World’s airlines land in Seattle to participate at

25 Sep 2014

World’s airlines land in Seattle to participate at

Passenger Experience Conference



With less than a month to go, over 35 long-haul and regional airlines from around the world will land in Seattle for the Passenger Experience Conference, which will take place on October 14, 2014 at the Washington State Convention Center, to be followed by Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas. An impressive line-up of airline and industry speakers will debate key issues during two Plenary and three Breakout sessions to include Mark Krolick, Managing Director of Marketing and Product Development, United Airlines; Caroline Soegtrop, Manager Inflight Services, Air Transat; Tom Grant, Manager, Inflight Cabin Services, WestJet; Paulo Miranda, Product Director, Ancillary Revenue and HVCs, GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes; Renee Awana, Senior Director, Product Development, Hawaiian Airlines and Jerry Rose, Manager - Cabin Maintenance, Delta Air Lines.


After the morning Plenary session, the programme will divide into three concurrent Breakout sessions to consider some critical aspects of onboard services, which will be timed to allow delegates to transfer from one session to another to suit individual requirements.


The first Breakout will be dedicated to In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) and Connectivity which will be moderated by Michael Planey, Consultant at HM Planey Consultants.


"Airlines are more competitive than ever with onboard services. We will highlight the finest uses of technology in delivering world-class passenger amenities," stated Mr Planey. “Engaging with the passenger begins the moment they click on your website and continues throughout their journey. Staying connected to passengers in flight is a critical component of retaining their good will and loyalty." He added: "A seamless transition from the ground to the air helps to keep passengers focused on their business. Find out how new technology can meet that need and deliver the broadband experience they desire."


Following respective presentations from Jared Shoemaker, Director Cabin Systems at BAE Systems and Peter Deslandes, Director of Experience Design, EMEA at Massive Interactive on the challenges of delivering an engaging IFE interface for passengers, a panel discussion will then debate the use of apps and tablets to open up opportunities for personalisation. Speakers on the panel will include Caroline Soegtrop from Air Transat and Edwin Edillon Jr., Manager - Passenger Experience at Zodiac Inflight Innovations


One topic likely to be debated will centre on the opportunities to provide unique experiences or to dovetail with other initiatives to create a more personal passenger experience, e.g. cabin crew with tablets accessing passengers' preferences, which is an important area according to Mr Edillon Jr.


“With today's connected aircraft, the possibilities to extend the passenger experience with the assistance of all ground and airborne systems really open up. I believe there's no replacement for face-to-face interactions with the cabin crew, but creating new experiences by providing the crew more, non-private information about individual passengers could really set the stage for an even more personal product,” said Mr Edillon Jr.


Another issue for the panel will be how airlines can keep passengers using tablets and mobile devices onboard engaged with their airline brand in a way that also adds value to the passenger, which Mr Edillon Jr. feels is another key issue.


"The holistic travel chain needs to be our focus. Keeping a passenger engaged onboard means keeping them engaged on the ground with a seamless, almost distracting experience. Airlines are utilising their apps today for the core components of the travel chain: booking, IFE, and the passenger’s next flight. By engaging the passenger between these events via their personal devices, an airline's brand can set the tone for trust and additional revenue opportunities." 


The next topic will focus on how inflight connectivity is opening up retail opportunities, which will be presented by Priti Arora, Senior Product Line Manager, Systems at Thales Group.


Turning the passenger cabin into a storefront for the ultimate convenience of buy while you fly is a key focus for Thales. Popular uses include merchandise shopping, pay-per-access, and destination-based purchases. Today, Thales supports six airlines actively engaged in passenger credit card swipe at the seat on more than 700 aircraft flying with on-demand and satellite television systems. With take rates of up to 30 per cent on a given flight, Thales anticipates targeted advertising will lead to an increase in passenger purchasing behaviour over time.


Payment transactions independently managed by the passenger opens time for crew to focus on other onboard activities that drive customer loyalty. “It is a win-win for everyone in the cabin. While passengers realise new “self-services” conveniences, crews are finding that such conveniences help them in their job,” said Priti Arora.


Thales offers an end-to-end turnkey solution covering payment processing, payment gateway and merchant of record. The solution is Payment Card Industry (PCI) certified for real-time, off-line and batched transactions and can integrate with the airline’s payment gateway. Thales estimates payment solutions will grow for the foreseeable future providing airlines new financial benefits over time.


The theme for the second Breakout session will be "The Cabin: Backseat economics and innovation" and the opening presentation will be provided by Gary Weissel, Managing Director of Tronos Aviation Consulting, who will discuss how the business case for premium economy stacks up. During his analysis, Mr Weissel will assess the key trends for premium economy in the Americas as well as asking what airlines can afford to lose from their interiors to make way for this premium economy shift. Mr. Weissel provides a wide range of advisory services within the aircraft interiors industry.


“Premium economy is a small yet lucrative market for many carriers. For international premium economy products, airlines typically allocate more than around 60 per cent more space per passenger and this is accompanied with a comfortable gain in per seat yield, ” explained Mr Weissel.


The next speaker will be Kent Craver, Regional Director Passenger Satisfaction and Revenue at The Boeing Company, who will look at the future direction for long-haul seating in terms of design and technology which will be followed by a panel discussion entitled “What’s Next for Coach Seating?” A high-calibre exchange will be debated by, amongst others, Tom Grant at WestJet and Paulo Miranda at GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes.


Delegates will then hear a much anticipated presentation from Jerry Rose, Manager - Cabin Maintenance at Delta Air Lines, on ways in which to identify modification pitfalls and to mitigate risk.


"Delta recently completed modification of our transoceanic fleet - 151 aircraft - with new cabin interiors, and I look forward to presenting some of the solutions we put in place to meet various challenges we encountered, including how we handle Supplemental Type Certificates (STC) from multiple suppliers and the methods to partner with suppliers and to drive product reliability improvements post entry into service, " said Mr Rose.


The final presentation topic will focus on contingency planning for better project management presented by Jose Pevida, Vice President of Engineering at TIMCO Aerosystems, which will be followed by a closing panel discussion.


Following the conclusion of the Breakout sessions, including a third covering hospitality and service, the Passenger Experience Conference will then close leading to the Industry Networking Reception and Exhibition Preview for Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas and World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo Americas, which will take place on the show floor from 5.00pm - 7.30pm.


Katie Murphy, Exhibition Director for Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas, said: “The first two Breakout sessions will really drill down into the main issues for IFE, cabin classes and seating configurations. With the many expert speakers from both airlines and industry, particularly from the Americas region, there will be plenty of stimulating debates and discussions. Enhancing the passenger experience is a crucially important factor in the fierce battle to win and retain passenger loyalty and the Seattle event will provide an invaluable platform to inject the latest strategic visions and ideas.”


For more information on the Passenger Experience Conference, please visit


For further information, please contact Marc Holloran at CMS Strategic on Tel: +44 (0)20 8748 9797 or email




Notes to Editors About Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas will take place in Seattle, the hub of aviation, from October 14-16, 2014. Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas is the largest dedicated aircraft interiors event in the Americas region, showcasing airline interior design and airline cabin management systems. Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas is the unrivalled launch pad for tomorrow’s designs in cabin interiors, in-flight entertainment, connectivity and passenger services. The exhibition attracts buyers and decision makers from major scheduled, regional and charter airlines and offers the opportunity to meet face to face with suppliers and manufacturers covering the full spectrum of the industry.


About Reed Exhibitions Reed Exhibitions is the world’s leading events organizer, with over 500 events in 40 countries. In 2013 Reed brought together over six million active event participants from around the world generating billions of dollars in business. Today Reed events are held throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa and organized by 34 fully staffed offices. Reed Exhibitions serves 43 industry sectors with trade and consumer events and is part of the Reed Elsevier Group, a world leading provider of professional information solutions.






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