get travel tips directly from (holograms of) locals…

When you’re waiting for a flight at the airport, you’ve usually got some time to kill. Some people watch Netflix on their phones, some have a drink at the bar, but KLM has come up with another constructive way to capitalize on these moments.

They’ve developed a “bar” currently at airports in Amsterdam, Oslo, and Rio de Janeiro where people can connect with others in the country they’re off to visit to gather tips on local customs, culture, and sights.

Dubbed “Take Off Tips”, here’s how it works:

“KLM is matching travelers up with people at the destination they’re flying to. For example, someone at Schiphol Airport who is about to fly to Norway will be connected with someone at Oslo’s Gardermoen airport who is waiting to board a plane to Amsterdam. To connect the people on opposite sites of the world, the bar is equipped with hologram technology so it can project a real-time virtual image of the traveler at the other airport.”

Why It’s Hot:

From a brand perspective, it’s a great new example of KLM “social airline” experience – connecting people to enhance their otherwise impersonal flying experience (see “Layover with a Local” and “Meet&Seat”.

From an experience perspective, it’s a brilliant solution to a common problem – our current main recourse to get the same tips would be Googling, dredging Trip Advisor, etc. – secondary resources to gain a first-person perspective. Plus, it removes quite a bit of work involved in that process.

From a cultural perspective, it’s getting us off our screens and in touch with each other. Increasingly, the promise of technology is not going to be “there’s an app for that”. As digital infiltrates the physical world, technology is facilitating more human-friendly interactions, such as sitting down at a booth and being projected holographically so that it’s just a face-to-face meeting, no devices needed.

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Emirates moves toward windowless planes, starts with first-class seats

Emirates president Tim Clark has been talking about virtual windows in an interview with the BBC.

And no, this isn’t just some wacky concept outlined in a recently granted patent. The first virtual windows are already here, in the first-class cabin of Emirates’ newest Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

Clark said external fiber-optic cameras stream images to the virtual windows, apparently offering high-quality images that are actually superior to what you see when looking through a regular aircraft window.

The Emirates president said there was “absolutely no reason” why we can’t have passenger planes fully kitted out with virtual windows in the near future. Windowless cabins would give the aircraft more structural integrity while making it lighter, allowing for faster flights and improved fuel efficiency, Clark said.

But as the BBC points out, the design could prompt safety concerns. For example, in an emergency situation like a fire, cabin crew need to be able to see outside the aircraft to assess the situation before initiating evacuation procedures. If the plane’s power systems fail, that could result in the displays shutting down, leaving crew and passengers stuck inside a truly windowless, and possibly dark, aircraft.

When asked about this apparent obstacle, the European Aviation Safety Agency said it didn’t see “any specific challenge that could not be overcome” with the use of virtual windows inside passenger planes.

While some first-class Emirates passengers already have the chance to try out the virtual windows, it’s likely to be a while before an entirely windowless aircraft — one looking a lot like a cargo plane from the outside — takes off with hundreds of passengers inside.

The technology brings to mind an idea put forward by Airbus several years ago for windowless cockpits. The aircraft manufacturer suggested in a patent — one which you may or may not wish to describe as “wacky” — that it would be beneficial to move the cockpit to the back of the plane. It said that having it at the front reduces the aircraft’s aerodynamic qualities because of the complex shape and structure required to house it. The heaviness of the reinforced windows also adds to the aircraft’s overall weight, reducing its fuel efficiency.

As with Emirates’ design, on-board cameras would feed real-time video and pre-stored data to displays in the cockpit, providing pilots with all the visual information they need.

Source: Digital Trends

Why It’s Hot

While possibly more pleasant for travelers AND efficient for air travel, could this also be an additional engagement opportunity for brands? Or an educational opportunity for travels?

Google Flights will now predict airline delays – before the airlines do

Google is rolling out a few new features to its Google Flights search engine to help travelers tackle some of the more frustrating aspects of air travel – delays and the complexities of the cheaper, Basic Economy fares. Google Flights will take advantage of its understanding of historical data and its machine learning algorithms to predict delays that haven’t yet been flagged by airlines themselves.

Explains Google, the combination of data and A.I. technologies means it can predict some delays in advance of any sort of official confirmation. Google says that it won’t actually flag these in the app until it’s at least 80 percent confident in the prediction, though.

It will also provide reasons for the delays, like weather or an aircraft arriving late.

You can track the status of your flight by searching for your flight number or the airline and flight route, notes Google. The delay information will then appear in the search results.

The other new feature added aims to help travelers make sense of what Basic Economy fares include and exclude with their ticket price.Google Flights will now display the restrictions associated with these fares – like restrictions on using overhead space or the ability to select a seat, as well as the fare’s additional baggage fees. It’s initially doing so for American, Delta and United flights worldwide.

Source: TechCrunch

Why It’s Hot

Great example of using AI and predictive methods to drive better customer experience, and combat an industry that is less-than-transparent usually. It makes Google’s search solutions more desired and solidifies it as THE place to search everything. Would like to see if the alerts could get actionable, though, as right now they are more anxiety-creators.

 

Delta encouraging travel… and love? #DeltaDatingWall

Delta Airlines is partnering with Tinder to make dating app dreams come true with their #DeltaDatingWall.

Delta Air Lines, with help from Wieden + Kennedy New York, has put scenes from nine exotic destinations on a wall in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, so that NYC singles can take selfies for their dating profile—looking like attractive jet-setters.

The printed photos on the wall, surrounded by cute illustrations by Andrew Rae, feature Honolulu, Paris, Los Angeles, Pisa, London, Mexico City, Amsterdam, Moscow, and Zurich. And while the selfie-takers might not have the cash to actually fly there, the work does celebrate the fact that Delta flies to the most destinations of any airline from NYC.

The #DeltaDatingWall will be up throughout the summer. On June 17, Delta, in partnership with Tinder, will hold a singles-centric event where you can actually get a proper photo taken next to the wall by a professional photographer.

Why its hot?

  • i-n-n-o-v-a-t-i-o-n
  • Not a traditional partnership but it works for their target audience
  • Delta and Tinder and hosting a singles event where people can get their picture professionally taken with the wallll……

Delta Painted Exotic Locales on a Brooklyn Wall for Singles to Snap Selfies Like They’re World Travelers

Cathay Pacific Airways’ Artmap Project

Cathay Pacific Airways is emailing personalized paintings as birthday gifts to its loyalty club members. Members can share their painting digitally or print a high-resolution copy.

The art piece is made by an algorithmic tool specially designed to create tailored digital paintings using each member’s travel data and flight trajectories.

Why Its Hot

The brief was for a member’s birthday greeting to drive increased loyalty amongst Marco Polo loyalty club members. But the brand understands that consumers are not loyal to programs or points: they are loyal to experiences.

Cathay Pacific is genuinely about meaningful experiences, treating travel with respect, understated elegance and being there when people need it and not when they don’t.This experience is rewarding, inspiring, and personal.

 

Jets on the Fly

On-demand private jet charter company Blue Star Jets has launched a mobile application to offer on-the-spot bookings with access to and from any airport in the world.

The company claims to have the first-ever global private jet app and to be a pioneer in offering 24/7 customer service providing follow-up confirmation within 15 minutes of booking so travelers can be in the air with as little as four hours notice. Blue Star Jets anticipates business to double as a result of launching the app.

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The app enables users to search a favorite location or any global destination for round-trip, one-way and multi-leg flights. Users can access a full list of all available empty leg flights, which are either flying to or from their point of origin empty to pick up other charter clients.

Flyers can choose from a variety of options, including helicopters, turbo props, any corporate jet, an air ambulance, a cargo jet and a jumbo jet.

Read more here.

WHY IT IS HOT

An Uber-like approach to jetting – really? Just because it woks for daily commute, does not mean that the same exact business model can be translated into other categories (or, perhaps, I am simply not their target audience!). Still, great to see how different categories are trying to innovate and push the boundaries of the unthinkable.

S7 Airlines – A World of Pure Imagination

In an online film for S7 Airlines, twenty kids are asked the question “Let’s say you can go to any place you can imagine. What would this world look like?” Their answers range from “real-life mermaids” to ‘a secret world where people live underground’. The film ends with the reveal that these imaginary locations are reminiscent of real destinations that the airline flies to across the globe.

Why It’s Hot:

Tapping into people’s imagination through children and the proving out that those places exist is incredibly inspiring. As adults, we often write off what could be and settle for the logical, what is. By using children as the focal point, older audiences are able to imagine themselves as kids and remove the default way of thinking from their mind set. This makes the older viewer much more vulnerable in letting their mind wander into areas that are usually off limits. It’s also really well executed, so there’s that.

Creative Directors, Szymon Rose and Daniel Schaefer, said: ‘[It’s] easy to forget how incredible and mind-blowing our world is… The goal of the campaign was to encourage Russian travellers to dream big and remind them that there’s a whole world out there. By utilising the limitless imaginations of children we are able to take people on a journey to see our planet in a whole new way.’

DELTA TAPS SEVEN MORE CRAFT BREWS FOR IN-FLIGHT OFFERING

Delta Airlines will start serving brews from seven craft breweries on its flights. On certain routes, passengers will be able to drink beers from San Diego’s Ballast Point Brewing Company, Long Island’s Blue Point Brewing Company, Brooklyn’s Brooklyn Brewery, California’s Lagunitas Brewing Company and Stone Brewing Company, Massachusetts’ Newburyport Brewing Company, and Atlanta’s SweetWater Brewery. Plus, all domestic routes will also serve beer from Samuel Adams.

This year, Delta has taken steps to improve its food selection as well: Besides serving the airlines’ addictive spiced, speculoos-style cookies, the company has partnered with chef Linton Hopkins to design an in-flight menu featuring upscale eats.

Delta Air Lines Regional Craft BeersSources: Eater, Delta Press Release

Why It’s Hot

It’s interesting to see how the airline industry is evolving to changing tastes. We saw British Airways matching in-flight food to music tastes recently. It’s also interesting to see the power that beer tastes in particular are driving a change in the beverage landscape. We’ve seen brewers, such as Shocktop, start to adjust to preferences for craft beer as well.

It does make one wonder if airlines are prioritizing catchy perks over major improvements to comfort.

 

 

 

Win an #EpicFood Tour from Turkish Airlines

Those filtered photos of your exquisite travel meals are no longer just for Instagram. Turkish Airlines wants to see them in a new Epic Food Map contest launched this week in support of the airline’s latest television commercial. The lucky photographer of the most mouth-watering #EpicFood, chosen by soccer stars (the stars of the ad) Didier Drogba and Leo Messi, will win a trip to five international destinations showcased in the spot.

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Read more about the campaign surrounding the contest via AgencySpy.

Why It’s Hot: There’s nothing quite as appealing and engaging as the prospect of an international food tour. Turkey, specifically the intercontinental metropolis of Istanbul, is often referred to as the crossroads of Europe and Asia; the TV spot even asserts that “We fly to more flavours than any other airline.” While it’s not unusual for airlines to promote their diverse register of destinations, Turkish Airlines uses this fact to engage customers and generate social buzz – because who wouldn’t want to travel the world eating delicious, exotic foods?

We have seen lately the emerging trend of airlines embracing just how boring flying can be, but Turkish Airlines instead keeps the traditional focus of the destination. Not even mentioning the journey, the airline shows that travel is all about the food to be enjoyed upon arrival, and offers customers a way to participate in the fun.

As we have discussed previouslycrowdsourcing for content helps brands to build awareness and loyalty, and while traveling across the world may not be something we all have in common, food certainly is.

Delta Hops on the Boring Airline Bandwagon

Last month, Virgin America tried getting people excited about their brand by showcasing just how boring flying can actually be. Now, Delta Airlines is joining the trend with their purposely super-boring game Cloudgazer. In an effort to showcase Delta Studio – their new in-flight entertainment options – Delta had this boring game created to award someone with (wait for it) the most unboring flight (which in actuality is just a free roundtrip flight of the winner’s choice).

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The way the game works is users gaze at clouds (on their computer screen because, well, going outdoors? Ew?!) and the person who clicks on the most clouds before the close of the contest wins the flight. Read more about this scintillating game on Digiday.

Why It’s Hot | Missing the connection here? You’re not alone. To remind the lucky window seat-holders just how boring it is when an airline doesn’t have in-flight entertainment, Delta made a game. It’s a little silly, but this emerging trend of airlines embracing how boring flying can actually be is quite humorous. What opportunities are there for brands in other industries to embrace their failing customer experiences?

British Airways matches in-flight food to music playlists

British Airways is due to start matching its in-flight meals with specific music tracks in order to counteract the fact that a person’s ability to taste is reduced by 30% while in the air. These pairings are based on a study that suggests some tunes can influence your taste buds, and they aim to help bring out the flavor of the food.

The airline’s new “Sound Bite” menu will be available on the “Rock and Pop” audio channel on long-haul flights from November. This 13-track playlist features music that has been carefully selected to go with each item on the menu, with the intention of enhancing the in-flight meal experience.

A study conducted by Professor Charles Spence and his team at Oxford University in the UK suggests that certain music can influence a person’s taste buds. This has been labelled ‘Sonic Seasoning’, with specific tracks seemingly able to make food seem up to 10% more sweet or salty.

British Airways’ chef Mark Tazzioli adds that the findings of this study to his list of considerations (which also included taste being altered at altitude) in order to create the new special edition menu. The “Sound Bite” playlist includes Scottish artist Paolo Nutini’s “Scream (Funk My Life Up)” to go with the Scottish salmon starter, Coldplay’s “A Sky Full of Stars” for a classic British main meal, Madonna’s “Ray of Light” for desserts, and “Nessun Dorma” by Placido Domingo to go with a cup of coffee.

The reasoning behind these tracks being selected were that Scottish musicians enhance the providence of Scottish foods, British music should be paired with British food, high tones boost the sweet flavors of puddings, and a tenor’s low tones suit the bitterness of coffee.

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Source: PSFK

Why It’s Hot

It’s nice to see some innovation in customer service in the airline industry, and this “science” is quite interesting. It seems a little unnecessary, but maybe if you enjoy your flight just a little more, it’s worth it. There may be an opportunity (or potential hipster trend?) to try this in the mainstream restaurant industry as well.

Virgin America’s New Video Asks: If You Can’t Watch the Film, Why Do This in Real Life?

Virgin America has released a new online campaign centering around a six-hour pre-roll video. No, that wasn’t a typo. It wasn’t supposed to say “six-minute.” That’s six hours.

The six hour video is meant to depict – in “real time” – the experience of flying on a typical competitor airline for a 5 hour and 45 minute flight from Newark to San Francisco. Here, that airline is called BLAH Airlines (a fake airline with a real website!), but we can all imagine at least one or two actual airlines they’re referring to. The seats are cramped, the lighting is harsh, there’s no great entertainment, and no real food.

Read more on Adweek.

Why It’s Hot | Many of our clients fear being ‘too negative’ or focusing too much on their competition. Virgin takes an interesting approach to avoiding both of things, by still actually doing them. The “real time” look into a BLAH Airlines experience doesn’t actually talk badly about Virgin competitors, but the message is obvious enough to anyone who has flied recently.

It’s also interesting because here, they’re using a typically short and easily-digestible channel (YouTube video, pre-roll specifically), in a completely new (and quite frankly, bonkers) way. But the ridiculous and “ineffective” use of the short-form video placement actually hammers home the message it’s meant to –  “Just trying to watch the video is downright painful—and that’s the point. If you wouldn’t sit through the entire film, why would you pay money to experience it in real life?”