Redefining the end-to-end passenger experience | Independent news and events

Up in the Air Conference

No industry event does more to inspire, engage and connect its participants

10-12 September 2018 Mandalay Bay Resort, Las Vegas

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FTE global Supporting Partner AAAE

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FTE global Supporting Partner ACC Airports Consultants Council

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FTE global Supporting Partner Airport Terminal Of The Future

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FTE global platinum sponsor hamad international airport

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FTE global Platinum sponsor rockwell-collins

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FTE global gold sponsor Airport Lounge Development

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Up in the Air Conference

The ‘Up in the Air’ conference stream at FTE Global, which will be delivered in partnership with the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX), is widely regarded as an industry-leading conference for airlines, OEMs, cabin designers and vendors to share their latest in-flight innovations and define which direction the in-flight passenger experience will take in the future. FTE’s independent and passenger-focused mentality is renowned for creating high-quality discussion and progress that cannot be matched by any other event in the marketplace.

Great care is taken to ensure delegates hear from the most forward thinking and pioneering air transport and travel industry leaders. The 2018 ‘Up in the Air’ agenda will focus on future opportunities and challenges in areas including next generation in-flight entertainment, connectivity, cabin design, passenger comfort, crew empowerment and personalisation.

FTE Global 2017 keynotes included:


The 2018 conference agendas are currently being developed. Meanwhile, please find below the 2017 conference programme, which provides insight into the quality of the speakers and the key areas of focus.

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2017 Agenda

Tuesday 5th September 17:30 - 21:00

Technovation Center Tours

Begin your FTE Global experience with Technovation, NEC, and Microsoft at their “Glimpse of the Future” event to see live demos around industry trends in the travel industry. Enjoy food and drink while you learn more about their “curb to gate” solutions, facial ID and security solutions, passenger experience solutions as well as a range of airline and airport management, operations and transport solutions including AI and VR. It will be an evening of fun, education and networking with leaders in these areas.

Wednesday 6th September - Day 1

09:15 - 10:15

Networking Ice Breaker & Coffee

Room 2

Wednesday 6th September 10:30 - 12:00

Opening Keynote Session

Room 1


Daniel Coleman
Future Travel Experience

Welcome from the host

Samuel Ingalls
Assistant Director of Aviation, Information Systems
McCarran International Airport

Inspirational Keynotes

How will Hyperloop change travel forever, and will it replace or complement existing modes of travel?

Dirk Ahlborn
JumpStarter Inc & Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, Inc

ANA’s endeavour to redefine its business to impact all 7 billion people on Earth

Kevin Kajitani
Digital Design Lab
ANA Holdings & ANA Avatar XPRIZE Visioneers Team
Akira Fukabori
Market Communication
All Nippon Airways & ANA Avatar XPRIZE Visioneers Team

12:00 - 13:30
Official exhibition opening, lunch break and networking on the exhibition floor
Wednesday 6th September 13:30 - 15:00

The future according to the disruptors

Second Working Session (Room 1)

 A holistic vision of the future of travel and the very real impacts that today’s seemingly “futuristic” concepts will have on the air transport industry

This session will bring together a panel of visionaries charged with defining the future of travel and transportation. Each member of the panel will explore how their organisation plans to redefine travel over the course of next decade. Following this, the speakers will participate in an interactive Q&A discussion in which they will explore what this means for the future of the air transport industry.


Garen Moreno
Director, Strategic Partnering
BMW Designworks & Host of Departure Unknown


Sandi Adam
Chief Marketer
Zunum Aero
Jason Chua
Project Executive
A³ by Airbus Group
Joshua Krall
CTO & Co-founder
Boom Supersonic
Amy Friedlander Hoffman
Head of Business Development & Experiential Marketing

Additional panelists

Samuel Ingalls
Assistant Director of Aviation, Information Systems
McCarran International Airport
Mohammad Gaber
Senior Director – Digital Strategy & Transformation
Air Canada

15:00 - 15:45
Coffee break
Wednesday 6th September 15:45 - 17:30

FTE Personalisation Symposium

Third Working Session (Room 1)

“Personalisation” has become a buzzword for airlines, airports and their partners, but how can they achieve real personalisation? This session will bring together the most forward-thinking organisations in this space to share insight into how ever-changing consumer habits and vast pools of data can be leveraged to deliver truly personalised customer experiences throughout the journey.


Following a series of presentations from personalisation pioneers, the session will open up to a panel discussion with industry figures to establish how travel protagonists can achieve more success with their personalisation efforts.

Topics to be covered

Digital personal assistants, chatbots, apps, big data, privacy, AI, Machine Learning


Jim Peters
Chief Technology Officer (CTO)


Towards a one to one experience

Brian Gross
VP Digital Innovation

To what extent will intelligent personal assistants impact the travel experience of the future?

Shane O'Flaherty
National Director of Hospitality and Travel

How is Sea-Tac exploring the use of voice recognition, beacons and game engine technology to drive unique personalised experiences through its terminals in the future?

David Wilson
Chief Aviation Technologist
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport – Port of Seattle

As a combination of tech-startup, e-commerce-platform and transportation company, FlixBus was able to establish Europe’s largest intercity bus network in 3 years. How central has digitization, and personalisation, been to its success?

Taimur H. Khan
GM Travel & Hospitality
Pierre Gourdain
GM Americas
Wednesday 6th September 17:30 - 19:00

FTE Global 2017 Networking Drinks on the Exhibition Floor

Sponsored by:
Rockwell Collins

Make the most of the vital networking opportunities provided at the FTE Global 2017 Welcome Drinks, where delegates can enjoy demonstrations in the exhibition and network with their peers over refreshments and bar snacks.

The Welcome Reception will begin early so participants have more scope to network outside of the official event proceedings.

View the photos from the Networking Drinks →


Thursday 7th September - Day 2

08:00 - 09:00
Breakfast, networking and exhibition showcase on exhibition floor
Thursday 7th September 09:00 - 10:15

FTE "Up in the Air" Keynote Addresses

Room 2

Session Chairman

Joe Leader
Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX)


Boom is bringing back supersonic travel, but can passengers expect a game changing experience within the cabin also?

Joshua Krall
CTO & Co-founder
Boom Supersonic

Followed by Fireside chat with Conference Chairman, Joe Leader and Max Coppin, Partner Development Manager, Google

Max Coppin
Partner Development Manager

10:15 - 11:00
Coffee break on the exhibition floor
Thursday 7th September 11:00 - 00:30

Inflight #PaxEx Leaders Debate - A debate exploring the major opportunities, and challenges, relating to future inflight experiences.

Fourth Working Session (Room 2)


An interactive, quick-fire, Q&A-driven session exploring how a variety of passenger experience leaders plan to enhance the onboard experience. This fast-paced session will cover a range of topics, including: the impacts of new regulations; the business cases for different cabin classes; the impact of new technology on the inflight experience; crew and passenger empowerment opportunities; opportunities to differentiate the passenger experience; inventive approaches to inflight customer service; how cabin design can be used to increase passenger comfort; and how airlines can leverage digital channels to redefine their inflight ancillary revenue generation strategies.


A debate exploring the major opportunities, and challenges, relating to future inflight experiences.

Joe Leader
Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX)


Rowan Chalmers
Executive General Manager - Operations, Airports & Inflight Services and Freight
Fiji Airways
Ingo Gäthje
VP – Head of Cabin and Cargo Innovation
Airbus Operations
Anton Vidgen
Creative Director
Air Canada & APEX Board Member
Brian Richardson
Director of Aircraft Interiors, Inflight Entertainment & Connectivity
American Airlines
Scott Savian
EVP, ZEO Design & Innovation Studio
Zodiac Aerospace

Questions to Consider:

  • What will aircraft cabin classes look like in the future? Is there a long-term business case for first, business, premium economy, economy and basic economy?
  • How can we motivate airlines to move faster in terms of adopting new technologies?
  • How can airlines ensure a consistent customer experience across their entire fleet, including on old and new aircraft?
  • Long lead times are an issue in the industry, whereas Google, Facebook, etc. think six months is a long time. As the relationships between airlines, suppliers and technology companies continue to evolve, how can we address this imbalance?
  • Using wearables, sensors, PEDs, etc. raises a number of security-related questions. How can the industry work together to tackle these challenges?
  • A lot of these opportunities require airlines to change their service profile/philosophy. How can we encourage airlines to do so?
  • Cost is still an issue. How can me move all of these opportunities from being a cost for the airline, to a revenue-generating tool for them?
  • How can airlines create a personalised in-flight e-commerce platform to drive ancillary sales?
  • Suppliers must also help to lead the way by creating concepts that capture the airlines’ excitement. How can we get airlines more involved in the development process from an earlier stage?
  • How can you make IFE more accessible to all passenger groups, including passengers with disabilities?
  • How can you empower crew to deliver more memorable in-flight experiences?
  • How can technology be used to dramatically improve the economy class experience?
  • How can airlines leverage the full potential of the connected cabin?
  • Just how reconfigurable will airline cabins, and cabin interiors be in the future?

12:30 - 13:45
Lunch break on the exhibition floor
Thursday 7th September 13:45 - 14:10

Post-lunch Keynote for all conference delegates

Room 1


Disruption is imminent – how your organisation must adapt to survive and thrive in tomorrow’s new travel eco-system

Nawal K. Taneja
Nawal K. Taneja
Airline Business Strategist
Published Airline Business Author

Nawal Taneja, whose experience in the aviation industry spans almost five decades, has worked for and advised major airlines and related businesses worldwide. His experience also includes the presidency of a small airline and an air transportation consultancy.

He advises senior executives in airlines, airports and related businesses as well as senior government policy makers.

Thursday 7th September 14:10 - 15:30

Inflight customer experience case studies – global examples of best practice, brand excellence and innovation

Fifth Working Session (Room 2)


Joe Leader
Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX)

‘Good to Great’ – how Aer Lingus has raised the standards of product and service delivery, put a big focus on its people, provided award-winning training and embedded new service values and behaviours into the company culture

Marc Giles
Guest Engagement Manager
Aer Lingus

How is Hawaiian Airlines using its new A321 neo fleet to revitalise and future proof its premium leisure experience?

Avi Mannis
Senior Vice President Marketing
Hawaiian Airlines
Ben Orson
Managing Director
JPA Design

How did Alaska Airlines and Gogo collaborate to provide passengers new connectivity and entertainment options with the launch of Free Chat, and movies onboard?

David Scotland
Inflight Entertainment & Connectivity
Alaska Airlines
Aaron Goldberg
Senior Manager of Airline Accounts

15:30 - 16:15
Coffee break on the exhibition floor
Thursday 7th September 16:15 - 17:30

Leveraging technology and design to create unique, memorable and personalised experiences that can also boost ancillary revenues

Sixth Working Session (Room 2)


VR, AR, wearables, the connected cabin, IoT, digital ancillaries, personalisation, etc.


Joe Leader
Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX)


What have been the lessons learned from Air New Zealand’s trials exploring if technologies like Microsoft’s HoloLens can enhance in-flight service?

Shane O'Flaherty
National Director of Hospitality and Travel

Let’s talk about change. How do we innovate for the constant change in consumer technology and how it effects the way we work, live and interact with each other?

Jon Norris
Sr. Director - Corporate Sales & Marketing

How is Delta Air Lines crew using big data in-flight to empower crew to quickly identify the customer, and further personalise their interactions with them?

Angela Gammill
General Manager Inflight Technology
Delta Air Lines
Thursday 7th September 19:30 - 22:30

Gala Evening and FTE Awards Ceremony


Hosted by:

Sponsored by:
Rockwell Collins

Hosted by McCarran International Airport and sponsored by Rockwell Collins, we can guarantee you a memorable evening with the finest food, drink and entertainment that Las Vegas has to offer at the FTE Global 2017 Gala Party.

The event will be this year’s premiere networking event, providing a perfect opportunity to unwind and network with fellow attendees in a relaxed environment. The evening will take place on the terrace of one of Vegas’ hottest nightspots – Omnia at Ceasars Palace, and will also play host to the Future Travel Experience Awards 2017 ceremony. This incredible outdoor venue, with unrivalled views, is at the center of one of the world’s most famous streets, overlooking the action of the famed Las Vegas Strip.

The social and networking events are open to all FTE Global delegates.

View the photos from the Gala Evening and Awards →


Friday 8th September - Day 3

08:00 - 09:00
Breakfast, networking and exhibition showcase on exhibition floor
Friday 8th September 09:00 - 10:00

Day 3 Keynote

Room 1


The Trends Driving the Future of Transportation: The Start-up Perspective

François Chopard
CEO and Founder
Starburst Accelerator

What can air transport stakeholders learn from MGM Resorts International about delivering a guest experience to remember, and what more could be done between hospitality and air transport stakeholders to create more seamless and innovative end-to-end travel experiences?

Joyen Vakil
SVP of Design & Development
MGM Resorts International

10:00 - 10:30
Coffee break on the exhibition floor
Friday 8th September 10:30 - 12:00

What aspects of the end-to-end customer experience should be powered by digital, and which ones should get the human touch?

Seventh Working Session

David van Dongen
Manager Customer Experience
Christine De Lille
Professor Innovation Networks
Friday 8th September 12:00
Conference close
Travel & Accommodation

The Mandalay Bay Resort

10-12 September 2018, Las Vegas, United States

The Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas is the venue for FTE Global 2018, and offers unmatched luxury, fine dining, renowned entertainment, personal service and gaming excitement.

Full Travel & Accommodation Details

Why attend FTE Global 2018?

Don’t just take our word for it – read what FTE Global 2017 attendees had to say about the show.

“FTE Global was fantastic! It’s very inspirational and it opens the stage for a lot of collaboration and building the future of travel. I was very impressed by the exhibition this year. The diversity of the products and what could be built with the technology that was featured is really a new world.”

Liliana Petrova, Customer Experience Director, JetBlue Airways

“FTE is one of my favourite conferences to go to. I like the fact that you bring in both airlines and airports, and the content is really different. I also enjoy that you bring in different speakers from other industries. I’m a “future” guy and this is a really good place to be. It’s fun because we’re all on the same page – we’re all looking for future technology.”

David Wilson, Director, Airport Innovation, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Port of Seattle

“The thing that’s really cool about this conference is most industry conferences just focus on tomorrow. With this one, people take a step back, are willing to consider new ideas, and think about the next 5, 10, 15 years.”

Jason Chua, Project Executive, A³ by Airbus Group

“I’ve been quite amazed by the quality of people that I was able to meet from the airline and airport communities, and also from the different innovative suppliers that were showcasing their latest innovations. For start-ups it’s a great event.”

François Chopard, CEO and Founder, Starburst Accelerator

“The networking opportunities are always fantastic at FTE Global. There has been a high level of interaction and engagement between delegates.”

Rick Belliotti, Director Innovation & Small Business Development, San Diego International Airport

“It is excellent to have the ‘Up in the Air’ stream. The conferences are definitely addressing the right issues. You hear about ideas, visions and aspirations – there is big value to attending FTE Global.”

Dr. Joachim Schneider, Vice President Product Management, Lufthansa

“FTE Global is a wonderful event. I have met representatives from many different modes of travel, and heard what people need to think about in the next decades. In terms of networking, the right players are here to have conversations with.”

Zachary Matthews, Senior Regional Manager, Business Development and Operations, US and Canada, Uber

“I have particularly liked that the event helps from a strategic standpoint. FTE Global really allows for a holistic strategic mind-set. The conference sessions have been very relevant in terms of customer experience.”

Michael Morford, Airport Concessions Manager, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport

“It’s great that we’re hearing about disruption. Blurring the lines between industries is very important, and this event does that very effectively.”

Rachel Walker, Director – Tools & Technology Global Ops, Strategy, Planning & Design, United Airlines

“I have been very happy with the conference sessions, which have been projecting us into the future. It’s my first time here at FTE Global and it has exceeded my expectations. I have met lots of different contacts – the event is very good for networking.”

Aymeric Dussart, IT Director, Aéroports de Montréal

“The panel sessions have been excellent, with good interaction with the audience. It’s a very forward-thinking event and people here are not afraid to talk about the future.”

Joshua Krall, Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder, Boom Supersonic

“I’d heard a lot about FTE Global from industry colleagues and it has certainly met my expectations. The conference sessions have been very interesting, and it has been my pleasure to take part.”

Christoph Rufenacht, Director Capital Facilities Development, Vancouver Airport Authority

“FTE Global was definitely a great opportunity for us to network and to learn from all the players that are changing the airline industry and the travel industry. During three days we were exposed to lots of insights and we were exposed to a broader way of approaching our business.”

Alessandro Fusaro, Coordinator Digital Marketing & Innovation, SkyTeam

“It has been great attending FTE Global. The conference sessions have really informed our thinking and the Co-creation Forums were particularly good in generating a high level of interaction. FTE Global is highly recommended – I will definitely attend again.”

Max Coppin, Partner Development Manager, Google

“The event has been very insightful. I’ve been to a lot of conferences, and the knowledge gained at FTE Global is unique and innovative. It’s very good that the event is all about collaboration. I will take some nice concepts home with me.”

Maria Rosario C. Jocson, Assistant Vice President, Centre for Customer Management, Marketing Department, Philippine Airlines

“There are very few events where airlines can get together and talk about what they’re doing. Here at FTE Global, we are able to hear in detail the experiences of others.”

Tim Graham, Senior Manager – Integration, Development & Innovation, Virgin Atlantic Airways

Vital Event Information

Future Travel Experience Global 2018 is an independent global forum that brings together airlines, airports, government agencies, vendors, start-ups, terminal designers, architects, ground handlers, destination partners and various other travel industry stakeholders to define tomorrow’s end-to-end passenger experience.

Future Travel Experience Global 2018
- September 2018
Mandalay Bay Resort, Las Vegas, United States

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