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#PaxEx Podcast

Airline passengers are mobile, social and vocal! And airlines know they must keep pace with the demands of these tech-savvy, always connected travelers in order to stay relevant. Hosted by industry expert Mary Kirby and aviation veteran Max Flight, the #PaxEx Podcast takes a studied look at how the airline passenger experience is quickly evolving. Featuring interviews with thought leaders in the space, the #PaxEx Podcast addresses everything from the latest changes to loyalty programs, airport services and amenities to innovations in onboard seating and interiors, inflight connectivity and entertainment and the overall cabin environment. Plus, we’ll look at how social media, multimedia marketing and mobile applications are having a profound impact on #PaxEx.

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Episode 033: How the A350 is setting a standard for inflight well-being

Cynthia has penned a piece for Conde Naste Traveler about Singapore Airlines’ new Airbus A350-900, after experiencing it for herself on a flight from the Airbus factory in Toulouse to Singapore. In this episode, co-hosts Max Flight and Mary Kirby talk to Cynthia about the and why both passengers and crew have reason to celebrate the innovations that will affect their health and well-being. While we talk a lot about hard product on Runway Girl Network - whether seats are comfortable or connectivity is working well - soft product like amenity kits, pajamas, “borrowed” salt & pepper shakers, and other souvenirs can prove to be important even after a flight. Cynthia reveals details about her favorite soft products, and sings the joys of their post-flight relevance. Last but not least, the month of March is Women’s History Month, and we recently celebrated International Women’s Day on 8 March. But while airlines around the world marked the occasion with all-women crewed flights, there is still much work to be done to ensure women gain parity in the ranks of management, including in the C-Suite and on airline boards. Max, Mary and Cynthia discuss the current paradigm and why change is important.

32mins

12 Mar 2016

Rank #1

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Episode 057: Airline content trends and new lav concepts revealed

First, APEX Media has published a number of interviews from the APEX MultiMedia Market, an annual event where the world’s leading airlines choose the content line-up for their inflight entertainment systems, and ergo, their passengers. A number of airline content trends emerged at the show, and accessible entertainment – for the deaf, hard of hearing and visually impaired - was one of those hot topics. Maryann, who attended this sold-out event in Paris, delivers her biggest takeaways. Next, APEX was once again prominently featured at the record-breaking Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg. The association helped to launch a new event, called Passenger Technology Solutions, and hosted a variety of sessions about transforming passenger data into personalized experiences. Maryann was on the show floor, interviewing #PaxEx industry stakeholders. She shares her thoughts on the most exciting IFEC news from the Expo, highlighting the rapid growth of the portable wifi sector. Last but not least, aircraft lavs are having a moment. New lavatory innovations are being brought forward by aircraft interiors specialists and even university students. One idea from Jamco calls for a sort of communal bathroom on board. It would feature a row of closed toilet stalls and a central sink area. Maryann explains some of the new lav concepts to co-hosts Max Flight and Mary Kirby, and this leads the group into a broader discussion about new modular lavatories on narrowbodies, how they've been received by passengers, and how their rollout is occurring in parallel with airlines' adoption of high-density seating configurations.

35mins

6 May 2018

Rank #2

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Episode 032: New aircraft, new routes: welcome A320neo and 737 MAX

There is an underpinning of excitement around the world about the introduction of the new Boeing 737 MAX and Airbus A320neo narrowbodies, whose added range will allow airlines to open up a raft of new routes. "You basically have a more efficient airplane that allows airlines to do on the shorthaul what the 787 has been doing on the longhaul," says Miller, citing, for example, Norwegian's plans to transform the Atlantic with a fleet of 737 MAXs. Naturally, co-hosts Max Flight and Mary Kirby also talk to Mike about how #PaxEx should change when airlines deploy 737 MAXs and A320neos on international routes. Even as international routes are being opened up with new types, the US regional aviation industry is in crisis right now. This is squarely a result of the pilot shortage, suggests. He concedes that there are pockets of hope - as start-ups like GLO and Boutique Air carve our local air service niches - but says these do not regional airline renaissance. We mull the current state of play for regionals. Meanwhile, there is some good news on the #PaxEx front for travelers in the US. American Airlines and United Airlines are reintroducing complementary snacks, joining Delta, which has long distributed free Biscoff cookies to hungry domestic passengers. But do these small #PaxEx touches really matter to passengers. We talk turkey about the changes; and consider the next #PaxEx battleground for airlines.

26mins

12 Feb 2016

Rank #3

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Episode 054: Catering giant serves up wisdom on compliance

First, there have been a number of notable collisions at airports in recent months. Last fall, a Qantas aircraft collided with a catering truck on the apron at Sydney airport. Early this month, an empty Sunwing aircraft that was being towed struck a WestJet aircraft that was carrying passengers and crew, who were then evacuated via the slides. In this episode, Mark tells co-hosts Max Flight and Mary Kirby about safety protocols that govern movement of vehicles at the airport, and describes the incident investigation that follows any collision. Next, Gate Gourmet in Australia recently completed onboard trials with Virgin Australia of a new dry ice product, called EcoSlice. A synthetic dry ice, EcoSlice is a potential game-changer for the industry. Mark talks about this innovative product, explains its safety and environmental credentials, and shares how it supports a positive passenger experience. Last but not least, Gate Gourmet has entered into a joint venture agreement with Asiana Airlines which will strengthen the gategroup’s position at Incheon airport in South Korea, and position the company as the sole inflight caterer for Asiana at Incheon. Mark explains why this 30-year agreement is considered a key milestone for the company, and why it is turning to IoT and automation for a new catering facility at the airport.

25mins

29 Jan 2018

Rank #4

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Episode 056: Flight Chic talks trends in advance of AIX

First, Qantas has set a new record for non-stop flight after a Boeing 787-9 flew from Perth to London in 17 hours. Marisa has been involved in aircraft interiors for years, and is an avid traveler. She shares her thoughts on why it’s important for passengers to consider their well-being and comfort on these ultra-longhaul flights. Next, Iberia’s first Airbus A350-900 aircraft is prepped for delivery. The aircraft features some rather passenger pleasing attributes. Having covered the story for her Flight Chic site, Marisa tells us what should passengers expect on board. Co-hosts Max Flight and Mary Kirby also discuss the importance of premium economy with Marisa. Last but not least, the big Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg is around the corner, and seatmakers, materials specialists, inflight entertainment and connectivity providers, airline caterers and ground-based tech firms will be showing their wares. Even the rail industry will be getting in on the #PaxEx action this year. With ample experience in the aircraft interiors space, Garcia joins Kirby in discussing the products and themes emerging in advance of the show.

34mins

6 Apr 2018

Rank #5

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Episode 012: Passenger Restraints and Wi-Fi Complaints

Welcome to Episode 012 of the #PaxEx Podcast. In this episode we talk about restraining unruly passengers in the cabin. What must crew observe - and what protocol must they follow - before strapping plastic handcuffs on passengers? Pittman and Topham give us the low down in advance of IATA's first-ever Cabin Safety Operations Conference in Madrid. We also discuss Inmarsat's proposal to arm crew with a 'satcom flare' - aka a distress signal - in the wake of the tragic disappearance of MH370. Would cabin crew welcome this sort of "panic button"? Finally, we look at how AT&T is going for Gogo's jugular by jumping into the inflight connectivity market with a planned new 4G LTE-based air-to-ground system. We address the issue from a financial perspective as well as a #PaxEx perspective. Is it any wonder why crew and passengers are eager to see if AT&T can deliver a better product?

29mins

1 May 2014

Rank #6

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Podcast 063: Why the Boeing 777X will be the most modern airliner in the world

In this episode – available on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts – co-hosts Max Flight and Mary Kirby highlight Boeing's recent assembly milestone for the new 777X, which boasts unique folding wingtips. They also consider why the airframer is positioning the 777X as offering a redefined "total passenger experience". And Mary explains how suppliers are working to deliver a new generation of seats and IFE, as well as the most advanced cockpit communications of any commercial airliner in the world. Next, Saudi Arabian low-cost carrier flyadeal recently conceptualized a marketing stunt whereby the carrier claimed that passengers could fly for less by traveling in its cargo compartments. It shared videos, pictures, and graphics on social media, and even created serious interviews and mock customer interviews. Ultimately, flyadeal revealed the truth, that passengers would not fly in cargo, as flyadeal guarantees the lowest fares in its cabins. At a time when there is a narrative around “fake news”, Max and Mary consider whether flyadeal’s campaign is on the money or off the mark, and share some interesting stats about why Saudi Arabia is ripe for disruptive marketing. Lastly, POPEYES is having what appears to be some lighthearted fun at the fact that passengers have been pushing the envelope with the types of animals they bring on board for emotional support – from peacocks to flying squirrels. The fast food chain has launched an “Emotional Support Chicken” meal for travelers passing through Philadelphia International Airport. Is this campaign insensitive to passengers who need emotional support animals or is it simply a genius marketing campaign? Mary and Max consider both sides.

27mins

22 Dec 2018

Rank #7

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Podcast 066: Why people and profits must be balanced in aviation

In this episode, co-hosts Max Flight and Mary Kirby discuss the crisis of confidence that Boeing is grappling with in the wake of the MAX grounding; whether pilots should receive fresh MAX simulator training before the type is re-introduced into revenue service; and the conundrum faced by passengers who are afraid to fly the aircraft. They also consider the wisdom of Southwest Airlines’ single-fleet strategy, and explain why The Air Current’s recent report that Southwest management has kicked the proverbial tires on the Airbus A220 is giving some passengers reason to celebrate. Next, another Boeing aircraft has found itself in the news headlines. The New York Times is reporting that the FAA received whistleblower complaints from workers at Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner plant in South Carolina, ranging from allegations of finding tools and debris inside new 787s to employees facing pressure to put speed over safety. Max outlines the claims, and Boeing’s response, and both he and Mary discuss whether the report underscores the need for change at the FAA, whose oversight and certification processes are already under scrutiny following the two MAX crashes. Lastly, in a topic not related to Boeing specifically, but one that speaks to the US regulatory environment - a lawsuit has been filed by the legal action group Democracy Forward on behalf of Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) which might finally prompt the DOT to issue rulemaking on accessible lavatories for single-aisle aircraft. The lawsuit is being warmly received by disability advocates, who have long been pushing for accessibility on aircraft. Mary provides on update on where industry stands on the issue, and both she and Max make the case for why the current paradigm needs to change.

35mins

27 Apr 2019

Rank #8

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Episode 058: Unpacking sexism at AGM, guns in carryon, pot in transit

First, gender equality in the aviation industry was a major topic of discussion at the recent International Air Transport Association annual general meeting in Sydney. And as many of you will have heard, Qatar Airways chief, and newly appointed IATA chair, Akbar Al Baker had a shocking “open mouth, insert foot” moment when he suggested that the job of CEO can only be held by a man. Harriet, who was present at the AGM, shares her thoughts on what transpired, and on IATA’s efforts to be more inclusive of women, including in the C-Suite. Co-host Mary Kirby makes the case for why IATA should issue a formal apology. Next, the Transportation Security Administration continues to confiscate record numbers of firearms at airport security checkpoints, despite warning travelers that they cannot bring guns in their carry-on bags. Incredulously, more than a few passengers try to fly with loaded weapons. Harriet, who has been tracking this story, considers if anything can be done to ensure passengers don’t pack heat when they fly. And co-host Max Flight chimes in as a gun owner. Last but not least, Harriet’s Stuck at the Airport blog is known for giving passengers great advice on how best to make the hours fly by at airports. Harriet delivers a fresh list of clever new installations, entertainment options and concessions at airports. And Harriet, Max and Mary weigh in on the topic of traveling with cannabis now that some states have legalized its recreational use.

28mins

10 Jun 2018

Rank #9

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Podcast 069: How big data is shaping every aspect of aviation

In this episode – available on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts – co-hosts Max Flight and Mary Kirby explore why the combination of ATPCO and Routehappy is bringing a new level of transparency to flight shopping. They're using big data to ensure passengers understand pre-flight what to expect in-flight in terms of #PaxEx amenities (seats, wifi, IFE, power, etc) which in turn empowers passengers to select products that best suit their needs. Next, Max asks the question: “What do you think about an air show that won't allow a mother to bring in the breast milk and formula necessary to feed her infant?” He goes on to explain some of the challenges faced by nursing mothers, even in spaces that are supposed to be inclusive. Mary makes the case for freeing the nipple. And both Max and Mary laud the airlines and airports that are accommodating breastfeeding mothers on the ground and in the air. Last but certainly not least, an international team of experts – the Joint Authorities Technical Review (JATR) panel - has criticized Boeing’s design of the MCAS system on the 737 MAX, citing the airframer's use of data from previous aircraft configs, among other concerns. It also found that the FAA delegated a high amount of approvals to Boeing’s designated certification representative. Meanwhile, Boeing’s board has removed the title of chairman from CEO Dennis Muilenburg. Max and Mary share their thoughts on the latest, troubling revelations. They consider why the FAA has farmed out so much oversight, why airframers are able to rely on legacy data, and why the issue has such a far-reaching impact.

34mins

17 Oct 2019

Rank #10

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Episode 060: Inflight peanuts, animals and innovations, oh my

First, Southwest Airlines has long served peanuts to passengers as a signature snack. But as of 1 August, the airline stopped offering peanuts to “ensure the best onboard experience for everyone, especially for customers with peanut-related allergies”. There is always some push-back when airlines take something away from passengers. Becca shares her thoughts on Southwest’s decision, explains why bagged nuts are better than loose nuts (found in premium cabins), and suggests way in which airlines can protect allergic passengers while improving #PaxEx overall. Next, airlines are ramping up their crack-down of emotional support animals on board. And here again, Southwest has found itself in the headlines after issuing a statement with updates to its Service Animal Policies. Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) will be limited to dogs and cats. Trained Service Animals (TSAs) align with recent DOT guidance and are limited to dogs, cats, and miniature horses. Also, now fully-trained Psychiatric Support Animals (PSAs) are formally accepted as Trained Service Animals. Previously the airline informally accepted them as TSAs. Co-hosts Max Flight and Mary Kirby discuss whether airlines can find a happy balance between being empathetic to passengers who need emotional support animals and fighting abuse of the system. And Becca shares her thoughts on some of the discrepancies between the different airlines’ policies. Should a standard be set for the industry? Last but not least, the big APEX EXPO and co-located AIX, Americas shows will be held next month in Boston. These are considered must-attend events for many on the #PaxEx industry calendar. Mary and Becca are gearing up for the big show, and Mary shares the themes, topics and products she’s eager to explore.

34mins

30 Aug 2018

Rank #11

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Podcast 065: Max Flight and Mary Kirby on why there is no-MAX flight

In this episode – available on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts – co-hosts Max Flight and Mary Kirby discuss the number one #PaxEx news story making headlines – the grounding of the entire world fleet of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft after the tragic crash of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 six minutes after takeoff from Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people on board. After Mary breaks down the timeline of events that led to the United States’ decision to ground the MAX, after most countries had already done so, Max and Mary explain why, irrespective of the findings of the investigation of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash, passenger fear and public perception is valid. An industry that ignores passenger fear does so at its peril. Max and Mary also look at the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System [MCAS] – the technology at the heart of the discussion around MAX safety - and consider whether the relationships between major US corporations and the FAA have grown too cozy.

33mins

15 Mar 2019

Rank #12

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Episode 059: Fifty-year pilot John O. Graybill on flying private safely

First, while the business aviation market has grappled with a softening for the last several years, business aircraft charters are on the rise, especially with younger travelers. Given John’s background and new book, he tells co-hosts Max Flight and Mary Kirby about the safety considerations for booking private aircraft, the type of pilot behaviors that could lead to a crash, and why he warns about propeller aircraft. Next, in the commercial airline space there is a well-reported debate over pilot shortages, but in business aviation, it is a reality. John shares his thoughts on how the business aviation sector can retain the best pilots. Last but not least, the FAA recently confirmed it has no intention of setting baseline aircraft seat space standards for commercial flying. The agency told consumer advocacy group Flyers Right that it doesn’t see an imminent safety concern, and will not initiate rulemaking. John, Max and Mary discuss the latest developments, and consider whether government should regulate seat size on airlines.

28mins

20 Jul 2018

Rank #13

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Episode 011: Interiors Explosion and Loyalty Erosion

Welcome to Episode 011 of the #PaxEx Podcast. In this episode we discuss Gogo’s new global Ku-band connectivity service for airlines (details of which were released today – one day after our recording). We also look at the mega aircraft interiors boon occurring in the aviation industry, as a result of bulging aircraft order books, and why this year’s Aircraft Interiors Expo is bigger and better than ever. But can the interiors sector keep pace with demand, especially demand for customized seats and galleys? We discuss what’s happening, and what can be done. Finally, Seth Miller has written a killer piece about loyalty cuts. We ask him why being loyal to ourselves – over airlines – makes sense for infrequent travelers.

29mins

8 Apr 2014

Rank #14

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Podcast 067: Deciphering the messaging from Airbus and Boeing in Paris

Firstly, the 737 MAX, and Boeing’s response to its worldwide ban on safety grounds, was expected to dominate the 53rd Paris Air Show, and it did. John, who covered the airshow from nose to tail for Runway Girl Network, reported that Boeing was in apology mode throughout the event. He describes what the mood like at the Boeing chalet and during Boeing press conferences, and highlights Boeing's seemingly new "global certification" messaging. Max, Mary and John also discuss how the MAX colored the entire airshow, and why many travelers are still expressing fear of flying the type. Next, Philippine low-cost airline Cebu Pacific announced in Paris that it will install 460 seats in an all-economy configuration aboard the A330-900neo, representing a new maximum-passenger figure for the A330. John details the work undertaken by Airbus and Cebu to accomplish this high-density feat and explains why he believes the product makes sense for Cebu’s specific market. And Mary highlights the mixed messaging from Airbus over the years – the airframer once floated the notion of a ‘comfort standard’ for aircraft seats, but is increasingly pushing high-density configurations, including for the A350. This represents a notable pivot from the airframer, and will ultimately mean a devolution in widebody #PaxEx. Last but certainly not least, Airbus used the occasion of the Paris Air Show to launch the A321XLR program, which then proceeded to rack up an impressive list of orders, including from American Airlines. The aircraft is positioned to address the middle of the market, and airlines are eyeing transatlantic nonstops for this narrowbody. But since the announcement was made, there has been renewed discussion on social media about whether passengers really want to fly in narrowbodies on longhaul routes. John, Max and Mary share where they stand on the issue, and consider how Boeing can compete, either with the NMA or something entirely different.

39mins

25 Jun 2019

Rank #15

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Episode 055: AirFi CCO talks fast deployment of portable wifi boxes

First, some airlines are trialling virtual reality headsets as inflight entertainment, notably for premium customers. Co-hosts Max Flight and Mary Kirby query Martin about whether to expect mass rollout of VR as IFE or if the technology will remain a niche offering for airline promotions and VIPs. Next, AirFi has been making waves in the airline industry, with the firm recently announcing yet another round of airline contracts. As CCO of AirFi, Martin is playing a strategic role in the firm’s growth. He explains what the AirFi solution entails, and why it is proving to be such an attractive offering to the low-cost carrier crowd. He says AirFi boxes have a remarkable safety record. Last but not least, Air Asia X has introduced kids-free quiet zones in the forward section of its economy class cabins, and travelers seem to be divided on whether this is a good idea or not. As parents, Martin, Max and Mary share their thoughts on whether airlines should offer kid-free zones. Mary sees an opportunity to ‘flip the script’ on the narrative.

31mins

6 Mar 2018

Rank #16

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Podcast 068: Mulling MAX re-entry as Dickson takes the helm at FAA

In this episode – available on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts – co-hosts Max Flight and Mary Kirby consider whether the swearing-in of Stephen Dickson as administrator of the US Federal Aviation Administration is a positive development. A long-time industry veteran with nearly 40 years of experience including as a fighter pilot, Dickson recently retired from service as the senior vice president-flight operations for Delta Air Lines, where he was responsible for the safety and operational performance of Delta’s global flight operations, as well as pilot training, crew resources, crew scheduling and regulatory compliance.  Dickson's appointment comes at a critical time, when the Boeing 737 MAX grounding is in its fifth month. He has vowed that safety is his highest priority and that the MAX will not return to commercial service until he's completely assured it is safe to do so. But his appointment is not without its controversy, as a popular Boeing 777 pilot says she was grounded after reporting safety concerns to Delta management including Dickson.  Next, airlines and PaxEx stakeholders have shared color around how the protracted MAX grounding has negatively impacted their businesses. One common theme is that capacity is tight for operators, especially those who are dependent on the MAX. Mary and Max discuss the fallout, from airlines' financial woes and operational disruptions to the knock-on effect to PaxEx suppliers, which say airlines are reluctant to take other aircraft types out of service for retrofits as a result of the capacity constraints. Max and Mary also consider the environmental impact of the MAX grounding, as airlines use gas-guzzling older jets to fill the void. Last but certainly not least, the big APEX EXPO and co-located AIX, Americas show is scheduled to take place from 9 September to 12 September in Los Angeles. Mary tells us about the PaxEx themes emerging in advance of the show, which will feature a truly diverse day-one conference with many top-level women executives slated to speak.

27mins

16 Aug 2019

Rank #17

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Podcast 064: A220 stretch considerations and IFE ad deliberations

In this episode – available on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts – co-hosts Max Flight and Mary Kirby discuss whether Airbus is seriously considering stretching its A220, and what that might mean to the passenger experience and the future of the Airbus A319. Next, the National Transportation Safety Board has issued its Most Wanted List, detailing its safety recommendations for 2019-2020. Among the action items the NTSB would like to see prioritized over the next two years, the board is calling on the FAA to address the gap in safety requirements between commercial airlines and those operating under Part 135 for air tour, air medical service, air taxi charter or on-demand flights. While it’s true that NTSB recommendations are just that – recommendations, this particular recommendation is noteworthy. Max explains why. Last but not least, airlines are looking at creative ways to partner with brands. In recent weeks, American Airlines has announced an arrangement that sees the carrier offer Apple Music for free to passengers on all aircraft equipped with Viasat high-speed Internet. In China, a carrier called Lucky Air teamed with McDonald’s on a very different kind of promotion for the Chinese New Year - the airline slapped McDonald’s brand throughout its aircraft, engaged in inflight trivia games with its passengers, and provided giveaways linked to the promotion. Now the inflight entertainment and connectivity industry is looking to place personalized, targeted advertising in front of airline passengers. Mary recently attended the APEX TECH conference in Los Angeles, where programmatic advertising for IFEC was a big topic of discussion. She updates us on their plans, and Max and Mary consider the impact on #PaxEx.

33mins

10 Feb 2019

Rank #18

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Podcast 062: Will mass shootings impact travel to the United States?

Welcome to episode 062 of the #PaxEx Podcast, which tracks how the airline passenger experience is evolving in a mobile, social, vocal world. In this episode – available on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts – co-hosts Max Flight and Mary Kirby study the passenger pleasing attributes of Delta’s new Airbus A220-100 (formerly known as the Bombardier CSeries CS100), and discuss some of the potential drivers behind for the carrier’s passenger comfort-focused choices. Delta has since clarified that the pitch in first class is 37”, not 36” and Main Cabin pitch is up to 32”, versus 30-31”. Mary also shares some of the intrigue around Delta’s launch of a new wireless seatback IFE system called Gogo Vision Touch, and why journalists are looking forward to trying out the solution when the Delta A220 enters commercial service. Next, the International Civil Aviation Organization’s recommendations for implementing a Global Aeronautical Distress Safety System (GADSS) have gone into effect as of 8 November. These recommendations were agreed in the months after the tragic disappearance of Malaysia Airlines MH370 in March 2014. The first steps in implementing the GADSS involve adopting what’s called “Normal Aircraft Tracking” – in other words, solutions that establish an aircraft’s position information at least every 15 minutes. Max and Mary discuss the latest flight tracking offerings, and why Aireon – the joint venture between Iridium and air navigation service providers – appears particularly well positioned in the space. Last, but certainly not least, the US has been beset with a scourge of horrific mass shootings. Travel to the US has largely not been affected. Mary and Max mull whether the kind of violence and instability we’re seeing in the US will ultimately have an impact on travel to the country.

31mins

8 Nov 2018

Rank #19

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Podcast 061: Breaking down the passenger wins in FAA reauthorization

First, President Trump has signed FAA reauthorization legislation that, in addition to extending the FAA for another five years, instructs the agency to regulate aircraft seat size, among other provisions. Mary and Max consider whether the new law will result in a more comfortable situation for coach passengers, or if the FAA will be compelled to set standards based on already-approved layouts (which are tight). For instance, will the FAA require seat width to be 18 inches – as hoped by consumer advocacy group Flyers Rights – when the Boeing 737 workhorse accommodates 17-inch wide seats per the limitation of the tube? Next, the FAA reauthorization bill also instructs the secretary of transportation to, among other things, create an Airline Passengers with Disabilities Bill of Rights and, importantly, to study in-cabin wheelchair restraint systems, in coordination with disability advocates, airlines and aircraft manufacturers. Mary highlights some of the pushback she’s hearing from industry on the notion of using wheelchair restraints on board, which would allow disabled passengers to remain in their own mobility devices. Max and Mary also address the ban on inflight voice calls, as well as Congress’ decision not to privatize Air Traffic Control, as part of FAA reauthorization. Last but not least, blogger and aviation expert CrankyFlier reports that American Airlines is limiting reaccommodation options for travelers when things go wrong. Max wonders if, in creating a negative #PaxEx for non-elite, domestic coach travelers, American is hurting its opportunity to turn non-elites into loyal passengers, and Mary wonders whether decisions such as these will prompt further regulation of the industry. Mary also addresses the current troubling climate in the US and why she believes the aviation industry as a whole has an opportunity to spearhead positive change by ensuring women and people of color have a seat at the table, including importantly at the decision-making level. The airline passenger experience has been overwhelmingly colored by the white male perspective. And that has got to change.

34mins

12 Oct 2018

Rank #20