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Lufthansa sets new standards in cabin design and service

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Air & Sea

Lufthansa will significantly enhance passengers’ travel experience this year with a range of initiatives. The various innovations are based on customer feedback: modern cabin design in the entire fleet, new service concepts on board, an innovative pricing concept and a substantial expansion of the long-haul network to include new dream destinations will make Lufthansa even more attractive for business and leisure travelers.

At the Lufthansa press conference at the ITB in Berlin, Jens Bischof, Member of the Lufthansa German Airlines Board Product, Marketing & Sales and Chief Commercial Officer, said: “In 2015, our customers will experience the best Lufthansa there has ever been. Over the past few years, we have invested billions in completions, quality and services on behalf of our passengers, who will now benefit from this investment.” As an airline, we are once again where Lufthansa belongs – namely in the leading group of international premium airlines. Our guests can be sure that “Made in Germany” as a seal of quality applies to all Lufthansa flights. We are on the right track to becoming the first, Western 5-star airline, and day for day we offer the quality that other airlines can only speak of.”

All aircraft to have state-of-the-art seats in every travel class

From the third quarter of this year, all Lufthansa long-haul aircraft will be upgraded with the latest cabins and state-of-the-art seats in every travel class. In addition, the powerful FlyNet broadband internet service will be available on board all long-haul flights. This will bring the largest and most comprehensive retrofit programme in the company’s history to a successful close. Since 2011, Lufthansa has invested an average of around EUR 1m per day in refitting its cabins. The total amount invested comes to approximately EUR 1.5bn. Around 39,000 seats have been either replaced, modified or, in the case of new aircraft, fitted on Lufthansa’s long-haul aircraft: 600 seats in First Class, 7,000 seats in Business Class and more than 27,600 seats in Economy Class. Around 3,600 seats are being newly fitted on Lufthansa’s 106 long-haul aircraft for the new Premium Economy Class, which has already become a top-seller. The new Premium Economy Class is currently available on 30 long-haul aircraft. From the end of this year at the latest, passengers will be able to travel in Premium Economy on all intercontinental flights. FlyNet is also being installed as part of the cabin conversion, and will be available on all long-haul flights in future. The FlyNet service provides broadband internet access via an on-board Wi-Fi network. In addition, there is on-board access to the FlyNet online portal, which has the latest news and the Sport24 live TV channel, which broadcasts major sporting events live. Passengers wishing to work or to surf the internet above the clouds, for example, can now go online while on the move with FlyNet. Jens Bischof adds: “We are very close to completing our retrofit programme. Our guests are already enjoying the modern cabin interiors with our latest seats in every travel class on most of our long-haul flights, and the feedback is extremely positive. As far as customers are concerned, Lufthansa is back at the top.”

Service in Business Class similar to a high-class restaurant

In addition to the new cabins, flight attendants in Business Class will be providing their passengers with even more personalized care in future and tailoring their service to the individual needs and expectations of guests. This will include the introduction of an innovative “Business Class Restaurant Service” on long-haul flights this summer, which will see the in-flight service being modeled on the culinary experience provided by a high-class restaurant: Tables will be set individually, and meals and drinks will no longer be served from the trolley, but will instead be brought directly from the galley to passengers individually. Each flight attendant will have a set number of passengers for whom they will act as a personal host and point of contact. There will be additional cabin crew in Business Class on long-haul flights to enable this. “The service provided will have a more personal touch as a result of this new concept, and will be even more in tune with the individual rhythm of each passenger,” explains Jens Bischof. “In doing so, we’re not just ahead of the rest again when it comes to cabin interiors, but are also setting new standards in in-flight service.

Three new fare options in Economy Class: Light, Classic and Flex

The new pricing concept for German and European routes is also more closely tailored to the individual needs of passengers. It will still be possible for customers to book a flight in Business Class, but in future, they will have more options. And in Economy Class, passengers will always be able to choose from three different fare options. This means that they will be able to decide for themselves which services they would like to use and pay for. The three new fare options – Light, Classic and Flex – will be introduced in Economy Class for flights within Europe from autumn 2015. Tickets will be available for purchase from the summer. The new Light fare will be the best-value option for passengers who are only travelling with hand baggage and who do not wish to check in any luggage, nor make use of any of the rebooking and refund options. The Classic fare allows passengers to take one piece of luggage free of charge, as well as giving them the opportunity to reserve their preferred seat as soon as they make their booking. If necessary, the Classic fare can be rebooked for a fee. The Flex fare offers the most attractive overall package with many services included, as well as the possibility to rebook at no charge and, if necessary, to obtain a refund for a fee. In addition, travelers who have booked the Flex fare will be able to take an earlier flight on the day of their booking in future, without being required to pay a surcharge for what may be a more expensive booking category. Finally, Business Class will still be available to business and leisure travelers on all flights and will include the familiar benefits, such as lounge access, a greater free baggage allowance, an unoccupied neighboring seat for more privacy and extra air miles. The three new Economy Class fares, which will always be available, will have their services and features displayed clearly and transparently for travel agencies and passengers, making it quicker and easier to compare fares at a glance. It will also be possible to combine the different fare options when booking outward and return flights. All Lufthansa passengers will still receive a free drink and snack service on board with all fare options. They will also be able to take hand luggage on board, select their seat when checking in less than 23 hours before departure and earn miles with Miles & More, as these will remain set features of a Lufthansa flight with no extra charge. As is already the case, ticket prices will depend on the route and the level of availability, and the differences between them will be even more pronounced as a result of the new fare options outlined. Details of the new fare options for Economy Class on German and European flights will be outlined when tickets go on sale in the summer.

Five new destinations for tourists

No fewer than five new long-haul destinations will be added to Lufthansa’s flight timetable in the coming autumn. The 15 additional flights per week to the “dream” destinations Tampa, Cancún, Panama, Malé and Mauritius will make Lufthansa’s route network even more attractive, particularly for holidaymakers and leisure travelers. Guests will be able to enjoy the flights in Business, Premium Economy or Economy Class.

With its newest destination in Central America, Lufthansa is expanding the scope of its partnership with the Panamanian airline and Star Alliance member Copa Airlines. Lufthansa customers will be able to comfortably reach more than 50 further destinations in Central and South America as well as the Caribbean with this partner airline.

Jens Bischof says: “The addition of attractive new destinations to our route network combined with our quality and service offensive will not just impress our passengers, but also excite them. For our customers, 2015 marks the beginning of a new calendar – the best Lufthansa of all time.”

Air Canada to launch nonstop service from Toronto to Dubai

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Air & Sea

Air Canada today said that it will launch non-stop service between Toronto and Dubai beginning in November 2015. The new route will extend the airline's international network farther into the Middle East at a time of increased travel between North America and the region.

"Air Canada's international growth strategy continues to accelerate with the addition of the seventh new international destination to our global network announced in the past year. The three-times-weekly Dubai service will be Air Canada's first non-stop flight to the UAE at a time when air travel between North America and the region is growing, including more international connecting traffic over our Toronto global hub," said Calin Rovinescu, President and Chief Executive Officer at Air Canada.

"The introduction of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to Air Canada's fleet this year has been a catalyst for our international expansion plans, which will receive an additional impetus in 2015 when the larger Dreamliner 787-9 series aircraft begins to enter the fleet. The Dreamliner has brought international air travel to a new level of comfort and Air Canada has further enhanced the experience with its award-winning, three-cabin service."

The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, said: "This government is committed to helping the Canadian air industry increase its access to international markets. Air Canada's new service will play an important role in opening new markets in the Middle East and offer more options for travellers between Canada and the region. This benefits our air sector and promotes increased trade."

The new route will increase Air Canada's presence in the Middle East by providing its customers with direct, non-stop access to Dubai, complementing its other services in the region. Air Canada currently serves the region primarily through an extensive joint venture with its JV and Star Alliance partner Lufthansa over Frankfurt and Munich. In addition, the new route will build on Air Canada's existing codeshare relationship with Etihad Airways, with whom it codeshares on three flights a week between Toronto and Abu Dhabi, in the UAE.

Since last December, Air Canada has announced new international service to Delhi, Amsterdam, Rio de Janeiro, Osaka, Tokyo-Haneda and Panama City. Including Dubai, Air Canada now serves or has announced service to a total of 66 international destinations on five continents from its Toronto global hub.

Tickets for Dubai go on sale Dec. 16, 2014 and the three-times-weekly service starts on Nov. 3, 2015. Flights will be operated with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner in a three cabin configuration, including next generation lie-flat seats in International Business Class, a Premium Economy cabin, and upgraded In-Flight Entertainment available at every seat throughout the aircraft. Flights provide for Aeroplan accumulation and redemption and, for eligible customers, priority check-in, Maple Leaf Lounge access in Toronto, priority boarding and other benefits.

United Airlines adds Transatlantic routes for summer 2015

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Air & Sea

United Airlines, the U.S. airline with the most comprehensive global route network, today announced new trans-Atlantic summer-season service between New York and Venice, Italy, along with new service between Chicago and Dublin, both subject to government approval.

In addition, the airline will offer a second daily nonstop flight between Washington Dulles and Paris for the summer season.

"We're pleased to further strengthen United's trans-Atlantic route network with these new flights to three top destinations in Europe," said Brian Znotins, United's vice president of network. "The new service to Venice, Dublin and Paris complements United's existing service to Italy, Ireland and France, and offers our customers even more options and convenience for summer travel."

New York to Venice

Flight 170 will depart United's New York hub at Newark Liberty International Airport daily at 6:45 p.m., arriving in Venice at 9:05 a.m. the following day (all times local). On the return, flight 169 will depart Venice Marco Polo Airport daily at 10:55 a.m., arriving at New York/Newark at 2:25 p.m. the same day. Flight times will be eight hours 20 minutes eastbound and nine hours 30 minutes westbound.

The flights will operate with Boeing 767-400ER aircraft with a total of 242 seats – 39 flat-bed seats in United BusinessFirst and 203 in United Economy, including 70 Economy Plus seats with added legroom and increased personal space.

The airline currently operates nonstop flights from New York/Newark to Milan and, on a seasonal basis, New York/Newark and Washington Dulles to Rome.

The new Venice flights will operate seasonally from June 4, 2015, through Sept. 23, 2015.

Chicago to Dublin

Flight 152 will depart United's Chicago hub at O'Hare International Airport daily at 6:05 p.m., arriving in Dublin at 7:35 a.m. the following day (all times local). On the return, flight 153 will depart Dublin Airport daily at 9:50 a.m., arriving in Chicago at 12:15 p.m. the same day.  Flight times will be seven hours 30 minutes eastbound and eight hours 25 minutes westbound.

The flights will operate using Boeing 757-200 aircraft with a total of 169 seats – 16 flat-bed seats in United BusinessFirst and 153 in United Economy, including 45 Economy Plus seats.

Chicago O'Hare will be the third United hub with nonstop service to Dublin, after New York/Newark and Washington Dulles.

The Chicago-Dublin service will operate seasonally from June 4, 2015 through Aug. 17, 2015.

Washington to Paris

Flight 140 will depart United's hub at Washington Dulles International Airport daily at 10:10 p.m., arriving at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris at 12:20 p.m. the following day (all times local). The return flight 141 will depart Paris daily at 4:30 p.m., arriving at Washington Dulles at 7:30 p.m. the same day. Flight times will be eight hours 10 minutes eastbound and nine hours westbound.

United will operate the flights with Boeing 757-200 aircraft with a total of 169 seats – 16 flat-bed seats in United BusinessFirst and 153 in United Economy, including 45 Economy Plus seats.

United's current service between Washington and Paris departs Washington Dulles daily at 5:20 p.m., arriving at Charles de Gaulle Airport at 6:55 a.m. the following day (all times local).   The return flight, 914, departs Paris daily at 11:55 a.m., arriving at Washington Dulles at 3 p.m. the same day. The current flights operate with 214-seat Boeing 767-300 aircraft.

The airline operates nonstop flights to Paris from its Chicago, New York/Newark and San Francisco hubs, in addition to the Washington Dulles service.

The second Washington-Paris frequency will operate seasonally from June 4, 2015 through Aug. 17, 2015.

Delta orders 50 Airbus widebody aircraft

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: Air & Sea

Delta Air Lines has placed a firm order for 50 new Airbus widebody aircraft, 25 A350-900 and 25 A330-900neo aircraft. Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines will power the Airbus A330neo aircraft and Trent XWB engines will power Airbus A350 XWB aircraft.

“When the most successful U.S. airline today – a company that has flown passengers around the world for more than 80 years, has 80-thousand employees and 165 million customers in a year – says ‘yes we want 50 more of your widebody planes’, you can’t debate the fact that it is a massive endorsement of your product line,” said John Leahy, Airbus’ Chief Operating Officer – Customers. “Airbus is unique in offering an optimized long-range choice in aircraft that will allow Delta to continue to modernize its fleet and customize its use with the most efficient and comfortable aircraft available.”

Delta Air Lines currently flies both Airbus single-aisle and widebody aircraft, including 57 A319ceo and 69 A320ceo aircraft, plus 11 A330-200s and 21 A330-300s. In addition to the order announced today, Delta has an order backlog of 10 A330-300s and 45 A321ceo aircraft, bringing its total Airbus backlog to 105 aircraft.

The A350 XWB is the latest addition to the market-leading Airbus widebody product line. Offering its customers a 25 percent reduction in fuel-burn, the all-new mid-size long-range A350 XWB Family aircraft can seat up to 369 passengers in a typical two-class layout. The A350 has a carbon fibre fuselage and wings and sets new standards in terms of passenger experience, operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness. At the end of October 2014, the A350 XWB had won 750 orders from 39 customers worldwide.

The A330 Family has now attracted more than 1,300 orders. Over 1,100 A330 Family aircraft are flying with more than 100 operators worldwide. The A330 is one of the world’s most efficient aircraft with best in class operating economics. Airbus has committed to continuously improving the program since the A330’s service entry. The company spends approximately 150 million euros each year on enhancements and incremental improvements for the A330 jetliner family. The newest evolution is Airbus’ A330neo, which builds on the A330’s proven economics, versatility and reliability while reducing fuel consumption by a further 14 percent per seat. Comprised of two versions – the A330-800neo and the A330-900neo – this aircraft incorporates latest-generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines with 112-inch diameter fan for a 10:1 bypass ratio, more seats and new cabin features.

The A330, A350 XWB and A380 make up the Airbus widebody aircraft Family, which uniquely spans the 250 to over-500 seats segment.

Law firm urges airlines to follow guidelines to avoid potentially huge Ebola claims

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: Air & Sea

Airlines should follow World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for dealing with passengers travelling from Ebola-infected areas if they are to avoid unnecessary legal action by infected passengers.


This call by Sean Gates, Consultant at the international law firm Hill Dickinson, follows recent news that passengers arriving at Heathrow and Gatwick airports and Eurostar train terminals are to be screened for Ebola.


He has strongly advised airlines to follow the WHO and the CDC guidelines and any others that may be applicable to ensure that they have no liability to passengers, regulators or third parties in other countries infected by a sick passenger. This follows the recent death of Thomas Eric Duncan at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.  


Gates warned in a statement: “If it can be proven that airlines have not complied then they may have to pay claims though they will commonly be insured up to $2bn. This would be fine for passengers but if some court in the US found the airline liable for importing the disease, and that victims were within the ambit of their duty of care, then the exposure could easily exceed the available insurance.


“It they breach regulations then there may also be penalties. There is also the commercial damage which could ensue the terms of damage to reputation.”

Please note that Hill Dickinson is available to advise on handling, remediation, exposure and the extent of and responsibility of insurers