To-do list is offered for Australia's new passenger advocate | Business travel drives positive airline-revenue outlook | Low-cost upgrades ease pain of travel on EU budget carriers
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April 27, 2012
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Passenger Experience
To-do list is offered for Australia's new passenger advocate
Although Australia's National Airline Consumer Advocate office opening in July has not yet laid out the specifics of how it will help passengers address complaints, the Australian Business Traveller suggests that the ombudsman address issues such as clarifying compensation for canceled flights and ending high fees for credit-card surcharges. It should also help create standardized complaint forms and mandate refunds for luggage mishandling, they say. Australian Business Traveller (4/27)
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Business travel drives positive airline-revenue outlook
Despite the fragility of the economic recovery, strong demand from corporate business travelers has helped drive better-than-expected revenues for U.S. airlines battered by high fuel costs. The American Express global travel forecast for 2012 predicts jumps in business-class fares as companies seek to secure new accounts. "People want to make sure that they're out there talking to their clients," said Megan Costello, managing director at Association of Corporate Travel Executives. Bloomberg Businessweek (4/26)
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Low-cost upgrades ease pain of travel on EU budget carriers
Relatively inexpensive upgrades on Europe's low-cost airlines can be well worth it for passengers who dread long lines and a chaotic free-for-all boarding experience. RyanAir offers reserved seating in prime rows for less than $20 per one-way flight, for example, and Easy Jet offers a Speedy Boarding option that includes access to premium check-in lines for about $19. TheStreet.com (4/26)
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Finnair adds lifetime status benefit program
Finnair has announced the creation of new lifetime elite-flier status for members who earn 3 million or more tier points on Finnair or its Oneworld partner airlines. The minimum number guarantees Gold status, while 5 million points qualifies travelers for Platinum status. The lifetime-status program is popular on U.S. carriers such as Delta Air Lines and American Airlines. BusinessTraveller.com (U.K.) (4/26)
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First programming-listings app is now available to KLM travelers
Inflight Productions has launched the first-ever in-flight entertainment application KLM Movies & More as a free download on iTunes for travelers so they can check programming listings on KLM's intercontinental fleet before takeoff. The app includes an overview of the television programs, movies and more that are offered in business and economy classes along with synopses and trailers. APEX Editor's Blog (4/26)
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Other News
Connectivity & Technology
Wireless-access landscape is uneven for U.S. travelers
As traveler demand for Wi-Fi access surges, most U.S. passengers continue to face a patchwork of connection speeds and pay schemes that range from slow but free access in airport terminals to $18 for in-flight laptop access on long-haul journeys. Travelers can expect to see more airports offering free access or a combination of free access and paid faster connection options as well as more carriers installing paid in-flight access across their fleets in the coming years, this feature says. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model)/The Associated Press (4/26)
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In-flight broadband access is coming to S. African carriers
The South African Civil Aviation Authority recently approved the use of G-Connect's in-flight broadband solution, paving the way for its use on South African commercial flights. The service will officially launch on carrier Mango on May 8. MyBroadband.co.za (South Africa)/MyBroadband (4/26)
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Online luggage-fee calculators can help plan travel
Passengers overwhelmed by the bevy of schemes for calculating carrier luggage fees that can add as much as $300 or more to the ticket price have a friend in Airfarewatchdog.com, which provides up-to-date charts of fees, this feature says. Travelers can also calculate total luggage fees and compare from airline to airline on NerdWallet.com. MarketWatch (4/27)
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Airlines & Aircraft
LAN-TAM merger is set to conclude before mid-June
Chilean airline LAN's chief financial officer says the carrier's with Brazil's TAM will be completed by June, a deal that will create not only the largest carrier in Latin America but also one of the world's top 10 as measured by revenue, this feature says. The new company will be named LATAM Airlines Group. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model)/Dow Jones Newswires (4/26)
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China Eastern will place $6B Boeing 777 order, sources say
China Eastern Airlines says it will purchase as many as 20 Boeing 777 jets for $6 billion as the airline stalls on a previously announced $3 billion purchase of 15 Airbus A330 aircraft. Boeing said last year that its demand forecast for China shot up by a quarter as China and the European Union have battled over the latter's emissions-trading scheme. Reuters (4/26)
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Chaotic IT change at United caused passenger headaches
The chaotic switchover from United's Apollo reservations system to Continental's Shares system as the two airlines completed their reservations-system merger in March brought confusion and frustration to many passengers, this feature says. Many travelers were greeted by curt customer service agents who were unable to locate reservations or were told that frequent-flier-program rules had changed, among other problems, this feature says. Although United says it didn't lose any reservations because of the problems, it has hired an additional 400 contact-center workers to handle customer calls. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (4/26)
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Other News
Association News
Job Listing: Product Line Manager II for Panasonic Avionics
Panasonic Avionics is the world leader in in-flight entertainment and communications, with most systems installed, most airlines served, and the industry's deepest knowledge base, developed with over 25 years of consistent product innovation and committed customer service. Panasonic is seeking a senior, experienced IFE Product Line Manager to act as the central authority with responsibility for management of a product line for systems comprising multiple units, software and complex integration requirements. Panasonic Avionics Corporation is headquartered in Lake Forest, California, with offices in Bothell, Washington; regional centers in Dallas, Singapore, London, Toulouse, Tokyo, Sydney and Dubai; system production facilities in Osaka; and field service, maintenance and sales facilities worldwide. The position is based in Lake Forest, Calif. For more information about the position, please contact: Lee Pinkofsky, lee.pinkofsky@panasonic.aero or (949)672-2011.
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Save the date for the APEX 2012 EXPO!
Mark your calendars today for the APEX 2012 EXPO, which will be held 17-20 September in Long Beach, Calif., USA. Registration will open late spring 2012. It is the industry's four-day premier event featuring top-notch education and the latest and most comprehensive display of airline-related technologies, products and services. Last year's event attracted more than 2,300 aviation professionals who all have one thing in common: commitment to improving the airline passenger experience. Make sure you don't miss APEX 2012 EXPO!
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SmartQuote
Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen."
-- John Steinbeck,
American writer
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Learn more about APEX ->Home | Join | Login | Education & Events | Sponsorship & Advertising
About APEX
The Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) encompasses a network of businesses and professionals that are committed to providing a world-class airline experience for passengers around the globe. Every day, APEX members are improving every aspect of the airline experience: from designing, building and installing seating, entertainment and communications systems on commercial aircraft, to airport lounges and inflight dining. Visit www.apex.aero for more information. APEX is professionally managed by Kellen Company, the premier global association management firm with offices and representation in the United States, Europe, China, the Middle East, India and Southeast Asia.

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678-303-2968
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