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The annual Crystal Cabin Awards, a competition that strives for excellence in futuristic aircraft interior innovation and design, took place this week in Hamburg, Germany. There were seven categories in total: Greener Cabin, Health, Safety & Environment; Industrial Design & Visionary Concepts; Material & Components; Passenger Comfort Hardware; Passenger Comfort Systems; Premium Class & VIP; and University.
The full list of winners is still trickling out, but we're zoning in on the concepts that are aimed at directly benefiting the future passenger - aka, us. Below, we take a look at a few of the winning ideas. None are guaranteed to appear in the consumer realm anytime soon, but they serve as reasonable prototypes for what we might see down the road. Which are you most excited about?
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Treat yourself during your next flight, as airlines are adding better beers and beverages suitable for an in-flight toast. Here’s a few of the carriers doing the microbrew thing at 35,000-feet, and their newest additions to the up in the air menu:
Delta & SweetWater Brewing Company
No offense to the Budweiser and Coors Light crew, but there’s better things brewing in Delta’s beverage cart. Last month the carrier introduced a little local flavor to their in-flight menu, as they’re offering up something from Atlanta’s SweetWater Brewing Company. Thanks to some new canning techniques sky-high distribution is now available, and you can enjoy some 420 Extra Pale Ale on select Delta flights. These will set you back $6, but for now are limited to flights between Atlanta and New York-LaGuardia.
2014 has thus far been quite the year for Delta, what with the detrimental changes to their SkyMiles frequent flyer program and an emergency landing or two, but this week has been something of a bounce back with a slew of positive news. Among the good news is the announcement that Delta is ready to give something to and not take something from economy class travelers.
Introducing Delta's sleep kits, specifically for the comfort of economy on long-haul international flights. Everyone gets an individual pack containing eyeshades and earplugs. It's very similar to JetBlue's Snooze Packs, which are handed out on red-eye transcontinental flights.
Delta / WiFi / Airlines / Airline News / In-Flight WiFi / In-Flight Comfort / In-Flight Entertainment / Tech Travel / → All Tags
When Delta merged with, gobbled up, or joined forces with Northwest Airlines, the carrier acquired a whole bunch of Boeing 747s. Slowly but surely things have been upgraded and updated to incorporate new levels of flying fun, and recently one of the final pieces was put into place—in-flight WiFi.
This isn’t just an option in and around the lower 48, as the in-flight WiFi on these 747s in Delta’s fleet are able to stream, download, and surf across continents and oceans. The very first flights were those heading over to Narita International Airport in Tokyo, as flights from both Los Angeles and Atlanta were able to flip the switch to this kind of up in the air connectivity.
We've been discussing Economy Class travel quite a lot recently, from surviving a 14-hour flight sitting up to the next generation of seats, and now it's time to share our little secret in the realm of BYO comfort: the MUJI microbead neck cushion.
Neck pillows are ugly, awkward, and embarrassing to be seen with outside an airport. We kind of hate them, actually, Unfortunately, they're still very much required if you hope for any sort of lengthy sleep in economy.
About three years ago we discovered the microbead neck cushion at one of Japanese retailer MUJI's NYC stores, and it's been keeping us comfy company on long flights ever since. At $25, it doesn't break the bank, and there's a few other excellent reasons we deign to drag it along:
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Next week brings good news to 35,000-feet for those looking for better beer options in the cabin, as Delta is set to bring a little Atlanta flavor right into the beverage cart.
SweetWater Brewing Company distribution has been limited to the Southeast, but now things are going sky high. One of the brewery’s best offerings—the 420 Extra Pale Ale—will be come an option up in the air aboard some Delta flights.
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IATA, the International Air Transport Association, released numbers yesterday that showed premium travel to be on the rise. Premium passenger numbers rose 6.1% in January, up from the 4.2% growth in the same month of 2013. Much of the increase is attributed to "positive business developments," especially in the Far East.
"Growth in Asian trade activity over recent months has helped support international business and premium travel," the report said. "There have been some signs of improvement in trade growth in regions like Europe, the US and Asia. This has helped support the stronger growth we are seeing in business-related premium travel over recent months."
Just a couple weeks ago we were discussing the new beer options aboard Alaska Airlines, and now this week it’s once again time to raise a glass—cheers!
Alaska Airlines knows that tastes and smells all work a little bit differently when high in the sky, so they’ve selected some blends and vintages that will perform well on the palate at cruising altitude. Now they’ve partnered with a Walla Walla, Washington winery—say that three times fast—to get some new stuff loaded into the beverage cart.
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We’ve had a thing for American Airlines over the last year, and rightfully so. The carrier gobbled up a competitor, scored a new paint job and branding, and ordered a bunch of new airplanes. They’re going for a fresh look and identity moving forward, and the latest plans to upgrade some less-than-new Boeing 767s just moves them further forward.
One could call the Boeing 767-300ER the workhorse of the carrier’s fleet, and they’re going to upgrade and improve the business class cabin and most of the other interior bits and pieces in about half of the them. It sounds like April 1 will be the day these updated planes hit the skies, as a nonstop flight between New York-JFK and Zurich will be the first route with the refreshed aircraft.
The planes will head into the hangar for this extended maintenance through 2015, so be on the lookout for more and more updated aircraft arriving to a route near you.
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Even with all the bells, whistles, and other accessories to check out aboard an Airbus A380 there’s always the chance for a little bit of boredom—especially on a long-haul flight. Thankfully Thai Airways is aware of our limited attention span, and they just flipped the switch on their in-flight connectivity.
In-flight WiFi is now an option on some of the carrier’s long distance journeys, as their A380 fleet is now equipped with the ability to access the internet in all its social media glory. Joining the A380s with the new technology are also some of the carrier’s A330 fleet, as the necessary bits and pieces needed for this kind of connectivity should be good-to-go on these planes as well.
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We’re all about the beverage cart, and we’re not talking about the difficult decision regarding Coke or Diet Coke. We’re interested in new additions to the in-flight menu, so we wanted to share that Alaska Airlines is adding a new option to their mile high menu.
The airline is starting up a little in-flight beer tasting, as they’re welcoming Silver Gulch Brewing & Bottling Co.'s Old 55 Pale Ale into the cabin. Things will be limited to Bombardier Q400 flights between spots like Anchorage and Fairbanks as well as Anchorage and Kodiak. However, even with the limited availability—we certainly can't complain about a free drink while up in the air.
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After a couple of in-flight Mai Tai beverages you might need a little bit extra room to stretch out and relax, and thankfully that’s now a possibility aboard Hawaiian Airlines. The carrier is jumping on the pay-to-play system when it comes to increased legroom seating, and now these options are officially up for sale to passengers.
You still might need to wait a few months before testing things out, but you can now at least pay a little extra for them and guarantee that they will be available for your flight later this year. These Extra Comfort economy seats will be first available on the carrier’s Airbus A330 fleet, and you are now welcome to select these better seats right on the airline’s website. Travel on or after August 1 is an option as of now, so you might want to delay that vacation until that time.