Why April is the Sweetest Month for the Passenger Experience

Forget what Eliot said about April being cruel..he said a lot of things. The fact is, when it comes to the airline passenger experience, April is one of the sweetest most vibrant months of all. (And October is tasty too!)

That’s because April is the month when the Passenger Experience Conference, the Aircraft Interiors Expo, and the World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo take over the beautiful  Hanseatic City of Hamburg, revealing myriad possibilities for passenger experience improvements. Some already flying and others blue sky.

Of course, it is also when we learn the winners of the Crystal Cabin Awards, recognising the best innovations in the sector. This is a special year for the awards, as it celebrates its 10th anniversary.

It’s all enough newness to make daffodils blush!

The Passenger Experience Conference (PEC) will feature industry specialists and visionaries who will share their views on the future trends of the passenger experience industry.

This year, the conference will focus on the three elements critical to the passenger experience, exploring opportunities to improve air and rail travel through cabin interiors innovations, in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC), hospitality, service and retail. 

Moderators leading in-depth breakout sessions, will include: Blake Emery, Director of Differentiation Strategy at Boeing, and Rich Salter, Chief Technology Officer of Lumexis who will discuss and debate these three key elements of the passenger experience.

Keynote speakers will include Garen Moreno from BMW Group Designworks, who will lead a discussion on the needs of ageing travellers and the opportunities for passenger experience improvements of the digital age.

Juan Carlos Iglesias, from Immfly, will discuss the onboard e-commerce potential of the IFEC session. Chris van Rÿswÿck from Pragma Consulting will explore changes in seamless digital experience and ancillary sales.

Vassilios Georgakopoulos, Director Product Marketing and Michael Wahl, Vice President Product Marketing and Innovation of LSG Sky Chefs, will discuss hospitality, service and retail opportunities, as  industry and passenger needs evolve.

Also making presentations on Passenger Experience trends will be:

  • Ian Scoley, Vice President Industrial Design of ZEO, Zodiac,
  • Niels Steenstrup, Senior Vice President of Global Airline Sales at Gogo 
  • Alexis Steinman, Senior Vice President of Digital Media Solutions at Global Eagle Entertainment.

As the day closes and before the Industry Networking Party, there will be a Leaders in Innovation session featuring speakers Don Buchman, VP and General Manager Commercial Mobility at ViaSat, and Michelle Lee, Director of Marketing and Guest Experience, Aer Lingus.

“This is an exciting time to be a part of the passenger experience industry and the Passenger Experience Conference cannot be missed. Travellers are looking for so much more than just a flight from A to B and the conference is all about defining the future of the passenger experience industry and showcasing what it has achieved in the cabin, in IFE and in hospitality,” says Katie Murphy, Senior Exhibition Director. “The experiences on board, from physical to digital, are rapidly evolving and the possibilities to revolutionise the passenger experience are endless.”

 

The PEC on 4 April kicks off Passenger Experience Week, with the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) and World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) taking place April 5-7, 2016.

This will be the 17th year for the Aircraft Interiors Expo, which comes as a bit of a shock to those of us who remember the first year the event was held in Hamburg (and even remember attending the Expo in Cannes). Surely, it was all just yesterday!

The event–like any well-tended spring garden–has flourished and bloomed into a veritable conservatory of all that is aircraft cabin and in-flight passenger experience related.  

Where once it was a modest (can’t-miss) gathering of manufacturers and airline buyers, it has become the Mecca of the sector, a unique opportunity to see new technologies and products in the cabin interiors, inflight entertainment and passenger comfort industries.

One must pack light and wear comfortable shoes!

This year’s event will again be large enough in scope to count as an olympic event. Beyond the 530 exhibitors who have shown off their products and services at the event in prior years (including Panasonic Avionics, B/E Aerospace, Airbus S.A.S., Zodiac, Boeing, et.al.), the AIX will host more than 60 first time exhibitors including: Spafax, Comfly, Mirus Aircraft Seating.

The World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) will feature a wide range of product innovations from over 300 international industry suppliers, including LSG Sky Chefs, Global Inflight Products, gate group, Albéa, Colpac Ltd, Anaik and The Bake Factory, part of the Crantock Food Group. WTCE 2016 will also host networking events and demonstrations from world-class chefs.

For more information or to register, you can visit the event site here.

Additionally, the Aircraft Interiors Expo Asia will co-locate with the Airline Passenger Experience Association EXPO in Singapore in October of this year, adding a rich layer of insights and perspectives on the cabin experience and air travel to this year’s calendar. 

“Both APEX and Reed Exhibitions have a history of incredibly successful events, so this collaboration will be a win-win for our industry as a whole. We are enthused that APEX will gain more members through our collaboration efforts to advance the passenger experience,” said Joe Leader, APEX CEO.

Katie Murphy, Senior Exhibition Director at Reed Exhibitions, said: “Following feedback from our exhibitors and airline attendees, we are delighted to be co-locating AIX Asia next fall alongside APEX EXPO. This provides a great opportunity to bring the industry together and we are looking forward to a fantastic show in Singapore.”

Flight Chic will be reporting from these events–and others throughout the year.

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