, Castello Monte Vibiano is the symbol of a guaranteed all-natural quality, sustainable business. Try its Extra Virgin Olive Oils and other Italian products. Stand 4C40

Lily O’ Brien’s


Lily O’Brien’s is a premium chocolate and luxury potted dessert manufacturer based in Ireland. It supplies some of the world’s most loved travel companies in the air and on the ground and has a significant customer base in the travel sector globally. Stand 1E70

Zibo Rainbow Airline Appliance Co


Zibo Rainbow supplies airlines with sleeper suits, blankets and duvets, towels, amenity kits, kids packs, snack bags, airsickness bags, paper cups, plastic products and chinaware. It can also supply stainless-steel cutlery and glassware.  Stand 1E88

Castello Monte Vibiano FOOD & BEVERAGE
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Improving Travel Experience www.kaelis.world

Mills Textiles


Textile and direct supply specialists Mills Textiles will be exhibiting a selection of innovative, sustainable products at WTCE. Its products include napkins, tablecloths, headrest covers, duvets, blankets, pillows and covers, slippers, non-wovens and sleep/bedding. A range of ancillary products including sustainable cups and air sickness bags. Stand 1D51



An award-winning Netherlands-based company striving to make travel food a better experience for people and the environment. With a special focus on ambient meal solutions, creative hot snacks and specialised programme for special meals, no one will be left unsatisfied. Stand 4D10



FORMIA offers tailor-made, premium and sustainable airline amenity concepts with the highest perceived value. Visit FORMIA at stand 4D20 where its team can talk you through its meaningful collaborations, its path to sustainability, and the products and experiences that have been consciously designed to remain with travellers during their journey and long after. Stand 4D20



deSter, a gategroup member, is a leading provider of innovative and sustainable food packaging and serviceware concepts to the aviation, hospitality, and foodservice industries. Stand 4F40

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LimeFlight takes control of inflight services, from planning through implementation, leveraging data for analysis and future service optimization, and ensuring a comprehensive end to end solution for airlines. This paradigm shift integrates load planning, meal planning, and inventory management, offering stakeholders a single point of truth. Already trusted by numerous airlines globally, LimeFlight optimizes uplift locations, galley planning, inflight meal services, invoice reconciliation, and real-time inventory tracking. Stand 1A20 STANDNUMBER: 1G20


SKYPRO designs and produces uniforms that reflect your brand identity. Its innovative mySKYPRO system, the only UMS with AI demand forecasting, automates everything from ordering to inventory. Stand 1G40

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Bottega SpA



Bottega SpA is a family company, boasting a history of over four centuries in vineyard cultivation. From sparkling and still wines, grappa and liqueurs, up to cocktail premix and 0% alcohol drinks, its products are crafted with artisan care and unique ingredients, reflecting its unwavering dedication to quality and sustainability.

Lemon Spritz is its latest cocktail premix, a ready-to-serve spritz based on sparkling wine, lemon infusion and mint. The 25cl can is perfect to be enjoyed onboard.  Stand 4C51




SnackBoxToGo offers a delectable array of convenient snacks, perfect for on-the-go indulgence. Logistics-wise, SnackBoxToGo can bring your products all over the world. Stand 1G20



Intervine is a wine, food & beverage management company catering to the global airline and cruise line industries, providing wines, beers, and ready-todrink beverages (RTDs); non-alcoholic options; canned water and water filling stations; coffee and tea; snacks; heat and serve proteins and meals, and disposable tableware. Stand 1E97

NCM India


NCM India has excelled in aviation services for over two decades. Specialising in inflight textiles for all classes, its range includes plush blankets, luxurious duvets, crisp cotton napkins, and comfortable sleep suits. Stand 1B90

Meiko Global HYGIENE

MEIKO makes the world a cleaner place. The company started out almost 100 years ago in the Black Forest – now it operates all around the globe with production sites in Germany, China and the USA. With its dishwashing, trolley washing and conveyor systems for inflight catering, MEIKO stands for nonstop performance, easy operation and for highest standards of safety and cleanliness. At WTCE 2024

MEIKO will show its latest Single Trolley Washer for smaller airports. Stand 4B38

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Discover the Swift Brew, an innovative new product for fresh coffee on-the-go. Using 100% ground coffee with patent-pending packaging, the cup features a filter in the lid. Stand 1D68


Reedbut Group are a UK-based designer and manufacturer of bespoke cardboard packaging, and the UK’s only manufacturer of skytidy airline trash compactor boxes. Sustainable, innovative, and lightweight, the skytidy range also features cardboard trolley trays, recyclable oven trays, cardboard trolley bins, and more. Reedbut Group strive to take inflight sustainability to new heights. Stand 1A86

One stop shop for all your culinary needs in North America and Europe De erts Hot Meals Breakfast Snacks Come see us at booth 1C30 in Hall A1 May 28 to 30 WTCE 2024 fma.com www.marfo Untitled-1 1 24/04/2024 08:40
Freshorize FOOD & BEVERAGE

Azusa Group


Azusa Corporation Ltd. was established in 2003. Over the past 21 years, it has been committed to the OEM/ ODM field of all kinds of airline headphones, blankets, amenity kits, napkins, non-woven headrest covers, tableware products and much more. Stand 1A99


DKA is a designer and manufacturer of airline galley equipment and inserts. It will exhibit its entire selection of products within the galley equipment category, consisting of meal carts, duty-free sales carts, standard units, foldable trolleys, oven racks/trays, drawers, and baby bassinets. Stand 1F101

John Horsfall will be showcasing a new variety of recycled fabrics in its Re-Thread range. The trademarked brand of recycled, regenerated and plant-based fibres and fabrics now flies on-board with several airlines, following collaborative work to create beautiful, sustainable inflight comfort products. WTCE 2024 will see Re-Thread’s biggest onboard launch to-date, with a ground-breaking airline collection. Stand 1E61

Versapack SECURITY

Established in 1973, Versapak is a leading manufacturer of Tamper Evident Products. It manufactures security seals, secure bags for inflight catering, pre-order duty free items and custom security bags. Stand 1C101

Aero-sense HYGIENE

Aero-sense manufactures topquality aircraft insecticides and cabin cleaning products. The Belgian company champions a short, dependable supply chain, sourcing only lowimpact European raw materials and integrating local social enterprises in its operations. At WTCE it will be showcasing the new fragrances of its Cabin Cleaner Triple Action. Stand 1C35

John Horsfall TEXTILES
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Exclusive collaborations for

Introducing onboard for the first time: luxury Italian fashion house, Moschino and Canadian outdoor brand, Roots.

An exclusive collection for China Airlines’ premium passengers where luxury meets practicality.

For Premium Economy Class For Premium Business Class



Linstol specialises in providing a comprehensive range of inflight products to airlines worldwide. With over 30 years of experience, Linstol has established itself as a trusted partner in the airline industry, offering innovative and sustainable product solutions designed to enhance the passenger experience.

Visit Linstol at WTCE booth 4E30 for a personal tour of new innovations in sustainable products, headsets, amenities, textiles, and brand partnerships. Stand 4E50



Buzz will showcase luxury brand collaborations, wellness and sustainable onboard products including amenities, skincare, textiles, kids and meal serviceware at WTCE this year. Some highlights at the Buzz stand will include the 360° Luxury Brand Experience, its immersive Armani brand experience created for Etihad, and the Innovation of Play zone bringing the latest play trends and design inspiration for young travellers. Stand 4C30


MY DRAP innovates inflight service with unique single-use table linens. Crafted from 100% cotton, recycled cotton, or linen. Ideal for premium cabins, its lightweight table linens eliminate laundering, ironing, and product loss issues. Committed to sustainability, its products are 100% recyclable and compostable. Stand 1E89



The Noritake team of experienced, highly-skilled designers and craftsmen are ready to fulfil an airline’s individual requirements. Working together, Noritake cooperates at every step of the operation from planning and design through the completion of the production process, and beyond. Stand 1G69

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Food & Beverage

Global affair

As the industry descends on Hamburg for WTCE and AIX, we explore what’s on the menu in Germany

56 Hear from En Route

Pours for Thought

Focus on Matcha 68 Taking off: Snacks 70 Good mood food 73 Beer around the world

Looking good

Are your meals 'insta-worthy'?

The presentation of onboard catering can make or break an airline’s reputation in this social media age. We examine the challenges and potential benefits of getting it right

New arrivals

Onboard snacks need not be boring, says Cheesies. Its crunchy ambient cheese snack is giving the humble potato chip a run for its money

78 48

Looking good

Areyourmeals'insta-worthy'? The presentation of onboard catering can make or breakanairline’s

reputationinthissocial media age. We examine the challenges and potential benefits ofgettingitright

... onboardhospitality.com

They say a picture paints a thousand words. Unfortunately for Qantas, catering pictures doing the rounds on social media in recent months have painfully triggered thousands of less-thancomplimentary words about their food service. Both inflight and lounge meals took a hammering after two travellers posted unflattering images of meals served in March. While some comments insisted it was the taste that mattered, food presentation is now clearly more important for airlines than ever before. All caterers will sympathise because the truth is, ensuring things look good inflight is never easy. Plus, we can be pretty certain those dishes did not look as bad as they appeared online when they were designed and contracted.

The challenge

the trolley, into the truck, along a possibly very

LSG Group Head of Culinary Excellence (EMEA), Nicholas Vass, certainly empathised: “This is honestly the biggest daily challenge we all face – to get the dish to the passenger looking just how we envisaged it in the kitchen. From kitchen to passenger, the food moves many times – into the trolley, into the truck, along a possibly very bumpy and pot holed road in some locations, onto a loader, along the aisles, into the galley. At every moment there is opportunity for it to be bashed about. Then, it is part of a wider onboard service and has to work for the crew delivery –reheating, plating, service. As inflight chefs we think about these things constantly for every dish. We have to factor in every potential issue that could effect the final presentation.”

The risks

LSG Group is among those working with a lot of data and feedback to fully understand what happens to the food after it leaves the kitchens and adjusts menus accordingly. This has become increasingly important. Vass says: “We certainly do feel the pressure of social media every day – especially since the advent of onboard wifi. A problem or positive response to a dish can be out in the world before a flight has even landed, let alone the feedback being sent to the kitchen. We have to make sure we execute every dish well. The risk of horror stories is there but get it right and both passengers and our airline clients can use food positively on social media to build the brand and show the value. This can be especially useful for less well-known locations, not necessarily well regarded for great food experiences. When people see meals on a flight to Africa or India, for example, look incredible and are well reviewed, it can even help change perceptions about that destination and drive ticket sales.”

This pressure, he says, applies in all cabins. “All classes of traveller ultimately has access to the internet and on the internet presentation matters. Premium cabins may have the benefit of better china and serviceware, volumes are lower and crew have more time to support the presentation, but in Economy we still pay a lot of attention to presentation because there it is a volume game and you can have many more

Clockwise from left: Cathay goes classy as it partners with luxury restaurant Louise; Bangkok Air Catering utilises ingredients with vibrant colours for visual appeal
The next generation of travellers rarely book a restaurant without scrolling reviews and images of the meals first

people commenting and sharing, so your impact may be far greater.”

“A great picture on Instagram or X (formerly Twitter) has a big impact. As airlines work with better catering chefs and celebrity names, that emphasis on ‘wow’ factor presentation becomes a key selling point. This is especially important for the next generation of travellers who now rarely book a restaurant without scrolling reviews and images of the meals first.”

The experience

Gerard Bertholon, Chief Strategy Officer at Cuisine Solutions, agrees and sees a similar pressure impacting cruise cuisine. “Many cruise lines now have high-end restaurants onboard that can charge a premium price for those beyond the included dining,” he says. “They need consistent, reliable dishes and great quality despite the inevitable high turnover of their kitchen staff. Competition for business is tough and they are significantly raising the bar with celebrity collaborations for an upscale offering. Key to success in this is that everything must look good because everyone is taking photos of every meal. Although it pains me as a chef to say this, sometimes it’s even more important to the customer that it looks good than it tastes good! Good looks will promote the product for them as a great dish may generate thousands of positive images on social media. They see that it is increasingly better to spend on the presentation of great food, than increase marketing

increasingly better to spend on the presentation budgets.”

Laura Schlaadt, Managing Director at Frankenberg, agrees social media has changed priorities but adds: “On a long haul flight the meal is not only food but also entertainment. Passengers have a lot of time to focus on what is in front of them so presentation plays an important role. We give special attention to detail in this regard and always try to calculate the worst outcomes/worst impacts of say turbulence, extended reheating, wrong timings or temperatures, or improper defrosting as these can destroy the original appearance of the product. We aim to counter these issues in the meal design process.”

He sees airlines also

beginning to recognise

this and spend more on quality cuisine

with a view to capturing that mass marketing and aesthetics and adding a pinch of surprise

The role of food inflight is also changing claims Richard Wake, Insight & Innovation Director, En Route. He says: “Food is evolving into a more sensorially rich and sometimes surprising experience. Elevating culinary choices by using standout, signature ingredients can capture the passenger's attention and engagement. Enhancing contrast, being playful with the flavour and aesthetics and adding a pinch of surprise gives a product or service the power to elicit feelings of joy and happiness.”

Bertholon agrees: benefit.

Bertholon agrees: “People are more open, they expect innovation. They


don’t want unidentifiable dishes that confuse them, they want to recognise every ingredient and for it to be bright, simple and clear, ideally with an added twist that makes them say, ‘hey that’s nice, that’s different, that’s an experience’. More and more they are looking for an emotion from the dish, a connection, a surprise. I’m not talking about something weird but something interesting. They don’t need 20 new things in one dish but a little something that is different and thoughtful. If the food looks good, your mind already believes it tastes good before you even try it.”

The look

The Snackboxtogo team points to inflight research which shows the appearance of food significantly impacts its perceived taste. They say: “In the unique environment of an aircraft cabin, where sensory perceptions may be altered due to altitude and pressure, the visual-taste connection becomes even more pronounced. A visually appealing meal can enhance the overall dining experience, making passengers feel more satisfied and content.”

not only stimulate the appetite but also evoke a sense of luxury and comfort. Attention to detail makes the passenger feel appreciated.”

For this reason, they see ingredients as ‘Aesthetic Ambassadors’. “The aesthetics of food are not just about how it looks but are intricately linked to how it tastes and how it makes us feel. Visual appeal inflight is paramount. Vibrant colours, intricate plating and fresh ingredients

Mohammad Farran, General Manager of Bangkok Air Catering (BAC), notes similar studies and says: “In the rarefied atmosphere of the cabin, aesthetics and taste have to be woven together perfectly. Visual presentation significantly influences perceptions of flavour and satisfaction, making aesthetics a crucial component of the dining experience. From vibrant colours stimulating the appetite to elegant plating to enhancing the ambiance, the relationship between how food looks and tastes at altitude is an art form unto itself.”

Frankenberg’s Schlaadt also believes the way each meal is created in the kitchen has an impact. “We treat each meal as if it’s for a table for two even though we are producing bigger batches. We believe that a passionate team preparing all components by hand, delivers a meal with a totally different appearance to a meal assembled by machines. A meal prepared with pumps, immediately give the impression of industrial food production and that impacts taste. As we say in German: ‘Das Auge isst mit’ –the eye tastes as well – so we put a lot of effort into buying the best raw materials, cooking and seasoning as in a restaurant kitchen and shock freezing immediately after plating, to preserve the vibrant fresh colour, texture and nutrition.”

Above from left: Cuisine Solutions plates up dishes with emotion; LSG focuses on both presentation and taste

The ingredients

In terms of ingredient choices, Vass insists the important thing is to choose ingredients that can ‘sing’ through the entire end-to-end process and to be aware that this can vary at every station. “The aesthetic goal for an inflight meal is to make it as much like a restaurant meal as possible,” he says. “It should look like it was freshly cooked. Greens should stay green and meat should look just seared. While cherry tomatoes may be popular for a pop of colour, I do not want ingredients on a dish unless they really add something. Likewise a sprig of parsley won’t help a bad meal improve. I never put things on the plate just for the sake of the look, they have to add something to the dish, there has to be a reason for everything. Yes use tomatoes as a sauce, in a chutney or stewed down, well seasoned and as an integral part of the dish, but not just to hide something less-than perfect underneath.”

Salime Hazife, Managing Director at Foodfolk, agrees chefs can prioritise aesthetics through their ingredients. “Our chefs choose ingredients that not only retain their colour during cooking but also retain their shape and texture during the reheating process. The look will set the tone for the dining experience. Fresh, in season vegetables


feature heavily as well as herbs and wholegrains. A lot of our meals are delivered pre-plated and that means sauces need to be the right consistency to prevent spills and plating needs to be simple yet elegant to avoid components falling en route. How the food looks really does set the first impression on how good the meal will be.“

seasoning are critical. Food presentation

Flying Food Group’s Nicolas Rondeau supports this view: “The aesthetics of a particular ingredient can be important, as a good looking ingredient can become the main focus point of a dish, but while food needs to look fantastic it must also taste great, so cooking methods, sauces and seasoning are critical. Food presentation and menu design also need to align with the airline service methods and of course fit in with the available airline equipment. Meal service should help enhance the airline brand and a harmonisation between equipment and food is very important for this.”


authentic on -board cuisine since 1985 Visit
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us at WTCE Hamburg
Stand 4D28

Dress it up

The crew

Condiments and dressings can add engagement, too. Claudio Castigloni, Brand Manager at Montevibiano, says: “Mono-dose oils and dressings inspire passenger interaction with the meal and if they are breaking the seal they are instantly assured the best quality. Our olive oil business was so successful in this, we added different flavours, pairing olive oil with orange juice, rosemary and many other natural flavours which can add a twist to a dish instantly. This is super popular and we now have 16 flavours. Airlines embrace these as a way of adding flavour and following trends fast.”

On the back of this, the company has now also invested in brand partners to develop top-end pizza, pasta and tiramisu, developing a range of visually-attractive, high-quality Italian specialities.

Edible garnishes and finishes can also enhance the visual appeal and contribute significantly to their taste and presentation. Marc Warde, Special Meal Program Director at Foodcase, says: “Finishing oils, sauces, and fresh herbs can add layers of flavour complexity and elevate the overall dining experience. Innovative techniques such as flavoured tuiles/seeds and incorporating textures like crispy breads can further enhance the aesthetic appeal of dishes while ensuring they remain practical and safe for consumption.”

To address the logistical challenges effectively he says: “Meals need to be robust enough to withstand the rigors of flight and need to be quickly regenerated without compromising quality. Using shapes, moulds and garnishes strategically can help visually while minimising potential hazards like dripping fat or overflowing sauces.”

He also flags up the importance of comprehensive crew training on plating techniques, an area that Schlaadt also believes is critical. “Crew and their trainers are key – they see the final product every day, they know what works well in their ovens and what does not and they know what might look pretty when properly reheated but messy when not. We can learn a lot from them," she says. "If the team onboard is passionate about the food and convinced of the taste and quality, they have a big influence on how the food reaches the passenger. Not only via the perfect reheating but also by presenting the meals with a smile, explaining the components and serving with pride. If the crew joins a workshop and sees how much attention to detail and passion goes into the meals, they can carry that onwards.”

Words by Julie Baxter •

Whether it’s a picture in an onboard retail menu, a review site or on an airline booking site, a good food photo really can say a lot – just as a bad photo can, too. Bertholon concludes: “Pictures are powerful because they really do affect decision making. Airlines need to think about this more and more. Food is now part of the booking decision making and will be increasingly key.

Food is now part of the booking this demand but those airlines that

"It may mean more work to meet this demand but those airlines that get this right really will win out over their competitors.”

Above from left: As shown on Cathay Pacific, the plating of a meal is an essential step in the process; Snackboxtogo sees ingredients as 'aesthetic ambassadors'

Marcus Nilsson


As the onboard catering landscape evolves to meet new market demands, Marcus Nilsson explains how En Route is up to the task

Q. What is En Route’s role in the airline catering industry?

A : We work with many of the world’s leading airlines and airline catering organisations to develop and design onboard food and packaging solutions. Food, as we know, is such an important factor in an airline’s reputation, so we work closely with our clients and suppliers to develop solutions that align to their strategy. In addition, by using our comprehensive logistics expertise and supply chain, we can deliver to, and source from, any region in the world.

Q. How do you perceive the evolving landscape of onboard dining experiences?

A : The industry is constantly evolving its onboard dining experience to cater to changing consumer preferences. Right now, dietary considerations and sustainability are two leading drivers in consumer behaviour. Airlines have really accelerated healthier meal offers for passengers, as well as special diets to include more vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.

There is a real growing awareness of health and wellness among travellers. We are seeing more health-based signposting on menus across the world, which is impacting decision making.

Customisation continues to be a topic at the forefront of many of

our interactions with our clients. This includes the ability to pre-order meals with specific ingredients or dietary requirements. Social media is a real driver of this, as customers are discovering lots of meal prep influencers, which is increasing their nutritional awareness.

Sustainability goes hand in hand in these discussions. Airlines continue to look to reduce food waste, source locally-produced ingredients, as well as minimising the use of single-use plastics in their meal service.

A : We are seeing more laser-like focus on areas that we can truly impact, particularly with regards to ESG. Our aim is to continue to create sustainable products and delivery methods that support the wellbeing of our passengers and our planet. Collaboration is massively important. By working together to source sustainably, reduce waste, offer eco-friendly packaging, educate stakeholders and drive sustainability standards and sustainable change, we can make significant strides towards more sustainable onboard dining practices.

Customisation continues to be a topic at the forefront of many of

our interactions with our clients

We have also seen more airlines with a focus on improving the onboard offerings across all cabins and a real push for enhancing their premium dining experience and providing a more restaurant and hotel-like atmosphere onboard.

Q. How can airlines and catering suppliers collaborate to minimise their environmental footprint?

Q. Global supply chains are integral to the delivery of airline catering services. What strategies do you see as essential for ensuring the resilience and efficiency of these supply chains?

A : Visibility into the supply chain is key. You must be able to track inventory levels and monitor transport providers and shipments to be able to quickly respond to any potential supply chain disruptions.

Maintaining optimal levels of inventory through effective demand forecasting and inventory management practises will help prevent stockouts during disruptions and ensure continuity of supply.

You also have to be willing to look

onboardhospitality.com 56 / INTERVIEW


Marcus Nilsson is a commercial director of En Route. Prior to En Route, Marcus has held global senior roles in the airline catering industry as part of a career spanning more than 20 years.

at technology adoption. AI, machine learning and predictive analytics can help mitigate supply chain disruptions before they occur, improving overall efficiency and resilience.

Q. As expectations for onboard dining experiences continue to rise, what opportunities do you foresee for collaboration between airlines and industry partners to elevate the quality and variety of inflight meals?

A : There are numerous opportunities for collaboration to elevate the quality and variety of inflight meals. For En Route, the focus is always on utilising a strong network of local suppliers and producers to source the best components and ingredients for our inflight solutions. It’s important to incorporate cultural influences to create a diverse and authentic passenger experience. Pre-order options would also allow the airlines to create an elevated passenger experience without increasing waste onboard.

Q. What advice would you offer to airlines seeking to stay ahead of the curve in delivering memorable dining experiences at altitude?

A : Ultimately, passengers want consistent quality and service on board! Focus on quality and consistency. Don’t be afraid to offer customisation and personalisation. This can really enhance the overall dining experience and make it more memorable for the passenger. Use technology to streamline the ordering process, enhance menu visibility and collect feedback from passengers. Communicate your and your partners’ efforts to passengers to showcase the commitment to environmental responsibility. en-route.com •


ESay cheese!


Onboard snacks need not be boring, says Cheesies – whose crunchy ambient cheese snack is giving the humble potato chip a run for its money

veryone loves a success story and at Onboard Hospitality we have been excited to see just how successful specialist companies can be once they get involved with the onboard sector.

We’re on the look out for newcomers to the industry, be they young people, young companies or young products: those that may be the faces and drivers of the sector tomorrow.

Check out this snack company putting a crunch into ambient cheese snacks.

Carbon counting for menus

The idea for Cheesies was initially scribbled on a napkin in 2019. The business was acquired in January 2023 by savoury snack brand The Curators. Only a year older than its adopted cheesy baby, The Curators was started in 2018 by Ed Hauck and Max Rees with the aim of supercharging the savoury snack world, creating products with bold flavour and big nutrition.

Cheesies is one of the only grab-and-go fridgefree cheese snacks on the market, made from nothing but pure, unadulterated cheeses, baked until crunchy. Made from 100% cheese, the 20g snack packs come in Cheddar, Red Leicester, Goat, Gouda and Chilli Cheddar varieties.

Cheesies is one of the only grab-and-go fridge-free cheese snacks on the market

Novelty appeal

Ambient cheese is still somewhat of a novelty on airline trolleys, but it’s revolutionary in that it means passengers can enjoy the snack at high altitude without a risk of it getting warm or sweaty.

Cheesies launched on British Airways in November 2023 and has got off to a flying start. Ed Hauck, Curators’ co-founder, said: “It all started with a flight on British Airways in February 2023. After some thorough digging, we found a contact at Tourvest and sent in a delicious box of our goodies to get their attention. It seemed to work, and we were delighted to get the news in the summer that we would be launching in November that same year.

"It was a proud moment for my eldest son this winter, seeing Cheesies on the menu on his school ski trip." cheesies.co.uk •

onboardhospitality.com 58 / NEW ARRIVALS

Pours for Thought: Uncorking Excellence

Our columnist Kelly Stevenson readies her liver for sampling curated wines at WTCE – and explains why buyers should too.

For airlines committed to elevating the customer experience, the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) is a standout event in the trade calendar. For airline wine buyers, attending WTCE offers an opportunity to understand the latest trends, innovations, taste and explore partnerships that can transform the inflight wine selection.

Meet the experts

The show serves as a marketplace for the most relevant producers and distributors with years of experience, specialising in airline catering. Engaging with these suppliers provides the opportunity to establish relationships, ensuring access to high-quality, potentially exclusive selections for your airline. Networking with industry royalty who attend WTCE can lead to meaningful partnerships that can last for many years.

Sample wines with altitude

WTCE provides an environment where wine buyers can taste and evaluate a diverse range of wines curated due to their ability to perform at altitude and exist as an appropriate, versatile style for flying. Tasting sessions and interactive exhibits, across the various stands, provide a sensory exploration helping you make

informed decisions based on flavour there and then.

Sustainable focus

With an increasing emphasis on sustainability, WTCE is an ideal platform upon which to explore the growing availability of planet-friendly wine options, from organic liquid through to paper bottle formats replacing glass. With a growing global demand for responsibly sourced products, engaging with suppliers

onboardhospitality.com 60 / EXPERT INSIGHT

committed to environmentally-conscious practices enables an airline to demonstrate its commitment and aligned values.

Go local

Provenance can be a key consideration for airline buyers. This can involve selecting wine that reflects the destinations served by the airline or representing wine to celebrate its national heritage. At WTCE, producers acknowledge this and bring a selection to cover all international requirements from

the geographically broad world of wine. Often, tasting a selection at WTCE can give you a feel for a country or region’s wine style and where it can fit in at the airline –or not!

Regulatory compliance

Where airlines operate in a highly regulated environment, so does catering and hospitality – combine the two and that’s a lot of compliance! Through professional panels and carefully chosen conference subjects, WTCE enables visitors and exhibitors to stay informed about the latest regulations impacting industry standards and compliance.

Time to learn

Visitors to WTCE can attend numerous educational sessions presented by industry experts, suppliers and airline representatives. For wine buyers, these sessions can offer valuable insights into emerging wine trends, crew routine techniques and effective strategies for the effective future management of an airline's wine programme.

If you have responsibility at any level for selecting wine at an airline, attending WTCE can ultimately be a strategic move towards a higher quality inflight wine list, which in turn can provide the opportunity to elevate an overall catering offering and hit higher customer satisfaction scores. •

Tasting sessions and interactive exhibits, across the various stands, provide a sensory exploration

kelly.stevenson@ jetvine.co.uk


onboardhospitality.com EXPERT INSIGHT / 61

Whatever you need...

With En Route’s extensive network capabilities, we can source and supply products from around the world, helping to enhance your brand’s reputation one meal at a time.

We’re En Route. Global specialists in passenger solutions, supply chain services and sourcing for airlines and airline caterers. Join us on stand 1F30 at WTCE 2024 www.en-route.com

Much ado about matcha

Lauded for its health benefits and as a coffee alternative, matcha keeps growing in popularity. Charlotte Flach showcases how airlines can get onboard

Several years ago matcha became ubiquitous –suddenly it was cropping up on coffee shop menus and in the supermarket aisles in lattes, ice cream and smoothies.

For those unfamiliar, matcha is a Japanese green tea powder made from finely ground dried tea leaves. Originally a staple in Japanese tea ceremonies, its popularity worldwide has propelled it into a mainstream ingredient in numerous drinks and even foods, meaning many people outside of East Asia will have consumed it in some form.

Health kick

Unlike other forms of green tea which steep the leaves, then discard them, matcha grinds up the leaf and mixes it directly into water or milk. This means the entire leaf, and all of its health properties, are consumed, making it even more of an antioxidant powerhouse than regular green tea. Even better, its health benefits are scientifically backed.

Passengers can benefit from its ability to lower blood pressure and boost metabolism, plus reduce

inflammation. Drinking it instead of coffee on a long-haul flight avoids the anxious caffeine buzz while still benefiting from the energy and focus it offers.

There is also research to suggest that matcha can help relieve the unpleasant symptoms of jet lag, such as fatigue and brain fog.

How to serve

powder into frothed milk to make a matcha latte – this also works with dairy alternatives such as oat and almond. As it has a naturally earthy taste, some passengers may prefer to add a sweetener, such as honey or sugar. Don't be put off by its earthy green colour, too!

On trend

Passengers can benefit from its ability to lower blood pressure

There are plenty of creative ways to serve matcha onboard. The easiest way is in tea bags or as an instant power recquiring only the addition of hot water. For the full effect, proper matcha powder is best, which can be mixed using a zigzag or back and forth whisk motion to make sure the matcha is evenly distributed in the cup.

For a modern take, stir matcha

Although many airlines have yet to catch up on the matcha craze, a few are actively promoting its availability. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Japanese airline ANA offers matcha served the traditional way to its first class passengers. Vueling can whisk up a matcha flavoured chai latte, while Hawaiian Airlines serves a Matcha Souffle Pancake as part of its brunch menu, route dependant. •

onboardhospitality.com 64 / FOCUS ON


Jo Austin talks to Todd Traynor-Corey, MD Guest Products, Alaska Airlines, ahead of his Taste of Travel appearance at WTCE in May.

Iam based in Alaska Airlines’ head office in Seattle, Washington State, where I oversee Guest Products.

I am responsibe for a team of over 400 employees across the network. This includes the Alaska Lounge programme, the onboard food and beverage programme, catering operations, inflight experiences such as inflight entertainment, Wi-Fi, cabin interiors, uniforms and service flow. I have over 15 years of experience delivering travel products to airline passengers at some of the world’s leading airlines.

Alaska Airlines has long been known for being a reliable airline that provides great service and generous loyalty perks. We deliver on this by empowering our employees to take great care of our customers and by providing high quality products and innovative digital technology that take stress out of air travel. We’re currently focused on creating and delivering

premium experiences to our guests from lounge expansions and remodels, new F&B partners and aircraft cabin overhaul, we’re investing in products and services to deliver a premium brand experience. What’s more, we’re using technology to provide guests with more options and control, like our recently expanded F&B menu enabled by pre-order.

Local partnerships

Alaska is partnering with local companies to bring unique and premium local products onboard our flights. We recently launched an organic custom coffee blend with Stumptown Coffee Roasters, one of the original roasters behind the third wave coffee movement and a quintessential name behind west coast coffee culture.

In collaboration with Freemont Brewing which is a leading Seattlebased craft brewery, we have launched

Cloud Cruiser IPA, a beer designed specifically for 32,000 feet.

Through our pre-order programme, Alaska offers one of the most extensive inflight food menus across domestic US airlines with up to five menu choices available in First class and main cabin. Pre-order enables our guests to view menu information and choose the meal that meets their needs. We’re partnering with well known local food brands like Beecher's cheese, Tillamook evergreens salads and Seattle Chocolate Company to deliver a menu that offers a distinctive west coast vibe.

We’re investing in new Alaska lounges and renovating existing lounges with guest comfort in mind.

Hear more from Todd TraynorCorey at the Taste of Travel Theatre on Wednesday May 29 at 11am as he participates in a panel discussion exploring 'The Journey Experience'. See the full schedule on pages 28-29. •

onboardhospitality.com 66 / IN CONVERSATION

Snack attack

Feeling peckish? Here are six snacks sure to satisfy salty or sweet cravings inbetween meals onboard...

Deli Lites


Made with pulled Irish ham hock, wholegrain mustard and rich mature cheddar on handmade sourdough bread, this premium sandwich is made by the world’s first B Corp-certified sandwich manufacturer, Deli Lites. delilites.com

onboardhospitality.com 68 / TAKING OFF

Raise spirits with

good mood foods

Understanding of the connections between food and mental health is constantly evolving, says travel nutrition expert Melissa Adamski. Is it now the time for airlines to take note?

The concept of mood boosting foods is growing in popularity. And while most of us have a go-to food for a little feel-good boost, the role diet plays in how we feel goes much deeper, with nutrients and phytonutrients influencing our mental health through metabolic pathways. Diet is involved in cognition, fatigue, concentration, mood disorders such as anxiety and depression, eating disorders, and psychotic conditions – so as you can see, the concept of mood-boosting foods is more than a passing fad.

Mindful relationships

The Mediterranean diet is associated with a positive influence on mental health

Take it onboard

While the relationship between what we eat and how we feel is complex, we now know the foods we eat play a pivotal role in our mental health. Recent research has highlighted that diet plays both a role in development of mental health disorders and in their treatment. These advances have been so profound they have led to the development of a new area of psychiatry called nutritional psychiatry. In fact, diet is such an important player in our mental health that diet therapy is now front line treatment in the new Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists guidelines for

health that diet therapy is now front line

While we are still learning more about why and probiotics, anti-inflammatory foods, mental health.

While we are still learning more about why some people develop certain mental health conditions, it is becoming clearer that factors such as chronic inflammation, oxidative stress, and our gut bacteria seem to play a role. Diet affects each of these with intakes of fibres, bioactives, fermented foods, prebiotics and probiotics, anti-inflammatory foods, and dietary patterns such as the Mediterranean diet associated with a positive influence on

Travel can take its toll on passengers and staff. Airlines, caterers and the wider travel industry can elevate the passenger experience by considering the power of foods to support mental health. With technology providing the means for even longer flights, this makes the provision of food that supplies passengers with their daily nutrient needs to support wellbeing even more pressing. Through using aspects of culinary nutrition and nutrition science, airlines and the wider travel industry can turn nutritious foods into delicious meals, supporting not only passenger’s physical wellbeing but also their mental wellbeing.

Feeling great while flying is an experience I am sure many passengers would like to have. nuttedoutnutrition.com.au •

70 / OPINION onboardhospitality.com
02/05/2024 17:45

Read a longer

Feeling hoptimistic

MWith taste and production preferences varying so dramatically around the globe, the humble beer can serve up far more than just refreshment value inflight...

ine’s a beer! That simple phrase carries a variety of promise: bitter, pale ale, red ale, old ale, craft ale, helles lager, pilsner, porter, stout – all have their passionate devotees.

Then there are the regional preferences. To generalise wildly, central Europeans drink lager and weissbier, Belgians drink strong golden and amber ale, the Irish prefer stout, Japanese crisp, dry lager and Americans fizzy, big-brand lagers. Brits drink bitter. What a shame, then, that the onboard selection is sometimes limited to a lager and, if you are lucky, a pale ale.

But you can see the airlines’ problem. With that level of variety, and restrictions on onboard weight and storage, it’s hard to pick a selection that will please everybody.

A decade ago Rodger Craig, of Inflight Initiatives, facilitated the deal to get Fuller’s London Pride onto British Airways. “I helped Fuller’s win the onboard listing and BA gave it away, so their volumes helped me piggyback all the other airlines such

as Flybe, Thomas Cook, Singapore Airlines (out of London) and the Eurostar, and get them taking London Pride,” he says.

Getting crafty

BA has continued to experiment, driven by the success of the craft beer movement. Originating in the UK and US in the 1970s, startup microbreweries produced such a variety of ale using new ingredients and experimental techniques that a new generation got to try novel styles and flavours.

Founded in 2007, Brewdog first supplied a specially brewed beer for the airline in 2019. Speedbird 100 is now replaced by Brewdog Speedbird OG IPA. A followup, American Pale Ale JetStream, was introduced in January 2021. BA’s beer offering currently also includes Brewdog’s original beer, Punk IPA, and Toast ’New Dawn’ Session IPA. As with Heineken lager, all of the Brewdog beers are served in 330ml cans.

this feature and more online BEERS AROUND THE WORLD / 73

Can-do attitude

Cans are preferred by airlines because of their light weight (5% of glass) and ease of packaging and recycling. They fit neatly onto a standard Atlas catering trolley. That used to be an obstacle to small breweries, whose customers traditionally preferred bottles, but the US led the way in changing that, with the use of cans doubling from 2012 to 2014, and 500 craft breweries making the switch. Fourpure was one of the first British craft brewers to use cans for its core range, claiming that its beers maintained their taste for longer, as aluminium provided superior protection from light and oxygen.

BA was probably the first international airline to recognise the importance of catering to its passengers’ regional preferences, originally offering Tiger on its eastbound and Amstel Lite on its westbound routes. Regional airlines are also keen to partner with local breweries, cross-branding to make their frequent fliers feel at home and introducing visitors to new and interesting local choices.

Custom brews

Alaska Airlines' first-ever custom-crafted beer is brewed by Seattle-based Fremont Brewing. Cloud Cruiser, an India Pale Ale, is a finalist in the Onboard Hospitality 2024 Awards. Fremont Brewing makes small-batch artisan beers from locally-sourced ingredients. It worked with Alaska to produce blends to taste-test at 30,000 feet.  "Cloud Cruiser is the result of two beloved and popular Pacific Northwest brands coming together to create a top-tier beverage to add to our premium line-up," says Todd Traynor-Corey, Alaska's Managing Director of Guest Products.

Canada’s Porter Airlines has followed a similar strategy by taking two beers from Ontario-based brewer Beau’s onto its drinks menu. Lug Tread is a hybrid lagered ale that has won 20 awards while Porter Porter is dark and strong at 5.6%, with "roasty flavours leading into a crisp, dry finish, and lingering vanilla notes".

And two American carriers offer another regional speciality on flights to Hawaii. Both Southwest and United offer Kona Brewing Big Wave Golden Ale on their Hawaii service. Described as an easy-drinking 4.4% ale with tropical hop aromas and flavours, it sounds like a beer to get you in the mood for sun and surf – it might even persuade you to buy a ticket!

Words by Richard

onboardhospitality.com 74 / XXXXX
Clockwise (from above): A can of Icelandair's Snæbjört American Pale Ale; Canned Hazy Pilsner; Icelandair's Transatlantic 737 IPA next to WestJet's Dream Craft AllCanadian Ale.
Eggsquisite! Maximum savour. Natural ingredients. Germany Tel. +49 2553 1022 info@gutspringenheide.de www.gutspringenheide.de Visit us: Hall A1, Stand No. 1C70


Steve Walpole details how WTCE offers ample opportunity to drive innovation – for both buyers and exhibitors

Iwill be at the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) in Hamburg again this year supporting Royal Smilde and AA Bakeries on their stands. I am also looking forward to presenting a demonstration at the Taste of Travel Theatre in partnership with Onboard Hospitality.

WTCE is a unique trade event because of its global appeal, the large audiences it pulls in, and the potential for opportunity it offers. I will be looking for innovation – not necessarily in terms of new products, but in how something simple can be made even better. Meeting small and new business startups that haven’t been influenced yet by large brands can also be interesting. Bearing in mind we live in a ‘disposable’ society, I am always interested to come across new packaging that is not only eco-friendly but also affordable and accessible. It

will be interesting to see what new developments in technology and AI have been made across the industry as well as the impact experts predict it will have on the future of travel catering.

Top tips

I recommend that attendees make the most of the seminars and demonstrations that will be running at the Taste of Travel Theare, which showcase industry experts’ invaluable knowledge as they discuss both current and future issues within the sector.

For those who are exhibiting, make sure you and all your team are focused on what you want to get out of the show. Don’t give up if things start out slow. Throughout the day the people attending will change and each day of the show will bring something new so be sure to consider how you can appeal to a very broad audience.

Make sure your team knows

everything about your product – there’s nothing worse than a prospective client asking questions and someone doesn’t have the answer or can’t get information quickly.

Learning curve

If it’s your first show, use it as a learning curve and don’t worry if it doesn’t go entirely to plan. For both exhibitors and buyers, make sure you have your contact details easily to hand, whether this be paper or digital. Clear contact details are imperative – it’s no good if you come away from the show and can’t remember the name of someone or their business.

Lastly, I’d say be approachable both as a buyer and supplier as you make much stronger connections when you are personable. One of the things I love about the show is you are never quite sure who you are talking to – it could be the CEO of a large company! •

onboardhospitality.com 76 / IN CONVERSATION
Untitled-3 1 25/04/2024 16:08 MAKE EVERY FLIGHT FIRST CLASS. A brand known for consistent quality and enjoyed for over 100 years. Widely available in multiple flavors that meet every tea drinker’s tastes. Proven consumer acceptance –a top-selling U.S. black tea brand. Made in the USA by Harris Tea Company. Find out more: 877-248-2477 harristeafoodservice.com Distributed under license from Redco Foods, Inc, Moorestown NJ Untitled-1 1 17/04/2024 09:37

WA taste of


As the industry descends on Hamburg for WTCE and AIX, we explore what’s on the menu in Germany. Its local cuisine is certainly not the ‘wurst’!

hether the concept of German cuisine was ever clearly defined is a subject warranting discussion over many a meal. Germany became a unified state as recently as 1871. During the century that followed the country was divided by the ‘Iron Curtain’ for more than four decades. So while Thuringians are rightly proud of their Bratwürste; residents of Hesse point to virtues of the dish known as Handkäs mit Musik (which translates to ‘handcheese with music’ and is served with chopped onions and a vinaigrette dressing); people from both Hamburg and Berlin argue that their city was the birthplace of the Currywurst; and Swabians are famed for their ravioli-like Maultaschen and hand-rubbed Spätzle noodles, the fact remains – there’s no clearly defined

national dish.

That is despite the widespread popularity of the likes of Sauerbraten (a succulent dish of marinated beef served in a rich gravy), breadcrumb-coated schnitzels and cheese-laced Käsespätzle, along with quick and easy favourites such as Strammer Max

“Strammer Max is a simple dish of bread, ham and fried egg. Originally part of Saxon and Berlin cuisine, Strammer Max is now popular throughout Germany as home cooking and pub food,” explains Barbara Tusky, Sales Director at Gut Springenheide.

A land of regional cuisines

“We do not have a typical German food as it depends on the region,” states Wolfgang Bücherl, Managing Director and Partner at


Skysupply, pointing to the distinctive variations which characterise traditional cooking styles and popular dishes around Germany.

“For example, in Bavaria you have the famous pork with Knödel und Blaukraut (dumpling served with red cabbage cooked with apple and seasoning) and before 12 noon you can eat white sausage with a Bretz'l (the popular, looped and salt-topped bread variety that's known as a pretzel elsewhere) and white beer… but this is not typical for Germany in general.”

named after an infamous pirate from medieval times, within the multipurpose landmark that overlooks the River Elbe.

In parts of the Western world Germany’s cuisine is stereotypically associated with sauerkraut and sausages rather than the elevated culinary offerings of the Black Forest region, which is famed for its concentration of restaurants with Michelin stars. Germany’s range of culinary offerings is, of course, diverse.

Flavours of Hamburg

Fish from both the Baltic and North Sea features in the traditional cuisine of the north. The riverside auction hall in Altona is now famed for hosting the lively Hamburg Fish Market on Sunday mornings. Nearby stands sell a range of fish and seafood dishes from 6.00am until noon.

Asparagus season is here

The period from April until the feast day of John the Baptist (June 24) is widely celebrated as Spargelzeit – the season to enjoy white asparagus served in variety of ways. This explains why WTCE/AIX attendees will see asparagus dishes on the specials boards of restaurants across the city after spending the day at the Hamburg Messe.

Germany’s range of culinary offerings is, of course, diverse

Fish dishes associated with the host city of WTCE/AIX include Hamburger Pannfisch, in which the fish is pan-fried and smothered in a mustard sauce, and Finkenwerder Scholle (plaice fried with smoked ham) – a dish named after the district that is home to Hamburg Airport. The Krameramtstuben restaurant, near the iconic clock tower of St Michael’s Church, serves both of those dishes as well as Labskaus, a stew made with rollmop herrings and beetroot.

Modern regional cuisine is served at Störtebeker in der Elbphilharmonie, a restaurant

Scherrer – located at Elbschussee 130, approximately 5.5km from the Hamburg Messe – is one of 13 in Hamburg that currently hold Michelin stars. It is also one of five establishments across the city distinguished with a Michelin Green Star, the annual award acknowledging restaurants with outstanding environmental and ethical standards and practices relating to sustainability.

“In Landhaus Scherrer we have the guiding principle: North German high cuisine: sustainable enjoyment. That is reflected in the food that we

Above clockwise: Oktoberfest foodsauerkraut, sausage, pretzel, mashed potato and beer; German bratwursts and sauerkraut with beer; Pork knuckle and chicken schnitzel

onboardhospitality.com GLOBAL AFFAIR / 79

offer and have on our menu,” says Heinz Wehmann, Head Chef of the celebrated restaurant since 1980. “I value long-term supplier relationships and together we further develop the product that our kitchen team refines, so that the outstanding flavours of our seasonal and regional products are brought to the fore.”

An evolving cuisine

Wehmann acknowledges that there have been changes to German cuisine over recent years: “In our kitchen team we cook lighter than a few years ago and lay even more focus on excellent, regional producers. We have further developed our traditional craft as can be seen in our six-course vegan menu, which is on the first page of menu. Through that our customer base has expanded because we always place the base products in the foreground and emphasise the nuances of flavour. We produce all our stocks and sauces ourselves from the bottom up, we can also easily deal with allergies and intolerances.”

decades when they were weaker quality and compared unfavourably to produce from France, Spain and Italy. Additionally, chefs have moved away from heavy cream and carbohydrates which they traditionally used in ‘typical German’ dishes.”

Global influence

“A contemporary approach nowadays involves incorporating flavours from abroad, such as citrus fruits for acidity and spices sourced globally. Notable chefs pioneering this unique fusion include Tobias Bätz, Alexander Herrmann, Ricky Saward, and Jan Hartwig, among others,” continues Raue, whose own use of Asian flavours mean that many gourmands would include him in such a list.

A contemporary approach nowadays involves incorporating flavours from abroad

So what characterises modern German cuisine?

Chef Tim Raue, whose eponymous restaurant in Berlin is distinguished with two Michelin stars, explains that there have been some notable changes in recent years: "We now primarily utilise German produce, a shift from previous

If he could enjoy any traditional German dish on an international flight, Raue says his choice would be Königsberger Klopse, a dish of meatballs made from minced veal “in a creamy sauce with capers, mashed potatoes and pickled red beets. They are pure comfort food with a smooth taste and my twist on spiciness and acidity with a long-lasting finish. The contemporary taste of Germany,” explains the highly regarded chef.

Whichever restaurants you visit and whatever you end up eating while attending WTCE/AIX in Hamburg this May, Onboard Hospitality wishes you a “Guten Appetit”! Words by Stuart Forster •

onboardhospitality.com 80 / GLOBAL AFFAIR
Above from left: The dish known as Kalte Liebe ('Cold Love') served at Restaurant Tim Raue; Planted's vegan alternative to chicken breast, also served at Restaurant Tim Raue (photos by Nils Hasenau)
1 18/04/2024 09:08 Untitled-1 1 24/04/2024 12:23

Untitled-2 1

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29/04/2024 09:04

Design & Innovation


Packaging power

Packaging pioneers are working to ensure their contribution supports your chefs’ vision and delivers an enhanced dining experience

Feeling inspired? Discover more design innovations in the 2024 Onboard Hospitality Awards Entries Guide, available online and distributed with this issue

84 In conversation

We chat to Stef Van de Perre, deSter's President & Managing Director ahead of deSter's return to WTCE...


Setting standards

Investing in high-quality meals means nothing without a solid service of tableware to present it upon. Is tableware the unsung hero of the passenger experience?

onboardhospitality. 83 / XXXXX onboardhospitality.com

Stef Van de Perre


Creating sustainable food and travel experiences is at the heart of deSter. We chat to Stef Van de Perre ahead of deSter's return to WTCE...

Q. Can you give us a brief overview of what deSter has been up to these past few years?

A : As a leading provider of innovative food packaging and serviceware concepts for the aviation and foodservice industries, we are constantly evolving, as are the markets in which we operate. After a challenging period, due to the COVID pandemic, which hit the aviation industry very hard, our company’s sales were back to 344 million euros in 2023. In 2024, we expect to exceed even the pre-COVID figures of 2019. In 2020, deSter merged with SPIRIANT, a global supplier of in-flight equipment, and in February this year, we acquired the Spanish company Nupik, a well-established distributor and manufacturer of sustainable food packaging and tableware, now operating under the brand name “Nupik by deSter”.

Q. It’s been three years since the merger with SPIRIANT. What impact did this have on deSter?

A : After closing the merger in 2020, we started redefining the deSter brand in January 2021. With Equipment Management Services, the opportunity to offer in-house production to a larger group, and to become part of a multicultural company with a global presence, the merger was a win-win

situation for both parties. At the same time, we revised our CI and carried out a brand refresh.

Q. Tell us about Nupik by deSter.

A : This transaction is another milestone in the development of our company. The location in Barcelona is equipped with a state-of-the-art, fully automated warehouse and additional production lines for paper cups and recyclable plastic food contact materials. It strengthens our production and supply chain

their competitiveness and enable sustainable growth in reusables, compostables and recyclables.

Q. Where is the deSter situated?

A : Our company employs approximately 1100 people worldwide and has offices in the United States, South America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. We also have manufacturing facilities in Lima (Ohio, USA), Hoogstraten (Belgium), Barcelona (Spain) and Prachinburi (Thailand).

Q. What are deSter's current focus areas and how do they align with the sustainability goals of airlines?

We have to keep moving and changing to stay relevant

capabilities and contributes to our sustainable strategy. As deSter, we provide Nupik by deSter with a stable financial base to invest and expand the production capabilities in Spain. Our collaboration will enhance their product portfolio and increase its customer service levels. Access to our manufacturing facilities around the world and our global network of sourcing partners will improve

A : As sustainability is indeed highly valued, deSter is taking the lead within the industry. We continuously support airlines in achieving their ESG goals. Since 2020, we only introduce products that are reusable, compostable or recyclable. Our company is phasing out unnecessary single-use plastics and by 2025 all products will be either reusable, recyclable or compostable. deSter's ESG performance supports our partners in their ESG performance.

Q. What innovations does deSter make to keep up with the times?

A : We have to keep moving and changing to stay relevant. Definitely in terms of design and development, but also in terms of implementing

84 / INTERVIEW onboardhospitality.com


At the head of this world player stands Stef Van de Perre, President and Managing director. Van de Perre is working for deSter since 2011, in previous positions as CFO and COO.

new materials and technologies. That's why we are constantly investing in new machines and production methods. A good example is our paper-based cutlery, which is replacing plastic and wooden cutlery. Thanks to our investment in a new patented production technology, we are now able to produce strong cutlery that feels good in the mouth and is fully compostable. When you combine it with organic waste, the product is completely and environmentally friendly gone after 12 weeks.

Q. What do you believe modern passengers are most looking for in their inflight experience, and how can deSter make that a reality?

A : deSter upgrades passenger comfort while adding value with a focus on sustainability. The merger with SPIRIANT opened up a lot of opportunities in the amenity kits and sleepwear categories. Our company has won some excellent contracts and established a wide range of collaborations, including quite an array of brands that have similar synergies with their ESG strategy and goals that they are excited to bring on board. deSter is also very excited to have one of its amenity kits nominated for the Onboard Hospitality Awards.

Q. What message are you hoping to share at WTCE this year?

A : We believe in the power of personalised experiences tailored to our partners' unique needs. It's about more than just offering solutions; it's about crafting individualised journeys rooted in genuine human connection. As we prepare for WTCE this year, we're thrilled to inspire with our latest developments. Visit our booth to discover how we're redefining sustainable food and travel experiences! dester.com •

INTERVIEW / 85 onboardhospitality.com

To heighten passenger satisfaction levels, airlines providing highquality meals must also invest in a range of premium tableware. Could it be the unsung hero of inflight?

86 TABLEWARE TRENDS onboardhospitality.com

How many elements of the inflight experience do passengers touch with their tongues?

A strange question, but a valid one.

Apart from food and beverage, tableware is one of the few touchpoints where passengers get really up close and personal with an airline’s offering. As such, it’s essential to get right.

A crockery canvas

“For passengers, tableware is actually the most tangible thing they’re interacting with,” explains Augustin Scott, Director at Clip. “We are talking about items that they touch, drink from, and in the case of cutlery, put in their mouth.

“Airlines can’t afford to have something go wrong

there, especially in a premium cabin with extradiscerning clients. Imagine a plate with faded gilded decor, a cup with a tiny chip, or a wine glass with wear marks – what does that say about the airline, the plane, the crew?”

We often hear the saying ‘we eat first with our eyes’ (something we’ve already explored in depth in this issue on pages 46-52) and for good reason.

The visuals of a meal have been proven to alter the perception of taste, smell, and flavour, and serviceware plays a big role in presentation – of both the meals, and the airline overall. After all, in the words of Manoj Pridhanani, Chief Design Officer & Head of Sustainability, Kaelis, tableware is a “canvas for the chefs to display their art”.

Echoing this sentiment is Nathalie Goldwasser, Key Account Manager at Europro: “Tableware is so much more than knives and forks. It’s a testimonial of how a brand wishes to be perceived, and the effort they are willing to put in to enhance the experience."

You are what you eat (with) Tableware is far more than just a vestibule for serving up food. It offers a key touchpoint for communicating a transport

TABLEWARE TRENDS 87 onboardhospitality.com
Below: Beond has partnered with British brand William Edwards on its inflight tableware

provider’s key brand values and messaging. Just as we so often talk of amenity kits or cabin interior design as carriers for a brand, the humble plate, fork or drinking glass can speak volumes on an airline’s story.

For example, Copa Airlines’ Business class tableware collection aims to encapsulate the spirit of Latin America, celebrating the Panamabased airline’s Latin heritage. The design draws direct inspiration from the ‘rich tapestry’ of Latin American culture through textures and patterns.

Created by Procurall Solutions, the collection includes terracotta-inspired accent pieces and colourful Latin-inspired patterns.

Etihad Airways, in partnership with Armani/Casa, has introduced ‘The Constellation Collection’ of tableware.

The set, created by Buzz, has been inspired by an integral part of the UAE’s heritage: the stars.

Offering an ‘Elevated Style’ experience for Etihad’s passengers, the range is embellished with a bespoke geometric pattern.

Meanwhile Beond, self-dubbed as ‘the world’s first premium leisure airline’, emphasises its luxury product with china tableware adorned with subtle metallic watermarks. Founder of Beond Max Nilov said: “Beond wanted only the very best tableware onboard to complete the experience. Clip brought our vision to life.”

High expectations

Clip’s Augustin explains: “We teamed up with English brand William Edwards to create a bespoke collection infused with old world refinement and traditional craftsmanship. The client brief was all about contemporary luxury and understatement so we used fine bone china with subtle copper signature branding watermark patterns – every piece of the set incarnates quiet luxury.”

William Edwards is a name we can hope to see more of inflight over the coming years, as parent company Steelite has signed an exclusive partnership agreement with Plane Talking Products. William himself is a stalwart of the tableware design scene. “My passion has always been, and will always be, the design elements,” he says. “For me that means that when a client sits at the table, the tableware is commensurate with the environment that they've paid to be in.”

William has designed tableware for decades with a client list spanning high-end hotels and restaurants around the globe. When asked about trends, he simply said: We don't do ‘trendy’.

“We're not about trendy, or the short term. If the goal is to come up with something elegant, that has longevity, it's almost trying to create modern classics. And when I say modern, it can be contemporary – but not ‘punk crockery’!”

In the vein of modern classics, Air India’s recent service and brand overhaul has included an entirely new serviceware collection, with First

onboardhospitality.com 88 / TABLEWARE TRENDS
Above: Elegance on Etihad with the Armani/Casa collaboration. Below: It's all in the detail on Beond.
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and Business class tableware created by Global-C. The chinaware is adorned with subtle, traditional brand elements such as an intricate mandala pattern and the iconic Maharaja in semi-matte gold and silver metallic decorations. Meanwhile, modern accent pieces like the aubergine glass dessert plates and nut bowl add a pop of colour, and a marble-look cheese plate

Global-C. chinaware pattern completes the set.

“The products exude elegance and luxury, while also reflecting the warm Indian hospitality that Air India is known for,” says Anu Kohsla, Regional Director Asia & Pacific at Global-C. The tiffin boxshaped salt and pepper set, inspired by traditional Indian design, perfectly embodies Air India's new identity and service principles. Overall, the final product represents a blend of aesthetics, onboard functionality, and the spirit of Air India's pursuit of excellence in global aviation.”

Forking fabulous

Perhaps the most tactile element of all is cutlery. For something that probably equates to one of the smaller items to be loaded onto a plane, it involves an incredible amount of consideration to perfect. As with all onboard tableware, it’s not just about aesthetics – weight and mouth-feel are integral to its success.

Air India is known for,” says Anu Kohsla, Regional of in “support and lift the airline’s brand to a higher

An expert in this field is Sola the Netherlands, who recently designed the cutlery to accompany

Global-C’s tableware proposition onboard Air India in First and Business. In addition to its claim as the world’s ‘lightest hollow handle cutlery’, it also continues to reinforce the brand with intricate laser-engraved mandala patterns embossed around the hollow handle.

Hans Engels, Senior Export Manager Airline and Railway, Europe, Canada & Americas at Sola the Netherlands, strongly believes that cutlery can “support and lift the airline’s brand to a higher level.” He says: “Passengers will see the time and effort that is put into the development of the entire tray setting.”

Sola has also produced Finnair’s Business class

Sola has also produced Finnair’s Business class cutlery, facilitating a collaboration between Finnair and Iittala Kuulas, with cutlery designed by Harri Koskinen. Aiming to create a moment of ‘Nordic living in the air’, the joint venture highlights how

Clockwise from right: LOT Polish Airline's tableware (above) is complemented by highquality glassware from Krosno glass (below).


fully-recyclable and rotable product,” he explains. “There are no chemicals added during the production process, regardless if it is cutlery for First, Business or Economy class. It remains to be the chosen and preferred material despite all the other options that are available.”

other tableware elements, too. “Maybe not for the

Kaelis’ Manoj thinks stainless steel has a place in other tableware elements, too. “Maybe not for the main plate,” he says, “but for the side dishes, bowls and so on. And glass – glass is 100% recyclable, although a bit more delicate.”

LOT Polish Airlines has been innovating in the

LOT Polish Airlines has been innovating in the glass space recently with a partnership with Krosno Glass. “The Krosno Glass collection for LOT consists of eight glasses, distinguished by special Polish accents,” says Katarzyna Koba, Senior Product Specialist, LOT Polish Airlines. “In addition to new items, such as a champagne glass, new designs of items such as a liquor glass in which we serve digestif have also been introduced.”

traditions, design and close cooperation can come together in a table setting.

Europro, meanwhile, has supplied the First and Business class cutlery for Air France for nearly a decade. “Our strategy for a tableware project is to emphasise partnership with famous brands,” explains Nathalie of Europro.

tableware with while we make sure the

Add a little spice

“This is, for example, what we did with Christofle. Offering high-end quality pieces associated with a brand can bring a strong sense of sophistication or elegance. Passengers feel they are experiencing luxury, while we make sure the product itself is made in the most efficient way with regards to weight, price and durability.”

Back to basics

William Edwards, meanwhile, is a champion of traditional bone china. “China is the lightest, the whitest, strongest ceramic material on the planet,” he says. “Therefore it's 30% lighter than any other ceramic material onboard.”

“We really love to design the salt and pepper shakers,” says Kaelis’ Manoj. “It adds a storyline to the whole crockery set.”

China is the lightest, the whitest, strongest ceramic material on the planet

In recent years we’ve seen material innovations driven by sustainability such as bamboo, ocean plastics and more grace inflight tabletops. But some more ‘traditional’ materials are coming to the fore once


Hans, for example, is an advocate for the use of stainless steel in cutlery. “Stainless steel cutlery is a

designs of items such as a liquor glass in which we been whitest, strongest ceramic material on the planet,” ceramic material onboard.” such as a multi-coloured version for Pride, and a

Manoj is, of course, talking about Iberia’s Las Meninas salt and pepper shakers, inspired by the 1656 painting of the same name by Diego de Velázquez. Aiming to avoid more clichéd ideas of Spain, the Meninas have become hugely popular with Iberia passengers, who are encouraged to take the set away with them.

In a similar story to Virgin Atlantic’s iconic Orville and Wilbur salt and pepper shakers (which say ‘pinched from Virgin Atlantic’ on their feet), Iberia’s Meninas transfers the airline into passengers' homes. They are also encouraged to be collectables for frequent flyers, with different colours launched regularly to tie in with occasions such as a multi-coloured version for Pride, and a pink set for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Etihad, on the other hand, has opted for a pinch pot in its Armani/Casa partnership.

Finnair highlights Below: Iberia's Las Meninas salt and pepper shakers
Working In Harmony With You And The Planet. BIODEGRADABLE ENTRÉE DISHES A perfect alternative to CPET plastic and aluminum! Contact us today so we can create a customized approach for your airline. Visit Us at RMTGlobalPartners.com

Classing up Economy

Even with the weight and financial constraints that come with catering for Economy cabins, recent trends suggest that passengers appreciate current moves away from disposable, cheap-feeling dishware.

are part of a closed-loop recycling system. At the end of their life-cycle, they are collected, washed, grounded, and reused to make new replacement products ensuring zero waste.


“Economy tableware is currently going through an interesting development phase as many airlines try to evaluate the environmental and financial advantages and disadvantages of rotable versus disposable and are looking at what could be more sustainable versus additional weight and/or operational challenges,” says Alison Wells, Director of Plane Talking Products.

Stainless steel remains the preferred material despite all the other options

While the longevity of inflight tableware means designs need to survive short-term design trends (or ‘punkcrockery’, as William puts it), Michael Carr, Creative Director and Designer at Watermark is a strong believer in trend forecasting. “Many brands steer clear of what they call ‘trends’ and trend forecasting. But I find it pivotal in figuring out what the needs of the customer are and what the psychology of the user is going to be.”

“We have been working on rotable tray setups which include new shapes, designs and functionality as well as full consideration of changing waste management practice and of course sustainability. The design team is passionate about sustainability and averse to disposable culture.”

Etihad’s Economy range with Armani/Casa is just one example of this movement. The new dining experience, designed in partnership with deSter, features fully reusable tableware made from recycled high-quality plastic and eliminates the use of single-use plastic. The tray, casserole dish, side bowls and their lids, as well as the platter

One thing that will never go out of style, however, is keeping the crew happy. “The old saying goes: Happy crew, happy passengers,” says Clip’s Augustin. “Tableware has to perform well when used, but must also be practical for the crew. Plates and small trays that are light and easy to pick up, items that stack without wobbling, glasses that won’t tip over easily and won’t get marks from the drawer are equally important.

“Those tiny things that make the life of a cabin crew easier will, in the end, mean a better experience for passengers.”

Words by April Waterston •

onboardhospitality.com 94 / TABLEWARE TRENDS
On this page: Air India's new Vistara tableware by Global-C features subtle homages to the past with a mandala pattern and the iconic Maharaja.




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They wash full or half-size airline trolleys hygienically in an area of less than 4 m². Easy by pressing a button. Easy to takeoff.

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Packaging pioneers are working to ensure their contribution supports your chef's vision and delivers an enhanced dining experience.

onboardhospitality.com 96 / PACKAGING

Packaging can make or break your inflight catering. No matter how perfect a meal or snack may taste, if the packaging fails, your delivery to the passenger risks being a total disaster.

Mohammad Farran, General Manager of Bangkok Air Catering (BAC), calls packaging the ‘silent architecture’ of meal presentation, and the Snackboxtogo team calls it the ‘silent partner’ of inflight dining. Certainly suppliers are increasingly keen to shout about the added value good packaging can deliver.

Stepping up

Farran says: “Packaging isn’t just about practicality. Sleek designs, innovative materials, and functional features have to converge to ensure meals are not only preserved in transit but also presented with panache. Whether it’s eco-friendly containers for guilt-free indulgence or compartmentalised trays for a symphony of flavours, the best packaging seamlessly integrates aesthetics and functionality, enhancing the overall dining experience.”

Richard Wake, Insight and Innovation Director at En Route International, agrees that packaging presentation is key. “The aesthetic function of food packaging can play a crucial part in the visual experience,” he says. “Elements of surprise and delight can be designed into the packaging to help accentuate the sensory indulgence of the food –whether that be how a product is unboxed or how the food is unveiled. There are many opportunities to excite passengers in this way and expand storytelling. Packaging can both complement the visual experience and protect the product.

“As product quality increases, often product fragility increases too so it is critical to think about

how a product is packed, managed through the supply chain, delivered into the galley, and utilised by the cabin crew, so it arrives to the passenger in its optimum condition. This is as true in Economy as it is in First class.”

Serve up a surprise

Wake believes packaging can help surprise the passenger and give them a unique experience. He adds: “It’s important to create memorable passenger experiences by infusing them with a sense of emotion through innovative combinations of flavours and unconventional contexts. Being able to adapt and invent new experiences will also be key to retaining passengers’ attention and building brand awareness and will be particularly relevant as younger passengers become the dominant flying demographic.”

Marc Warde, Special Meal Program Director at Foodcase, agrees packaging should be designed with both functionality and aesthetics in mind. He says: “Packaging should not only maintain freshness and temperature but also complement the visual aesthetics of the meal. Transparent or windowed packaging can allow passengers to see the contents of their meal, enhancing anticipation and visual appeal. Experimenting with innovative packaging designs, such as compartmentalised trays or eco-friendly materials, can also enhance the overall dining experience.”

Packaging for the planet

Environmental concerns are also driving

Above from left: Marvellous Mezze has a vibrant packaging; Kosher meals looking sleek and elegant.

changes in packaging. The Snackboxtogo team says: “While ingredients may take centre stage, packaging plays a silent yet crucial role in preserving the integrity of the meal and enhancing its presentation. Packaging also has to support growing environmental concerns so it is imperative for airlines and food providers to prioritise eco-friendly solutions without compromising on quality or aesthetics. This means embracing innovative packaging alternatives such as compostable materials and minimalistic designs, and making conscious choices in packaging, focusing on mono materials and replacing plastics with paper or cardboard. We are also testing other materials like elephant grass, sugar cane and bamboo.”

Quality communication

and have a quality product, the packaging must reflect that quality, you can’t take short cuts.”

He contends that any cost implications of this strategy are easily justifiable and adds: “If you trap people on an aircraft they want to see you have thought about how you’re going to look after them. Packaging needs to show you are proud of the product you are providing.”

If you are using the best ingredients, the packaging must reflect that quality

He adds: “Packaging can give you the opportunity for two ‘wow’ factors in one product – sight and taste. For example, our new Bellino cocktail comes in a luxury champagne style bottle. In this way packaging can send out a message that this is a thoughtful, classy product you are proud to serve, and that conveys a value to the consumer.”

Montevibiano insists packaging also signposts consumers to the quality of the product within. Known for its olive oils, it is now working with brand partners on new pizza, pasta, gelato and tiramisu products identified as authentically Italian. Claudio Castigloni, Brand Manager, says: “We have invested in top end brands so we can influence and control the whole specification of the product including the packaging so that even in Economy it is possible to serve products that look important and special. If you are using the best ingredients

Salime Hazife, Managing Director at Foodfolk, insists: “Packaging is important but not the whole story. A very nice looking box will only be a disappointment if it has a lack-luster product inside. Packaging should complement an already great product.”

Perhaps Farran sums it up best: “Inflight dining isn’t just about sustenance – it’s an experience that engages all the senses, from the moment you lay eyes on the meal to the final, satisfying bite. As airlines continue to adapt to the changing needs of passengers, one thing is certain: inflight dining will always be a journey of sensory delight, where every bite tells a story.” Words by Julie Baxter •


the one stop shop

In today’s competitive airline industry, delivering exceptional passenger experience is paramount. From take-off to touchdown, every detail matters. We at NCM are poised to revolutionise the way airlines elevate comfort...

As the world takes to the skies, the demand for a superior inflight experience has never been greater.

At NCM, we understand the pivotal role that textiles play in enhancing passenger comfort and elevating brand perception for airlines.

Craftsmanship beyond limits

At the heart of our operations lies a commitment to craftsmanship and quality. We meticulously source the finest materials from across India to ensure that every textile we produce meets the highest standards of comfort, durability, and style. Our range includes blankets, napkins, sleepsuits and disposable table linen.

Curated textiles for every need

We recognise that each airline is unique. That's why we offer a range of customisable solutions.. Whether it's designing bespoke textile collections or developing innovative fabrics that enhance comfort and sustainability, our experienced team works closely with clients to give life to their vision.

Uncompromising quality

Quality is at the core of everything we do. From the initial design concept to the final production stage, we adhere to rigorous quality assurance protocols.

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We are dedicated to reducing our carbon footprint and promoting sustainable practices throughout our supply chain. We invest in research and development to create eco-friendly textiles that minimize waste, conserve resources, and support a healthier planet.

Experience the difference

Visit us at stand 1B90 at the upcoming WTCE expo in Hamburg, to learn more about how we can help you soar above the competition with our worldclass inflight textiles.

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Comfort & Wellbeing


Counting sheep

Sleep is top priority when flying, but how can airlines promote rest inflight whilst battling environmental challenges? It's time to dream....

108 AND MORE...

106 Making memories with amenities

117 Connect with scents

Spa in the sky

Breathe in, breathe out.

Take a look at how a sense of holistic wellness onboard can transform flying into an opportunity for rejuvenation


It's a dog's life

As plans are unveiled for a premium jet service devoted to dogs, we ask should airlines be pampering their passengers' pets?

onboardhospitality. 101 / XXXXX onboardhospitality.com

Counting sheep

Sleep is top priority when flying, but how can airlines promote rest inflight whilst battling environmental challenges? It's time to dream....

Sleep – we loathe it as children and crave it as adults. Whatever our relationship with it, sleep is as essential to our bodies as eating, drinking and breathing. It helps to reduce stress, improves mood and even lowers the risk of serious health problems. And nowhere is it desired more than on a long-haul flight.

Whether passengers are using their tray table as a makeshift pillow in Economy or floating on a lie-flat bed in Business or First, catching some z’s on a flight is a priority for most.

Drift off

Across all cabins, airlines are ditching the scratchy blankets and harsh lighting and are investing in ways to help promote sleep quality and ensure passengers have a truly dreamy flight.

refreshed and rejuvenated, leading to a positive perception of the airline and a higher probability of fostering passenger loyalty.”

Passengers want to be able to personalise their space and create their own optimal atmosphere for sleeping

“Enhancing passenger sleep quality is paramount for airlines,” said Ajay Agarwal, Director at NCM Ltd, who creates blankets and sleepsuits made of premium natural fibres.

Singapore Airlines is one such airline that is prioritising passenger sleep quality by partnering with the National University of Singapore to launch the SIA-NUS Digital Aviation Corporate Lab. Sleep and chronobiology scientists are conducting studies in this lab to determine how the airline can improve quality of rest, help combat the effects of jet lag and ensure a gentle awakening. These insights will be used to design a sleeping environment that can be adapted to optimise passengers’ sleep, including enhancing seat comfort, scheduling and limiting sleep disrupting cabin services and optimising the cabin environment.

Bedding down

“Improved sleep quality can significantly enhance the overall passenger experience, leading to higher levels of satisfaction and loyalty. Moreover, well-rested passengers are likely to reach their destination feeling

In the short term, a soft pillow or a cosy duvet to snuggle into can encourage passengers to snooze. John Horsfall, who offers a range of inflight comfort items such as mattress pads, pillows, duvets, blankets and sleepwear, recognises that body and room temperature plays a pivotal role in

102 AIDING SLEEP onboardhospitality.com

helping passengers fall asleep – which is why it says offering layers is key.

“Passengers want to be able to personalise their space and create their own optimal atmosphere for sleeping,” says Alexandra Allen, Design Manager at John Horsfall. “Offering layers of product with varying textures and warmth enhances the passenger’s sensory experience, creating a harmonious, restful space and improving overall wellbeing.”

The company says that its premium pillow and duvet cover, made with 400 thread count cotton, “improves quality of sleep and can lessen the feelings of jet-lag after a long-haul flight.”

Meanwhile, a breakthrough in bedding

enhancements comes in the form of Japan Airlines' ’airweave DUAL MODE’ mattress. With one side firm and the other soft, passengers can chose their preference.

Air India has also added a dual-purpose mattress seat topper to its bedding range for Business passengers. Designed by Global-C, the topper is crafted with premium multi-layer materials, including a memory foam layer, and folds into a pillow when not in use.

In a similar vein, Mills Textiles has created a dual-side duvet that offers both a warming side and a cooling side for optimum sleep comfort, which is “especially useful during a flight when your temperature tends to fluctuate,” describes Graham Hudson, Managing Director of Mills Textiles. The company also offers a memory foam pillow which has a cooling gel layer which “pulls heat away from the body”.

Combining comfort with sustainable practice, WESSCO International’s

SLEEP / onboardhospitality.com
Above: Sleep comes easy in Finnair's Business class with Marimekko textiles by John Horsfall


Leihōkū Business class bedding ensemble for Hawaiian Airlines includes a mattress pad, quilt, and soft sleeping pillow all of which are crafted from recycled plastics.

Bringing in the big brands is Etihad Airways’ Business class premium textiles range, in partnership with Armani/Casa and exclusively designed with Giorgio Armani and Buzz. The range includes a 20% larger pillow with matching pillowcase and duvet set. Guests on longer flights will also benefit from the airline’s new memory foam mattress.

Luxury blankets and cushions aren’t just reserved for Business passengers. WESSCO International has joined forces with Icelandair to create an exclusive Economy bedding collection pillow and blanket which predominantly uses sustainable materials.

Creature comforts

Physically changing into sleepwear is a great way to get the body and mind ready for sleep. Emirates is on the ball when it comes to luxury sleepwear with self-moisturising ‘Hydra Active’ pyjamas in First made from a special material that releases natural movement-activated moisturisers, infused with vitamin E and olive oil to help skin stay moisturised.

First class, creating sleep-enhancing products rooted in scientific research,” said Cindy Lam, Director at Clip. “Using 100% BCI cotton is a first in our industry.”

Lighter loads

Whilst airlines battle it out to offer passengers the most luxurious amenities and plush bedding, they must also strike a delicate balance between comfort and practicality, especially considering weight constraints onboard.

“Selecting materials that are lightweight yet durable is key,” says Agarwal at NCM Ltd. “By carefully selecting materials with high warmthto-weight ratios and optimising product construction, we can create luxurious inflight products that meet airlines' weight restrictions, space optimisation, durability, and cost considerations, without compromising on quality or comfort.”

Hudson at Mills Textiles echoes this sentiment, saying: “Tackling weight constraints is something we are always actively engaged in when it comes to working with airlines. Some of our technical materials are very light weight, such as our lyocell fabric – a biodegradable, breathable, plant-derived fibre that in production requires less water and energy than conventional cotton.”

Another first comes from Clip Onboard which has closely collaborated with Zimmerli and SWISS to offer the choice of a short sleeve T-shirt or a long sleeve shirt pyjama, paired with long trousers for passengers in First. Each set comes in four sizes.

Ultimately, whether or not a passenger manages to get some shut-eye can make or break a long-haul flight experience.


“We established pioneering benchmarks for

As Nicky Upton, Sales Manager at Linstol concludes: “Airlines invest millions in seats, lighting and IFE to have the edge over competitors, but they cannot change those things frequently, so adding value and comfort through the amenities and bedding is an incredibly important touch point to the passenger beyond the nuts and bolts!” Words by Jessica Alexander •

Clockwise from above: John Horsfall puts emphasis on personalisation for passenger comfort; mattress pads like the one pictured from NCM add instant comfort; Loungewear sets like United's Polaris pyjamas from Linstol help passengers get in a sleep-ready mindset

Making memories Amenity kits

The humble amenity kit can be a powerful vessel for brand storytelling, says Paula Wines, Linstol’s Creative Director, Asia

I recently stayed at a hotel that left a beautiful paper bookmark on the pillow at the turn-down service. The bookmark was printed with a story set in the location, and each night there was a new “chapter” on the bookmark. This simple, but elegant touch delivered a memorable experience, that stood out and defined a great stay.

In the same way, an amenity kit on an airline has the potential to become the difference between an ordinary flight experience and a memorable one. I remember little about the hotel room I stayed in, but the bookmark is firmly etched in my mind.

In a sea of airline cabins, especially in the lower classes, specially curated touches to the amenity kit can be the difference in feeling like a cherished airline passenger or a participant on a bus ride.

Storytelling potential

An amenity kit could turn a flight into a cherished episode – a canvas on which an airline can script its identity and values

Amenity kits are traditionally known for being a practical way to offer personal comfort amenities to passengers. It’s often a small pouch, filled with the essentials. But in a space where many aspects of travel are standardised, these pouches carry an immense potential for surprise and delight. Consider the bookmark, a seemingly mundane item, elevated to storytelling enchantment. If an amenity kit can encase not just items, but a slice of a flagship carrier’s nation's culture, craftsmanship, and care, it leaves a memorable experience.


for innovation”

As a critical touchpoint in the traveller’s experience, amenity kits are ripe for innovation. Like my bookmark keepsake, an amenity kit

could turn a flight into a cherished episode – a canvas on which an airline can script its identity and values.

Financially, it makes sense. Passengers may forget the specifics of a seat's width or the exact taste of an inflight meal, but the kit that accompanies them beyond the bounds of their journey serves as a lasting impression. Airlines thus stand at a crossroads: compete in a commoditised world where amenity kits are afterthoughts, or champion a revitalised narrative of travel, where even the smallest detail is woven with meaning, connecting passengers to the airline’s ethos and the spirit of their journey.

A simple bookmark transformed a hotel stay into an unforgettable tale; similarly, an airline’s amenity kit has the power to redefine the travellers’ journey. linstol.com •

106 / OPINION onboardhospitality.com

Spa in the sky

Breathe in, breathe out. Sheena Adesilu looks at how a sense of holistic wellness onboard can transform flying into an opportunity for rejuvenation

Can we challenge the notion of flying being a demanding thing? Can we make you feel recharged once you’ve landed?”

This was a question asked by Matteo Atti, Chief Marketing Officer at VistaJet, at the private jet company’s recent launch event for its 360 wellness programme. Passenger wellness trends seem to be moving towards a comprehensive, luxury travel experience. So how can airlines help their passengers to achieve optimal physical, mental and emotional health during their journey?

360-degree approach

“We wanted to investigate longevity and wellness at every stage of the journey,” Atti added.

As such, VistaJet’s new wellness programme features a pre-flight consultation with a nutritionist on diet and flying routines, jet-lag-reducing technologies inflight, and access to wellbeing apps.

Post-flight, passengers can access wellness guides on jet lag management and effective hydrating

The physical stress of flying on the body is addressed in VistaJet’s proposition.

“When you’re flying for 17 hours on our flight, your body is under stress. To combat that, our cabin pressure is reduced to 4,500 feet, even if we’re at 45,000,” said Atti.

“We’ve also got EPA filters and seats with a multitude of positions. There are even hypoallergenic materials, from the sheets down

108 / XXXXX onboardhospitality.com

to the cashmere silk masks.” Non-alcoholic drinks and noise-cancelling headphones complete the VistaJet experience, which overall aims to keep cortisol levels low and relaxation levels high. That sounds pretty zen to us!

Wellness in focus

Wellness trends inflight reflect a shift of focus to wellness in our day-to-day lives on the ground – perhaps one of the more positive and longlasting societal side effects of Covid-19

Simon Yaffe, Director of Client Services at Buzz, notes: “People are increasingly prioritising their health and wellness due to collective awareness around a healthy work/life balance, preventative health strategies and the need to improve health from a holistic aspect.”

“Maintaining and even enhancing personal wellbeing during travel is a key focus for passengers and this can extend to areas such as fitness and movement, nutrition, appearance, sleep and mindfulness.”

Melanie Berry, Director of Customer Experience at Iberia, echoes this, explaining that travellers are looking for product sustainability, ingredient transparency, customisation, technology-focused

skincare and inclusivity. “Technology is playing a significant role in the beauty industry,” she explains. “Innovations include augmented reality try-on tools, virtual skincare consultations and personalised beauty recommendations powered by artificial intelligence (AI).

“Products free from harmful chemicals such as parabens, sulphates and phthalates are on the agenda, too.”

Skin deep

Feeling rejuvenated at every stage of the journey is no small feat, and therefore the role of inflight cosmetics should not be underestimated.

When choosing inflight skincare products, it is important to consider the effects of air travel, such as dehydration and exhaustion.

Also, aside from their benefits for skin health, they also offer a chance for airlines to reinforce their brand identity.

“Airlines can assist their guests by delivering a premium inflight experience that promotes relaxation and wellness inflight,” says Buzz’s Simon Yaffe.

“Luxury wellness can extend to the provision of amenities that facilitate sleep, relaxation and a feeling of indulgence. Comfortable, cosy, sleep-inducing loungewear, highquality eye masks, indulgent spalike skincare rituals and luxurious bedding help to create an atmosphere conducive to sleep and wellness.”

For example, Air New Zealand has partnered with Māori skincare brand Aotea for its Business Premier and Premium Economy amenity kits.

INFLIGHT WELLBEING / 109 onboardhospitality.com
Clockwise from above: Etihad's First class amenities feature a partnership with ESPA; Iberia's premium lounges start the spa experience on the ground; VistaJet passengers can pamper with Guerlain.

“We’re proud to showcase skincare inspired by traditional Māori herbal practices,” says Kylie McGillivray-Brown, General Manager for Customer Experience at Air New Zealand.

“These amenity kits feature Kawakawa Balm and The Harakeke Seed Oil & Mānuka Water Hand & Body Cream.

“The first night away from home is the hardest for getting a good night's sleep, so everything we offer onboard is to help create a sense of calm –from the lighting and breathable fabrics used on our seats to our soft products.”

Cosmetic crush

Brand partnerships across onboard cosmetics can also provide a sense of comfort and familiarity. For example, VistaJet has partnered with luxury beauty brand Guerlain for its ‘inflight skincare ritual’.

The products comprise Guerlain’s Rich Cleansing Foam; Essence-in-Lotion; MicroLift Concentrate; The Cream; Molecular Concentration Eye Cream and Super Lips Lip Hero. These anti-aging products, which are 95-100% natural, are all made from orchid extract.

Similarly, Etihad Airways has recently partnered with aromatherapy and wellness brand ESPA. Passengers in First Class and The Residence receive a Hydrating Spa Face Mist, Nourishing Lip Treatment, Restful Pulse Point Oil, Rest and Recovery Night Balm and Rejuvenating Hand and Body Lotion.

Facilitated in partnership with Buzz, the luxury skincare products have been designed for both amenity kits and premium cabin washrooms. Finnair has created a ‘holistic scent journey’

from ground to air with Finnish cosmetics brand SEES. This includes washroom products in the lounges at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport and a unique lip balm in long-haul Business containing 'forest microbes’. All SEES products are made from organic and biodegradable materials and manufactured in Finland.

Wellbeing for the planet

Eco-conscious passengers may be wondering if sustainability and luxury can work together, too. For Iberia, sustainable amenity kits for Business Class and Premium Economy are paramount.

“Our sustainable amenity kits from Teresa Helbig include new natural and vegan cosmetic products, made entirely in Spain by Uvas Frescas. They use surplus grapes from wines selected by the Wine Club (Araex) and those served onboard Iberia flights,” explains Berry.


And any leftover products by passengers are taken for and are reused.

million 550ml plastic bottles, saving 1.2 million left behind ed ling

“The packaging, which was produced by Kaelis, is made from sugar cane with an ‘I’m Green’ certification. They were crafted by recycling 7.5 million 550ml plastic bottles, saving 1.2 million litres of water and reducing energy emissions by 70%.”

Melanie adds: “The future of inflight luxury wellness is going to be characterised by innovation, personalisation, sustainability and a more premium experience. We have seen an increased interest in the Premium Economy cabin in leisure travel, whereas before it was limited to corporate travellers.” •

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AIt's a dog's life

As plans are unveiled for a premium jet service devoted to dogs, we ask how much should airlines be pampering to their passengers' pets?

dog isn’t every man’s best friend, especially if it’s snorting, farting and dribbling in the seat next to him on a 13-hour flight.

In a happy ending, the complaining passengers donated their refund to a guide dog charity.

Pet policies

An assistance dog, guilty of all of the above on a Paris to Singapore flight last year, led to a complaint that drew much media attention (and some brilliant headlines) and eventually forced Singapore Airlines to refund the victims the entire cost of their tickets.

In its defence, Singapore Airlines said it “endeavours to notify customers who may be seated next to an assistance dog prior to boarding the flight” and is committed to working with its airport teams to ensure that this “lapse does not occur in future”.

While this tale will no doubt prompt a few chuckles, the incident highlights the need for airlines to tread carefully with their inflight pet policies. A surprisingly high number of airlines allow emotional support or assistance animals to fly in the cabin with their owners, with the notable exception of commercial flights to and from the UK. A fair few also allow passengers to travel in the cabin with their regular pets, particularly on domestic routes.

However, there are strict restrictions, chiefly a maximum weight for the animal – usually

onboardhospitality.com 114 / PETS INFLIGHT

8kg (think miniature poodle, jack russell or chihuahua), although some airlines are more generous.

On US domestic flights with Southwest Airlines, for example, there is no weight limit, although four-legged companions need to comfortably fit in a holdall no larger than 47 x 34 x 24cm. Owners can even buy a Southwest branded carrier from the airline for $58.

control. It’s difficult for owners to know how well their pup will cope with the flying experience.

Cattle class

The number of pets per flight is limited –usually between two and six – and rules also stipulate that animals must remain in their ‘containers’ at all times, at the airport and throughout the flight, which is no mean feat for your average doggy.

In general, airlines don’t allow passengers with pets to sit in bulkhead rows, emergency exit rows or in premium cabins with lie-flat seats. While these seats are a luxury for humans, they weren’t designed with animals in mind due to the lack of secure, under-seat storage. JetBlue, for example, tells owners: “We know how much you love to spoil your pet, but they’re not allowed in Mint.” But it then boasts about its generous legroom in economy, with more room to slide in pet containers.

Airlines reserve the right to deny boarding to pets behaving badly. According to Southwest, examples of disruptive behaviour include urinating or defecating in the cabin or gate area (fair enough), growling, biting or lunging (again, understandable) but also scratching, excessive whining or barking, which are more difficult to

“We know that people are happy when their furbabies are happy, so our mission to bring humanity back to air travel extends to fourlegged humans, too. You don’t have to ruff it,” it says.

White paw service

‘Ruffing it’ is definitely not an option for canine passengers on a new airline, BARK Air, which is due to launch towards the end of May and is promising to put the happiness of dogs first and humans second. It’s the dream of Matt Meeker, the CEO and co-founder of Bark, the company behind BarkBox, a monthly subscription service providing dog products, services and experiences. A tonguein-cheek promotional video shows dogs being served chewed-up trainers in silver serving domes and dribbling over inflight movies of squirrels. he experience BARK Air is actually offering, however, is almost as unbelievable: calming pheromones, music and colours, warm lavender-scented refreshment towels, noise-cancelling earmuffs, calming jackets, a beverage of the dog’s choice during take-off and descent “to ensure they don’t suffer ear discomfort”, and a variety of BARK-branded treats, snacks and surprises. ogs of all sizes and breeds are welcome. “In fact, oversized dogs, dogs who hate crates, snub nose dogs, and all the other dogs out

onboardhospitality.com PETS INFLIGHT / 115

there who have never had an opportunity to fly, you are our VIPs (Very Important Pups),” says the website.

Once-a-week flights will operate from New York’s Westchester County Airport to Los Angeles (Van Nuys Airport) in each direction, as well as twice monthly from New York to London Stansted, on jets owned and operated by charter company Talon Air. The aircraft normally seats 14, excluding the flight crew, but BARK Air will limit capacity to 10 people to ensure adequate space for dogs, who can sit anywhere on the plane – laps, seats, beds, or wherever they’re comfortable.

Animal rights

But while some airlines seem keen to improve the pet inflight experience, experts at Fetchapet, which specialises in transporting animals, believes our cherished companions are usually better off in the hold where the environment is “strictly controlled, pressurised, air-conditioned, quiet and the lights are dimmed”.

It’s difficult for owners to know how well their pup will cope

New York-LA flights are currently on sale for $6,000 per dog (their humans fly for free) and from NYC to London for $8,000, but BARK Air intends to bring the price down if demand is high enough.

Light bites

The news of BARK Air’s launch was met with a degree of scepticism and some observers cast doubt on whether it will succeed, arguing that it’s purely a publicity stunt to sell more BARK products.

“In our opinion, it is much safer and more spacious for pets to travel in the cargo hold, in a rigid and safely strapped down travel kennel, that’s the size of a first-class sleeper seat made to measure for the individual pet,” it says. Owners should also be aware that if their pets get poorly inflight, they can’t rely on vets being on board, or assistance from crew.

“If pets become ill during the flight, oxygen or other first aid procedures will not be administered,” warns Southwest. “In the event of an emergency, an oxygen mask may not be available for a cat or dog.”

Spanish airline Vueling encountered a similar response last year when it became the first airline, at least in Europe, to introduce doggy treats to its inflight snack offering. The pocketsize lamb and beef bites are 100% grain-free, high in protein and gently baked. They were developed in collaboration with Newrest Travel Retail and Belgian pet food company Edgar and Cooper, known for its sustainable natural ingredients. Sebastian Junca, Retail Director Spain for Newrest, insisted it was not a PR stunt and said the treats are proving “quite popular” and are selling “better than initially expected”. But he admitted they were selling more as treats for pets left at home than for animals onboard. He said other airline customers have shown interest in the initiative but added: “This type of product works better for airlines with a young and cool image.”

While pets might be welcomed in the cabin, they’re not guaranteed the same level of attention in an emergency and, although not stipulated,

ut light

How to...

...connect with scents

As airlines seek to enhance the customer experience and carefully curate their brand, the role of signature scents and aromas onboard is moving up the agenda


Science has proven that the strongest emotional memories are created when an experience is connected to a scent. Somehow aromas are fast tracked into areas of the brain linked to emotional memories so when we smell that scent again, the memories return along with the feelings it engendered. Certain scents are also recognised for triggering specific emotional reactions, influencing mood and impacting wellbeing, something airlines are focused on as a way to personalise the customer experience and support a 'feel good' factor onboard.


Marketeers increasingly recognise the value of associating a beautiful scent with their brand, and partnerships such as Qatar Airways' connection with iconic French perfumer Diptyque instantly infuses their passengers' journey with the smell of luxury as it is featured across multiple touchpoints from lounges and on the ground bathrooms to inflight toilets and amenity kits.


But it is in the area of onboard wellness that the mood enhancing power of natural fragrances can really work its magic. Plane Talking Products has partnered with Scentered for natural aromatherapy balms suitable for use onboard. Alison Wells, Managing Director, says: "Fragrances give a customer the choice to gain


Chamomile is good for relaxation, is a sleep aid and soothes digestive discomfort.

Lavender supports stress reduction and can help induce a calm atmosphere.

Peppermint will enhance mental clairty and relieve headaches or respiratiory congestion.

Sage, rosemary and thyme support mental focus and tranquility.

focus, reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep, regain emotional balance and encourage positivity – all of which help create a customised experience onboard with wellness at its heart. This type of partnership can then create an exceptional connection between the airline and the passenger."


FORMIA has supported similar collaborations, connecting American Airlines with Brooklyn-based bespoke perfumers, D.S & Durga, whose scents and stories were chosen to encourage wellbeing of the body, mind and spirit. The supplier has also partnered with Flyfit to offer a wellness collection which includes a Relax & Calm aroma roll-on and Pillow Mist with lavender oil, both designed to support rest. Clearly curated aromas can create the sweet smell of success when it comes to passenger satisfaction. •

XXXXX / 117 onboardhospitality.com HOW TO... onboardhospitality.com

28 - 30 MAY 2024




Crew training

Take a look at retail training available to cabin crew and how leveraging it can have benefits beyond making sales…


How to design a menu card

Retail inMotion Graphic Designer David Lodemann and Design Team Lead Ciara Redmond discuss points to consider for successful designs


Retail trends update

Want to know the latest trends and updates in onboard retail? We've got you covered...


124 Are you looking to get your product onboard?

Hear top tips on how to do so from Heerum Fleary

onboardhospitality. onboardhospitality.com

Hey big spender

Stuart Forster takes a look at onboard retail to understand evolving trends relating to sales and opportunities to boost ancillary revenue

In terms of generating ancillary revenue for airlines, income from onboard retail is currently second only to takings generated from payments for transporting luggage. So how can airlines further leverage their retail offering to greater advantage?

How products are offered and sold aboard airlines has altered relatively little over the past half-century. Trolleys are now lighter than were a few years ago but how crew members interact with passengers during flights remains fundamentally unchanged.

Short-haul flights present only limited opportunities for crew members to dedicate their attention to making sales. And the space available for products to sell has not expanded.

In recent years, passengers have become accustomed to airlines’ move away from offering complimentary food and drinks on domestic routes and the adoption of buy on board (BoB) models. Hybrid models, offering items for sale to complement those that are distributed also exist.

Rising catering and associated delivery costs mean that the provision of inflight meals can represent a significant proportion of the ticket price on some routes.

Giving passengers the option to buy quality products can be a shrewd business move, saving money while generating income and, when done well, enhancing satisfaction levels that may lead to a competitive advantage.

"Thanks to new technology, we are on the verge of change,” predicts Aleksejs Romanovs,

The assortment of products available aboard airlines must be data-driven

Key Account Manager at LSG Sky Chefs

Some things look unlikely to change over the next few years. “Space will remain an issue. Time in the aircraft will be the most decisive thing and passengers will expect to buy onboard on domestic airlines,” says Romanovs, a co-organiser of the AmberSky onboard retail and ancillary revenue conference, whose 2025 edition is planned for February 18-20 in Riga, Latvia.

Data crunch

“The assortment of products available aboard airlines must be data-driven. Innovative assortments may sound like a great idea but the spend per head drops if an airline does not understand what passengers really want,” continues Romanovs, who suggests keeping bestsellers and changing 20-30% of products when menus and catalogues are refreshed.

With limited space available on trolleys, he warns that products that do not sell well represent “double damage” as they are failing to bring in revenue while taking room that could be occupied by products that people would buy.

“Presently, this is an area for improvement. Analysis needs to be undertaken relating to what is sold and what can be sold on routes,” adds Romanovs and continues: “Onboard retail is the same as any other business: you understand your customer, you understand your position and then you take it from there. Every airline has its niche passenger.”

At the same time, the tastes, expectations and spending behaviours of passengers inevitably vary by route. This makes it tricky to optimise product selections across entire fleets with a

uniform loading model. Additionally, seasonal changes to flight schedules mean that the window of opportunity to get selections right is relatively narrow.

Yet not everything available should be a best seller as it's good to have variety to encourage people to browse menus and catalogues too.

Utilising digital offerings

For many air passengers in Europe, picking up a product catalogue – typically available in the seatback pocket – and browsing is part of the ritual of flying. However, it's not as common on domestic flights in North America and in parts of the world where non-food items rarely feature.

Passengers on European flights with no intention of buying will browse the pages and, in some cases, be swayed to make a spontaneous purchase. Increasingly, those catalogues can be accessed by scanning a QR code or via the inflight entertainment system.

Personalisation is becoming an increasingly prevalent aspect of the inflight experience. Loyalty programmes can be leveraged for information about passenger preferences and their purchase history. Technological advances mean that it will become possible to push tailored offers to passengers browsing digital catalogues, with the aim of boosting both ancillary revenue and customer satisfaction.

Despite the rising utilisation of technology, the human element in closing sales remains as important as ever. That includes having an engaged and engaging crew whose members are trained in sales techniques and motivated to close transactions – including through commissions which boost remuneration.

The onboard connectivity that provides passengers with internet access also makes

onboardhospitality.com ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/ PHOTO-DAVE

real-time payments possible, cutting airlines’ exposure to fraudulent transactions that can run into a double-digit percentage of takings with offline payments.

Water supply

Sales history shows that giving away water during flights hits the overall spend per passenger (SPP) by up to 40%.

Takings from tea and coffee sales drop by up to 60% when water is provided free of charge. Distributing any snack to passengers detrimentally impacts opportunities for sales. So is it time for airlines to stop doing that?

represent a growing proportion of sales made during flights. They are possible because of people who know the business and companies who know manufacturers and processes, enabling costs to be minimised.

Fragrances are the leading category of product in onboard sales in Europe. Perfumes from renowned brands tend to sell well, often because travellers feel compelled to take home gifts. Collectable items, such as aircraft models, can prove successful onboard too.

Travel-exclusive products represent a growing proportion of sales

As access to the internet becomes the norm during flights, passenger behaviour is likely to change. Even with engaging product catalogues, time in the air could be used to seek out deals for similar products online or simply to browse social media, answer emails or undertake other work while travelling.

Exclusive items

This makes it all the more important for airlines to offer products that are available exclusively while travelling. Travel-exclusive products

It is a cost-driven environment and brands need specialist teams to interact with the inflight industry. This explains why some have decided that being onboard isn’t in their best interests.

“Consumer behaviour changes in the air. We know that the pressurised, dry environment affects people’s perceptions of flavours. This is a factor as to why tomato juice is way more popular during flights than on the ground. Among snack bars, Twix tends to outsell Snickers. And people make impulsive purchases, meaning items such as socks with individual toes can sell well,” concludes Romanovs.

It would seem that airlines need to get a firm foothold (excuse the pun!) in this sector •

onboardhospitality.com 122 / RETAIL TRENDS

How to...

...design a menu card

Retail inMotion Graphic Designer David Lodemann and Design Team Lead Ciara Redmond discuss points to consider for successful designs...


Deciding whether to use the airline's brand or create a sub-brand plays a central role in the menu design process. The decision is central to whether fresh branding must be created or existing brand guidelines are referenced and pushed by the design team as its members create a menu that is appealing to passengers. Either way, the airline is involved throughout the process.


Whether printed or accessible via an app, the menu card must attract passengers' attention. An appealing cover, perhaps with photos of just one or two products, can prompt passengers to browse. Good aesthetics are key in designing a successful menu that reflects the airline's voice. Products that look most appealing in photographs should be depicted with images.


Keep the choice of products focused and relevant. Retail experts can provide advice in making the selection. Less is undoubtedly more in making sales via onboard menus: include too many items and sales will drop. White space on a page gives passengers room to think.


Should a menu be in print or digital? That choice impacts the user experience: not everyone wants to view a digital menu. The menus


passengers browse on their personal electronic devices (PEDs) can have unlimited space and digital menus allow user behaviour details to be recorded. Yet people browse paper menus to fill time and that results in spontaneous purchases – clicking a QR code may be a reason not to make a purchase. Good quality paper helps printed menus feel attractive and provides durability.


Airline and

menus feature among the menu collection held in the Rare Book Room of Los Angeles Public Library.

The best-selling product in a menu is usually the one featured on the cover. Additionally, products featured alongside their photographs tend to record better sales than those that do not have images. Product shoots for menus can be tailored to reflect an airline's branding and its country's visual landscape: some airlines opt for clean, sanitised backgrounds while others opt for shoots depicting products in a context. •

onboardhospitality.com HOW TO... / 123
The world's oldest known menu, of a royal feast, was carved into a stone tablet more than 2,900 years ago. Travel in China during the Song dynasty, more than 800 years ago, is reputed to prompted the development of restaurant menus. steamship FACT FILE

Getting onboard Inflight retail


products in the travel industry involves navigating unique challenges.

Heerum Fleary, Founder of TickEat, outlines key considerations...

For food and drink brands, breaking into the travel industry can be a golden ticket to elevating visibility and tapping a global market. Yet taking off successfully means navigating several unique challenges.

Firstly, it’s important to understand international and sector-specific regulations relating to food safety, packaging and sustainability. They can vary across regions and modes of transport. For airlines, weight and space constraints also dictate packaging and portion sizes. Compliance prevents costly setbacks and demonstrates a brand’s commitment to quality and safety.

Differentiation is key

In a competitive industry with many brands vying for space, it’s important to focus on product differentiation. A product must offer something unique – be it through innovative flavours, health benefits or ecofriendly packaging. It can be worth tailoring offerings to the travel experience – products promoting hydration and combating jet lag can have particular appeal to air travellers.

Travel operators seek reliable partners capable of delivering consistent quality

Sustainability and technology

Sustainability is a significant issue in the travel industry. Brands offering sustainable solutions, from sourcing ingredients responsibly to using eco-friendly packaging, are more likely to be selected.

Cultivating strategic relationships with suppliers, distributors and the decisionmakers of airlines, train companies, cruise lines and airport lounges is crucial. That involves attending industry trade shows and networking events focused on travel catering. They present invaluable opportunities for face-to-face meetings with key industry players and insights into the latest trends and areas of demand.

Leveraging technology can enhance product appeal and operational efficiency. From QR codes on packaging linking to immersive brand stories to using AI for flavour innovations, it can help differentiate a brand and streamline processes.

Travel operators seek reliable partners capable of delivering consistent quality and volume. Brands must be capable of scaling production without compromising on quality and have the ability to fulfil large orders and handle logistical challenges across various geographies.

Being responsive, flexible and ready to solve problems help deliver excellent service. And building a strong relationship with travel industry clients is as much about the service brands provide as the quality of products. Breaking into the travel industry requires innovation, patience and strategic thinking. •

124 / OPINION onboardhospitality.com

Seeking a space-saving cabin waste solution? Onboard Logistics has you covered. Visit the team at the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) at stand 1F104

2003 was the first year that Onboard Logistics exhibited the Flex-e-Bag. It was an exciting year; apart from exhibiting, we also won a Mercury award in the equipment section for our product.

Listening to the customer

WTCE is a great place to learn from the delegates and hear of the inflight problems their airline is having. This is how we developed the other products in our range.

Flex-e-Clip was born out of delegates asking how Flex-e-Bag could be used in the galley area or on the outside of a trolley. With single-aisle aircraft now flying long-haul, replacing twin-aisle on certain routes, galley space is raising its head as an issue.

Using Flex-e-Drawer in conjunction with Flex-e-Bag for second service, space can be made available.

Flex-e-Drawers can sit into each other when empty. By placing them in the bottom of a trolley or in a standard atlas container, you now have space to put a Flex-e-Bag in the trolley.

Instead of using a waste cart to collect the rubbish, you use the same trolley

for collection. This process can allow for less waste carts, thus making space for a service trolley.

This year we will be launching Flexe-Frame3R's. The three R's stand for reducing weight, reuse (sustainability) and recycle (material).

Flex-e-Frame3R's operates inflight the same way as the Flex-e-Bag. In the flight kitchen the plastic bag is removed from the frame and replaced with a fresh bag, thus reducing the disposable element of the frame.

Meet us at WTCE

All our products will be on display at WTCE, stand 1F104 beside Diethelm Keller.

still around, and he brings

In 2003 a delegate came to our stand. They asked a lot of questions and tested the Flex-e-Bag. When asked for his views, he said if we are in business in six year’s time I might give you an order.

Celebrating our 21st year we hope that delegate is still around, and he brings his order book with him this year. onboardlogistics.com

Sales tactics

Stuart Forster looks at retail training available to cabin crew and how leveraging it can have benefits beyond making sales…

Offering the right products at prices which are acceptable to buyers is only part of being effective in making sales. Cabin crew members need a suite of skills to maximise retail opportunities. In addition to good product knowledge, the employee must have a suitable attitude and demeanour, and adopt an approach that suits their prospective buyer.

Members of cabin crews are, of course, drawn from diverse backgrounds and recruited via numerous touchpoints. Inevitably, not all have sales experience. Anthony Carson, Crew Engagement Manager – Global at Retail inMotion is well aware of that, noting that a standardised approach to training ensures that all crew members are trained to one level.

“We personalise our retail training to suit

the airline’s crew and profile, concentrating on how crew connect with their customers, before training the skills in order to build a personalised retail experience,” he explains.

“We also incorporate our technology solution into our training days to ensure crew are fully conversant with its operation and functions, and how these can benefit the crew in areas such as product knowledge and flight management.”

Enhancing the passenger experience

Effective selling is not only about raising ancillary revenue. Research shows that when crew members have a retail engagement with a passenger, that person tends to rate their overall customer experience higher.

Participation in retail training brings noticeable wins for both crew members and their airline


“We tend to see that crew have a better understanding of their role in building an inflight retail experience for their customer. They are a lot more commercially focused and feel more confident with the idea of recommending the right products for their customers,” says Carson.

He also observes enthusiasm among cabin crew relating to the benefits of inflight retail to both themselves and their airline – whether through earning commission, winning incentives or career development: “Crew feel more confident in the products they are offering and can utilise their skills and knowledge to offer that personalised service to their customers that improves overall customer satisfaction.”

Keeping skills up-to-date

Initially, Carson typically leads a one-day retail training course which can incorporate the use of technology. He says that crew members always benefit from refresher courses.

roadshows and in classrooms, as well as online and via digital forums.

“Ideally, we believe refresher courses should be completed every two to three years or whenever major changes to the retail service procedures are implemented. Refresher courses also provide a great opportunity to integrate enhancements to retail training that benefit not only the crew but also the airline. Linking inflight retail into the airline’s performance management or setting up personal development plans for those crew who wish to develop their skills can be very beneficial,” observes Carson. He notes that senior crew members, including those in roles as retail ambassadors or retail liaison representatives, can benefit from training formatted to cascade information and to develop and enhance specific skill sets.

Effective selling is not only about raising ancillary revenue

Recurrent training can focus on commercial awareness, leadership skills and development to build a memorable retail experience.

Training can be offered at retail events, during

Beyond formal training, retail-focused newsletters and emails with opportunities for crew members to win competitions or share product information can prove effective. Additionally, crew members benefit from participation in retail forums featuring fellow crew member product reviews and tips on enhancing passengers’ retail experiences.

“We have developed our training even further by introducing avatars that, when incorporated into our training activities, introduce a modern twist to all things retail,” concludes Carson.

An airline’s perspective

Therese Trondsen, Inflight Retail Coordinator at Norwegian, is confident of the benefits of retail training. “For Norwegian, it is important to invest in crew training for onboard sales because our crew are the faces of the brand and are the primary point of contact for our customers," she says. "It is an untapped potential and with sales training it can help crew develop strong customer service skills, fostering positive interactions and building rapport with passengers. It is a win-win for everyone that leads to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, as well as increased revenue for the company and higher commissions for crew.”

The benefits of crew retail training appear multifaceted and sell themselves. •

Look out for your copy of the 2024 Awards Entries Guide distributed with this issue and available at WTCE awards.onboardhospitality.com



130 Why I love my job

Sergio Gomez, Research & Technology Manager, Driessen Catering Equipment, explains his passion for inflight trolleys…

Looking for a new role? Discover current vacancies on our job board on page 131

People on the move

Keep up-to-date with the latest industry appointments and moves


Expert comment

Mike Pooley, Partner at The Hayward Partnership, shares his passion for nurturing new talent

onboardhospitality. onboardhospitality.com

People on the Move

Keep up to date with key industry movers and shakers. See onboardhospitality.com for more...

With over 20 years experience across inflight product, service, operations and interiors, Louise will be responsible for developing the inflight offer for Riyadh Air.

Bringing extensive experience, Bridget will drive Intervine’s cruise line sales efforts with her dedication to delivering exceptional quality and service.

Following 10 years’ industry experience at Camira Fabrics, Sarah brings in-depth knowledge across textiles manufacturing, logistics and customer service to the team.

Naoko Nishijima has been appointed as the first female President and Chief Executive Officer of ANA Catering Service. Naoko first joined ANA in 1983 as a flight attendant.

John brings a wealth of experience in the travel and onboard retail business globally. He previously served as Chief Retail Officer of gategroup and has held various leadership positions.

Mark brings his 25 years of customer-centric wine industry experience and product innovation to lead commercial strategy at Intervine and to support its continued growth.

ALSO ON THE MOVE... >> LSG Group has announced plans to devolve more responsibility to its regional and functional entities. The team will be led by new CEO Greg Anderson, who joins the company from Securitas AB North America Division, where he served as President and Chief Executive Officer. Anderson will be supported by new CFO Nathan Oujezdsky, who joins the company from Flix North America, where he also served as CFO. New COO Jeff Riedel has been President of United Ground Express since 2022.

130 / PEOPLE ON THE MOVE onboardhospitality.com
JOINS: Riyadh Air AS: Inflight Experience Senior Manager FROM: Air New Zealand LOUISE LEAUPEPE JOINS: Intervine AS: Cruise Line Sales Manager BRIDGET SCHMIDT JOINS: John Horsfall AS: Account Executive SARAH STEDMAN ANA Catering Service AS: President and CEO NAOKO NISHIJIMA JOINS: Retail inMotion AS: CEO FROM: Beyond JOHN MORIARTY JOINS: Intervine AS: Chief Commercial Officer MARK COLEMAN

Job board

Fancy a change? Perhaps one of these vacancies is for you...

As Technical Manager at En Route, the successful candidate will be supporting the technical team in approval and management of its supplier base.

Location: Windsor, United Kingdom

End Date: March 10, 2024

Contact: charlotte.walters@en-route.com


Nurturing new talent

In this role you'll be utilising your expertise to drive actionable insights, optimise crew performance and enhance the onboard experience.

Location: Crawley, United Kingdom

End Date: May 12, 2024

Apply: careersuk.virgin-atlantic.com

Working as a cook at dnata Catering, your main responsibility is to prepare exquisite, gourmet meals specifically designed for airline customers.

Location: New York, US

End Date: Apply ASAP

More info: careers-dnata.icims.com


Responsible for acquiring exclusive arrangements with European fashion, luxury skincare, and designer brands for inflight.

Location: London/ Paris/ Milan (remote)

End Date: Apply ASAP

More info: buzzproducts.com

One of the great privileges of being a THP partner is access to so many networking experiences across our dynamic sector and, for me, the opportunities to engage with new and high potential talent preparing to enter the workspace. The invitations to attend university campuses are those which I will always prioritise and, already this year, these visits have provided the source for stimulating mentoring and teaching sessions. My role is to listen and inform, to empower students to own their opportunities, and embrace this time of great change. I can also provide a reality check as to what career development will require of them and that – even if their work experience is far from extensive – other attributes such as their genuine ambition, values and energy can already provide key differentiation.

Mike Pooley The Hayward Partnership

PEOPLE ON THE MOVE / 131 onboardhospitality.com

Why I love my job…

They say ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’. Sergio Gomez, Research & Technology Manager, Driessen Catering Equipment, explains his passion for inflight trolleys…

My team works on the next generation of trolley equipment. We listen to users and try to predict what airlines of the future will need, and then we work to ensure we can meet that need. It’s a great area of innovation.

My wife used to joke, how can there be so many engineers working for years on ‘making a better box on wheels’ and yet we are still finding ways to change our products?

The reason is that this is not just a box on wheels, it is an operational service tool, and it must be optimised to meet changing needs.

hand how the trolleys are used. Now I bring all that experience of trolleys in action back to the team developing the trolleys of the future. As designers we have to think like a user, and you can only do that once you are a real inflight catering expert.

Innovation in focus

This is the future, and I am excited to be a part of it

More than meets the eye

People think it is basic equipment, but I love the fact that it is actually very complex. The trolley is the spider at the heart of the operational web. It has to be a fridge, an oven, shelving, storage and tray all in one. It has to stand constant use and abuse and be customised in unique ways to suit each specific customer.

I started as a product engineer and specialised in connectivity and catering processes, gradually focusing on innovation. I spent many years flying around the world seeing first-

Our current strategic focus at Driessen is on reliability, sustainability and connectivity. We are constantly assessing how we can be the perfect, most sustainable partner to airlines. That means looking at more sustainable materials, sourcing practices, production, maintenance, shipping, operations, lifespan, and end of life, and carefully analysing where the greatest opportunities for improvements exist.

Trolleys are not just another product, but a product with a true service element. I never get bored looking at our products. Incredibly there are 1.2 million trolleys in the aviation network – one positive change across all those can make an enormous impact.

Connection is key

I believe a connected trolley will be a great innovation. Everything onboard comes on and leaves via a trolley, and the number of processes

it is involved in is insane. Every trolley must meet security, cleaning, food safety, quality and transport requirements, on time and within a huge logistics set up. Imagine a trolley that at every step gave insights on its journey. When all those trolleys feedback data via seamless connectivity – as we are now trialing onboard – our clients will gather amazing information on how to improve service, cut waste, increase efficiency, and enhance operations. This will bring real transformation. This is the future, and I am excited to be a part of it.

driessen-catering.com •

132 / WHY I LOVE MY JOB onboardhospitality.com
02/05/2024 09:06 Untitled-2 1 30/04/2024 10:18
Untitled-2 1




153 Flying high with AI Artificial Intelligence looks set for widespread use in many walks of life – the onboard industry included. What’s on the horizon?

Reach for the stars

Airlines are increasingly looking to stand out from competitors on the strength of their IFE content. See what's new...

Sounds good Tune in to headphone trends and hear from suppliers as we find out what's driving their development AND MORE...

136 AIX news and preview

141 In conversation with Vimal Kumar Rai

146 Opinion: Doug Eichler

onboardhospitality. onboardhospitality.com

Join the debate

Experts from the sector will drive the debate relating to trends and innovative areas of development during the Passenger Experience Conference (PEC) and at CabinSpace Live, and will be at the AIX

May 27

PEC in Hamburg Messe's Chicago Suite (08:30-18:00) Welcome party (18:00-21:30)

May 28

CabinSpace Live's seven Tuesday sessions are:

• Connectivity: Perfect Partnerships

• Achieving the Ultimate Ambiance and Wellbeing for Passengers

• Connectivity: The Big Switch

• New Era: The Fascinating Future of the Aircraft Cabin

• Inflight Entertainment: A Captive Audience

• Seating: Finding the Perfect Balance

• Cabin Refurbishment: Investing to Impress

May 29

CabinSpace Live's three Thursday sessions include:

• An MRO Perspective on Elevating Aircraft Cabin Interiors

• The Use and Impact of Predictive Maintenance on Aircraft Cabin Refurbishment

May 30

Final day of AIX 2024

AIX returns with new suppliers

Cabin interiors specialists plus inflight entertainment and connectivity experts get set for Hamburg: May 28-30

Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) is positioned as the world's leading marketplace for airlines and suppliers to meet and do business. This year's AIX takes place during the final week of May in Hamburg, Germany.

More than 1,000 products will be exhibited on the AIX showfloors, which occupy Hamburg Messe's B-Halls. Several major airlines will be in attendance, including Air France, Cathay Pacific Airlines and United Airlines. So too will over 450 exhibitors – including more than 20 new ones, such as DAHER, Optimum Aero and Peter-Lacke – and there will be dedicated IFEC zone.

AIX's official event app is designed to help buyers meet exhibitors during the show and build business connections. Available to download for both Android and Apple devices from

the AIX website AIX Connect features a show-planning tools and makes it easy to see appointments, meetings and seminars. It has an interactive floorplan with an improved map, route planning functionality and an enhanced navigation menu. Most of the app's functionality will work offline.

Representatives of airlines, business jet operators and leasing companies can attend as an AIX VIP. That means entry via a dedicated VIP entrance, a digital gift bag and VIP lounge access.

Polly Magraw, Event Director at AIX, said: ““AIX remains the only show where the biggest airlines and members of the supply chain come together to discuss cabin interiors, and with 2024 expected to be a year of growth for businesses, we are delighted to play a supporting role in that.”

aircraftinteriorsexpo.com •

onboardhospitality.com 136 / AIX SHOW PREVIEW

Stand 2D90


Streaming platform, Tuned Global, has partnered with Spafax to power cleared music playlists for inflight entertainment (IFE) systems. Tuned Global makes the music selection and distribution process seamless for IFE systems by providing music-as-a-service and a content management tool for curators to generate playlists from a fully cleared music catalogue.

Spafax benefits from Tuned Global’s integration with Crunch Digital, a music rights management and reporting company, which facilitates the verification of titles available for use under existing music licenses held by Spafax and the airlines.

Maura Chacko, Senior Vice President of Content Experience at Spafax, said: “Tuned Global’s great music backend solution simplifies the flow between the record label and the airline. We’ve used other content management systems in the past and Tuned Global’s is by far the best according to our music curators and clients. It’s very userfriendly and provides curators with some great music suggestions.” spafax.media; tunedglobal.com

Stand 4A60, 4A10


Panasonic Avionics is rolling out digital solutions for Japan Airlines, equipping its new A350-1000 aircraft with inflight entertainment and connectivity systems.

Passengers in all cabins will be able to connect their personal headphones to the IFE system using Panasonic Avionics’ Bluetooth audio technology. The system can also be integrated with the JAL mobile app, allowing travellers to create a favourites list pre-flight.

The airline is also trialling Panasonic's global live TV service. Passengers can access programmes such as NHK World Premium and BBC World News. New features have also been added to its inflight map, including a kids' map. panasonic.aero


TGV INOUI and Moment have renewed their partnership and agreed to expand digital services onboard the French company’s rail services. The partnership began in 2021. Moment provides a tailored press catalogue, integrated into the existing TGV INOUI portal and has already supported the expansion of the entertainment offering, incorporating video, audio and games. Next will come more content and the redesign of the platform to improve accessibility and passenger engagement. moment.tech; sncf-voyageurs.com

Stand 3C40B

onboardhospitality.com AIX NEWS / 137


Inflight gaming platform, Gladi8tor, has announced a partnership with Outsmarted, the sociable, interactive quiz game designed for all ages. Outsmarted’s integration into the Gladi8tor platform represents a significant evolution in inflight entertainment. Airlines can customise the quiz based on their destination(s) and tailor it to reflect their brand. This ability to customise represents a new opportunity for brand engagement and passenger interaction expected to result in stronger passenger satisfaction and loyalty. The two companies say the move reflect their commitment to elevating the passenger experience through innovation. gladi8tor.com; outsmarted.co.uk


VietJetAir has launched a three-month trial of AirFi’s Low Earth Orbit (LEO) inflight connectivity system. LEO will allow passengers to access internet messaging platforms such as WhatsApp and iMessage, book hotels, destination experiences and ground transport. Installation, which usually takes months, was carried out overnight by AirFi’s technology partner SKYTRAC. The unique patented window-mounted antenna solution allows fast modification and is a significant differentiator for AirFi. airfi.aero


Viasat is rolling out connectivity to a total of 70 aircraft for the South Korean flag carrier, Korean Air. The latest aircraft to be connected are 40 Boeing 787s and this follows the commitment last year to equip 30 Airbus A321Neos. This was the airline's first inflight connectivity partnership and acknowledged the growing demand from passengers for high-speed inflight Wi-Fi to browse the internet, enjoy social media, stream video and audio or shop online. All fitted aircraft are scheduled to enter service by the end of 2027. viasat.com


Burrana has appointed Andy Fellows as its Vice President, Customer Programs and Services. He will oversee customer fulfilment across the organisation leading Burrana’s Airline Services, Contract Management, Order Administration and Program Management teams. Fellows has previously worked for Panasonic and Virgin Atlantic Airlines. Graham Macdonald, CEO of Burrana, said: “This new role is pivotal to our organisation’s growth and success, and I am confident that Andy’s wealth of experience and expertise will significantly contribute to our unwavering commitment to deliver high customer satisfaction.” burrana.aero

onboardhospitality.com 138 / AIX NEWS
Stand 2C35 Stand 2D51 Stand 2A08 Stand 4D42


Omnevo has collaborated with Icelandair to deploy a cutting-edge Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) system. The new onboard EPOS devices have features to improve operational efficiency, customer service and sustainability.

The devices communicate via Wi-Fi not Bluetooth, resulting in a more stable connection. Crew benefit from real-time information about inventory levels onboard for better management and decision-making. Back-end efficiency is improved by replacing pen-and-paper operations with digital tablets. Caterers can now make loading changes up to three hours before departure. omnevo.net



Gogo Business Aviation has achieved a development milestone with its Gogo Galileo global broadband service completing end-to-end connectivity using the HDX antenna on the Eutelsat OneWeb Low Earth Orbit satellite network.

The HDX antenna is designed to be small enough to fit on virtually any size of business aircraft and the prototype was delivered by Hughes Network Systems in February. Gogo immediately began software integration and validation testing at its Broomfield headquarters. Sergio Aguirre, President and COO for Gogo, said: “Gogo Galileo HDX stands to revolutionise business aviation inflight connectivity by delivering a solution fit for aircraft of all sizes, especially small jets, which have limited options today, and no broadband options outside North America. We remain on track to deliver this game-changing technology later this year.” gogoair.com

Touch Inflight Solutions (Touch) has a new partnership with Aeromexico forged to deliver best-in-class inflight entertainment (IFE) experiences for the Mexican flag carrier. Viewer content analytics will be a driving force for personalising content to ensure that Aeromexico can provide tailored programming that evolves alongside changing passenger preferences. touch.aero


Anuvu has announced the names of the first two satellites in the Anuvu Constellation as NuView-A and NuView-B. The names reflect Anuvu’s ‘new view’ of the mobility connectivity market. The satellites are part of a new class of High Throughput Satellite (HTS) that will form a key element in the geostationary orbit (GEO) layer of the Anuvu network. The new satellites are due to launch mid-2024. anuvu.com

onboardhospitality.com AIX NEWS / 139
Stand 3A10 Stand
4C10 Stand 1E80


Will AI transform the customer experience? Vimal Kumar Rai, Managing Partner, Commercial Excellence Partners, explores...

Iam a travel industry ‘practitioner’ and Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Commercial Excellence Partners (CEP).

I passionately combine behavioural science insights with effective commercial strategies for high-touch service and technology-led businesses and governments. I am currently partnered with a large airline group on their transformation to become one of the top five airlines globally.

AI abound

AI has been around for decades but has recently come into consumer focus through Large Language Models (LLMs) and 'generative AI'. Let's consider all computer input and output as basically a 'language'. Let's also put AI to its best use i.e. collating, organising and analysing large amounts of data and information. If you now connect the dots, then AI becomes that business

analyst-cum-super assistant that you've never had but always wished you did. When it comes to customer experience, the holy grail is personalisation, which I define as being respectful, relevant and above all, valueadding to an individual customer's time. Traditionally, magic has always happened when interactions – whether human-to-human or machine-withhuman – converge powerfully with customer needs. Not to be too esoteric about it, though – cars transported more people over long distances more efficiently; computers enabled larger scales of consumption and creation of value than pens on paper with human minds. This is what's happening with AI. Finding patterns among niche customer segments or through very large data sets, predicting wants and behaviours ahead of time, delivering the precise information that's needed precisely when it's needed, or augmenting

human creativity and compassion to make us feel super-human... these are all areas that elicit and involve powerful emotions among our customers, alongside transformational business outcomes.

Ultimately, whether it is machine learning, predictive analytics or LLMs, AI is potentially the most powerful and transformational technology after the internet. And we all know what the internet did to customers' experiences! Some are criticising the hype around genAI as overblown and a technology in search of real at-scale problems to solve at enterprise level. There are also inherent risks and downsides to the use of AI, which are well documented. My take is simply to not underestimate our human spirit and ingenuity, which has now been augmented with the power, speed and convenience of AI.

Join Vimal at the Taste of Travel Theatre on Wednesday May 29. •

IN CONVERSATION / 141 onboardhospitality.com

IReach for the stars

Airlines are increasingly looking to stand out from competitors on the strength of their IFE content.

customer will choose a flight based on its entertainment choice, factors such as relevance, variety and personalisation of the menu go a long way to set the tone to build a fruitful, and hopefully long, relationship.

f you are of a certain age, you were probably told by your parents that you’d ‘end up with square eyes’. Too much Saturday morning television and not enough fresh air was going to cause all sort of problems for us kids in the future. Ha…if only they’d known! Fast forward a few decades and the average consumer spends almost seven hours each day interacting with a screen. While that might be an astonishing statistic, it’s one that airlines are increasingly looking to exploit.

Fast forward

Inflight entertainment has become a new battleground for carriers looking to build brand loyalty and stand out – a vital survival tactic after years of commoditised ticket pricing.

Attention has turned to the breadth of content offered in a market estimated to cost the sector around $500million each year. And while no

“The Covid-19 lockdowns really accelerated changes in consumption habits,” explains Tanguy Morel, CEO at Moment. “People on flights want to watch like they are at home. Nowadays everyone is used to the instant, on-demand nature of streaming services and so they expect airlines to have a wide range of entertainment that appeals to them and their lifestyle.”


centre stage, accounting for approximately 80% the

Unsurprisingly, movies and TV shows still take centre stage, accounting for approximately 80% of ‘interaction time’ on major carriers, alongside a mix of music, podcasts, games and maps. Nabbing blockbusters is still important but much more relevant is building a collection with the broadest appeal.

provision to third-party agencies, Delta

IFE selection. Constant evolution is the name of

have seen an increased demand for content

While many airlines outsource this content provision to third-party agencies, Delta employees an in-house team of five to oversee its IFE selection. Constant evolution is the name of the game here – changing tastes in recent years have seen an increased demand for content encompassing wellness and self-help, business and leadership, and short-form entertainment that mirrors the most popular videos on social


media such as TikTok and YouTube.

“The inflight entertainment curation process is a mix of art and science,” explains Ekrem Dimbiloglu, the airline’s Managing Director, In Flight Entertainment and Connectivity Design. “Our team looks at usage data and our own research on box office performance, industry trends and hidden gems to inform the content we bring onboard. We have partnerships with most of the major movie studies to add fresh content monthly.”


random episodes of a popular TV show, options now often include multiple themed channels featuring ‘bingeable’ full series across comedy, drama, documentaries and sport.

Pause and rewind

So, what’s the secret to a fully rounded IFE programme? The answer starts with technology. Huge advancements in server storage capacity mean wide-bodied long-haul services carry a huge library stretching into thousands of hours of viewing and listening. While Covid-19 might have sparked a brief shift towards promoting the use of personal electronic devices (PEDs), the trend now is definitely drifting back towards more expensive seatback screens, which are seen as ‘tying’ passengers to the overall airline experience rather than have them distracted by something else on their own screens. Aside from the latest releases, established hits from all genres are a must-have, since passengers love to rewatch classics. And whereas in the past carriers might just have one or two

entertainment has become a new battleground

“We are always careful to integrate timeless content into airline content strategies. Classics from the golden era of Hollywood do very well in terms of view rates, and older TV comedies like Seinfeld, Frasier and Friends are seeing a big resurgence,” says Spafax Senior Vice President, Content Experience Maura Chacko. Elsewhere, many carriers are more inclined to set themselves apart by emphasising their distinct national characteristics. Air Corsica features films shot on the island, alongside a host of documentaries aimed at inspiring visiting holidaymakers. Meanwhile, Air France underlines its sense of sophistication each year by showing a selection of Cannes Film Festival nominees. British Airways makes a feature of its full Harry Potter collection. With podcasts booming on the ground, carriers are also looking to build their audio content too. Exclusivity is key here – Delta has a deal with Spotify to offer 100 of its top podcasts, while Spafax heralds its tie-up with Steven Bartlett’s hit, Diary of a CEO. United, meanwhile, has a deal with US studio A24, which offers movie-themed podcasts from stars including Emma Stone.

Above: Delta employees an in-house team of five to oversee its IFE selection.

Continue watching

As this fight to appeal intensifies, it’s no surprise that airlines are ramping up efforts to ‘personalise’ IFE, and it is here where the biggest opportunities present themselves.

“We are racing to a place where your airline can make individual entertainment recommendations, such as the Delta Sync offer,” says Valour Consultancy's Senior Analyst David Whelan. “The dream scenario is offering that ‘Netflix’ experience, since it builds a special relationship with customers. Carriers could recommend content based on what you’ve liked before, you could pick up watching something you got halfway through on a previous flight or be recommended your favourite drinks or snacks based on purchase history. I’d expect this to be pretty common within five years.”

promoting this as an option is counter-intuitive for carriers keen to lock-in loyalty.

Instead, the obvious solution is to increase access to ‘live’ TV coverage instead, particularly where this coincides with major events, such as sport. Air New Zealand, for example, cashed in on its nation’s love of rugby last summer by showing All Blacks games during the Rugby World Cup live on its wide-bodied B777 and B787 fleet, following on from Qatar Airways successful FIFA World Cup livestreams in the winter 2022. BA ventured a step further for the recent coronation of King Charles, making the live TV coverage a special occasion for passengers with a side order of specially commissioned Joe & Seph’s Eton Mess bespoke popcorn and other royal-themed treats.

The use of cloud-based storage is also proving a boon. Many short- and medium-haul airlines still update IFE systems manually, meaning aircraft must spend time on the ground while content is changed. However, the process can be sped up considerably using fast 5G connections, with cloud-based content ‘zapped’ to plane servers between flights. This allows for even weekly IFE updates, and ensures frequent flyers are well catered for.

Looking ahead, Sport 24 has recently announced that it has acquired the rights to broadcast the UEFA EURO 2024 and Paris 2024 Olympic Games live onboard this summer.

Unsurprisingly, there’s a cost to all of this technological investment, and that’s something airlines will be keen to recover. As well as using interactive IFE to extend food and beverage consumption, the future certainly remembers fliers are customers.

Beyond this, the next battleground is sure to be Wi-Fi connectivity. Ever-faster satellite links already make it technically possible for customers to access their own streaming accounts on PEDs, but

“Raising revenue from advertising before movies and monetising games from banner ads and sponsored content is higher on the agenda for us now,” says Moment’s Tanguy Morel.

“IFE innovation is fantastic, but nothing comes for free.” Words by Neil Baldwin •

Above (from left): The PED IFE trend continues to soar; An Astrova by Panasonic Avionics screen offers a quality watching experience. flyers are well catered for.

A time of change Inflight Entertainment

Inflight entertainment (IFE) is key to cultivating customer loyalty,


IFE is undergoing a remarkable transformation, driven by technological advancements and evolving passenger preferences. Airlines are striving to enhance the passenger experience while innovative solutions and connectivity enhancements reshape IFE.

DIRECTV is leading the charge to deliver IPTV through inflight Wi-Fi connectivity in partnership with providers like Viasat and Panasonic. Circumventing the need for bulky satellite hardware, airlines are streamlining operations and reducing aircraft weight, enhancing fuel efficiency and operational flexibility. Mitigating technical complexities this fosters collaborative partnerships between airlines and service providers.

Enhancing satisfaction

Airlines can unlock new avenues to enhance IFE and passenger satisfaction and loyalty. Demand for live TV content, particularly sports and news programming, remains a driving force behind IFE’s evolution

Passengers value staying connected with realtime events and live TV's immediacy fosters a sense of communal experience onboard.

Increasingly, airlines want to invest in IFE systems capable of delivering content to their global passengers. This is driven primarily by ever-increasing passenger demand for fast and dependable connectivity with personalised screens tailored to meet individual preferences. As airlines adopt new technologies and content delivery methods, they face challenges in communicating the availability of IFE to passengers. Many passengers remain unaware of the IFE options, emphasising the need for effective passenger-focused communication and promotional strategies onboard.

From sponsored content to targeted advertising, IFE presents airlines with new avenues for monetisation and customer engagement

Retail opportunities

Collaborations between airlines and corporate sponsors can optimise customer engagement and help enhance awareness of available IFE options, which is crucial for maximising return on investment and enhancing the overall passenger experience. IFE brings opportunities for onboard retail. As airlines leverage live TV and other entertainment offerings to differentiate services, secondary revenue streams arise. From sponsored content to targeted advertising, IFE presents new avenues for monetisation and customer engagement. The trajectory of IFE is poised for further innovation and it offers the transformative potential to cultivate lasting customer satisfaction and loyalty. •

146 / OPINION onboardhospitality.com
outsmarted.com/onboard Exclusively available on the Gladia8tor in-flight system, let Outsmarted Air thrill & entertain your passengers. In flight leaderboard Players of all ages (8+) Multi-language Multiple revenue streams $$$ Untitled-5 1 23/04/2024 10:47 Now available on board of Gladi8tor, visit stand 2D51 for information


Discover the innovative realm of inflight gaming with Gladi8tor at AIX. Meet the team at stand 2D51

Elevate your airline's passenger experience to new heights with Gladi8tor, the inflight entertainment gaming platform designed specifically for the aviation industry.

Join us at AIX and visit Gladi8tor at stand 2D51, where we will be showcasing innovative and new gaming solutions tailored to enhance your airline's brand and passenger engagement – while also creating revenue. We look forward to focusing on three things at AIX and answering all of your questions...

1. An exclusive branded gaming experience

Dive into our unique branded gaming concept to enhance your airline's presence. Imagine passengers immersing themselves in a game that echoes your airline's identity. It is available in various gameplay styles which help create memorable passenger experiences.

2. Engaging generations with Outsmarted

Experience the digital transformation of Outsmarted, the fastest-growing board game on Amazon, now tailored by Gladi8tor for inflight entertainment. This innovative game bridges generations, offering age and region-specific questions. It creates a dynamic and inclusive gaming environment for all passengers. The potential for airline-themed questions is there if you want it.

3. Delving into Pearls of Atlantis: The Cove

In collaboration with Legacy Games, we are introducing the NEW bubble shooter game Pearls of Atlantis: The Cove, a hit from the Microsoft game store featuring 1,000 intriguing puzzles. This addition showcases Gladi8tor's commitment to providing passengers with extraordinary gaming experiences previously inaccessible at 30,000 feet.


Transform your inflight entertainment

Through partnerships with esteemed tech integrators including AirFi, Inflight Dublin, Lufthansa Systems, AERQ and PXCom, Gladi8tor is already enhancing the travel experience onboard more than 30 airlines. Our platform supports access via both BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and integrated seatback systems, offering versatile gaming experiences catering to every passenger's preference.

Visit Gladi8tor at AIX

Be inspired and learn from industry leaders about the revenue-generating potential of gaming aboard aircraft. We help to captivate gaming enthusiasts among your passengers, offering them an immersive and entertaining journey that meets and exceeds their expectations. Transform your inflight entertainment into a dynamic, profitgenerating asset with Gladi8tor. Meet us at AIX at stand 2D51 or reach out via info@gladi8tor.com. •

Transform your inflight entertainment into a dynamic, profitgenerating asset


Flying high with AI

Artificial Intelligence looks set for widespread use in many walks of life – the onboard industry included. What’s on the horizon?

In 2023 the dictionary publisher Collins named AI, the abbreviation of ‘artificial intelligence’, as its word of the year. Still widely misunderstood, the term instils people with emotions ranging from wonder to distrust. Meanwhile, AI is becoming increasingly integrated into the onboard experience.

In Onboard Hospitality’s final edition of last year, Markus Gilges wrote about how AI was being leveraged in predictive cabin maintenance to identify faults and prevent delays and Aircraft on Ground situations. Sensors transmit realtime data which is analysed utilising AI. This allows everything from engine parts through lighting to galley equipment to be monitored so that timely repairs can be scheduled.

Consumption analytics

Likewise, LSG Sky Chefs’ consumption

analytics tool, AICA, uses artificial intelligence to analyse photos of returned airline meal trays. “We take our AI model and tailor it to the airline's specifications, enabling precise identification of each meal and its consumption rate,” explains Robin Sippel, Head of Digital Agenda at LSG Group. “We provide support to our customers in interpreting the data, helping them identify successful services or products and areas for improvement or replacement.”

“AICA enables airlines to discern which meals passengers prefer, allowing for adjustments in loading to ensure passengers receive desired meals, thus enhancing overall satisfaction,” continues Sippel.

Loading only food and drink that passengers enjoy consuming on a particular route helps reduce waste and carrying unnecessary weight


contributing to carbon emissions. A notable example was a heated snack served on an airline’s overnight flight. Low consumption over a two-week period resulted in the airline reassessing its snack concept.

The objective is to maximise cost-efficiency, as Sippel points out: “AICA's objective is not necessarily to reduce food on planes but to optimise meal selection, enabling airlines to allocate budgets more efficiently and effectively.”

Sales secret

AI is also being used to facilitate virtual try-ons of items, including sunglasses and watches, enabling prospective buyers to better visualise how they look when worn. That’s proving particularly useful in shops at airport terminals and on cruise ships, where the product range is larger than aboard an aircraft.

The technology is also being utilised by SkInsight to analyse guests’ skin aboard the Carnival Jubilee cruise ship. It generates a report along with recommendations for skincare products, which guests are then invited to test in-store.

Lisa Kauffman, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at Starboard Cruise Services, explains: “It’s meant to help guests better understand their unique skin while recommending personalised product regimens available for purchase in Carnival Jubilee’s onboard retail shops, managed by Starboard’s sales associates.

“AI technology, utilised in an experience that feels natural and inviting to guests to participate, provides even more personalised and tailored retail offerings. It can increase basket size and overall guest spend,” she adds.

Onboard chatbots

Alexander Tange, Co-Founder and CEO at ICM Hub, which provides airlines with a way to interact with passengers through conversational AI, says that the upsurge in public awareness of AI is down to the launch of the ChatGPT chatbot in 2022. That, he says, prompted companies to look into how they can leverage AI.

ICM Hub’s In-flight Digital Assistant utilises AI and can work without connectivity. It enables passengers to order food and drinks, do duty-free shopping as well as find and launch movies or other inflight entertainment. “Our system streamlines the work of cabin crew using a virtual assistant. Instead of walking to a passenger’s seat three or four times to fulfil an order, they go there just once,” says Tange.

He also explains that it will be possible for passengers to ask for movies starring a particular actor, a certain type of music and for recommendations at their destination: “We’ve used APIs of GetYourGuide and Viator…activities and tours from those systems become ancillary opportunities for the airline because they can earn with their affiliate programmes.”

Vimal Kumar Rai, Managing Partner at Commercial Excellence Partners, will front the session  Will AI Transform the Customer Experience? at the Taste of Travel Theatre on May 29. “I see AI as a tool…there’s a lot of it that’s just mesmerising and mind-blowing in terms of its potential,” says Rai, who has compiled a list of applications holding promise for use within the inflight environment.

AI will undoubtedly see significant take-up in the onboard industry over the years ahead

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Sounds good

Stuart Forster tunes in to headphone trends and asks suppliers: What is driving their development?

Depending on their airline and class of travel, passengers can anticipate a variety of experiences relating to the earbuds or headphones made available during flights.

“Good headphones are always important for the passenger experience. Although we cannot control the amount of noise in the cabin, we can make technical improvements that will increase sound quality so the surrounding noise is minimised and focus will be on what the passenger is watching or listening to,” explains Thomas G. Mockler, the President and CEO of Inflight Direct.

Procurall’s President and Co-Founder, Jennifer Green, has noted an increase in premium headset collaborations and believes that’s because of the credibility a branded partnership provides First or Business class headsets. Her company recently customised headphones for JetBlue made from 100% Global Recycled Standard (GRS) post-consumer recycled material.

Andrew Grubb, CEO of Procurall’s brand partner thinksound, observes that the use of wireless headsets has increased and openbacked headphones are gaining popularity. There’s also been experimentation regarding the materials used for speaker drivers: these include beryllium, flax and Kevlar.

“The introduction of Digital Signal Processing (DSP) has allowed for many lower-grade

and lower-priced products to sound much better. While many audio purists criticise this trend, it has undoubtedly brought better sounding music to more people, and we believe that is fundamentally a good thing,” says Grubb.

Meanwhile, Neil Bowker, Sales Manager at Linstol, explains that strategic partners provide support in striving to meet the significant increase in demand for higher sound quality and more customisation options. Linstol collaborates with Flysonic, its dedicated production partner, to continually develop headsets and earbuds: the focus is sound quality, design capabilities and sustainable production along with related packaging innovations.

Additionally, Linstol has partnered with Meridian Audio, creators of proprietary and innovative audio technologies to analyse sound within aircraft cabins and optimise speakers to perform in that environment.

important characteristics of Linstol’s headset

“Sound performance, passenger comfort, affordability and designing specifically for the airline cabin environment have always been important characteristics of Linstol’s headset development process,” says Bowker. “The new Singapore Airlines premium business class headset remains true to Linstol’s design principles and is on-point with the trend of airlines’ desire to enhance all aspects of the service offering in their premium cabins.”

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