How Was Your Flight?

Airbus and Routehappy announce a new partnership to enrich the flight booking experience

After any flight, was is the first question anyone asks? “How was your flight?” They don’t ask how much it cost or how long it was. Strangely though, in an age when consumers have more information than ever before to make the smartest purchasing decisions, airline passengers still have little visibility into their inflight experience before booking a flight.

Leading aircraft manufacturer Airbus has teamed up with Routehappy, the merchandising content platform for flight shopping, to accelerate the transformation of flight shopping from commoditised to differentiated. The Airbus Routehappy alliance helps airlines create compelling, targeted merchandising content showcasing unique Airbus offerings such as seat width, personal space, in flight entertainment, connectivity, and jetlag-friendly ambient lighting when searching for flights on all sales channels. Joining the Airbus Routehappy alliance are four of the world’s leading carriers: Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Lufthansa Group and Singapore Airlines.

Speaking at the ITB Berlin, Airbus’ Head of Market and Product Strategy Bob Lange said: “Study after study shows the ever-growing importance of the inflight experience for the more than 3.5 billion people who travel by air every year. In a 2016 survey Atmosphere Research Group found that 53% of leisure passengers and 61% of business passengers pay attention to the type of aircraft they will y on. And yet passengers have little information to go on when booking their flights. Finally, this is changing.”

Airlines participating in the Airbus Routehappy alliance will receive support in their use of Routehappy Hub,a powerful content management platform that creates and distributes targeted airline merchandising content across sales channels. UPA (Universal Product Attribute) is a standardised content type in Routehappy Hub that differentiates airline product offerings with rich descriptive and visual content.

“As airlines differentiate, so does flight shopping. Flyers need better information to navigate ever changing options, and the industry needs a platform that helps them showcase the products they offer,” said Robert Albert, CEO at Routehappy. “Our alliance with Airbus provides airlines an added incentive to create and distribute rich content that is becoming a key feature in how we shop for flights.”

The key requirement for airlines participating in the alliance is the inclusion of “branded UPAs” highlighting Airbus A380 and A350 XWB product features among the airline’s selling points. Joining the alliance Xavier Lagardère, Head of Distribution Lufthansa Group Hub Airlines, said: “Empowering customers to choose the right offering is core to our distribution strategy. An initiative like Airbus and Routehappy’s supports the much-needed transformation of air travel retailing from commodity to feature-based shopping, by providing passengers with additional rich content. Over the past few years, we have taken our in flight experience and service to completely new levels, and are excited about presenting them to travellers from around the world.” Cathay Pacific General Manager, Sales and Distribution, Toby Smith, said: “We continually strive to enhance our passengers’ experience at every stage of their journey with us – and that starts from the moment they plan their travel arrangements. This initiative will help enable us to deliver our brand promise of a Life Well Travelled by showcasing our superior in flight product offerings, including those featured in the cabins of our new Airbus A350 aircraft.” With today’s announcement Airbus branded UPAs are being integrated into leading sales channels for launch soon. In the meantime, a demonstration of Airbus branded UPAs may be viewed at routehappy.com. The Airbus and Routehappy program is expected to expand to additional airlines and Airbus aircraft later this year.

Atmosphere Research Group President and travel industry analyst Henry Harteveldt said “The majority of passengers are interested in details about their flights and would find this information helpful when booking their flights. Airlines that make this available stand to bene t by showcasing their differentiated products.”

Photo – Top of Page: (L-R) – Neil Glenn, General Manager Europe, Cathay Pacific; Bob Lange, Head of Market and Product Strategy, Airbus; Robert Albert, CEO, Routehappy; and Xavier Lagardère, Head of Distribution, Lufthansa Group Hub Airlines