Every week, besides the articles I write here on Flight Chic and on VolandoAndo, I prepare Flight Chic Special Reports for leading industry publications.
I am tasked with set assignments and encouraged to recommend topics, but I don’t decide what news will be hot each week and what developments might need a special article. The fates of aviation decide such things. That’s why the common threads between these stories fascinates me. Just as it happened week before last, these stories evolved with an unintended theme. The theme was: stuff to argue about.
You might have missed these six spicy controversies (and the little wafer) but–if you have the stomach for a bit of hot in your arguments–they will satisfy your appetite for aviation news.
Contributions to leading travel intelligence site, Skift, and to the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) Magazine.
1. The Amuse-Bouche, was refreshing, well suited to this spicy week. If you’ve ever wondered what all the fuss is about, and why we all don’t just get on with the business of modernising those aircraft, this quick video could enlighten: Air France Shows How Great Aircraft Interiors Come Together, Skift
Having spent years in hangars (not always under the best circumstances) this video from Air France brought a smile to my face. I can’t really say I miss those heady hectic days, though perhaps I do a little, but it’s much nicer to sit here at my keyboard and tell you all about it.
2. Then this happened: US Airlines Planning More Cuba Flights As Restrictions Drop, Skift
I spent many years in Miami with the Cuban community and I know that, for some, the opening up of relations with Cuba is a bad idea (to put it nicely). I have to say I think it’s wonderful. Cuba (I’ve heard as I haven’t been yet) is the most beautiful of the Caribbean islands, a veritable natural paradise. The political situation, though, has been more the stuff of nightmares. The dictatorship of Castro, and subsequent blockade by the US, have set the nation back and made Cuba something akin to a butterfly trapped in amber. There is a Spanish saying: There is no evil which lasts 100 years, nor body which could withstand it. With relations beginning to warm again after 50 years, it seems that Spanish saying will prove true in this case. Americans still can’t travel to Cuba for tourism, but since this decision followed not too long after President Obama’s announcement on lifting restrictions, Tourism could be an option soon enough. Jason Clampet, Co-Founder and Head of Content at Skift, details the current rules in this article.
3. Smart Planes Get Smarter Solutions from SITA OnAir, APEX Magazine Digital
What’s so controversial about the future of connected aircraft you ask? Well, on the surface nothing. It should be (and can be) straightforward, given modern technologies. Still, some features of connected aircraft which might help with improved aircraft tracking, are topics of ongoing..let’s call it dialogue..in the industry. SITA OnAir’s newest package of services will make short work of integrating all the relative systems, and I’m pretty excited about it. Speaking with Ian Dawkins, CEO of OnAir, it was easy to see that this suite of solutions would be attractive to many airlines. SITA is also an IATA strategic partner, so I believe it stands a chance of overcoming objections and receiving the nod from the Air Traffic Task Force (ATTF).
4. Spotlight on the Middle East: Beyond the Heated Competition for Luxury, APEX Magazine Digital
In this article I gave a quick summary of the hot developments you need to know about just how far the Gulf carriers could extend their global influence. The unparalleled growth of Gulf carriers has Europe’s airlines nervous. It’s no surprise, really, these airlines are eating the traditional EU carriers’ lunch and dinner.
5. Abu Dhabi Airport’s US Customs Pre-Clearance Program Is Extended, Skift
Speaking of growth in the Gulf, this airport pre-clearance at Abu-Dhabi is a real asset to those travelling to the US.
6. World’s Best Airlines for the Economy Long-Haul Experience, Skift
If you want to make lots of friends around the world, try helping set up a new airlines rating system. Actually, this is a fair start to a grand ambition and always a work in progress. No apologies. Skift should get due credit for focusing first on the Economy cabin, often woefully ignored. More to come.
And the little wafer:
If you’re not into Monty Python, you probably won’t get that reference, but it doesn’t matter.
This is one to make you marvel: Ryanair has said it will look at IFE again. I say again because it didn’t go all that well last time. This time will be different. Really. Promise. Probably.
Featured Image: A nice inflight meal on Finnair Business Class/Finnair