Air travel has seen a huge revival this summer, with many passengers paying the price while waiting in long lines and managing countless delays and cancellations. However, not all news is bad. Looking to the future, the airline industry has some good things in store to improve the travel experience and hopefully, get passengers to their destinations with less frustration. Run your airline credit cards and update your loyalty points and miles accounts because this fall promises a busy travel season ahead. Here are some of the latest airline and airport updates to expect for the rest of the year and beyond.
American drops Flagship First, redesigns business grade
American is the latest airline to add doors to the business class cabin. In the next few years, its existing (and new) Boeing 777-300ER, Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, and Airbus A321XLR aircraft will be modernized with upgraded business-class seats, dubbed the Flagship Suite, with a sliding door to add privacy. The change means that a member of the oneworld alliance will retire from the Flagship First cabin; It is the last airline in North America to offer a suitable first class.
The new Premium Economy Class seat will also replace the current model on these aircraft. The airline’s logo will feature prominently in the newly designed cabin on the distinctive bulkheads and walls as well as on seat edges and passenger amenities such as duvets. By 2026, American says it will increase its luxury cabin seats by more than 45%. The current fleet of Airbus A321T intercontinental aircraft will lose first class in favor of the Flagship Suite Premium cabin as the aircraft will in the coming years.
American Airlines presents a new design for the Admiral’s Club
In the wake of the imminent opening of Washington, DC’s Reagan National Airport, American Airlines is debuting a new design for all network-wide Admirals Club lounges. An exterior architectural partnership led to the new look, which features a residential style with modern fireplaces, natural wood, and a more sustainable design. It will take some time to see the full show, but the first few lounges to showcase the new design along with DCA will be Austin, Denver and Newark.
Delta upgrades premium economy-class amenities
Passengers traveling in the Delta Premium Select cabin have a lot to look forward to with an upgraded onboard food and beverage experience as well as many new onboard amenities. After takeoff, passengers will be treated to a “bubble and bite” experience with sparkling wine and a small snack. Once the meal service begins, Premium Select passengers will have more options to choose from (such as the braised beef short rib with potato fingers and Dijon green peppers or the impossible meatballs with polenta, Pomodorini sauce, broccolini and braised vegetables).
Meals will come with more sustainable serving tools. Made from the fibers of the sugarcane plant, the new bagasse plates will be served in elegant linen-lined trays with silverware and glassware. The Grown Alchemist amenity kits, memory foam pillows, and toiletries in the new toilets were also updated for this purpose.”
Emirates Airlines boosts its inflight services with $2 billion upgrade
Already a favorite among many travelers due to its high standards of service, Emirates is investing another $2 billion in the product on board with a special focus on luxury cabins. More than 120 aircraft will receive new interiors in all cabins including new or re-upholstered seats and panels. The First Class cabin will see some impressive changes including the option of unlimited Persian caviar with Dom Perignon vintage champagne. New menu options will include pan-fried salmon with mochica sauce, Creole rice and roast duck breast with thyme orange juice.
A menu of snacks will also be available in the cinema including lobster rolls, sliders, edamame and popcorn. New vegetarian menu is on the way as well as updated meal options for business and economy class. Many flights from Dubai will feature a salad using vegetables harvested from the world’s largest vertical farm, Bostanica.
Turkish Airlines uses hanging tapes for hidden disabilities
The Sunflower Lanyard project, started in 2016 in the UK, helps travelers with hidden disabilities and mobility issues navigate the airport at their own pace while managing their anxiety. Turkish Airlines has added the program across its network, which includes more destinations than any other airline in the world, to make travel less stressful. Sunflower ribbons are a symbol of invisible disabilities around the world. Passengers can request one at check-in to use during their flight.
Delta Adds Premium Select Cabin to Hawaii Flights
The airline’s premium economy class cabin, Premium Select, will soon be available on its long-haul flights to Hawaii this winter. It will be available on flights between Atlanta, Maui, Salt Lake City, Maui, New York JFK and Honolulu. This is the first time that the full Premium Economy Class experience has been available on a domestic flight from Delta. The Premium Select features a wider seat with greater recline and foot rest. It’s in a separate cabin where passengers are treated to a suite of amenities, a noise-cancelling headset, upgraded meals and drinks, and a memory foam blanket and pillow.
Delta expands its network of international flights and lounge
Delta Airlines is making big moves internationally as well with new flights launching from many of its gateways. The airline is adding nonstop service from its hub in Atlanta to both Cape Town and Tel Aviv as well as nonstop service between Los Angeles and Papeete in Tahiti. Service to Cape Town and Papeete will begin in December with a Tel Aviv flight beginning in May. At Tokyo Haneda Airport in Japan, Delta also opened the first and only airline lounge in the United States with a new Sky Club. The facility offers five shower rooms, a noodle bar, private phone booths, and a menu of international and Japanese food and drinks.
JetBlue adds new snacks on board
Already known for its wide selection of free (and plentiful) snacks on board for all passengers, JetBlue is adding even more snacks to its repertoire. Chifles Plantain Chips and Simply Stellar Vegan Butter Pretzel Pretzel are coming soon to a flight near you. The new snacks have a good background, too. Banana chips (made by a Cuban immigrant who used to sell regular potato chips on the street) are low in sodium and gluten-free. Salted Braids are produced by the mother-and-daughter team of Nevada, which is said to be the only female-owned pastry manufacturer in the country.
Priority Pass adds 5 British Airways lounges to the network
Priority Pass members traveling to or from the US have five new lounges to enjoy. British Airways has put five of its lounges in the program for members to visit during slower business hours the day before the airline’s passengers arrive. Participating lounges at Baltimore, Newark, San Francisco, Seattle/Tacoma and Washington Dulles airports. Priority Pass is a global membership program with over 1,300 lounges. Many offer membership credit cards as one of many perks including the Delta SkyMiles Reserve Card from American Express, the Platinum Card from American Express, Chase Sapphire Reserve, and Chase Sapphire Preferred among others.
The new Flighty app anticipates airline delays
With a record number of flight delays and cancellations this summer, many travelers are feeling particularly frustrated. A new app called Flighty can help relieve some of the pain. It is able to track flights and travel data to alert travelers about delays and cancellations often in advance of the airline. It also records all your upcoming and historical trips in a visual graphic. The free app is installed on every iPad in the Apple Store across the US and is also available for download.
Singapore Airlines cabin crew celebrate National Day
Singapore Airlines has created a video to celebrate the country’s 57th birthday and show unity after the border closures caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Singapore Airlines Cabin Crew Association members of the Music and Performing Arts Circle sang “We’ll Get There“ And post the video on YouTube for others to enjoy inside or out.