Innovative airlines 2011


Published on is announcing the 11 most innovative airlines to keep an eye on in 2011. The 11 airlines selected in the report provide an overview of what innovative products and services passengers are experiencing on airlines around the world.

The full “11 innovative airlines to keep an eye on in 2011” report can be downloaded from

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Innovative airlines 2011

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  2. 2. At we are continuously on the lookout for innovative products and services launchedby airlines around the world as a response to industry and consumer trends. Taking a cue from thefamous line of sci-fi writer William Gibson that “the future is already here, it’s just unevenly distributed,”we are kicking 2011 off with our take on the 11 most innovative airlines to keep an eye on in the comingyear. Be it either to learn from, get inspired by, or even copy from, the 11 airlines we have selectedprovide an overview of what innovative products and services passengers are experiencing on airlinesaround the world.The airlines featured on our list do not necessarily feature on the various ‘best airlines in the world’surveys that are published regularly. We aimed to select airlines that have come up with interestinginnovations in recent years, be it as part of a company culture of continuous innovation, a strategy tochallenge the industry status quo, or as part of efforts to catch up after years of underinvestment.The full "11 innovative airlines" report can be downloaded for free at
  3. 3. 1. Air New ZealandAir New Zealand (ANZ) tops our 2011 list of most innovative airlines in the world, having redesigned its long-haul inflight experiencefrom scratch. Innovations include Skycouches in Economy, inner and outer Spaceseats in Premium Economy, food and drinksordering via the IFE system, while an inflight concierge hosts wine tastings and kids storytelling in the galleys.
  4. 4. 2. All Nippon AirwaysAll Nippon Airways (ANA) has upgraded its long-haul product (First Class suites, flat beds in Business, helicopter transfer todowntown Tokyo) to court business travellers at a time its major competitor JAL is restructuring. On short-haul, ANA has reducedfree amenities, introducing paid options instead, and will also launch a low-cost carrier.
  5. 5. 3. LufthansaWith the introduction of its first A380 in May 2010, Lufthansa has initiated a product revamp across its fleet, including a new FirstClass, reportedly full-flat beds in Business Class by the end of 2011, and a new short-haul cabin. The airline is also upgrading itslounges, re-introduced inflight Internet and will be the first airline to use biofuel on commercial flights.
  6. 6. 4. Delta Air LinesDelta is investing a massive USD2 billion to upgrade its products and services: Flat-bed Business seats on long-haul, a newEconomy Plus class, inflight Wi-Fi on all domestic flights and Red Coats service agents at U.S. airports. The airline has alsointroduced some interesting innovations, such as an iPad restaurant concept and wireless charging pads.
  7. 7. 5. FinnairFinnair has found itself a niche by focusing on routes between Asia and Europe via its Helsinki hub, and is about to further upgradethe customer experience to attract more Asian passengers. Current services include a sauna for transit passengers at HelsinkiAirport, and flat-bed Business seats as well as local Asian crew, catering and inflight entertainment in the air.
  8. 8. 6. Southwest AirlinesLiving up to its LUV airline code, Southwest encourages employees to make a difference and does not nickle and dime itscustomers: Bags that fly for free, free drinks onboard on special occassions and downtown cafes in NYC and Denver. Southwest isalso eyeing business travellers with fast track, inflight Wi-Fi and a renewed loyalty program.
  9. 9. 7. KLMKLM is using Dutch Design to give a local, cool, twist to its inflight experience. The airline is an early adopter of self-service optionssuch as DIY luggage check-in, has a strong focus on sustainability (e.g, catering, upcycling, biofuel) and has launched interestingsocial media campaigns, such as KLM Surprise, personalized luggage tags, and crowdsourcing initiatives.
  10. 10. 8. Virgin AmericaWith its iconic mood lighting, RED inflight entertainment system, fleetwide Wi-Fi, power outlets in all seats and social mediasavviness, San Francisco-based Virgin America has established itself as a hip operation tuned into the digital lifestyle. Available fororder via the IFE system, the airlines inflight menus focus on locally-sourced food and beverages.
  11. 11. 9. Cathay PacificFurther upping its service standards, Cathay Pacific is about to introduce a new Business Class cabin, has just launched a newtechno lounge, is upgrading its existing lounges, and will introduce a Premium Economy class and inflight connectivity by 2012.Onboard rice cookers, toaster ovens and espresso machines add a fresh element to Cathays catering offer.
  12. 12. 10. Emirates AirlineRapidly growing Emirates is already the largest airline in the world in terms of international passenger kilometers and is mostly knownfor its dazzling fleet expansion (over 200 widebody aircraft on order) and the inflight extravaganza on its A380 flagships (suites,showers, bar). The airline has also introduced some interesting, lesser known innovations.
  13. 13. 11. Asiana AirlinesSouth Korea-based Asiana Airlines offers thoughtful ground services such as PreMom, Happy Mom and a coat storage service. Inthe air, Asiana ups catering standards with an onboard chef, sommelier, and sushi chef on select flights. The airline also recentlyintroduced new flat-bed seats in Business Class and a full-fledged IFE system on short-haul flights.
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