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Last month saw Air Tahiti Nui unveil its unique, French Polynesian-inspired crew uniforms. The uniforms complete the passenger experience which includes the previous introduction of the 787 to the airline’s fleet. Air Tahiti Nui’s crew debuted the new uniforms at an event on June 20, 2019 in Paris Le Bourget.

The uniforms which refine the previous incarnation, brings even more colour into their passenger experience, drawing inspiration from the vivid colours used by famed painter, Paul Gaugin. The bright outfits paired with the ocean-inspired palette of the cabin perfectly unify to create a sense of the tropical islands of French Polynesia before passengers even leaves the airport.

The designers, Steeve Liu, known in Tahiti as “Steeve L,” and Moerani Morgrin, or “Moya B,” were tasked with creating uniforms for Air Tahiti Nui’s hostesses and stewards that met the professional requirements of an international airline, while still reflecting the charm, beauty and warmth that are typical of the islands.

Similar in approach to the Thai Airways uniform, the designers created two separate outfits: a formal pre- and post-flight uniform and a less formal in-flight uniform.

The first and more formal uniform, worn by crew while outside the aircraft, features patterns of turquoise tropical foliage on a dark blue background, bringing a touch of exoticism to an outfit that is nevertheless meant to be strict and professional. The borders and red lapels, representing the Polynesian flag, highlight the more rigorous nature of this outfit.

The second uniform, worn by the crew while in-flight, are the fitted Purotu and flowing Mamaruau, popular dresses loved by the women of Polynesia. These dresses feature the vibrant reds, blues, yellows and pinks that were loved by Gauguin, boasting a pattern made of foliage and vanilla blossoms in three color schemes, either mauve on a turquoise background, black on a red background or pink on a yellow background.

Adorned with laces and red piping, these dresses bring the vivid colors and tones that compose the beauty of Polynesian gardens into the cabin. Together, these two outfits distinguish the airline’s authenticity to its destination. It might not be lightyears away from the previous incarnation, but like other Pacific based carriers it goes far to deliver a truly authentic passenger experience built on brand amplification.

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Air France saw the opening of its refurbished lounge in Washington-Dulles International Airport today. The new lounge welcomes Air France La Première and Business customers on both Air France & KLM, and Flying Blue Elite Plus members in a completely revamped, more elegant and modern setting. The lounge, which spans 615 sq. m across two levels can accommodate up to 155 customers, which will be good news for the evening departures of both KLM and Air France which overlap.

Through its choice of materials, furnishings and range of bright colours, the Air France lounge has a sleek, elegant feel. Those with a keen eye will also see the design advancements on the latest CDG lounge, mixed with some of its latest regional spaces.

We have to admit, we love this new direction, which bids farewell to a clinical red, white and blue approach that previous lounges, like the one in New York JFK had adopted in the past. This more retro-inspired fun-detailed approach reflects a contemporary French design touch, and allows the Joie De Vivre to shine through.

The space, which is still minimalist in approach, is framed by an iconic curved bar. Dressed in a lacquered metal structure and completely open to the lounge, the bar offers a selection of wines, Champagnes and spirits, served by a bartender. For the first time in an Air France lounge, customers can also enjoy cold draught beers.

However, the lounge really comes to life in the evening, where the carrier has adopted a similar approach to the JFK incarnation, offering exactly the same fare as can be found onboard in the style of an a la carte restaurant.

At the heart of the lounge, a new dining area has been offering Business customers on the daily 21:10 AF027 flight from Washington to Paris-Charles de Gaulle the Night Service.

The Night Service allows passengers to enjoy the same gourmet French meal in the airport lounge as the one served on board giving them more time to sleep (and the fear of missing out on a dish that you really wanted to try). The full meal comprising a starter, hot dish, cheese, dessert supported by a wine and Champagne list is served directly at their table.

During the day, or for those looking for a lighter meal, there’s a fully stocked self service counter, which frames a dining room that has been designed in the spirit of a Parisian brasserie.

New furnishings and circular benches have been custom-designed to provide “conviviality and comfort.”

The second level of the lounge offers customers a genuinely cosy environment. In a relaxing light-filled atmosphere, where light screens perfectly mimic sunlight and the colour of the sky, customers can relax comfortably in chaises longues or other seating of their choice. A snacking area completes this moment of well-being.

The lounge also features A VIP area with a more private atmosphere, dedicated to customers travelling in the La Première cabin and an area reserved for their most prestigious ‘Ultimate’ customers.

But it’s also packed with all the familiar essentials including a lobby equipped with new eligibility kiosks, for smoother access; a co-working space; high-speed Wi-Fi access and electrical/USB outlets close to each seat; a press kiosk offering French and international newspapers and magazines, in addition to the digital offer available on the “Air France Play” app; and for those arriving at the lounge after a long day, a place to freshen up and relax thanks to an invigorating shower.

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While Cathay Pacific’s latest ethos might have shifted from ‘Life well travelled’ to ‘Move beyond’ it seems that the physical manifestation of the brand hasn’t taken a different tack just yet. The latest offering from the carrier will open tomorrow in Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport. The re-opening of their existing space in the new airline design palette marks the introduction of the airline’s awards-winning lounge design to mainland China for the first time.

Located near Departure Gate D69 in Pudong Airport’s Terminal 2 building, the new lounge is a home-away-from-home for regular Cathay Pacific travellers with all the iconic residential design touches found in the myriad of global lounges developed by Studioilse, the London-based studio led by Ilse Crawford.

Spanning 970 square metres, the lounge uses the phrase ‘Oasis’ to describe its personality. The space features the trademark natural materials such as cherry wood and limestone, while the medley of different leather and Alcantara-upholstered designer furniture is set up to allow guests to “socialise in open areas or wind down more privately in peace and solitude,” according to the press release.

While many of the Studioisle designed lounges for Cathay are enclosed, a particular highlight of this lounge is the Terrace, an L-shaped, open-ceiling verandah that allows guests to take in panoramic views of the apron and runway.

The design of the Terrace is similarly reflected in the open-ceiling food hall, where passengers wanting a pre-flight refreshment can enjoy the convenience of self-serve international hot and cold dishes, freshly baked treats, cheeses and cold cuts that can be picked up from the Servery counter. A variety of wines and spirits are also available at the self-service bar, giving guests the ability to mix their favourite pre-flight cocktails.

Of course, no Cathay lounge would be complete without its synonymous Noodle Bar, and this signature feature is now making its debut in mainland China. Channelling Hong Kong’s beloved tea houses, the open-kitchen Noodle Bar offers a combination of communal long tables and private booths set within a stylish dining area complete with hanging lights and dark-wood ceiling fans.

Here visitors to the lounge can get a comforting taste of Hong Kong by ordering freshly prepared wonton egg noodles with soup – a Cantonese classic – or perk up before their flight with a spicy Sichuan province special in the form of dan dan noodles. Of course, guests can also enjoy some of Shanghai’s own delectable culinary culture with hand-made, soup-filled xiao long bao dumplings among the dim sum dishes served daily.

While the lounge doesn’t feature showers, it’s only really catering to fairly short-haul hops, and therefore those requiring a quick shower can do so while transiting Hong Kong, should they be taking a connecting flight. The lounge however does cater to 305 passengers, features lockers, fast WiFi and is open between 05:30am to 09:00pm daily.

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Alaska Airlines have finally opened the doors to their impressive new flagship lounge in the North Satellite Terminal at Sea-Tac International Airport. Designed by Seattle architect Graham Baba, this 15,800 square foot lounge oozes West Coast charm, framed by picture windows looking out across the runway, Olympic Mountains and of course, downtown Seattle.

Once inside, you are greeted by an impressive fire pit, which gives the impression of Icelandair’s lounge at Reykjavik at first glance. But unlike there, this lounge allows passengers to try any one of a dozen Seattle microbrews at the spacious bar, taste complimentary Pacific Northwest-inspired bites or enjoy custom-brewed espresso beverages and teas from an Alaska Lounge barista.

The opening of this Seattle lounge follows the recent renovation of Alaska’s Lounges in Los Angeles, Portland and Anchorage, the opening of Alaska’s JFK lounge and the announcement of a new lounge at San Francisco International Airport, which will be the eighth Alaska Lounge when it opens in 2020. In total, Alaska has invested $50 million in its lounge portfolio.

The new Seattle lounge supports the existing lounge in the main terminal, which features an older design, so it’s well worth hopping across to the North Satellite to enjoy the new space if you have time. While the satellite is still being renovated, this lounge is certainly the crowning glory.

“The old North Satellite worked for 45 years and worked well, but it’s become a living time capsule. We are now headed into the future with a stunning facility that improves the passenger experience with more space, light, and services. Alaska, Seattle’s hometown airline, is a perfect partner to grow with Sea-Tac,” said Port of Seattle Commission President Stephanie Bowman. “Built by Pacific Northwest businesses and residents, this project brings economic opportunities in construction as well as for airport dining and retail businesses, including small, local and disadvantaged entrepreneurs.”

Officially opened today, the new lounge brings to life the new design palette for the now-fully merged Alaska and Virgin America brand. “At Alaska, we truly strive to meet the needs of the modern traveller – and the touches throughout this newest lounge reflect that care and investment,” says Sangita Woerner, Alaska’s vice president of marketing. “This welcoming space is an extension of the remarkable service we provide every day for our guests.”

Guests can visit by becoming a lounge member, flying first class with Alaska or purchasing a day pass. Plus, guests can enjoy 50% off a lounge day pass when they pay with their Alaska Airlines credit card.

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We are in awe by the latest developments at ANA (All Nippon Airways). The airline has just announced its collaboration with famed architect Kengo Kuma and leading British designers Acumen to roll out a total of twelve completely redesigned Boeing 777-300ER aircraft in time for the Tokyo 2020 games.

East Meets West: ANA Launches New Luxury Cabins - YouTube

The first redesigned (premium-heavy) aircraft will serve the Tokyo/Haneda-London route (NH211/NH212) starting from August 2 and over the course of 2 months becoming a daily feature on the city pair.

The five-year project has seen Kuma refine the design and colour palette to be reflective of a modern Japan, however, the main design architecture was brought to life by Acumen, and the cross-continental approach has delivered a truly impressive product which raises the bar, especially in the business class cabin. The entire ANA customer and brand experience has been looked at, including the design of all the seating, galley entrance areas, social spaces and cabin interior design across all four cabin classes.

“Our partnerships with Mr. Kuma and Acumen illustrate that ANA has sought out the input of the most influential voices in the design community for these innovative new cabin designs,” said Hideki Kunugi, Executive Vice President of ANA.

“In 2010, we were the first in Japan to introduce the full flat seat with all aisle access and in order for ANA to continue to lead and set the global standard for comfort and convenience, we knew that it would be necessary to integrate the latest insights from design professionals as we sought to redesign the flight experience and elevate every aspect of travel for our passengers.” 

Introducing “The Suite” First Class Cabin

Eagle eyed avgeeks will notice these new First Class seats aren’t actually new, in fact, the same seat is available on ANA’s flying Honu’s. However, the entire design palette of the 777 now blends seamlessly and seems to make more sense visually here than on the Hawaiian inspired A380.

Designed with impeccable attention to detail, The Suite has been influenced by luxury Japanese hotels (there is a hint of AmanTokyo here) and is the most spacious fully enclosed seating ever seen on an ANA aircraft, and with only 8 seats, this is an intimate and perfectly formed cabin.

While still inherently ‘boxy’ this reflects Japanese clean utilitarian design. What really stands out though are the luxury dark wood veneers, the addition of privacy-enhancing doors and a MASSIVE 43 inch monitor that is the world’s first 4K personal monitor on a commercial airliner.

“The Room” Business Class Seat

At the heart of ANA’s new product investment is a brand new seat design for Business Class called THE Room which is modelled on the Safran Fusio seat, in fact ANA is the launch carrier of this seat model.

Inspired by modern, multifunctional Japanese living spaces, The Room offers for the first time flexible doors for personal privacy that can also be adjusted to share the space with fellow travel companions – from dining together with the family to conducting meetings with colleagues.

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British Airways is making strides in bringing its new lounge concept to life across the globe. This week saw the carrier unveil its latest new lounge in San Francisco, the third lounge Stateside to benefit from the airline’s investment plan for its customers.

The new contemporary lounge replaces the existing space, and is spread across 665 square metres with the same signature views of the runway. British Airways worked alongside British designers Graven on the interior scheme in collaboration with San Francisco based William Duff Associates, who led the architectural design to carefully design a lounge that maximises space.

The lounge also features a number of pieces of artwork from local artists Bill Jacobsen, Doug Hall and Ruth Root.

Removing the swathes of seating rows that previously filled the space the airline has created a number of zones throughout the lounge to cater to its customers’ needs. The signature architectural piece for the lounge is the crafted granite feature bar, which is partnered with a deli bar where customers can help themselves to a wide range of food and drink options.

For First travellers, there is a new exclusive Dining Room, where customers can enjoy fine wines and menus inspired by some of world’s top chefs including Seafood Cioppino with Shrimp, Scallops, Sea Bass, Haricot Vert or Rigatoni with Heirloom Cherry Tomato Sauce, Ricotta and Parmesan.

Carolina Martinoli, British Airways’ Director of Brand and Customer Experience, said: “We know that lounges form an important part of the journey for some of our customers, so we’re delighted to be able to open this new space in San Francisco, the third lounge in the US to benefit from our investment program.

The airline has even created a nifty 360 degree interactive video of the lounge, that can be viewed here. This is the fifth lounge to open under the new design concept after the airlines Club and First lounges in New York’s JFK , Rome in Italy and Aberdeen in Scotland. The British Airways lounge in Johannesburg will be next, with further investment planned in Geneva, Chicago and at the airline’s hub, London Heathrow.

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Singapore Airlines has announced it will be investing more than SGD50 million in a somewhat overdue, revamp of its SilverKris and KrisFlyer Gold Lounges at Changi Airport’s Terminal 3. The current lounges will close in phases, starting August 2019 when the renovations commence, and are expected to be completed by mid-2021. While the final look and feel is still to be confirmed, the visuals from Hirsch Bedner Associates – the studio that created Sirru Fen Fushi Fairmont Maldives and Four Seasons Kyoto – showcase an elegant evolution of their existing design palette.

The new lounges will offer more generous open spaces (up to 30% larger), upgraded facilities and a wide array of F&B selections. The hospitality designers HBA have injected a fresh look and feel to each lounge that is “modern yet homely, while inspiring a sense of timeless elegance.”

This isn’t about re-inventing the wheel though. Suites and First Class customers can look forward to a brand new The Private Room and First Class Lounge, with carefully designed luxurious and intimate seating spaces suitable for both work and rest. The First Class Lounge will continue to feature a flagship bar, and The Private Room, a full-service fine dining section within the lounge. Customers can look forward to an enhanced epicurean journey with fresh and seasonally curated dining offerings, on top of the perennial local favourites.

The Business Class Lounge will also be expanded, featuring four distinct zones. Customers with a short transit can have a light snack in a relaxed café setting, while those with more time to spend may explore a full selection of Asian and international cuisines in the dining hall which will include live stations offering signature local delights.

The Business Class Lounge will also feature a full service bar that doubles up as a self service breakfast station in the mornings. Productivity pods will also be introduced for customers who need a discreet corner to catch up on work, and a rest area with chaise lounges will be provided for customers to catch some shut-eye before their flight.

The KrisFlyer Gold Lounge will double in capacity and include dedicated working spaces, as well as larger al fresco seating and dining areas. The lounge will also be equipped with restrooms and showers.

“With extensive research and feedback garnered from our customers, we have relooked and re-envisioned our customer journey to develop this new design concept for our lounges at T3. Keeping the needs and wants of our customers in mind, we aim to deliver an experience that exemplifies the luxury and warm hospitality that SIA is known for. The project is a key part of our commitment to constantly elevate the customer experience, on the ground as well as in the air, and we look forward to revealing the exciting new offerings as construction progresses,” said Senior Vice President Customer Services & Operations, Mr Marvin Tan.

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The end of June saw Plaza Premium open its doors to a new Helsinki lounge, situated between gates 34 and 40 on the third floor of International Departures Terminal 2, the non-Schengen terminal of Helsinki Airport. The new lounge also features the brand’s new family-friendly feature – Playroom, which is a collaboration with Masterkidz, an international toy designer and manufacturer. 

What better place to introduce a sustainable toy-clad space than a Nordic country. The new Playroom reflects the brand’s ambition to promote family-friendliness and sustainability. Through the partnership with Masterkidz, the latest lounge introduces quality wooden toys that are not only educational and stimulus to spark kids’ imagination; they are also sustainably produced with FSC-certified European beech, Canadian wood and eco-friendly materials including water-based paint and ozone friendly glue.

The rest of the lounge follows Plaza Premium’s signature style. Spanning across 445 square metres with a capacity of 140 guests, the latest lounge features lounge chairs  and seats and impressive runway views through the floor to ceiling windows. All the seats are nearby charging points and have access to high-speed WiFi. Guests can also choose to take a shower before a long-haul flight which is perfect for many of Finnair’s connecting long-haul routes. Individual workstations are available as well as printing service upon request for business travellers. 

Dining experience includes international cuisine and selected signature Finnish dishes served at a live cooking station to complement a wide selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage at the bar. Following the brand’s “go green” culinary approach, all ingredients are sourced locally to reduce carbon footprint and to support the local community. Open between 5 a.m. and mid-night, breakfast is served from 5 to 11 a.m. and all-day menu is available from 11 a.m. onwards. 

It seems the group shows no sign of slowing down its expansion. Plaza Premium Lounge Helsinki is now the eighth lounge in Europe, joining the brand’s six sister locations in the London and the one in Rome, which means the group has over 70 locations across more than 35 international airports. 

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Turkish Airlines has taken their position as a leading European carrier one step further this week with two small luxury additions, but showcase the airline’s never ending improvement to the hard and soft products available onboard. Turkish has just announced two new amenity kits for its long-haul routes, one in Business and amazingly, a fully-fledged kit for passengers in economy.

It is the first time that Versace will be available onboard as an amenity brand, and the bags certainly have the Versace look and feel that is synonymous with the brand. These elegant and timeless designs are also filled with the usual goodies and Versace branded products.

Each kit, for men and women passengers are filled with products designed for each sex, reflecting their needs. The women’s bags – which come in two different designs and four colours feature luxury eye shades, socks, earplugs, hairband, dental kit and tucked in a pocket of the bag, a Versace Eros pour Femme moisturiser, lip balm and mist spray.

The men’s Business Class bag – again in two different designs but in navy and black –features the same goodies, minus the hair band, and the Versace range features the classic Eros for men.

But it’s not the Business Class kits that have raised our eyebrows, no matter how nice. Turkish Airlines has also taken economy class one step further (something Delta have also paid attention to recently) by forging a collaboration with Mandarina Duck who specialise in travel products.

Virtually unheard on in the back of the plane, these fully fledged kits are available to the national flag carrier’s long-range Economy Class passengers. These innovative Mandarina Duck kits, in 5 contemporary colours contain sleep mask, socks, slipper, earplug, lip balm, toothbrush and toothpaste.

The kits also feature Atelier Rebull lip balm, which has a deep rooted past dating back to 1895 and combines the most natural materials in its new travel kits.It is the same brand that is currently in their Economy Class lavatories. These luxury kits are certainly going to stand out with passengers and being a huge product upgrade against their competitors. 

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There are a few times in the past few years I’ve been proud of the advancements in service levels across all cabins, and this is one of them. Delta seems to be bucking the trend of shredding any passenger comforts away and de-bundling the inflight experience. In one bold statement made today, the airline has announced it will be re-inventing the international economy (coach) service across its fleet, starting in November this year.

The service enhancements are two fold, but both are within the soft product. The first is the cabin crew interaction with all economy fliers, the second is in the food and beverage offering, both both are intrinsically linked.

The airline will debut a new industry-leading Main Cabin experience. Free “Welcome Aboard” cocktails featuring Bellinis to start, a hot towel service and mix-and-match options for premium appetisers and larger main courses are just a few of the ways Delta is differentiating its international Main Cabin service on flights over 6.5 hours.

“This is about investing in every single customer who chooses Delta, no matter where they sit on the plane,” said Allison Ausband, Delta’s Senior Vice President — In-Flight Service. “The thoughtful touches we’re investing in throughout the new Main Cabin experience were designed by flight attendants with one goal in mind — delivering an exceptional experience that our customers will rave about and one that our team, the best in the business, is proud to deliver.”

Gone are the usual tray tables, instead a paper napkin is rolled out for each guest, cleverly designed to feature a pocket which holds the cutlery and napkins. On which a serving plate is placed featuring a starter and main course. The serving plate and plating not dissimilar from the new economy service Etihad rolled out recently.

The new enhancements are clever. Twinned with a personalised boarding announcement from the purser at the gate and a turndown service, all these personalised elements have been designed to delight and create “wow” moments. The new service has been tested on no less than 700 flights over the past year, with Delta’s reinvented Main Cabin experience receiving high marks — with increased customer satisfaction scores on the Portland and Tokyo-NRT route over the past year where it was trialled.

But it is not just the personal greeting at the door or the goodbye chocolates served in descent that make the difference, it truly looks like Delta are investing in improving and adding to the passenger experience instead of taking away from it. In addition to recently upgraded amenity kits, more international onboard enhancements are coming soon, like refreshed ear buds and headsets, to further demonstrate the airline’s commitment to creating a best-in-class experience all customers can look forward to.

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