Posted on: 13 October 2014 by Mark Howells
Thomson Airways (Thomson) has unveiled a new five year vision which includes plans for in-flight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) the airline believes will change the face of passenger experience for holiday flying.
Connectivity enhancements on Thomson flights could potentially allow for passengers to book room upgrades, complete advance check-in and schedule resort experiences through a new state-of the-art system.
In terms of content, the airline outlines the wish to introduce a special ‘bedtime story channel’ for younger passengers, as well as bespoke content for teenagers and new ‘destination inspiration’ channels for adults.
However, IFE wouldn’t just be available through a seat-back screen or personal electronic device. Thomson’s vision involves bringing new specialised crew members on-board to entertain children with destination-related arts, crafts and quizzes. The airline also shares the possibility of bringing a ‘HolidayMaker’, or member of the resort team, on-board to offer passengers advice and recommendations.
Other IFEC plans involve the cabin crew, who Thomson predict will operate iPads in order to personalise customer service, share destination information and pass special requests and information over to the resort team.
Non-IFEC related enhancements could see the introduction of family booth-style seating with a table in the middle, as well as duo seating pods for couples equipped with LED lighting to create a more romantic atmosphere.
“Our overall goal is to make travel experiences special and, as the flight marks both the start and end of the holiday, we see it as an integral part of the whole holiday experience,” commented David Burling, MD of TUI UK and Ireland. “That is why we want to define and lead a new category of flying – the holiday airline category. This describes an airline designed for the specific needs of the holiday maker and fully connected to the holiday experience in the destination.”
Burling adds, “We’ll achieve this by continuing to invest in our fleet, in state-of-the-art aircraft like the 787 Dreamliner and 737 MAX, in our on-board technology connecting the flight experience to that in resort and in product and service innovations that are entirely relevant to the holidaymaker both today and tomorrow.”
The new vision coincides with Thomson announcing an order for two further Dreamliners and the deliveries of 47 new Boeing 737 MAX aircrafts by 2020.