The top few airlines are significantly improving their product offerings with the latest aircrafts and improved lounge services. Within the top tier of air travel, it is clear that comfort is king. Emirates, Qatar, and Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) are all striving for excellence and 2016 is set to have many offerings for the luxury traveller.
Andrew Bunn, Country Manager, Singapore, Brunei & Malaysia, Emirates highlighted the biggest trend in luxury travel as we approach the end of 2015. “Today, on the-go connectivity is increasingly important to all our passengers, both leisure and business travellers, as well as the ‘bleisure’ travellers who are a combination of both. Our passengers want to remain “always-on”, staying connected to their friends and their business associates wherever they are. That is why most of our flights are equipped with WIFI, offering passengers the first 10MBs of data for free, which is sufficient for most travellers to check in on their emails and social media accounts, remaining connected as they fly. Connecting our passengers not only provides them with a more enjoyable experience, but also allows them to share their journey instantaneously with friends and family” he said.
On the five most important needs of a luxury traveller when choosing an airline, he said “For the premium they afford, luxury travellers expect an outstanding product delivered with exceptional service. The Emirates signature hospitality ensures that our passengers enjoy top-class service without compromising personal space and privacy. Luxury travellers also want choice in all aspects of their journey – from destination options to fine dining on demand, to a selection of social areas both in the airport and on-board. They would also enjoy a certain degree of exclusivity; for example, we’ve received good feedback from our passengers with the introduction of Dom Pérignon Vintage 2005, and the Dom Pérignon Vintagé Rose 2003 on the menu. It is in the details that make the Emirates experience so memorable.”
Joan Wang, Country Manager Singapore in Qatar Airways said that the biggest trend in luxury travel was the authenticity of the experience. She said “Luxury travel is no longer determined simply by the opulence of the destination or activity, but is slowly experiencing a gradual shift towards authenticity of the experience. The journey is just as important as the destination and discerning air travellers are keen to ensure their trip gets off to the perfect. The experience begins on ground where premium passengers may access the lounge to kickstart their indulgent holiday with access to refreshments and business lounges if they need to send a quick email; this follows them on-board – from the warm greetings by our cabin crew to the unprecedented levels of comfort when travelling out of Singapore on the A350 XWB – to the moment they reach their destination. Impeccable service and luxurious fittings guarantee a top-notch flight experience.”
Earlier in June this year, Qatar introduced a third-daily flight to their Singapore service in order to cater to the increase in passenger demand, as well as electing Singapore to receive the first A350 XWB in Asia Pacific, redefining the travel experience of their passengers. By August, all three flights out of Singapore were being serviced by our A350 XWB. The A350 XWB aircraft has 36 Business Class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, featuring 80” fully flat beds and 17” HD in-flight entertainment screens.
Director, Head of SWISS Southeast Asia & Pacific, Aditya Khullar commented that SWISS is investing massively into both its ground and fleet products. Located at Dock E of Zurich Airport, there will be new lounges for SWISS First, Senator and SWISS Business Class passengers. Ready in 2016, these lounges will feature restaurant, bar, relaxation and work areas which are tailored to the highest standards in terms of equipment and services.
SWISS will also be welcoming its first Boeing 777-300ER beginning 2016. The totally-redesigned state-of-the art cabin will offer the highest levels of comfort and aesthetics in all three seating classes.
Aditya Khullar said ‘ The totally redesigned First Class’s is offering more privacy and individual discretion. The 8 seats in the First Class cabin can be easily transformed into semi-private suites with a 32-inch screen – the largest in the industry. It also features personal at-seat wardrobe, electro-mechanical window shades servicing all three windows at the same time. In the Business class on the other hand is all about more privacy and personal space. Enhanced based on passengers’ feedback, the SWISS business kept the current configuration and can be swiftly and easily transformed into a lie-flat bed over two metres long and seat cushion is individually adjustable in terms of hardness/softness. It features a new easy to-handle table, large 16-inch touchscreen with additional remote control, second screen with a moving map and programme selection integrated into the handset and more stowage space.”
With more hubs, better interconnectivity, bigger aircrafts and better service, 2016 is all set to be a rewarding year for air travel’s elite travellers.