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ONBOARD LUXURY REPORT

Chopard amenity kits for Gulf Air

evidence of this already happening. “I don’t think that luxury service should necessarily be reserved for First and Business Class,” says James Calvetti, President of James Calvetti Meats. “We are seeing the expectations of the coach customer evolving.” James Calvetti Meats and SugarCreek have teamed to offer sous-vide Halal lamb and beef products currently undergoing evaluations in Dubai, which are looking promising. In addition, SugarCreek has recently launched its new slow cooked 24-hour sous-vide prime short rib, which it anticipates will be flying in the coming months. While luxury appears to be something that has more recently become important onboard an aircraft, it is important to note, that in the Golden Age of flying, luxury was a top priority for airlines. “Luxury onboard, particularly in First Class has always been a priority, if we look back to the first days of commercial airliners we can see passengers being treated to top-end champagnes and caviar, receiving a restaurant-style service in the air, something which still very much exists today,” says James Duff, Foodservice Account Manager for Lily O’Brien’s, the well-known Irish chocolatier. Lily O’Brien’s currently supplies a range of Halal-certified desserts to Etihad Airways, which were designed and developed alongside the Etihad culinary team to ensure the product would meet its customers’ expectations. The chocolatier is currently reinvigorating its existing product offering and has been working on some exciting developments for introduction in early 2016. “Our focus will be on choice and sustainability, allowing our customers to tailor their requirements to suit their individual needs,” says Duff. “From a dessert perspective this means working together to design and develop new recipes and product concepts that will enhance the airline’s overall offering, a collaborative process we first introduced last year when working to introduce the new Halal-certified Etihad desserts.” Duff says culinary luxury has become synonymous with simplicity, provenance

and exceptional ingredients — less processing and more taste. “Whether it’s comfort food with a high-end twist, perfect imperfection or mini morsels of indulgence, it’s about delivering an outstanding taste experience every time and creating theatre from the onboard experience.”

The amenity angle

Aside from inflight catering, another area of onboard service that has always been associated with luxury is the inflight amenity kit. Luxury travel amenities company FORMIA has long understood the importance of having luxury offerings onboard, especially from a regional perspective. “The luxury amenity offer definitely varies per region for various reasons,” says Roland Grohmann, Managing Director of FORMIA. “Luxury itself is interpreted and perceived in different ways across different cultures, and the luxury environments that travelers are exposed to when not flying

are also different. Hence the perception and expectations of a premium traveler in Asia, the Middle East and North America are consequently diverse.” Of all the regions, The Middle East is key for FORMIA’s development plans, which is why it is opening a regional company and operations in Dubai from 2016. FORMIA already supplies several airlines in the territory, such as Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, Egyptair, Oman Air and Gulf Air. Grohmann says the amenity kit is an important part of the overall perception of an airline and airlines have come a long way to realize that it is a key contributor to building the onboard experience. “It is natural therefore that airline amenities are evolving in conjunction with the whole cabin and offering, and have a heavy role in the overall upgrade of the travel experience.” Like many others in the industry, Grohmann feels there is still a long way to go before we experience a truly upgraded onboard experience. “There exists a world of opportunities to enrich the travel experience, and there is no doubt this will further develop in line with hospitality trends, passengers’ evolution and future traveling rituals.”

Grilled Beef Tenderloin from SugarCreek and James Calvetti Meats

Zesty Orange Chocolate from Lily O’Brien’s, featuring rich chocolate ganache infused with Brazilian orange oil and smothered in milk and white chocolate

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Pax International - SIAL Middle East Abu Dhabi 2015  

Pax International - SIAL Middle East Abu Dhabi 2015