Welcome to part three of our Technology in the Cabin series. This section is looking at how technology can be integrated into the cabin and be used to drive brand loyalty.
Part Three: Catering for the future of technology onboard
Airlines are not only turning to technology to entertain and inform passengers onboard but to drive brand value. Online pre-order menus and IFE screen-based menus are taking the place of traditional paper-based menus. By encouraging pre-orders, airlines can improve catering logistics and predict food and beverage demand while delivering a personalised service. Another side effect is that it results in significantly less waste as airlines only need to load the items requested by their passengers.
Many airlines have already recognised these benefits, introducing incentives to encourage passengers to pre-order ahead of boarding. Airlines such as Eurowings, Flydubai, Finnair and Aer Lingus, offer online discounts, special offers and even the opportunity to sample first-class dining in economy on selected transatlantic flights when pre-booked. While Alaska Airlines was the first to offer App menus, airlines such as Qantas were quick to follow, letting passengers choose their preferred complimentary in-flight meal through its mobile App.
Long haul solutions
For long-haul flights, many airlines are recognising opportunities to combine the IFE offering with special offers for movie snacks, tempting passengers with treats and beverages while they settle back and enjoy a movie onboard. On selected Virgin America flights, passengers do not need to wait for the cart to request a snack or cocktail but can order for delivery to their own seat, or a fellow passenger’s seat as an extra special treat.
Connectivity also offers the potential to transform retail sales onboard. British Airways and Swiss International Airlines offer passengers a chance to browse inflight catalogues before boarding, even purchasing for delivery in the sky. Lufthansa integrated its sales platform into seatback entertainment systems, while Korea Air has introduced a physical store display to promote its retail offer. The popular ‘SkyShop’ also offers online and in-seat purchases and has helped the airline retain its position as the world’s leading airline for onboard sales, with sales reaching $143 million in 2018.
Defining the future of onboard services
For more on the future of inflight catering, make sure to head to the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Hub, our co-located show.
Join us next week as we conclude this series looking at technology and the future of flying.