Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Airlines

IDEAS: Qatar Airways to Provide Cabin Crew with Smart Technology

2 months ago

Qatar Airways has launched a new digital initiative designed to support cabin crew in delivering a more personalized experience for its customers in the air.

Credit: Qatar Airways

The new in-house application provides information on passengers flying with Qatar Airways, through customer profiles that provide insights into any special service requests and preferences, as well as real-time updates on flight information.

The carrier has said in a release that it expects to reach the first milestone in this phase of the digital rollout in the coming months, by providing more than 15,000 mobile devices to cabin crew, with additional plans to expand its scope to Hamad International Airport and overseas airports and lounges.


Skift Ideas uncovers the most creative and forward-thinking innovations happening across travel. We celebrate innovation through our Skift IDEA Awards and hear from leaders on our Ideas podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.

Airlines

IDEAS: Air Canada Unveils Upgraded Airbus A321

4 months ago

Air Canada has unveiled the first of its upgraded Airbus A321’s, featuring a host of new features that have been implemented to improve ‘customer comfort’.

Air Canada Unveils Upgraded Airbus A321
Credit: Air Canada

The new aircraft, which has been redesigned from nose to tail, features a new cabin interior along with a range of new technologies, including a new in-flight entertainment system with bluetooth audio, free high-speed internet, larger overhead bins, upgraded seating, LED mood lighting and exterior cameras.

The new cabins will also see a reduced fuel consumption of more than 2.4 million litres per year when the work has been completed across the entire fleet, thanks to a weight reduction of approximately 240 kilograms. 

“We’re proud to welcome customers on board to experience the comfort, convenience, and connectivity of our latest cabins. These upgraded fleet interiors will align the A320s and A321s to the highly popular A220 experience, further strengthening our industry leading product offering,” said Mark Nasr, Executive Vice President, Marketing and Digital, and President of Aeroplan.

“Additionally, new features such as our inflight entertainment system streaming exterior aircraft camera feeds, Bluetooth connectivity, and free, fast internet connectivity will be extremely popular with travelers. We will continue advancing our product leadership by trialing more new in-flight experiences with this A321 and expanding those learnings to additional aircraft in our fleet.”  

Retrofitting on Air Canada’s remaining Airbus A321s and A320s will begin this fall and is slated to be completed by the end of 2025.


Skift Ideas uncovers the most creative and forward-thinking innovations happening across travel. We celebrate innovation through our Skift IDEA Awards and hear from leaders on our Ideas podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.

Airlines

IDEAS: United Introduces Braille to Improve Aircraft Cabin Accessibility

7 months ago

United has introduced Braille markings on its aircraft interiors – becoming the first U.S. airline to do so – giving travelers with visual impairments the opportunity to navigate aircraft cabins independently.

The carrier states that it has already equipped around 12 aircraft with Braille labels, which are in place to indicate individual rows, seat numbers and information in and around the lavatories. 

Credit: United

United has stated it plans to extend the Braille implementation across its entire mainline fleet over the next three years. 

“Finding your seat on a plane or getting to the restroom is something most of us take for granted, but for millions of our customers, it can be a challenge to do independently. By adding more tactile signage throughout our interiors, we’re making the flying experience more inclusive and accessible, and that’s good for everyone,” said Linda Jojo, executive vice president, chief customer officer at United. 

The introduction of Braille is part of an ongoing partnership between United, the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and the American Council of the Blind (ACB), which aims to explore additional ways to support visually impaired travelers on board its flights. 

“We applaud United for taking an important step toward making its aircraft more accessible to blind passengers. The flight experience is often frustrating for a number of reasons, one of which is the amount of information that is available exclusively through printed signs and other visual indicators. We hope to continue working with United to explore additional ways to make flying more accessible and less stressful for blind passengers,” said Mark Riccobono, president at the National Federation of the Blind.

United joins other carriers, like Delta, which recently revealed a new concept seat for wheelchair users, in a continuing effort to make travel more inclusive and accessible to all passengers.


Skift Ideas uncovers the most creative and forward-thinking innovations happening across travel. We celebrate innovation through our Skift IDEA Awards and hear from leaders on our Ideas podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.

Ideas

IDEAS: Community-Driven ‘Great Hall’ Experience Planned for JFK’s Terminal 8

7 months ago

Terminal 8 at John F. Kennedy Airport is set to undergo a $125 million commercial redevelopment program with a focus on bringing the local community into the airport, thanks to a new partnership between American Airlines, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) Airports.

Following the completion of the $400 million expansion of the terminal, which saw American Airlines and British Airways move in at the end of last year, the new commercial redevelopment aims to enhance the retail offering within the terminal. 

According to American, the redevelopment will focus on bringing locally owned and diverse businesses to the airport in order to boost economic opportunities for the local community. This includes the introduction of a small business accelerator program for locally based businesses to take up space in the terminal. 

The new project will be built around a ‘Great Hall’, and will host more than 60 new shopping and restaurant facilities, alongside a performance space and enhanced duty-free shopping. 

Credit: American Airlines

The redevelopment will also see a new partnership launch with The Green Restaurant Association, with the aim of ensuring all new tenants become Certified Green Restaurants. 

“We look forward to working with our project partners, the Port Authority and the local community to deliver a transformative dining and shopping experience that represents the dynamic New York region,” said Amanda Zhang, vice president of airport affairs and facilities at American Airlines.

You can find out more about the development on the official website here.


At Skift, we are looking to unearth the most creative and forward-thinking innovations in travel through our Skift Ideas Franchise, which includes the Skift IDEA Awards, Skift Editorial Hub and the Skift Ideas Podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.

Ideas

IDEAS: Schiphol Airport Extends Time Slot Booking to Reduce Security Wait Times

7 months ago

Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport will be extending its time slot booking service for security checks.

Following a successful launch at the start of 2023 for Schengen destinations, the service can now be reserved for both Schengen and non-Schengen destinations. 

Credit: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

Travelers making their way through Schiphol Airport can now reserve a time slot via the website or app as of three days before their journey, meaning they can head through security at a time of their choosing with a 15-minute time allocation.

When the booking is confirmed, a QR code will be provided which will be scanned by a member of Schipol staff upon arrival at security, who will then direct travelers to their entry check point.

The time slot booking service is currently being offered free of charge.

After the disruptions Schiphol Airport experienced during the Summer of 2022, this newly introduced service looks set to provide a more structured approach for passengers to navigate the airport.


At Skift, we are looking to unearth the most creative and forward-thinking innovations in travel through our Skift Ideas Franchise, which includes the Skift IDEA Awards, Skift Editorial Hub and the Skift Ideas Podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.

Hotels

IDEAS: Moxy Hotels Bring the Outside in with Tromsø Debut

8 months ago

Moxy Hotels, the experiential hotel brand from Marriott Bonvoy, has opened Moxy Tromsø in the Arctic playground of Northern Norway.

Credit: Moxy Tromsø

Designed by the Danish Mette Fredskild Studio, the hotel features an industrial design combined with local inspirations, including murals that have been created by local artists.

Credit: Moxy Tromsø

Moxy Tromsø boasts 208 guest rooms equipped with all of the usual amenities, such as walk-in showers, flat-screen TVs, and LED guide lights. Yet, what truly sets it apart is its breathtaking floor-to-ceiling windows that have been designed to ‘maxmize the beauty beyond,’ offering unspoiled vistas of the surrounding fjord and mountains.

Credit: Moxy Tromsø

At Skift, we are looking to we are looking to recognize the impactful and inspiring projects that are redefining the travel industry, with a focus on design, creativity, and innovation.

Join the conversation and subscribe to the the Skift Ideas Podcast here.

Airlines

IDEAS: Delta Flight Products Unveils New Concept Seat for Wheelchair Users

8 months ago

Delta Flight Products (DFP) has partnered with UK-based consortium Air4All on a new prototype seat they say will provide powered wheelchair users with the opportunity to remain in their chairs throughout their entire travel journey.

Credit: PriestmanGoode

The patented prototype, which was debuted at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Germany, folds up to enable a standard passenger seat to accommodate a wheelchair via a restraint, while granting users access to the headrest, center console tray table and cocktail table.

Credit: PriestmanGoode

“Air4All is collaborating with DFP and our strong production and manufacturing capabilities to explore new ways to deliver equal access to comfort, safety, and dignity for all customers. This patented design offers new possibilities for customers with disabilities to enjoy a travel experience they truly deserve,” said Rick Salanitri, president of Delta Flight Products.

In 2022, disability rights activist Tanzila Khan joined us at Skift Global Forum East 2022 to talk on this important subject, and “Why Travel Should Think Like a Community”. You can take a look at the full video below:


At the Skift IDEA Awards, we are looking for the organizations elevating the travel industry’s role as a force for good by affecting meaningful change, including those leading to social change or benefiting communities.

If you have an exciting project to share, head to the Skift IDEA Awards today and start your submission. The final deadline for entries is June 20, 2023.

Ideas

IDEAS: dnata Looks to Robotics for the Future of Airline Catering

9 months ago

At the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) in Hamburg this week, dnata – one of the world’s largest air services providers – offered attendees a glimpse into the future of its catering capabilities with a demonstration of its new AI-powered cooking robot.

Credit: dnata/Moley Robotics

Developed by Moley Robotics, the cooking-machine utilizes AI technology to follow pre-recorded chef instructions, and is equipped with ‘multiple sensors and machine learning capabilities, enabling it to precisely measure ingredients and execute complex cooking techniques’.

You can take a look at one of Moley Robotics’ cooking machines in action below:

“We are excited to showcase a revolutionary cooking robot alongside our world-class culinary and retail offering at the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo,” Said Robin Padgett, CEO of dnata Catering & Retail.

“We are constantly looking for ways to further improve quality and efficiency by leveraging the latest technologies, including artificial intelligence and automation, across our global network. In recent years we have implemented a number of sophisticated solutions to optimise various aspects of our operations, ranging from consumption analysis to ingredient sourcing, inventory and waste management. We will continue to closely monitor trends and further integrate AI into our operations to harness the power of innovation.”

Credit: dnata/Moley Robotics

The cooking robot is the latest addition to dnata’s robotic line-up, with ‘Bella’ the hospitality robot already in operation in the UAE at Sharjah Airport’s (SHJ) lounge along with its partner, ‘Kitty’. 


At the 2023 Skift IDEA Awards, we are looking to the future of travel by highlighting the creative designs, technologies, and innovations that are driving the future of travel.

If you have an exciting initiative or innovation that deserves to be celebrated, head over to the Skift IDEA Awards and start your application today. The deadline for submissions is June 20, 2023.

Airlines

IDEAS: United is First U.S. Airline to Support Live Activities for iPhone

9 months ago

Starting in May, United is the first U.S. airline to provide updates via Live Activities for iPhone, giving passengers real-time updates to gate info, boarding pass, seats, and a countdown clock to departure time without opening the airline’s app.

“We’re seeing soaring demand for travel this summer, and Live Activities puts all the flight information you need right at your fingertips, whether your iPhone is locked or you’re doing something else like checking email, listening to music or texting friends,” said Linda Jojo, Chief Customer Officer for United. “This new feature is another way United is leveraging technology to improve our customers’ travel journey. It’s going to save passengers a lot of time, and we think they’re going to love it, especially during a busy travel season.”

Courtesy of United Airlines

At the 2023 Skift IDEA Awards, we are looking for the most innovative airline projects defining the future of aviation, airlines, and the traveler experience.

Do you have an innovative project that deserves recognition? Head to the Skift IDEA Awards and start your submission today.

Airlines

IDEAS: Air New Zealand Reveals More Details on its Long-Haul Bunkbeds

9 months ago

Air New Zealand has revealed further details around its new Skynest product, which is set to be available on ultra-long haul flights from September 2024, according to the airline.

The unique six-pod configured sleep zone will offer economy and premium economy fliers the chance to lie down and rest during long-haul flights, adding ‘more flexibility to the economy travel experience’.

Credit: Air New Zealand

Each pod is set to include all of the essentials required for a restful sleep, including a pillow, blanket and ear plugs, along with a USB port, ambient lighting and a privacy curtain.

Credit: Air New Zealand

“Our 83-year history is marked by a commitment to innovation and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. SkyNest is the latest example, and we’re proud to be leading the way with this world-first cabin feature,” said Air New Zealand’s chief customer and sales officer, Leanne Geraghty.

“We’re delighted that customers are as excited about this new innovation as we are. Our extensive research and design process, which spanned five years and 170,000 hours, has resulted in a product that we’re confident will revolutionize the in-flight experience for Economy passengers,” she continued.

With prices looking to start at around $400 for a 4-hour period, it seems that the luxury of laying down during your flight may no longer be reserved for only First and Business Class fliers.


We are looking for the innovations that are transforming the world of aviation, airlines, and the traveler experience.

If you have an exciting project that deserves to be celebrated, head over to the Skift IDEA Awards and tell us all about it.