Airline Passenger Experience - APEX

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Something in the Air: A Timeline of Scent Events


Allegheny County commissioners in Pittsburgh vote down a proposed installation of cologne dispensing machines in women’s lounges at airports, citing that too many women would object to the odor being dispensed.


Viktor & Rolf’s Flowerbomb fragrance, packaged to resemble a hand grenade, is banned from sale at Oslo airport due to security concerns.


The Parisian metro introduces the scent of carnation into their trains to increase comfort and well-being among passengers.


NTT Communications Corp launch a “scent-emitting LCD display system” at a Tokyo train station, which emits tempting aromas corresponding to the onscreen imagery and lures hungry passersby into nearby food outlets.


Singapore Airlines launches the airline industry’s first branded scent, Stefan Floridian Waters, to be worn by flight attendants, blended in hot towels and generally permeated throughout the entire fleet.


Qantas launches a green-tea fragrance for their business class lounges.


Marin County’s County Parks Commission declared their building to be what many consider the world’s first legallysanctioned “fragrancefree” zone.


Japan Airlines launches two aromas for domestic and international lounges at airports throughout Japan – a Japanese cypress, leaf and pine needle scent for the morning and a rosewood, lavender and vetiver scent for evenings.


The Westin hotel chain launches their White Tea scent.


Swiss International Airlines becomes the first allergy-free airline.

illustration: julie carles

Making Sense of Scent-Free Zones It was as late as 1989 that smoking was still in the process of being banned on major airlines. In 2014, the thought of 12B in the seat beside you smoking a cigarette is shocking – even more so if 11C and 13C are also lighting up. Secondhand smoke is harmful to our health, creates an unpleasant atmosphere and as a side effect, stinks. Smoking inside an aircraft violates various health and safety regulations, but other scents can have a similar effect on consumers without breaking any laws. For someone with asthma or allergies to chemicals, dusts, molds or fungi, bacteria, gases, vapors and odors can be very disruptive. Potentially offending

Airline Passenger Experience Association

odors can include heavy perfumes, lotions, lack of hygiene or even the tuna sandwich you had for lunch. We now often see signs indicating we are entering a scent-free zone. These “zones” are typically places where strangers gather in close proximity for extended periods of time or where a heavy scent could interfere with existing chemicals, such as in a doctor’s office. Some scent-free zones maintain air purity and protect against environmental sensitivities by diffusing the output ducts of their HVAC system with neutralizers, but human interaction still plays a role in the result, and that’s harder to manage.

Scent is a tough thing to enforce. If a sign says don’t pet the lions and the zookeeper sees you with your hands through the cage you will be reprimanded. A heavy perfume or the stink from last night’s soccer game seeping through a t-shirt is harder to recognize and more difficult to politely address, even with a “scent-free zone” sign hanging on the wall. It may be straightforward to ask someone to keep their voice down in a library, but if there’s a heavy scent in the air, a clothespin over the nose might be your only option.

june - july 2014


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