MAY 2019 â€˘ WWW.PAX-INTL.COM
Special Amenities Issue
New s and analy sis for the passenger ser vices executive
Turning Frowns Upside-Down
How the right approach to amenities can keep passengers happy
For 40 years, WESSCO International has specialized in branded amenities, passenger comfort items, food & beverage service ware, and a wide range of customized items for airlines worldwide. As your trusted partner of choice, our mission remains to design and supply an exceptional experience for your travelers.
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EDITORIAL OFFICES Rick Lundstrom, Editor-in-Chief PAX International 723 Jefferson Street, NE Minneapolis, MN 55413, USA Tel: (1 612) 378-0862 Fax: (1 612) 378-0852 E-mail: email@example.com Rachel Debling, Editor Tel: (1 905) 821-3344 x21 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Ash Khan, Social Media Coordinator Tel: (1 905) 821-3344 x30 E-mail: email@example.com CONTRIBUTORS Heather Eason Mary Jane Pittilla Simon Ward
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Come on, get happy L
et’s get existential for a minute: what is happiness? When looked at objectively, this state of mind can have different definitions, depending on the context and catalyst for said emotion. Some days the status quo will be enough to put a smile on one’s face; think of the joy you get from your morning routine or a tried-and-true holiday card from a family member. Other days it takes something unforeseen to jolt that sense of contentment – a surprise bouquet of flowers or a call from a long-last friend might do the trick. In the air, passenger happiness can be found somewhere in the inbetween, or at least in a melding of the two. When it comes to quality and maintaining high standards, consistency is key. But for those personal touches – whether it’s an IFE system that takes into consideration a passenger’s previous viewing habits or the introduction of an unexplored brand in an amenity kit – airline guests should always expect the unexpected. That’s one of the talking points we examine in this special digital issue: how fresh offerings and new partnerships can help airlines stay at the front of mind of their passengers. We go head-to-head with several suppliers, including Kaelis, Albéa, RMT Global Partners and FORMIA, on what makes them stand out in the crowd, and chat with airlines like Icelandair and WestJet about their latest projects. Of course, sustainability is also a running theme throughout these pages – not surprising to those in-the-know. Up next we’ll be taking a look at the Asian market in our June 2019 special digital issue. In the meantime, dive in, read up and sound off – the team here at PAX can’t wait to hear your feedback.
of 10 times a year (January/February, March/April, May, June, July, September, October, December) by PAX International, 26 Pearl Street, Mississauga, Ontario L5M 1X2, Canada. International Distribution. Subscriptions: $200 for one year; $300 for two years; $400 for three years. Art and photographs will not be returned unless accompanied by return postage. The views expressed in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher or editor. All rights reserved. Nothing may be reprinted in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. © PAX International magazine
ISSN 1206-5714 Key title: Pax International
Rachel Debling Managing Editor PAX International
32 Features BRAND SPOTLIGHT
CLEAN AND GREEN Albéa Travel Designer teams up with travel-focused skincare company Cotarde for its latest eco-friendly amenity offering
HOW THE WEST WAS WON WestJet is living up to its “Love where you’re going” motto with an overhaul of services that will impress seasoned and new flyers alike CUSHY COMPANIONS Emirates provides traveling families with a variety of programs and services. Over the years, a wide range of plush toys, backpacks and entertainment of all types have been found in the airline’s cabins; here is just a sampling BANKING ON THE BRAND A collaboration between WESSCO International and an Icelandic skin care products company, plus a few wild creatures, has placed a unique new amenity kit aboard Icelandair
A WHOLE NEW WORLD Aleksander Ferents has spent the last 25 years growing his company, AK-Service. Now, with lucrative contracts signed and more on the horizon, Ferents is celebrating the fruits of his labor – but not resting on his laurels
FLYING HIGHER With a focus on new-to-the-skies brands and a passion for perfection, FORMIA is paving its way to future years of growth and prosperity NOT HOLDING BACK Kaelis hasn’t been shy about advertising its latest industry wins, and with good reason. PAX reached out to CEO Federico Heitz to find out more about the process behind the company’s winning formula. A ONE-STOP SHOP RMT Global Partners has built their reputation on being able to provide end-to-end cabin service equipment solutions. Now they’re challenging themselves to make even more eco-friendly, high-quality and cost-effective products
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COMFORT AND SLEEP
GREEN COMFORT With a broad line of hundreds of comfort items, SPIRIANT has scored big projects with international airlines and is now showing potential customers a selection of natural products woven in many forms CASPER’S CARE After one of the most sweeping rollouts of comfort items in recent years, American Airlines will fill more aircraft with high-quality bedding from an expert in sleep ARE YOU SITTING COMFORTABLY? Leading suppliers are injecting fashion, style and luxury into their inflight comfort items – but aren’t forgetting sustainability
SHAKING THINGS UP TravelPlus’ Simon Ward examines why more amenity options, not an increase in release frequency, are key to engaging with certain traveling segments – and why for others, kit updates will undoubtedly fall upon deaf ears
A NIGHT TO REMEMBER Airlines, suppliers and inflight fans alike came together on April 3 to celebrate PAX readers’ favorite kits INTERNATIONAL FLAVORS Our team was dazzled by the hustle and bustle of this year’s World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo. Here is just a sampling of the sights we took in last month
Departments EDITOR’S LETTER
ON THE COVER
Our guest writer Simon Ward of TravelPlus has a lot to say about amenity kit frequency.
MAY 2019 • WWW.PAX-INTL.COM
Special Amenities Issue
New s and analy sis for the passenger ser vices executive
Turning Frowns Upside-Down
How the right approach to amenities can keep passengers happy
HUMAN KIND LIPBALM + EYESHADE + SLIPPERS + DENTAL KIT + EARPLUGS + SOCKS + INFORMATION CARD
" The new Turkish Airlines amnity kits for Economy Cla have been inspired from motifs in claical Turkish decorative arts and are available in six ornamental paerns "
Brand new and now
A peek at the amenities and comfort items airlines are currently (or should be) carrying
Classic and classy
These amenity kits for Turkish Airlines’ Economy Class, designed by Bayart Innovations, have been inspired by motifs found in classical Turkish decorative arts. Available in six ornamental patterns, each bag contains an eye mask, slippers, a dental kit, Human + Kind lip balm, earplugs, socks and an information card containing insights and history into the bags’ designs.
Saluting cabin crew
Soft and secure
Global Inflight Product’s ultra-soft, non-woven, single-use pillowcases are perfect to cover your passengers’ pillows and provide a relaxing onboard experience. They are available in any size and can be customized with printed patterns or logos to complement your aircraft cabins.
New Business Class amenity kits designed by AK-Service have launched on Aeroflot’s short-haul flights. The kits were made to maintain the highest level of passenger comfort on board and feature images of the airline’s cabin crew. Inside the bags passengers will find the necessities for getting a good night’s sleep in flight, including an eye mask and cozy slippers, as well as L’Occitane cosmetics.
Buzz has brought Sunday Riley on board United’s Polaris and Premium cabins, the first partnership between the airline and the skincare company, both based in Chicago. The United Polaris Business Class kits contain a pomegranate seed oil and shea butter lip balm; a botanical face cream; a hand cream containing shea butter, cocoa butter and rose hip seed oil; and a facial cleansing cloth with peppermint extract.
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Clip has introduced a new collection of amenity pouches made of Bananatex®, the world’s first technical fabric made from 100% natural banana fibers. Bananatex® is a sleek, waterproof fabric that is both super strong and durable while remaining light and flexible. Currently available in black and white, its natural beeswax coating gives it a smooth, water-resistant finish and a supple hand feel. With their simple design, the pouches are just as functional as they are sustainable.
Galileo Watermark has announced the release of its latest tailor-made female and male overnight kits for Turkish Airlines, the first collaboration between the two companies. British brand Scaramouche + Fandango bath and cosmetics products, as well as additional personal and hygiene items, fill the printed microfiber bags. The female kit (seen here) contains essentials such as a t-shirt, underwear, eye mask, socks, personal care pack, comb, dental kit, shampoo, body lotion and deodorant. The male kit includes a shaving kit and aftershave lotion instead of the body lotion and care pack.
Making flying fun
Milk Jnr’s & Kidworks has launched a new onboard children’s kit for Oman Air that is being rolled out across the airline’s fleet of 51 aircraft. One version has been created for shorthaul flights with a pencil case, activity book, pencil crayons and a sharpener, and another for long-haul, which has all of the contents of the short-haul version but with stickers and a drawstring bag instead of a pencil case.
Snoozing in the sky
Comfort Pilot was created to solve the challenge of sleeping while seated for happier customers. Comfort Pilot gently holds the head while giving the freedom to move the head and body from side to side, and it fits around every seat or headrest so passengers avoid disturbing the screen behind their seat.
Inspiring young travelers
Kaelis has developed a new children’s kit for Turkish Airlines that encourages young passengers to let their imaginations fly. The exclusive amenity kit contains a cloud-shaped amenity bag with zipper, comfortable slippers in a smaller child’s size, headphones with expandable band, non-slip socks with cloud-motif rubber tread, an eye mask, and a toothbrush and White Glo kids’ toothpaste.
SWISS International Air Lines has teamed up with Swiss luxury fashion brand Bally to create a special amenity kit in collaboration with airline amenities supplier WESSCO International. The pouch’s elegant appearance derives from blending natural canvas with fine leather details, highlighted by the red-and-white stripe Bally is internationally recognized for. The kit comes with cosmetics by Swiss luxury skincare brand La Prairie and a box of natural herbal mints from iconic Swiss brand Ricola.
A new partnership
FORMIA, the international guest amenity and hospitality specialist, has introduced a collection of new, high-quality amenity kits for First Class and Business Class passengers traveling long-haul on board Qatar Airways. Presented in various colorways, the kits have been exclusively designed for Qatar Airways by FORMIA and luxury Italian luggage brand Bric’s. Containing color-coded Monte Vibiano cosmetics and comfort items, the soft and stylish bags are made of the finest materials and are suitable for a range of long-term post-flight uses. The First Class ladies’ kit, for example, comes with a removable strap allowing passengers to use it as a handbag.
VALLEBELLE SAINT JEAN DE LUZ
8 MAY 2019
The new amenity kits for Thomas Cook Condor Business Class designed by skysupply take an environmentally friendly and reusable approach. Flying from April 2019 on, the amenity kits come with a coffee mug or neck pillow on inbound and outbound flights. The cup is made from naturally sustainable bamboo fiber which comes with a PET recycled sleeve, designed in a coastal pattern. The inflatable neck pillow in a small, gray-colored jersey drawstring bag is made of a robust material for longevity. Both kits contain an eye mask, earplugs, socks, lip balm and a toothbrush set.
A fragrant path to comfort
Albéa Travel Designer, the French designer of travel products, offers a full range of relaxing items based on olfactive pleasure, including a travel-sized version of its Vallebelle pillow mist. Albéa Travel Designer draws on the packaging expertise of its parent group to develop full-service Vallebelle items for the travel industry. The Vallebelle pillow mist has already been carried in an amenity kit onboard Joon, the Air France subsidiary.
Clean and green Albéa Travel Designer teams up with travel-focused skincare company Cotarde for its latest eco-friendly amenity offering
ward-winning travel skincare brand Cotarde has formed a partnership with Albéa Travel Designer in a new eco-conscious approach to inflight amenity kits. With the aim of enhancing the onboard experience of passengers around the world, Albéa Travel Designer and Cotarde have together created performance-driven skincare that also checks the boxes for those with an environmentally conscious mindset. The new offering was first presented to the global travel industry this past April at the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo in Hamburg, Germany. “We are thrilled to announce this new partnership as part of our efforts to elevate the travel experience worldwide,” said Cotarde co-founder Danuta DudekPellon, PhD, MSc, in a statement about the partnership. We are the first skincare brand entirely dedicated to travelers, and as such we want to deliver the most eco-friendly, biodegradable products with a negative carbon footprint. “It’s particularly important today when we all feel the impact of long-haul travels on our planet. We want all travelers to know there is a better, healthier alternative to what they usually take with them and find on board. Teaming up with the largest beauty packaging maker
in the world with years of experience in amenity kits allows us to reach out to the global travel community which is a great move forward for our start-up.” Cotarde’s products are tested by pilots and frequent travelers, and now the company is introducing a new size range
10 MAY 2019
We want all travelers to know there is a better, healthier alternative to what they usually take with them and find on board.” – DANUTA DUDEK-PELLON, CO-FOUNDER OF COTARDE of its flagship travel skincare suitable for amenity-kits – DayDream Mousse Cream and Face with a View Concentrated Cream (both in 5 to 15ml biodegradable tubes) – as well as two new travel skincare formulas complementing the performance of the face creams: Pick Me Up Skin Balm and Hands-On Cream. The new exclusive skincare additions to its travel-friendly lineup are
placed in a soft cotton pouch designed and developed by the TravelPlus Supplier of the Year Albéa Travel Designer featuring Cotarde’s signature graphics. Albéa Travel Designer provides tailor-made travel kit design alongside complete project management, including logistics coordination, quality control and partnerships with prestigious and emerging brands – those that are independent and those steeped in history; small brands and large; and local and international. Based in Miami, Cotarde is the world’s first skincare brand entirely dedicated to travelers. Launched in 2017 by a pilot and chemist duo, Danuta Dudek, PhD, MSc, and Victor Pellon, MBA, MSc, Cotarde has racked up multiple awards since its inception: Best Beauty Startup 2018 by INNOCOS, Best Indie Beauty Brand 2018 by Cosmetics Design, and Highly Commended Best International Breakthrough Brand at the 2018 Pure Beauty Awards. By testing its products on real-life travelers and not animals, Cotarde ensures every product works instantly and in a multifunctional way under harsh, changing conditions. Cotarde’s unisex, lightweight and cabin-friendly products are designed to make travel experiences effortless.
Supplier of the Year
TravelPlus Gold Award First Class Unisex
TravelPlus Gold Award Best Brand Collaboration
From design to complete solution AlbĂŠa Travel Designer has been serving leading airlines since 2006 Designing, manufacturing and delivering amenity kits from Business to First class We make the perfect made-to-measure airline kits for your travelers Because we understand what makes you unique Because we deliver the most complex projects www.albea-group.com firstname.lastname@example.org
How the west was won by RACHEL DEBLING
The delicate, sophisticated design of WestJet’s Business cabin tableware, supplied by Clip
WestJet is living up to its “Love where you’re going” motto with an overhaul of services that will impress seasoned and new flyers alike
volution is not only a natural part of the inflight services industry – it is a necessary one. This belief is exemplified by WestJet’s latest onboard releases, which push the boundaries on what its customers expect – and what levels of comfort and substance can be reached in the skies. WestJet’s enthusiasm has been palpable of late. The airline recently increased its promotional efforts leading up to the April 28 inaugural transatlantic flight of its new 787-9 Dreamliner, a project that was years in the making and with many moving parts between the carrier and its international partners and suppliers. Louis Saint-Cyr, WestJet’s Vice-President Guest Experience, has been on the frontlines of this campaign, helping to get the news out that there’s a new WestJet in the sky – one that puts the relaxation and wellbeing of its passengers first. Shifting from a low-cost value
12 MAY 2019
model to a full-service airline has been keeping the WestJet team busy, Saint-Cyr explains, which can be seen in its fares and service levels offered. “The arrival of the 787 triggered this change,” he notes, as it is in this aircraft that the company is featuring its first Business cabin. The official release of the airline’s Business product, met with much fanfare at the launch of its Calgary to Gatwick flight in late April, marks the push to develop a better product for business travelers and win them over, Saint-Cyr says. The hype was being built earlier this year at the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo in Hamburg where WestJet announced several new collaborations with suppliers in conjunction with its new Business cabin offering, including FORMIA for the cabin’s amenity kits, as well as options for the airline’s Premium Economy cabin, and Clip for its onboard tableware. (See sidebar on page 13 for more info.)
As Saint-Cyr explains: “These partnerships were inspired by our onboard hackathon, which was held last summer in Calgary. Essentially, we brought in all of the top designers, presented them with our ‘Spirit of Canada’ vision, and told them to bring it to life. It was a direct, hands-on experience for them and our team.” Working closely with these international companies, WestJet ensured that each element of the new offerings promoted its brand and home country in a synergistic, natural and, most of all, patriotic way. Representation was sought from iconic Canadian brands and through homegrown imagery to speak to the “Distinctly Canadian” portion of the carrier’s motto. “Fundamentally, we’re celebrating Canada’s landscape, its natural beauty and its diversity,” Saint-Cyr noted. “The implied link here is celebrating our culture and honoring it.” Its Business cabin amenity kits feature Montrealbased Matt & Nat (short for “material and nature”) bags made from vegan leather, while Premium passengers will receive products from Rocky Mountain
Subtle Canadian touches can be found throughout the airline’s Business cabin
Soap Company, a Canmore, Alberta, institution with a focus on eco-friendly ingredients. Other areas in which the carrier peppers in Canadian flavors is in its wine program, which highlights the country’s vineyards from coast to coast. The Canuck inspiration was also a main driver in the airline’s Dreamliner launch last month when the carrier hosted dignitaries and government officials to send off the new aircraft, such as Hal Eagletail of the Tsuut’ina Nation; Keith Henry, President and CEO of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada; and David Goldstein, President and CEO of Destination Canada. Even WestJet Founder and Chairman Clive Beddoe, who is the namesake of the new 787-9, found time to participate in the aircraft’s first jaunt across the pond.
Overall, the airline’s focus is to provide a cutting-edge, comfortable experience that surpasses expectations, whether a guest selects the Economy, Premium or Business cabin. But it’s in the in-between Premium Economy service level, a product that is rapidly gaining popularity across the industry, that Saint-Cyr believes the airline truly shines. Though much emphasis has been placed on the carrier’s new Business launch, its premium products – notably its Premium Economy cabin, available across the carrier’s fleet – remain the focus. When looking at their offerings, most airlines consider Premium a step up from Economy but a downgrade from Business, Saint-Cyr observes. But with WestJet, the product stands on
its own merits. “Great seats, dedicated cabin on the 787, unique menu, service, amenities – the value for money is exceptional,” he enthuses. In addition, an onboard crew is devoted to Premium passengers for that extra touch of (pardon the pun) class – most airlines have a staff that services both Premium and Economy guests, Saint-Cyr notes. Not-yet-announced revisions to its digital experience are also on tap for WestJet. “Expect big changes in the coming years,” Saint-Cyr teases, adding that these updates will align with guest expectations as they relate to a seamless travel journey. Paired with the amenity, comfort and food concepts that the airline has been eager to introduce, there is much excitement ahead for WestJet, its partners and, of course, its valued guests. The Business cabin amenity kits, designed by FORMIA, feature vegan leather bags by Canadian company Matt & Nat
CLIP BRINGS NEW TABLEWARE TO WESTJET BUSINESS WestJet’s new 787-9 long-haul Business cabin features bespoke chinaware designed by airline equipment specialist Clip. Taking inspiration from elements of the great Canadian outdoors, the collection, called “Wellness,” is characterized by soft irregular shapes that create a harmonious and serene landscape on the table. The glazing of the porcelain items imparts a sophisticated matte outside/gloss inside contrast that creates a soft, delicate touch. The deep blue gradient of the hero items, such as the mug and the oversized main entrée bowl, reflect the beauty of pristine Canadian mountain lakes. The hammered metal bread basket and napkin ring and the rock-like quality of the cheese plate reference the rugged beauty of mountains while being extremely functional. Finally, the salt and pepper shaker, a popular collectible giveaway amongst flyers, is shaped after the iconic Three Sisters mountains of Alberta and prove that even the smallest details have been designed with great care.
Simon Soni, WestJet’s Director of Catering Services, commented in a statement: “Our mission on this project was to create something totally different, and at the same time to align the product in terms of look and feel with top restaurants. Clip has designed and curated a unique concept that our crew and guests will fall in love with. Every detail and design element have been taken into consideration in terms of service, aesthetics and ease of handling, above all ensuring the highest quality and a great guest experience. We are excited with the result and are looking forward to sharing this with the Business cabin guests on board our new 787 Dreamliner.” Cindy Lam, Director of Clip, remarked in a statement: “We are extremely honored and proud to have played an inspiring role in helping WestJet reach this major milestone. It was an amazing project and experience working hand-in-hand with the WestJet team to bring these beautiful products to life!”
Aleksander Ferents, founder of AK-Service
Aleksander Ferents has spent the last 25 years growing his company, AK-Service. Now, with lucrative contracts signed and more on the horizon, Ferents is celebrating the fruits of his labor – but not resting on his laurels
From humble beginnings
I founded AK-Service in 1994. Our first major projects were the Business and Economy Class amenity kits for Russian Railways. At that time, Russian Railways was just beginning to develop its onboard service, which resulted in the need for creating, producing and supplying amenity kits for its passengers. Then, in many ways, a series of crises assisted us by requiring change. The 1998 crisis in Russia, the 2008 global crisis, the current sanctions – all of these required the development of our own production. Today AK-Service has a large-scale manufacturing facility with a complete production cycle and warehouse complex located in Saint Petersburg, which allows us to produce a wide range of quality products in the shortest possible time.
On receiving accolades
I boxed in the past, and for me any award is always fantastic. I really like taking part in competitions. In our business, any appreciation from the outside is a very good indicator. We are especially proud of PAX International readers’ recognition.
The importance of individuality
We always have a wide range of onboard products for every budget. First of all, we are interested in the view of the airline’s top management on the bold ideas we propose. With regard to amenity kits, we consult with international agencies to keep abreast of industry trends and needs. We use an individual approach for every client; that is why we always try to understand passengers’ needs
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from around the world, taking into account cultural diversity. We need to breathe the same air as our client. For children’s kits, we organize focus groups, which really help us to identify kids’ thoughts and opinions, to determine their needs. Only by taking into account all factors is it possible to create a truly suitable product for each customer.
A new direction on board
The huge interest in augmented reality (AR) technology is the reason we are actively developing the AR direction of our company. We have partnered with Wargaming (owner of the World of Tanks brand), one of the leaders in the IT industry with a network of 150 million users across the globe. Their specialists help us to develop really high-quality AR experiences at the highest level. In the near future, AR experiences will appear not only in our children’s kits but also in our Business Class amenity kits. AK-Service recently supplied Rossiya Airlines with a new children’s kit concept
Staying ahead of the eco boom
First, we have always been engaged in environmentally friendly products. We have been cooperating for the past five years with our reliable partner Natura Siberica, with which we produce cosmetics made with 99% natural ingredients. Parallel to this, we produce products from wood, thick paper, recycled paper, pressed paper and other eco-friendly materials, which are abundant in Russia. Our branches are located in Siberia, in the Far East and in the Caucasus, from where we source natural materials. We make a lot of amenity items from ecofriendly materials: bags, toothbrushes and hairbrushes, for instance. Even the paper we write on in our offices is made from 100% recycled materials. For every client we offer individually designed eco-friendly amenity kit lines, which are produced using biological polymer, paper bags or renewable raw material.
With a focus on new-to-the-skies brands and a passion for perfection, FORMIA is paving its way to future years of growth and prosperity
Athletic Propulsion Labs is one of the many high-end brands that FORMIA counts as a partner
FORMIA’s Philipp Wendschuh, Roland Grohmann and Niklas Sandor at FORMIA’s WTCE 2019 booth
16 MAY 2019
s a company, FORMIA strives to ensure its name is synonymous with quality and innovation, and works diligently to transform the market by always exceeding its customers’ highest expectations. The company reports it has enjoyed 10 years of continuous growth based on its success in continually introducing a hugely diverse and pioneering range of luxury lifestyle brand collaborations with globally recognized companies that are new to the onboard landscape. Under the guidance of Roland Grohmann, CEO and Managing Partner since 2009, FORMIA has re-positioned itself from supplying the wider hospitality industry in hotels, airlines and cruise liners to having an exclusive focus on airline amenities. The challenge now is to maintain its position by looking ahead and identifying new opportunities to move the industry – and FORMIA itself – to even greater heights. For Grohmann, that means continuing to focus on customers’ needs and refining the company’s expertise in bringing brands and airlines together in innovative ways. That’s why FORMIA has recently reorganized its management team with promotion industry experts, naming Philipp Wendschuh
Luxury luggage company Globe-Trotter was the perfect fit for FORMIA’s recently released ANA First and Business Class kits
as Chief Commercial Officer and Niklas Sandor as Chief Marketing Officer. Grohmann continues to lead the business, focusing on overall leadership, strategy and supply chain. Wendschuh takes the lead on all customer, business development and commercial activities, ensuring the company continues its approach of offering its airline customer base high-quality, bespoke products and new concepts which are unique to the individual airline and reflect its individual ethos, identity and culture. Sandor, meanwhile, is responsible for the design, brand and marketing functions, focusing on the quality, design and brands for which the company’s products are renowned. A significant part of his role will be to identify emerging trends within the industry and predict how the onboard experience will inevitably transform the world of passenger amenities and comfort products in the years ahead. According to Grohmann, future success will depend on constant improvements to the company’s fundamental customer-centric approach. “FORMIA aspires to be the world’s most desirable inflight comfort amenities company,” he explains. “Delighting our airline customers and their passengers is what we are all about. Pure and simple. If we can continue to do that, we will reap the rewards commensurate with any company which
occupies a market-leading position and an unrivaled reputation for excellence, innovation and customer care.” For Grohmann, it is the talent of FORMIA’s people which underpins the company’s success. Staff numbers have grown from fewer than 10 in 2009 to over 80 today. “I believe our people are second to none,” he says. “Their energy and creativity impress me on a daily basis. I am immensely proud of what they have achieved through their talents and their focus on the continual improvement on our products. Many of our staff are relatively young, having joined FORMIA either directly from university or early in their careers. They are keen, committed and always ready to take on new responsibilities and meet new challenges.” Recent developments within FORMIA reflect the team’s enthusiasm in building on carefully nurtured, long-term relationships with customers, brand partners and suppliers. According to Wendschuh, a good example of this is the announcement made last month at the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo of an extension to FORMIA’s long-established partnership with Turkish Airlines which will see the company supply new products for the airline’s Business and Economy classes. “With Turkish, we started with the
first-ever onboard offering by Versace, providing exclusive male and female amenity kits containing cosmetics from Versace designed to pamper passengers and keep them relaxed and rejuvenated during their flights,” Wendschuh shares. “For Economy Class travelers, we also supplied a range of fun pouches printed with motifs designed in collaboration with the Istanbul Modern Museum, Turkey’s leading museum of contemporary art. We now relish the opportunity to expand our contribution to Turkish Airline’s continuing success.” The relationship with Turkish Airlines typifies FORMIA’s approach with all its customers: to provide them with desirable, innovative, stylish amenity kits containing quality cosmetic and comfort items built of the most valuable materials and in a format which allows recipients to use them for multiple purposes following their flight. In the comfort sector, the company has recently entered into collaborations under the sleepwear category with the introduction of a new branded sleepwear range that includes Boggi, Gieves & Hawkes and Porsche Design. This range has led to successful collaborations with more than 10 customers including Singapore Airlines and SAUDIA. Enduring partnerships, whether with airlines or global brands, is a core theme in FORMIA’s story. And this extends not just to relationships in the air but also on the ground: for many years, FORMIA has co-hosted its presence at WCTE with Castello Monte Vibiano. This partnership is based on the companies’ longstanding friendship as well as common values and shared business philosophies. In the short term, FORMIA’s focus will be on building on the company’s market-leading position. Headquartered in Hong Kong and with subsidiary offices in Dubai, Shanghai and Bangkok as well as presences in New York and Milan, plus a new management team, the company is well-placed to continue its growth. The company says 2019 will be another big year in terms of launching new customer collaborations with airlines and brand partners. As Wendschuh notes, their team is ambitious and has the creativity and drive required to take the company to ever-greater heights. PAX-INTL.COM
COMFORT AND SLEEP
Green comfort With a broad line of hundreds of comfort items, SPIRIANT has scored big projects with international airlines and is now showing potential customers a selection of natural products woven in many forms by RICK LUNDSTROM
SPIRIANT’s 3D mattress is made with Tencel™
little more than a year ago, Lufthansa German Airlines introduced the world to a comprehensive line of sleep items that it has since rolled out across its fleet of long-haul aircraft. The Dream Collection, supplied by SPIRIANT, was an array of comfort components that included a new pillowcase and blanket, plus a mattress topper mainly made from 100% cotton from German bed manufacturer Paradies and a sleepshirt from another German brand called van Laack. But amid the well-known fashion and household product names the company proudly touts, SPIRIANT also relies on products from other companies whose goal is not to dazzle but to make the most of materials and do so in a way that keeps products out of landfills and oceans. Tucked beside its news of comfort and bedding, the airline acknowledged an important element that is now a necessary part of the conversation between supplier and customer: sustainability. “Since Lufthansa is also setting standards in terms of environmental friendliness, the plastic packaging of the blanket was replaced by a paper banderole,” reads a statement from the company. How to handle, and what to do with, the immense number of discarded products in flight has airlines and suppliers searching high and low, experimenting with new materials and complex weaves in the hope of making the most of discarded plastic, in some cases even teaming it with natural materials. In other parts of its operation, SPIRIANT has sought to sell
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paper products made from agricultural waste such as plant leaves and stems and is now working with a Dutch company called PaperWise on solutions for the cabin services industry. “I am quite happy that everyone is interested in sustainability and it really is not a trend but a direction,” says Grit Peschke, Product Manager Onboard Comfort at SPIRIANT, who showed PAX International around the company’s line of products at this year’s World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo. She notes businesses that cater to the passenger experience are falling in line with changes being made in the fashion and home products industries. One of the product categories in which SPIRIANT marries comfort with sustainability is in its textiles. Such is the case with SPIRIANT’s 3D mattress that Peschke says generated interest at this year’s WTCE. The 3D is made out of a material called Tencel™ which is supplied by an Austrian company called Lenzing AG. The fabric is generated from fast-growing wood cellulose. Not only is the fabric natural, Peschke says the process to create Tencel results in very little waste – nearly all of the chemicals and water used to create it can be captured and reused. The 3D mattress is also built for comfort, is lightweight and stores easily. The knitting process used to make the mattress creates what the company says is a unique pressure release. Tencel is more absorbent than cotton, softer than silk and cooler than linen. The product can also be woven with other materials such as recycled PET and bamboo. Airlines on a strict budget may not opt for a product such as the 3D, as it is more costly than standard comfort items. The mattress is nonetheless desirable to airlines
SPIRIANT has sought to sell paper products made from agricultural waste such as plant leaves and stems. looking to up their environmental bona fides while saving money with easy storage and a lighter weight. Most airline projects are not as comprehensive as Lufthansa’s Dream collection, but others such as those by American Airlines with its Casper Collection and British Airways with its products from The White Company show promise. To fill out the needs of airlines seeking differentiation, SPIRIANT offers a textiles portfolio of what is approaching 200 products. A colorful line of blankets and pillows hung on display in Hamburg showed potential customers that the basics can still be stylish and filled with personality. Such a selection can be found in SPIRIANT’s Easy Collection. “The Easy Collection might not be bursting with the latest technologies,” said a description of the products on the company’s website. “But they are comfortable, fresh and most importantly, they make the passenger feel at home.” Grit Peschke, Product Manager Onboard Comfort at SPIRIANT
Lufthansa’s Dream Collection features an array of comfort components that includes a new pillowcase and blanket
G N I K A H S things up GUEST COLUMN
This Business Class kit series by deSter for Brussels Airlines came in six different colors of neoprene
TravelPlus’ Simon Ward examines why more amenity options, not an increase in release frequency, are key to engaging with certain traveling segments – and why for others, kit updates will undoubtedly fall upon deaf ears
aintaining the attention and loyalty of flyers is a time-consuming task for airlines and their partners. From the movies they are shown to the foods they are served, the more a passenger travels aboard a specific carrier, the higher the likelihood that they will become bored to its offerings – or, in the very least, they will be much more difficult to dazzle to any measurable degree. The amenity kit is one of those categories in which a dichotomy is found. The upper echelon of amenity kit recipients, like celebrities and high-ranking CEOs, more often than not can purchase any items they desire in their day-to-day life, so airlines should strive to provide them with products that can’t be found on high street. It’s those frequently flying Business Class passengers, or those in the booming Premium Economy cabin, that can be better reached by branded offerings. At the moment, it seems as though a three-month cycle is standard for airline amenity kit launches, often aligned with the release of a new onboard menu (done purely by accident and not by design, I believe). Passenger excitement can therefore be preserved by making incremental or superficial changes to instalments of a kit series, like Buzz did
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for Qantas back in 2017. Two of the 16 different bags, each bearing a different artist’s work, were released every few months, giving the airline more bang for its buck, time-wise: one supplier, one program and the same products contained within each kit, but eight different opportunities to wow passengers (eight men’s and eight women’s designs were part of the release). It requires creativity and out-of-the-box thinking to create a happy medium like this, one that equally benefits kit supplier, the brands they partner with, the airline, and its passengers. Other successful examples of this approach in Business Class are skysupply for TAP Air Portugal, which in 2018 created a six-pouch series for the airline that reflected different areas around Portugal, and deSter’s set of six neoprene kits for Brussels Airlines. The collectability factor here is very important – by offering more than one variation of a kit, the passenger doesn’t feel “amenity fatigue,” and the airline doesn’t need to undergo the often-complicated logistics involved in releasing an entire new series. This of course doesn’t just mean getting kits from point A to point B – the contractual agreements, marketing and promotions planning, and signing of other suppliers or partners can also be taxing. In the end, this method benefits all involved and, as a bonus, may help reduce the carbon footprint of an airline. (Fewer shipments means less emissions, as we all know.) It also makes it more attractive for an airline guest to bring a kit home with them as opposed to leaving it behind on their seat, which can also have a positive impact on the environment. ‘Qantas Curates’ by Buzz celebrated the spirit of Australia and featured artwork from leading Australian artists
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This series for TAP Air Portugal by skysupply contained six pouches with different Portuguese city-inspired designs
On that note, for airlines looking to simplify while improving sustainability, suppliers who work with brands local to their clients – or, alternatively, airlines that request or demand local companies be represented in their kits – can also help in this regard, since one would assume the items don’t need to travel as far. Add to that the fact that local brands can help support the national identity of an airline while introducing passengers to new and exciting products they may never have been exposed to otherwise (this is especially true for regional airlines), and it’s another win-win. Looking ahead, the burgeoning Premium Economy Class, which I spoke of in the March/April 2019 issue of PAX International, is likely where we will see the most innovation and overall kit releases in the coming years. I predict that Premium Economy will be the new Business Class in the future,
especially since a growing number of airlines are treating BC as its First Class and omitting the highest premium levels from their offering altogether. One more thing to keep in mind: Economy Class is where airlines really need to improve their efforts in increasing the comfort of their passengers. Amenity kits are no longer the status symbol they once were, but they do offer a feeling of care that can create a long-lasting bond between customer and brand. Many of the standard contents found in a kit can, I believe, be eliminated – why the need for earplugs when noise-cancelling headphones are nearly everywhere, and why would anyone need body lotion when sitting 35,000 feet in the air? It would be great to see an airline disrupting the tried-and-true amenity kit format – but who will be the courageous entity to do so is something only time can tell.
A M E N I T I E S
M E A L
S E R V I C E
T E X T I L E S
COMFORT AND SLEEP
The Casper rollout was initiated on the some of the airline’s longest routes, such as those to Hong Kong, Auckland and Sydney
After one of the most sweeping rollouts of comfort items in recent years, American Airlines will fill more aircraft with highquality bedding from an expert in sleep
n September 2017, during its annual Media and Investor’s Day, American Airlines announced that sleep and comfort would be a priority in its future with a new line of bedding in its First, Business and Premium Economy Class cabins on long-haul and transcontinental routes. By December of the same year, the first items from the Casper bedding line, the result of a partnership with WESSCO International, were placed into service. The products were a culmination of a yearlong inflight sleep study that had the airline and the New York-based comfort company matching products to seat shapes and configurations, and accepting and rejecting dozens of possibilities before settling on a core group that includes a mattress pad, duvet, pillow, day blanket, pajamas and slippers. Since then, the selection of products has stayed the same, except for a few branding tweaks, says Nick
The Casper pillow went through more than a dozen iterations before the design was finalized
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Richards, Director of Customer Experience Product & Strategy at American Airlines. Richards, along with designers from Casper, outlines the company’s goals in a video from the launch of the new products. Naturally, the rollout was initiated on the some of the airline’s longest routes: flights to Hong Kong, Auckland and Sydney, as well as the airline’s competitive transcontinental routes. But in the two years since the rollout, Casper’s mattress pad and other products from the company’s line have been added to additional routes. By early this summer, Richards says the mattress pad will be on all of American Airlines’ transpacific Business Class cabins. Richards says an early concern was making sure the product’s design was closely aligned with the airline’s seating. “It took about 12 months to develop the products because what we wanted to do is [not only] ensure that the products
were tailored to our seat but also that we could ensure all the different products and materials and technologies Casper uses could then be translated into an onboard product,” says Richards. This is because the airline environment is filled with conditions that are not experienced on the ground. Cabin pressure, humidity, temperature and time zone shifts were all considerations as the companies selected and designed products. One example was the Casper pillow, which went through more than a dozen iterations before the partners settled on materials and a design. “It came down to the material that was used in the pillowcase,” says Richards. “Some were soft and some felt rough. A big piece of it was the size and then the amount of material used in the interior of the pillow.” Eventually, the team found the Goldilocks (the “just right”) combination of size, fillings and materials for comfort and support. As Casper bedding is also used in rest quarters for pilots and flight attendants, American is continuing to gauge not only customer feedback but that of the crew as well. Its contract with the company continues until 2020. The program has received many accolades since its inception, winning the 2018 IFSA Compass Award for Best Onboard Amenity Program and the 2018 TravelPlus Award for Business Class Bedding, and receiving a Highly Commended Certificate under the Equipment – Passenger category at the 2018 Mercury Awards.
Not holding back Kaelis hasn’t been shy about advertising its latest industry wins, and with good reason. PAX reached out to CEO Federico Heitz to find out more about the process behind the company’s winning formula
A chef and an architect are just two of the careers Air Astana encourages its young passengers to explore through its onboard kits
by RACHEL DEBLING
ndustry accolades, whether they be in customer feedback or trophy form, are among the best ways to gauge the popularity and quality of one’s product. And when a windfall of awards happens to one company, it’s only natural its team would want to shout it from the rooftops. This was exactly the case for onboard supplier Kaelis in 2018. Last year brought the company hardware in all four major industry awards – TravelPlus, Onboard Hospitality, The Mercurys and, of course, the PAX International Readership Awards – and in 2019, the company was happy to accept three prizes across the awards landscape for its Air Astana children’s kit concept, including PAX’s first award highlighting an onboard release for this demographic. Federico Heitz, CEO of Kaelis, tells PAX the reaction to his business’ win-
Federico Heitz, CEO of Kaelis
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ning streak has been nothing but positive. “In all these cases, the awards have had a huge impact on the consolidation of Kaelis’ image/brand as one of the leading industry providers,” he explains. The company’s winning concept for 2019, which encouraged young travelers flying Kazakhstan’s national carrier to imagine their future profession, was embraced wholeheartedly by the airline’s passengers, not only by children but by their parents who appreciated the educational aspects of the onboard packs, Heitz says. Since its founding in 1997, Kaelis has undergone a major evolution, he continues. Over 1 billion passengers come in contact with Kaelis’ products every year, and the company has amassed more than 100 customers in the airline and rail industries, in more than 55 countries. Looking ahead, its team feels the sky is truly the limit; as Heitz says, “Our vision is to become the preferred supplier in the industry by the time we turn 25.” Now a 22-year-old institution, Kaelis has honed in on a strategy that has found it success, namely by looking at individual customer as a whole and not, as Heitz describes, in “bits and pieces.” And there is no such thing as too big a request, he adds. “We encourage our customers to dream, as we are here to make sure those dreams come to life.” Speed and flexibility are equally important to Kaelis and its clients, and
the company’s in-house team works with an automated integration system called Salesforce.com to meet both of these requirements. After listening to its customers and analyzing their needs, the company puts its customer relationship management platform to good use and settles on a tailor-made logistics solution. Finally, it leans on its close partnerships with key freight forwarders for the high-quality service needed to handle last-minute changes and ensure the success of the project. “Communication and commitment are always essential to deliver what customers need, when they need it,” Heitz points out. Above all, improving upon the current travel experience model is at the heart of everything Kaelis does, a fact that is apparent right down to the fine details of its day-to-day operations. “Some of us believe that our industry has not changed much in the last 30 or 40 years,” Heitz admits. But his team believes change is afoot. “We are here to encourage innovation. It might be difficult but it’s definitely worth it. Once a customer tries our service and interacts with our team, they never regret it. “We are passionate about we do and our customers appreciate working with us.” FOR MORE INFORMATION, read the full interview with Heitz on our website.
A one-stop shop by HEATHER EASON
These drawers are designed to be easily collapsible and easy on the wrists of cabin crew
ood relationships are at the heart of any successful business venture, and Richard M. Tuttle had that in mind when he founded RMT Global Partners in 2011. He aimed to build a business that the travel industry could count on for all of its cabin service equipment design, sourcing and supply needs. Since then, RMT has expanded to serve other industries including healthcare, food service and manufacturing. Despite its growth, the company is still dedicated to always being there for its customers, no matter how big or small their issue. Jane Bernier-Tran, Chairman of the International Flight Services Association (IFSA), joined the RMT team in 2018 as its Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing. She had collaborated on projects with RMT while she was a Managing Director of Global Operations and Marketing at United Airlines, so she was confident that they would be a good fit. “I had always appreciated the work that Tuttle’s company did for us, as well as RMT’s positive
Airlines are taking a serious look at what they can do to reduce their carbon footprint.”
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– JANE BERNIER-TRAN, RMT’S VICE PRESIDENT OF GLOBAL SALES AND MARKETING
RMT Global Partners has built their reputation on being able to provide endto-end cabin service equipment solutions. Now they’re challenging themselves to make even more eco-friendly, highquality and cost-effective products can-do attitude from a customer’s perspective,” she says. The customer’s experience is all-important to BernierTran. “Being an airline employee for over 30 years and also being President — and currently Chairman — of IFSA has helped me better understand the industry from both sides of the fence,” she says. Understanding the airlines’ needs as well as the entire hands-on manufacturing process has given her the perspective she requires to provide solutions for RMT’s customers. “I think the biggest ah-ha moment for me as a supplier was recognizing the technical details that a supplier needs to take into account when designing a sustainable, dependable, quality product,” she recalls. Customer service is at the core of RMT’s business philosophy, and maintaining trusting relationships is a top priority. “The customer is first at RMT — no matter what the request or the perceived issue may be; we take it seriously,” Bernier-Tran says. She explains that RMT offers such a diverse product range as an extension of their customer service philosophy that they see themselves as a one-stop shop for whatever a client might need. As an airline supplier, providing great customer service also means keeping an airline’s staff and customers comfortable and happy. RMT knows that comfort is about much more than the seats and the space between them. They offer products such as refreshing towelettes and linen-like pillowcases that
RMT’s eco-friendly blankets were once discarded plastic bottles
encourage relaxation in subtle ways. “An airline may not be able to control the operational challenges of weather or unexpected maintenance issues,” Bernier-Tran maintains. “However, it can provide a back-up plan that keeps the customers happy; that’s where offering comfort in amenities takes a front-row seat.” Sustainability is another key concern for RMT. “Airlines are taking a serious look at what they can do to reduce their carbon footprint,” said Bernier-Tran. “Their volumes are massive, so it’s important that we give the best pricing and the highest-quality product we can find.” The company’s biggest challenge is providing eco-friendly products that are competitively priced compared to its standard items. However, Bernier-Tran noted that sustainable products are always improving and that passengers appreciate the effort that goes into protecting the environment. One of RMT’s popular sustainable offerings is a blanket made from recycled plastics that Bernier-Tran called “amazingly soft.” Although some customers may fear eco-friendly products might sacrifice quality, this recycled blanket is as cosy as any other. And comfort isn’t the only benefit — there’s also the peace of mind that comes with doing the right thing. “It is important for airlines to have these types of products on board to show that they are doing their part to help the environment,” Bernier-Tran insists. Passengers aren’t the only ones who benefit from products that promote onboard comfort. RMT is also working on ergonomic products for flight attendants, such as a tray designed to help them avoid strain while carrying heavy drinks down the aisle. The tray has holes for the flight attendants’ fingers that help them redistribute the weight and avoid putting stress on their wrists. RMT has also worked on a collapsible drawer for a major airline’s carts. Once the drawer’s contents have been handed out to passengers, it can be tucked away to give flight attendants more room for other supplies.
Bernier-Tran thinks that it’s an exciting time for the airline industry because budgets are big enough to justify updated styles and designs — or new items altogether. These innovations are signals that the industry is still growing, and RMT’s nimble team is there to help. The company is currently made up of 16 employees on three different continents. RMT Global Partners will be exhibiting at IFSA in Los Angeles this September, where it will showcase its most requested products and its eco-friendly product line. The team also plans on hosting events for its customers. “We love entertaining our guests,” Bernier-Tran exclaims. “It allows people to relax and it’s a great way to do business and build relationships. Good relationships are built on trust!” PAX-INTL.COM
by RICK LUNDSTROM
Emirates worked with Buzz Product to develop the four toys now distributed to children in all classes
The Lonely Planet Kids puts the world in a bag
Emirates provides traveling families with a variety of programs and services. Over the years, a wide range of plush toys, backpacks and entertainment of all types have been found in the airline’s cabins; here is just a sampling
n addition to its efficient and professional crew, both in the cabin and in the cockpit, a typical flight on Emirates has another diverse selection of smiling and friendly faces that have been pleasing young adventurers. Though Eric the Eagle, Carlos the Macaw and Chaochao the Alligator, were grounded and assigned new duties, a new cuddly crew is now in the cabin. Over the course of the past three years, since the launch of the airline’s Fly with Me children’s program, Emirates has introduced a total of 17 kid-friendly entertaining characters, four of which are part of a collection that took to the skies this year on all Emirates aircraft. To reach the lofty skies on Emirates, the cuddly creatures needed to first pass a popularity contest, the most recent of which was conducted last year in a social media competition. In mid-August 2018, following the online poll, the airline and Buzz, its main supplier of the toys, announced that the top four characters pressed into service in 2019 would be
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Lewis the Lion, Peek U the Panda, Ernie the Penguin and Savannah the Elephant. But the four are hardly the tip of the iceberg in what Emirates does for its young passengers. Older children traveling in all classes are given colorful backpacks and activity bags filled with items from Lonely Planet Kids that stimulate wanderlust, and on long-haul flights the airline distributes an activity blanket and plush toy to infants and their caregivers. Children between seven and 12 years also receive a Lonely Planet Kids bag filled with books, crafts and collectable destination-themed socks. In addition, children under two years old on short-haul flights receive a vibrating plush toy that can attach to a stroller. On the same flights, children between three and six take home a suitcaseinspired activity pack with games, puzzles, stickers and coloring pages. Finally, the airline distributes a magazine called Fly With Me that contains puzzles, jokes and activities for children from three to eight years old.
For hygiene and cleanliness, and to help parents care for babies, Emirates hands out a pouch of essentials: a bib, spoon, baby wipes, changing mat, diaper rash cream and a small diaper bag. The airline strives to keep children happy and occupied with a variety of products and services that start with priority boarding out of Dubai. In the cabin, the airline’s ice inflight entertainment system features an embarrassment of riches in the form of more than 150 dedicated children’s channels, 100 inflight games and even an onboard camera. Children can dine on special meals and even earn their own frequent flyer miles with the airline’s Skywards Skysurfers program.
Representatives from WESSCO International roamed the country and sampled all Iceland has to offer to come up with the new design for Icelandair’s amenity kit
Banking on the brand A collaboration between WESSCO International and an Icelandic skin care products company, plus a few wild creatures, has placed a unique new amenity kit aboard Icelandair
or more than a millennium, the remote northern island nation of Iceland has beckoned the adventurous and rewarded them with a combination of experiences that few other places can offer. Bold explorers from northern Europe were among the first to brave the treacherous seas to find and settle a starkly beautiful land of rocks, rushing water and volcanoes. Fast-forward to present day, and a new breed of adventurer can access the country comfortably by air. Its visitors have shifted from early Vikings to the young and outdoorsy, who can be found filling the hotels, bars and restaurants of Reykjavik, giving the capital city a lively, fun-loving vibe. Icelandair’s front cabin service is called Saga Premium, which is a fitting name for a land with an old story to tell.
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That story is told in the airline’s safety video, through the eyes of a young couple roughing it in the country’s spectacular landscape. As this year’s World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo in Hamburg concluded, Icelandair added one more element to its story in the form of a new amenity kit distributed to Saga Class passengers on its long-haul flights to North America. Four bag designs make up Icelandair’s Dýralif (Wildlife) collection, which draws from the country’s folklore and is inspired by several native creatures. This year the kits will feature information on the puffin and Arctic fox, with the Icelandic horse and raven planned for introduction in 2020. “From the beginning, it was clear what we wanted with the new bag collection, and the participants in the
tender all got a simple list of what to include,” says Íris Anna Groeneweg, Manager Procurement and Supply Chain at Icelandair. “Iceland is a very special place where nature and natural phenomenon are close to the hearts of the people who live here.”
Eco-friendly, sustainable and with a nod to nature, Icelandair introduced its new kits this spring
In addition to receiving the new kits in Saga Premium Class, passengers can purchase them for US$39
Among the airline’s list of requirements for the series: that the kits feature the country in some way, they be made of sustainable materials, they tell a story that would raise interest in Iceland, and they are unique and eye-catching so the airline can raise attention on social media – which is exactly what Icelandair did last month. The process of picking suppliers was a challenge, says Groeneweg. “There were so many visionary ideas and concepts presented to us,” she recalls. “The creativity within this industry is truly amazing.” In what she said was a “tough call,” the company picked WESSCO International and skincare products from a small familyowned Icelandic company called Hannes Dóttir. Together, they are bringing the airline’s and Iceland’s story to the front cabin on flights out of the country’s main airport in Keflavik and North America. The team from WESSCO came to Iceland to sample local products and immerse themselves in the country’s many offerings. They viewed the northern lights above them, felt the spray from waterfalls, and experienced hot springs and natural pools. While on the trip, they also witnessed some of the unique birds, animals and distinctive Icelandic horses that wander the land
and skies. “The major challenge was to create a bag collection that could convey Icelandic nature and serve as a functional travel accessory,” says Luigi Auricchio, WESSCO’s Global Creative Director, who notes that it wasn’t difficult to fall in love with the country during the research expedition. “My team and I follow fashion trends closely and one we took note of recently was fashion houses using animal icons as ambassadors. We took this direction for Icelandic wildlife and tried to understand which features we could incorporate in our bag designs.” “This study of nature is reflected within the final designs, and I feel [it] is so important in bringing the character of Icelandic people out conceptually,” agrees Groeneweg. What was also important were the sustainability bona fides, which are increasingly becoming a necessary feature in amenity kit design. The kits were made for reusability from recycled canvas, vegan leather and felt made from recycled plastic bottles. The toothbrush is made from cornstarch-based biodegradable material, and even the socks are made from recycled products. The skincare products are also the stuff of Icelandic sagas. Made with materials from the volcanic fjords of the country, each item is enriched with the nutritional characteristics of its food-
based ingredients: the lip balm is made with natural vegan essential oils and the regenerating power of sea kelp, the hand lotion is infused with laminaria kelp, and the spray mist is made from minerals that can be both calming and hydrating. Rounding out the contents of the kit, Icelandair has added earplugs, eyeshades and stickers for passengers who wish to not be disturbed. There is also a written description of each of the Icelandic animals featured on the kits. In addition to distribution to Saga Premium passengers on flights to North America, the kits are available for purchase in the airline’s Saga Shop. They can also be preordered on the airline’s website when passengers book a flight. At press time, passengers could order a kit featuring either the puffin or the Arctic fox for US$39. Icelandair has made several kit changes in recent years. In 2016, the airline worked with the gategroup company Harmony on a series of six bags inspired by the hexagonal basalt rock, a natural phenomenon found in Iceland, and added cosmetics from Blue Lagoon, a brand named after a popular tourist spa just outside Reykjavik. In 2017, the airline marked its 80th anniversary with a limited-edition kit designed by skysupply. The kits were available for a few months around the anniversary date.
Hand lotion, mineral mist and lip balm from Icelandic company Hannes Dóttir were picked for the kits
COMFORT AND SLEEP
Are you sitting comfortably? Galileo Watermark’s First Class range of Sheridan branded bedding products is provided in every Qantas cabin
Leading suppliers are injecting fashion, style and luxury into their inflight comfort items – but aren’t forgetting sustainability by MARY JANE PITTILLA
oday’s passengers could be forgiven for thinking they’re in a luxury hotel instead of on a busy flight. That’s the feeling the leading comfort item manufacturers want to evoke in passengers’ minds when they step into the cabin. Luxury, fashion, style – all these boxes are ticked, thanks to these suppliers’ innovations. Take WESSCO International, for example. Whether for comfort and sleep, airlines are looking to create a seamless hospitality experience like one would encounter in a high-end hotel or resort, according to Petros Sakkis, Chief Marketing Officer of WESSCO International. Fittingly, WESSCO International recently launched its DUXIANA bedding program for Etihad Airways’ First Class and The Residence. DUXIANA is a Swedish luxury bedding label and brand of choice at some of the world’s finest hotels. This is the first program on board an airline to feature DUXIANA. Meanwhile, WESSCO’s collaboration with Casper’s upscale sleep products for American Airlines is in its WESSCO International’s DUXIANA bedding program is flying on Etihad Airways’ First Class and The Residence
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Virgin Australia’s sleeper suit from Buzz features a mesh bag
second year. WESSCO worked closely with Casper’s sleep engineers to develop prototypes specifically for the needs of inflight travel and sleep. The soft goods program has won multiple awards, enthuses Sakkis. Always aiming to innovate, Australia-based supplier Buzz says airlines are seeking naturally woven, eco-friendly and luxuriously cozy sleeper suits, featuring world-leading brand partnerships that are worn long after the journey ends, says Simon Yaffe, Director, Client Relationships at Buzz. They are also looking for additional items that can aid sleep, such as textiles, pillows, eye masks and skincare. In line with these requirements, Buzz recently launched sleeper suits and slippers created by renowned fashion designer Jason Wu for EVA Air’s premium passengers. Featuring signature design elements from the runway, including a triple-snap rollover collar and a pop of color, the sleeper suits are ultra-soft heathered jersey, in relaxed fit with minimal seams, and can be worn from lounge to plane. Lisa W. Benzaoui, CEO of leading manufacturer Global Inflight Products (GIP), says passengers expect
COMFORT AND SLEEP
Luxury, fashion, style – all these boxes are ticked, thanks to these suppliers’ innovations. the same level of quality and design as they experience at home, during hotel stays and when shopping. In response to airline requests, GIP’s Comfort line features custom-designed products that illustrate understated elegance and are also practical for inflight use. The new Comfort Collection showcases “comfortability,” says Benzaoui, and is described as elegant, minimalistic and cozy. The company’s soft fleece and microfiber blankets are available in numerous options including double-sided, anti-pill and lint-free, and with custom stitching, embroidery, printing and trim. Meanwhile, GIP’s woven modacrylic blankets provide an upscale look featuring woven-in custom logos or patterns to enhance an airline’s brand and cabin interiors. Another innovation is the ultra-soft Spunlace, a nonwoven, single-use pillowcase to cover onboard pillows, which aims to provide a relaxing experience. The pillowcases can also be customized. GIP offers individually vacuum-packed pillows that provide many advantages, including significant savings on transportation and storage costs, and easier inventory control when handling slim, stackable packages. A focus on fashion and style are among the priorities for Galileo Watermark. The company’s new, fashionable sleepsuit collection, introduced at WTCE 2019, was developed as a result of airlines seeking more stylish product. “Customer expectations are rising and there is a move away from commoditized product; therefore, it is important to provide product with a point of difference. We are being asked to consider all these things, with sustainability front of mind as well,” said Paul Hunter, Global Sales Director, Galileo Watermark. Taking inspiration from fashion trends, Galileo Watermark’s in-house design team have created loungewear concepts with comfort and aesthetics as their focal points. “Our pattern-cutting expertise and technical garment knowledge ensure our pajama designs are crafted with a keen attention to detail that ensures both a flattering fit and practicality,” said Hunter. Available in a range of colors, materials and specifications, the collection adds dimensions of comfort, luxury and wellbeing to any cabin to help create the luxury ‘hotel in the sky’ experience. In terms of best-selling products, the company’s First Class range of Sheridan branded bedding products on Qantas has been very successful, noted Hunter. “The
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innovative pillow menu and luxurious baby blankets, which are provided in every cabin, really set this collaboration apart and have proven to be very popular,” he said. Increasingly, sustainability has become a core focus for airlines, according to all the suppliers we spoke to for this article. “We’ve been at the forefront of sustainable design, starting with our award-winning ecoTHREAD™ blankets made from 100% recycled plastic bottles,” says Yaffe of Buzz. By the end of 2019, Buzz will have diverted 95 million bottles from landfill, transforming them into its versatile, certified ecoTHREAD™ blankets which are flying onboard Emirates and EVA Air. And by working with its clients to reduce polybag use, Buzz is on target to have saved 96,000 pounds of plastic from being created by the end of 2019. For example, its new sleepsuits for Virgin Australia come packed in a functional reusable mesh pouch, eliminating the need for polybags. WESSCO’s Sakkis says there has been a significant industry shift toward sustainable practices and programs that create synergies for brands, airlines and passengers. WESSCO has been at the forefront of this shift through well thought-out brand collaborations that carry over meaningfully for brands while delivering value for airlines and passengers. Throughout its product lines, GIP aims to provide custommade products for airlines that are environmentally conscious. In the comfort category, sustainability is an important consideration when airlines make their buying decisions. GIP’s most popular item is a soft fleece blanket made with recycled plastic bottles. It also offers blankets that incorporate bamboo fibers, another environmentally-friendly option. Galileo Watermark’s Hunter says that while brand collaborations are still an important aspect of the sleep and comfort items offered in the premium cabins, the company’s team is also looking to develop comfort products in new and more sustainable materials. In terms of materials, it is seeing a rise in the use of recycled PET plastic. Global Inflight Products’ Comfort Collection is described as elegant, minimalistic and cozy
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A night to
remember Airlines, suppliers and inflight fans alike came together on April 3 to celebrate PAX readers’ favorite kits
his April, PAX International handed out more than 35 pieces of hardware to airlines and their suppliers across dozens of categories at the 2019 PAX International Readership Awards. Not only did the attendance of this year’s ceremony, held once again at the Radisson Blu in Hamburg, eclipse the record-breaking numbers seen last year, the awards also experienced a swell of nominations in the months and weeks leading up to the event.
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“With each year, our readership awards keep getting better and better,” said Aijaz Khan, publisher of PAX International and PAX Tech magazines. “In fact, this year we received an avalanche of votes – 30% more than what we saw in 2018. “The PAX International team and I would like to thank the industry at large for their continued support, as well as our readership for coming out in droves to vote. Congrats to all of the deserving 2019 winners!”
FIRST CLASS AMENITY KIT – AMERICAS WINNER: WESSCO International for American Airlines
BUSINESS CLASS AMENITY KIT – AMERICAS WINNER: Buzz for Air Canada
Nick Bregman, WESSCO’s Chief Operating Officer; Jennifer Green, WESSCO’s Director of Sales; Bob Bregman, WESSCO’s Founder and CEO; Nick Richards, American Airlines’ Director, Customer Experience Product & Strategy; Petros Sakkis, WESSCO’s CMO; Jonathan Yip, AA’s Manager, Customer Experience Products; Michele Ragonesi, AA’s Commodity Manager; and Luigi Auricchio, WESSCO’s Global Creative Director
ECONOMY CLASS AMENITY KIT – AMERICAS WINNER: Anaik for Air Caraïbes Anaik’s Sylvie Lee, Business Development Manager - Travel; Kitty Tsong; Sophie Almeida-Serin, International Sales Director; and Cécile Canac, Sales Category Manager; and the Air Caraïbes team
BUSINESS CLASS AMENITY KIT – MIDDLE EAST WINNER: Buzz for Etihad Airways Nadeem Shaikh, Etihad’s Manager, Procurement and Supply; Rouba Georges, Buzz’s Client Relationship Director; Etihad’s Zul Jumaat; and Alison Davies, Buzz’s Group Account Director
FIRST CLASS AMENITY KIT – ASIA WINNER: SPIRIANT for Asiana Airlines SPIRIANT’s Addy Ng, Director Design, and Thomas Berti, Managing Director; Angie Fung, Managing Director for SPIRIANT Asia Pacific Ltd.; and MoonJung Ha, Sales and Customer Service Manager
Kara Rich, Buzz’s Senior Director, Partnerships and Business Development, Americas; Gilles Néron, Air Canada’s Senior Director, Strategic Procurement; Emily Connelly, Buzz’s Client Relationship Director; and Andrew Yiu, Air Canada’s Vice President, Product
FIRST CLASS AMENITY KIT – MIDDLE EAST WINNER: FORMIA for SAUDIA SAUDIA’s Gassim Qazwani, Product Management Specialist; Ahmed Alolkumi, Specialist Product Management; and Azman Ahmad, GM Product Management with SAUDIA’s Fahad Bahdailah, VP Corporate Communications (second from right) and FORMIA’s CCO Philipp Wendschuh
ECONOMY CLASS AMENITY KIT – MIDDLE EAST WINNER: FORMIA for Qatar Airways FORMIA’s Alex Kovacs, Area Sales Director, and Philipp Wendschuh, Chief Commercial Officer
BUSINESS CLASS AMENITY KIT – ASIA WINNER: WESSCO International for Japan Airlines Nick Bregman, WESSCO’s Chief Operating Officer; Bob Bregman, WESSCO’s Founder and CEO; Luigi Auricchio, WESSCO’s Global Creative Director; Japan Airlines’ Tomohiro Fujio; Tomoko Fujisaki WESSCO’S Director of Sales Asia; Japan Airlines’ Kenya Okazawa; and Petros Sakkis, WESSCO’s CMO PAX-INTL.COM
ECONOMY CLASS AMENITY KIT – ASIA WINNERS: Galileo Watermark for EVA Air and WESSCO International for Garuda Indonesia Tamara Vazquez Perez, Galileo Watermark’s Marketing and Brand Partnerships Director; Paula Wines, GW’s Creative Director - Amenities; EVA Air’s Tommy Feng and Candice Liu; Paul Hunter, GW’s Global Sales Director; Johannes Kloess, GW’s Managing Director
FIRST CLASS AMENITY KIT – EUROPE WINNER: SPIRIANT for Lufthansa German Airlines Thomas Brandt, SPIRIANT’s Customer Service Manager Inflight Products; Julia Grund, SPIRIANT’s Brand Development Manager; Birgit Frey, Lufthansa’s Senior Product Manager Inflight Services; Thomas Berti, SPIRIANT’s Managing Director
Nick Bregman, WESSCO’s Chief Operating Officer; Tomoko Fujisaki, WESSCO’S Director of Sales Asia; and Petros Sakkis, WESSCO’s CMO
CHILDREN’S AMENITY KIT – C.I.S. COUNTRIES WINNER: Kaelis for Air Astana Fernanda Veiga, Kaelis’ Chief Marketing Officer, and Federico Heitz, Kaelis’ CEO; Air Astana’s Yevgeniya Ni, Vice President HR and Administration; Svetlana Dakhova-Bagranova, Manager – International Menu Design & Development; and Saule Smagulova, Air Astana; Asiya Gabdullina, Kaelis’ Regional Director; Makpal Sarimbekova, Air Astana; Manoj Pridhanani, Kaelis’ Creative Manager
BUSINESS CLASS AMENITY KIT – EUROPE WINNERS: skysupply for TAP Air Portugal and AK-Service for Aeroflot Cem Gemici, skysupply’s Business Development; Joel Fragata, TAP Air Portugal’s Head of In-Flight & On-Ground Product; and Wolfgang Bücherl, skysupply’s Managing Director
Aleksander Ferenz, CEO of AK-Service, and Nadezhda Trofimchuk, Business Development Director
BUSINESS CLASS AMENITY KIT – C.I.S. COUNTRIES WINNERS: AK-Service for Uzbekistan Airways and FORMIA for Air Astana Nadezhda Trofimchuk, AK-Servoce’s Business Development Director, and Aleksander Ferenz, CEO
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Air Astana’s Yevgeniya Ni, Vice President HR and Administration; Svetlana Dakhova-Bagranova, Manager – International Menu Design & Development; and Saule Smagulova; FORMIA’s Iman El Zeky, Brand & Business Development Director, and Air Astana’s Makpal Sarimbekova
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International flavors Our team was dazzled by the hustle and bustle of this year’s World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo. Here is just a sampling of the sights we took in last month More delicate delicacies from gategroup
A new look for Monty’s Bakehouse
gategroup impressed as always with its live chef demonstrations
Beer, cheeses and more were found at Group SOI’s booth
Castello Monte Vibiano’s wines were served with pride at FORMIA’s party
A selection of kids’ onboard amenities from Albéa
Live music and good friends welcomed our team at WESSCO International’s annual dinner
42 MAY 2018
1000+ Attendees | 200 Exhibitors | 100 Airlines Join IFSA at the epicenter of innovation at the largest gathering of professionals in the onboard industry for: ●
An EXPO showcasing new products, presenting industry developments and advancements, and spotlighting the best food, beverage, amenity, and onboard products from around the world
Thought Leadership from leading aerospace executives addressing trends and future forecasts
Networking opportunities with a wide group of colleagues and key leaders to enhance relationships and generate partnerships
For more information visit www.ifsa.aero
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30 MARCH 2 APRIL
WELCOME ONBOARD. Defining the future of the global passenger experience industry. Four leading events, one week, one destination. Delivering content, driving innovation and developing connections to transform your business. Showcasing the latest cabin interiors, inflight entertainment and connectivity, passenger comfort, catering, retail offerings and software technology to create the ultimate passenger experience.
30 MARCH 2020
4 LEADING EVENTS 1 WEEK - 1 DESTINATION
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