The Future Travel Experience Awards celebrate the outstanding efforts of organisations that have gone the extra mile to improve the passenger experience both on the ground and in-flight. Presented to the winners in the presence of their industry peers at the Gala Evening, the Awards will recognise the most innovative, ambitious and effective initiatives and organisations.
The winners are chosen through consultation with a panel of industry experts, whose identities we keep confidential, to maintain their independence. The 5th Future Travel Experience Awards will take place at FTE Global 2015, which will be hosted by McCarran International Airport at the Mandalay Bay Resort, Las Vegas, 9th-11th September 2015.
The FTE Awards 2015 categories are:
- Best Check-In Initiative
- Best Baggage Initiative
- Best Airport Security Initiative
- Best Passenger Assistance Initiative
- Best Initiative at the Gate
- Best Up in the Air Experience
- Best Up in the Air Initiative
- Best Immigration and Arrivals Initiative
- Best Mobile Technology Initiative
- New for 2015 – Best Exhibition Stand
Awards winners (2014)
Best Check-in Initiative: United Airlines
United Airlines was presented with the ‘Best Check-in Initiative’ award for its development of a unique passport scanning function for its iOS and Android apps, which enables more passengers to make use of mobile check-in for international flights.
Best Baggage Initiative: Air France-KLM
Air France-KLM was presented with the award for ‘Best Baggage Initiative’ following the development and launch of a permanent, reusable bag tag and baggage tracking device concept. The electronic bag tag includes two e-ink displays and can be attached to the outside of the suitcase, while the electronic tracking device can be placed inside the luggage and can be tracked via smartphones.
Best Airport Security Initiative: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol was awarded the title of ‘Best Airport Security Initiative’ for the ongoing rollout of its new-look security screening lanes, which make use of innovative design to reduce waiting times. Each of the new security lanes has multiple preparation areas at the start, reducing the time spent queuing, while ambience has been improved thanks to more open spaces, use of natural light and the inclusion of plants and trees.
Best Passenger Assistance Initiative: Virgin Atlantic
Virgin Atlantic won the award for ‘Best Passenger Assistance Initiative’ thanks to its groundbreaking adoption of Google Glass and the Sony Smartwatch in the Upper Class Wing at London Heathrow Airport. The airline was the first in the industry to undertake a passenger-facing wearable technology trial and has since announced that it plans to make Google Glass a permanent fixture following the success of the pilot.
Best Immigration and Arrivals Initiative: U.S. Customs and Border Protection
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) was presented with the ‘Best Immigration and Arrivals Initiative’ award for the development of the world’s first Mobile Passport Control app. The app enables travellers to submit their passport information and customs declaration form via their personal device upon arrival at the airport.
Best Initiative at the Gate: Japan Airlines
Japan Airlines received the ‘Best Initiative at the Gate’ award for its forward-thinking rollout of iBeacons and smartwatches at Tokyo Haneda Airport’s Domestic Terminal 1. iBeacons were installed at each boarding gate in the terminal and they were used to pinpoint the location of the airline’s boarding gate staff to help to improve efficiency. Japan Airlines’ control desk was also able to assign tasks to specific team members via their smartwatches.
Best Up in the Air Experience: Etihad Airways
Etihad Airways was presented with the ‘Best Up in the Air Experience’ award, which recognises the airline that has gone the extra mile to provide an industry-leading in-flight experience. In December 2014, the airline’s all-new Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner will enter service, helping the carrier stand out in an ultra-competitive environment. The A380 will include the first-of-its-kind ‘Residence by Etihad'; the B787 will include private First Apartments; and both aircraft types will offer private First Suites, Business Studios and Economy Smart Seats. Across the carrier’s existing fleet, travellers in all classes can also enjoy a range of amenities, including the ‘Flying Nanny’ onboard childcare service, next-generation IFE and onboard menus created by a hand-selected team of world-class chefs, while onboard Wi-Fi is also being rolled out.
Best Up in the Air Initiative: Emirates
New for 2014, the ‘Best Up in the Air Initiative’ award was presented to Emirates, which recently became the first airline to offer Audio Description soundtracks on its in-flight entertainment content, making onboard movies more accessible to visually impaired passengers. At present, 16 Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures movies include Audio Description, which offers a recorded narration explaining the scene during gaps in dialogue.
Best Mobile Technology Initiative: American Airlines
American Airlines received the ‘Best Mobile Technology Initiative’ award for its rollout of iBeacons to assist with wayfinding in Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport’s Terminal D. The project was the industry’s first major deployment of iBeacons in an airport terminal. Users of the American Airlines app can choose to receive automatic notifications and directions to their gate via their smartphone or tablet when they are in the terminal, while the technology also presents significant retail opportunities.
Previous Awards winners (2013)
Best Check-in Initiative: Iberia
Iberia was presented with the ‘Best Check-in Initiative’ award for its MyBagTag home-printed bag tag. MyBagTag allows passengers to print their bag tags at home, along with their boarding pass. Passengers then have to simply attach the tags and deposit their bag at a dedicated counter upon arrival at the airport, removing the need to check baggage in with an airline agent and simplifying the airport experience. Iberia is the first airline to launch home-printed bag tags permanently and plans to roll the service out across its entire network.
Best Baggage Initiative: British Airways
British Airways was awarded the ‘Best Baggage Initiative’ for its development and ongoing trial of permanent electronic bag tags. The permanent bag tag removes the need for paper bag tags to be printed for every journey. Once checked in, the passenger can synchronize their smartphone with the electronic tag, which automatically updates with a unique barcode containing their flight details and the bag’s destination. British Airways has already successfully undertaken operational trials of the permanent electronic bag tag in a live airport environment and will soon be undertaking passenger trials.
Best Passenger Assistance Initiatives: Dubai Airports
Dubai Airports was presented with the ‘Best Passenger Assistance Initiatives’ award for its dedication to simplifying the airport experience across a number of key passenger touch points. Among the initiatives that have been implemented at Dubai International Airport are multi-lingual virtual assistants, a simplified wayfinding system across all terminals, and interactive Information Zones offering information on airport facilities and directions to boarding gates. Dubai International Airport is also the first airport in the world to offer direct access to the boarding gate from First and Business Class lounges in the A380-dedicated Concourse A.
Best Airport Security Experience: Narita International Airport
Narita International Airport received the ‘Best Airport Security Experience’ accolade for its short queuing times, consistently high level of customer service and its willingness to trial non-stop biometric e-gates at the entrance to the security search area. The innovative gates make use of facial recognition technology to allow passengers to progress to the security checkpoint without having to stop, therefore removing the manual document check by a human agent.
Best Experience at the Gate: Los Angeles World Airports
Los Angeles World Airports was recognised with the ‘Best Experience at the Gate’ award for the state-of-the-art boarding gates at the new Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport, which boasts a unique new design and a passenger-friendly ambience. The gates are equipped with electrical sockets and USB ports, which passengers can use to charge up their laptops, tablets and mobile phones. Free Wi-Fi is also available. Each of the gates is installed with a laser-based visual guidance docking system and computerised passenger boarding bridges, automating operations between the terminal and the aircraft doors and therefore reducing the chance of delays.
Best ‘Up in the Air’ Experience: Emirates
Emirates was presented with the first ever ‘Best ‘Up in the Air’ Experience’ award for its dedication to providing the best possible in-flight experience. The ‘ice’ in-flight entertainment system is among the most comprehensive in the industry with more than 1,500 channels, while live television and Wi-Fi is also available onboard select Boeing 777s. As well as having access to movies, audio and games via the ice system, passengers can view live footage from external aircraft cameras and also have access to in-seat phones. Adjustable lighting has been installed to help combat jetlag, while Business and First Class passengers can make use of in-seat power supplies, a built-in mini bar, in-flight shower facilities and an onboard lounge.
Best Immigration Initiative: Chicago O’Hare International Airport
Chicago O’Hare International Airport was awarded ‘Best Immigration Initiative’ for taking the lead on the implementation of automated passport control kiosks to reduce waiting times at the immigration checkpoint. Recognising the fact that budget sequestration was likely to cause further delays at immigration, the airport led the investment in 32 kiosks, which were developed by Vancouver Airport Authority in close collaboration with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. In the 40 days after the automated passport control kiosks were installed, the average wait time at passport control in Terminal 5 was reduced by 33%, the number of passengers waiting over 60 minutes dropped by 58% and the number of missed connections fell by 31%.
Best Arrivals Experience: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport was awarded the ‘Best Arrivals Experience’ in recognition of its ‘Experience the City of Music’ initiative, which goes the extra mile to provide a warm welcome and ensure the airport reflects the destination itself. In addition to live bands performing in the terminal, the airport has installed music-related exhibitions, music from the likes of Ray Charles and Nirvana is played on the overhead speakers, famous artists read public announcements and music videos are featured on the baggage reclaim monitors.
Best Use of Mobile Technology: Japan Airlines
Japan Airlines was recognised with the ‘Best Use of Mobile Technology’ award for its industry-leading approach to utilising mobile technology for the benefit of the passenger. Travellers can use their smartphone to search for flights, book and purchase tickets, access the security checkpoint, download and use shopping coupons, and board their flight using NFC boarding passes. A number of other functions have also been developed by Japan Airlines for iOS and Android devices, including apps that allow passengers to tour terminal buildings in three-dimensional augmented reality, view live video feeds from airports to check the weather, view live queues at security lanes to assess waiting times, and access details on local events that may be of interest.
Previous Awards winners (2012)
Best Check-in Experience – Las Vegas McCarran International Airport
Las Vegas McCarran International Airport was awarded the Best Check-in Experience for its innovative approach to offsite check-in and the new check-in facilities that have been implemented in the new Terminal 3. Passengers leaving Las Vegas have a number of options when it comes to checking-in, including self-service kiosks with self-tagging, kerbside check-in stations and offsite check-in along the Strip. In April this year, offsite check-in was extended to the Riviera Hotel and Casino, while passengers are also able to check-in and drop off their bags at a number of other locations, including Harrah’s, Luxor, MGM Grand, Plaza, The Venetian, The Palazzo, McCarran Rent-A-Car Center, Las Vegas Convention Center and the Sands Expo and Convention Center.
Best Baggage Initiative – Aéroports de Paris
Aéroports de Paris (AdP) was awarded the Best Baggage Initiative for the development and implementation of a two-step self-service baggage drop off system. Developed in-house by AdP alongside Alstef, the system has reduced the bag drop process to as little as 17 seconds, with the average processing time standing at just 30 seconds. Following a successful trial at Paris Orly in which a 99.9% bag tag read rate was recorded, four self-service bag drop units are being installed permanently, while the system will also be installed in Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport. AdP plans to have 50 units in place across the two airports by 2015.
Best Arrivals Experience – London Heathrow Airport
London Heathrow Airport was awarded the Best Arrivals Experience accolade in recognition of the welcome it gave visitors during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. As the official host airport, Heathrow Airport welcomed an additional 125,000 passengers as a direct result of the Games, and a number of events were held to make sure that the airport experience was very much part of the overall London 2012 experience. 1,000 Olympic volunteers were sourced by the airport to welcome Olympic-related traffic and provide advice and information; the Queen’s Guards band appeared in the terminals; the official London 2012 mascots toured each of the terminals; table tennis tables were brought in for passengers to try their hand at the Olympic sport; Olympic art exhibitions were held in T5; and television screens were installed across the terminal to ensure that passengers didn’t miss a minute of the action.
Best Passenger Assistance Initiative – Iberia
Iberia won the Best Passenger Assistance Initiative award for its Ágora project, which is at the heart of the airline’s ambition to make its Madrid-Barajas T4 hub the most user-friendly airport terminal in the world. The scheme includes no less than 220 initiatives and among the latest are the deployment of interactive Quick Service Points; next-generation check-in kiosks; roving agents who can check passengers in and print boarding passes using iPads; and a multilingual virtual assistant who is on hand to assist with passenger enquiries.
Best Initiative at the Gate – easyJet
easyJet won the Best Initiative at the Gate award for ‘Project Halo’. ‘Halo’ devices are ruggedised, handheld PDAs that can be used by ground staff at the gate. Staff on the ground will not be tied to a desk – they will be able to stand next to the passenger with the Halo device in their hand, scan the boarding pass, validate the passenger and board them. As the Halo software is part of the departure software programme, it enables passengers to add bags even at a stage as late as at the gate. The judges championed ‘Halo’ for creating a far more personable experience between the passenger and airline agent, and for taking the innovative step of utilising cloud-based technology to drive the initiative.
Best Use of Mobile Technology – Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines was awarded Best Use of Mobile Technology for the innovative baggage tracking function that is available via its official app for Apple, Android and BlackBerry devices. Passengers who have downloaded the app simply have to enter the number on their baggage receipt or scan the barcode to receive an instant update on whether their bag has been successfully loaded on to the aircraft and which carousel it can be collected from at the arrival destination. Passengers are even able to access the baggage tracking function on the app while they are in the air thanks to Delta’s inflight Wi-Fi. In addition, Delta has roaming agents using mobile devices in the airport to help passengers in need, and it recently announced that it will be deploying 250 iPads for passengers to use throughout Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to order food, browse the Web or check their flight status.
Best Security and Immigration Experience – Gatwick Airport
Gatwick Airport won the Best Security and Immigration Experience award for the significant upgrades that have been made to the security and immigration processes as part of its £1.2 billion Capital Investment Programme. One of the airport’s passenger commitments is ‘We hate queues’ and the airport is succeeding in cutting waiting times, as is highlighted by the fact that the average waiting time at security now stands at just 107 seconds. To simplify access to the security search zone, facial recognition technology has been implemented, while dedicated special assistance and family lanes have been introduced. The centralised security area in the South Terminal can now handle as many as 5,000 passengers per hour. In both the North and South Terminals, immigration e-Gates have been installed to expedite and automate border clearance for e-Passport holders.
Previous Awards winners (2011)
Best Check-in Initiative – Qantas
Qantas was awarded the Best Check-in Initiative for its brave and bold approach to enhancing the entire check-in process. The Next Generation Check-In Program, which has been rolled out across Qantas’ domestic network, has embraced RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology to allow passengers to check-in within just five seconds using the innovative Q Card, while permanent, re-useable RFID bag tags have also been developed. The award was presented to Gabriella D’Alessandro, Head of IT, Qantas, by Dee Waddell, Group CIO, Amtrak.
Best Baggage Initiative – Amsterdam Airport Schiphol & KLM
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and KLM were jointly awarded the Best Baggage Initiative for their permanent implementation of self-service bag drop facilities. Following a successful trial period alongside BagDrop Systems, six of the latest generation BagDrop units entered operation in August, and plans are in place to implement 12 further units for KLM and SkyTeam partners in February 2012. The BagDrop units are already allowing passengers to check their bags in themselves within just 30 seconds. The award was presented to Marit Gangsaas, Advisor Terminal Logistics, Schiphol, and Victor Vaessen, Manager Product Development, KLM, by Carlos Garcia, VP Travel Services & Guest Logistics, Carnival Cruise Lines.
Best Initiative at the Gate – Lufthansa Airlines
Lufthansa won the Best Initiative at the Gate Award for its widespread implementation of next generation Quick-Boarding-Gates (QBG) across German airports. Eight years after the initial self-boarding implementation at Munich Airport, the latest QBGs have recently been deployed at Frankfurt Airport to further accelerate the boarding process, and plans are in place to implement 50 more self-boarding gates at German airports in the next three years. The award was presented to Thomas Jeske, Senior Manager Common Use, Lufthansa, by Ryan Ghee, Editor, Future Travel Experience.
Best Arrivals Experience – Christchurch International Airport
New Zealand’s Christchurch International Airport won the Best Arrivals Experience Award following its implementation of the innovative ‘Sensory Arrivals Experience’. Beginning at the airbridge corridors and running right through to the Customs area, passengers are treated to a multi-sensory experience designed to reflect New Zealand’s South Island. The award was presented to Geoff Eban, General Manager Terminal Development, Christchurch International Airport, by Todd Grace, Strategy Manager – Airports, Air New Zealand.
Best Use of Mobile Technology – Air France KLM
Air France KLM won the Best Use of Mobile Technology Award for the way it has embraced the use of smartphones through apps, automatic check-in and the free mobile service – Air France Connect – which automatically informs passengers of any changes to their flight details, such as delays, change of boarding gate and delayed baggage. The award was presented to Manuel van Lijf, Manager, R&D Solutions, Air France KLM, by Rohit Talwar, global futurist and FTE 2011 keynote speaker.
Best Airport Security & Immigration Experience – Vancouver International Airport
Vancouver International Airport won the Best Airport Security & Immigration Experience Award for its unwavering approach to simplifying the border processing experience. The dedication to enhancing the security and immigration experience for passengers is highlighted by the expedited trusted traveler program – NEXUS – which was developed along with Canada Border Services Agency and US Customs and Border Protection, and more recently, the implementation of Automated Border Clearance kiosks for returning Canadian residents, offering average processing times of less than one minute. The award was presented to Kevin Molloy, VP Simplified Passenger Travel & CIO, Vancouver Airport Authority, by FTE 2011 lead sponsor Arinc, represented by Michael Saunders, Senior Director of Airport Systems, Sales & Marketing.