The Monday starter to AIX in Hamburg this year, as in the past, is called The Passenger Experience Conference and hosts an industry Networking Party in the evening following the seminars. Both will be held at the CCH-Congress Center Hamburg located near the SAS Radisson Hotel. We should mention that the CCH-Congress Center is a different venue but is walking distance from the exhibition halls where the Aircraft Interiors Expo and World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo are held the following three days.

Registration is easy; check out the weblink and you can download the program too. Now in its fourth year, the premier aviation conference and networking forum is designed to discuss the vital strategic issues surrounding cabin innovation, consumer expectations and strategies for profitability within the cabin. We should also mention that the conference is hosted by the Aircraft Interiors and World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expos.

This year, the AIX folks will, through schedule shifting, give attendees the ability to attend two of the three keynote sessions, and the option to attend one of the three concurrent breakout sessions (IFEC, Cabin or Hospitality topics) that run late morning and one of three (featuring new IFEC, Cabin or Hospitality topics) in the afternoon. We suspect that this schedule adjustment from previous years arose out of attendee requests. From our past experience there is always one good session in another focus group held at the same time we couldn’t afford to miss… at least this year, attendees have an additional option since there is a repeat in each of the groups. Check out Monday’s Schedule for more detailed information (13 page PDF) but print out this 1 page PDF Programme-At-A-Glance to take to with you.

Noted Katie Murphy, AIX Exhibition Senior Event Director: “This year, as in previous years, we will be running concurrent breakout sessions for IFEC, hospitality and cabin topics. A new departure for 2015 is that we will start these sessions mid-morning with a keynote presentation. After the lunch break we will repeat the keynotes again to give delegates a chance to experience two out of three of these presentations, before moving on to new breakout topics. For IFEC that will be a look at the future for in-flight content and the potential impact of virtual reality technologies on the passenger experience.”

As we noted in the above, the conference schedule covers topics and subjects in detail but we wanted to give our IFExpress readers a summary outline of the Monday meeting by looking at the three breakout session focus topics – IFE, Cabin, and Hospitality.

Passenger Experience Conference – 2015

Registration & Coffee 08.00 – 09.00
Welcome (Plenary) 09.00 – 09.10
Introduction (Plenary) 09.10 – 09.15
Blue Sky Talk (Plenary) 09.15 – 10.00 – Emotional Ergonomics in the Air
Debate: The Flexible Interior (Plenary) 10.10 – 10,50
– Coffee –
Keynotes: Disrupting the Status Quo, 11.20 – 11.55 & 14.00 – 14.35
Breakouts 12.00 – 12.55 7 14.40 – 16.05


AM: 1. Desire In The Travel Zone, 11.20 – 11.55 (35 Min. Total)
LATE AM: 2.The Connected Aircraft, 12.00 – 12.55 (55 Min. Total)
PM: 1. Desire In The Travel Zone, 14.00 – 14.35 (35 Min. Total)
LATE PM: 3.The Future For In-flight Content, 14.40 – 16.05 (1H. 25 Min. Total)

AM: 1. Guest Centric Approach For Customizing The Cabin, 11.20 – 11.55 (35 Min. Total)
LATE AM: 2. Making A Difference To Passenger Experiences, 12.00 – 12.55 (55 Min. Total)
PM: 1. Guest Centric Approach For Customizing The Cabin, 14.00 – 14.35 (35. Min. Total)
LATE PM: 3. The Future For Seats And Galleys, 14.40 – 16.05 (1 Hr. 25 Min. Total)

AM: 1. Onboard Sustainability Strategies, 11.20 – 11.55 (35 Min. Total)
LATE AM: 2. Food And Service Trends, 12.00 – 12.55 (55 Min. Total)
PM: 1. Onboard Sustainability Strategies, 14.00 – 14.35 (35 Min. Total)
LATE PM: 3. The Future For Revenue And Retail, 14.40 – 16.05 (1 Hr. 25 Min. total)
– Coffee –

Leaders in Innovation (Plenary) 16.35 – 17.30
Industry Networking Party 17.30 – 21.00

Last year’s Passenger Experience Conference was the fourth edition of the Monday educational sessions prior to the opening of the AIX show floor. The 2014 PEC started with 2 plenary sessions then split into four areas of focus, which were run simultaneously and built on the subject matter of the 2013 event: 1) In-flight Entertainment and Connectivity: a voyage of discovery and opportunity 2) The Cabin: Getting smarter about space and comfort 3) Hospitality & Service – making the onboard experience memorable and 4) Protecting the Brand: cabin maintenance. IFExpress felt that one of the highlights from the sessions was Devin Liddell of Teague who discussed the power of “co-making” and how partnerships are our most powerful currency, with the capacity to partner having a big impact on influencing the passenger. The informative day finished with the AIX Networking Party that provided delegates, speakers, visitors and exhibitors an opportunity to strike up new professional relationships and fortify existing business partnerships in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. If you haven’t had the opportunity to attend the Monday sessions in 2012, 2013 or 2014, IFExpress suggests you give this year’s conference a try – you won’t be disappointed!

Editors notes: “Plenary – (of a meeting) to be attended by all participants at a conference or assembly, who otherwise meet in smaller groups.” Yes, we didn’t remember it either… Also we wanted to let you know that there is a Lufthansa discounted travel deal

IFExpress will see you there!

Hamburg, Germany | February 2, 2015– Two new motivating plenary sessions from Seymourpowell and Virgin Atlantic Airways will open and close an unmissable programme at the Passenger Experience Conference, which takes place on 13 April 2015 at the CCH – Congress Centre Hamburg, to be followed by Aircraft Interiors Expo. Hosted by Aircraft Interiors Expo, this industry-leading conference will open with the first plenary presented by Richard Seymour, Founder, Seymourpowell with the closing session presented by David Bulman, Director of Technology and Reuben Arnold, Brand and Customer Engagement Director at Virgin Atlantic Airways.

The theme for the opening plenary session is to free up collective thinking about what is possible and Richard Seymour’s “Blue Sky” presentation entitled ‘Clippers in the Clouds – Rediscovering Romance in the 21st Century,’ will investigate the theory of “Emotional Ergonomics” in the air and reflect on how much can actually be achieved within the technical confines of a modern airliner in the decades to come.

“When I’m spending the kind of money that a transatlantic flight costs nowadays, I’m inevitably comparing the experience with other ways I could use that cash…in-flight experiences always seem to be trying to ‘catch up’ with even some of the simpler pleasures on the ground. It’s time for the unique, delightful and exciting time in the air again,” said Richard Seymour.

The following plenary session will debate the dynamics of the flexible interior, to be moderated by Vern Alg, Consultant, Reed Exhibitions. Current panellists Leo Mondale, President, Inmarsat Aviation; Adrian Berry, Creative Director, Factorydesign; Baden Smith, Head of Airline Business, Altitude Aerospace Interiors and a senior executive from Airbus. The theme for this segment is building flexibility into original designs to satisfy multiple and changing needs of airlines and their passengers.

The focus for ‘Taking a Guest-Centric Approach to Customising the Cabin and Creating Differentiated Brand Experience’ is the team behind Etihad Airways’ A380 and B787 interiors who will share the challenges and learning from achieving a high level of customisation in all cabins including a guest-centric approach to overcome the constraints and design demands. Confirmed panellists will include Michael Crump, Product and Innovation Director, Honour Branding; Anthony Harcup, Associate, Acumen; Calum Laming, Vice President, Guest Experience, Etihad Airways and Adam White, Director, Factorydesign.

A new feature at this year’s Passenger Experience Conference will see the morning keynotes being repeated after lunch to enable delegates to listen to more than one keynote presentation.

‘Designing Desire in the Travel Zone: Reaching Beyond Basic Passenger Needs to Create Impact in “In-Between” Places’ will be presented by David Cleaves, Creative Director, frog. When passengers leave their homes to travel, they enter a series of “in-between” places – airports, planes, hotels, and other venues – where fantasy and reality collide to shape their experiences. He will follow two typical passenger archetypes along the travel journey and map their needs and aspirations, exploring how airlines and airports can – moment by moment – go beyond the basics to deliver something surprising and new.

During ‘Re-zoning the Cabin: The Athlete’s Plane,’ Philipp Steiner, Creative Director, TEAGUE will offer insights on TEAGUE and Nike’s collaboration on a concept aircraft for professional athletes.

“Challenging assumptions, understanding user needs, and questioning the status quo is the job of design; the same could easily be said of Nike’s business, making them the ideal partner for TEAGUE,” said Philipp Steiner.

Air travel often hinders athletic performance due to the impact on physical, physiological and cognitive functions – especially when travelling across time zones. “TEAGUE and Nike both pursue game-changing innovation,” he added. “There’s no better way to achieve that than by bringing together the best brands in their respective fields to co-make entirely new products, services and experiences.”

The heart of the third and closing plenary session will showcase the much-anticipated ‘Leaders in Innovation’ finale. Virgin Atlantic has racked up a significant track record for innovation to improve the passenger experience. David Bulman and Reuben Arnold will provide insights on some of the airline’s recent initiatives which have included upgrading upper class beds with seat/bed padding on suspended webbing, transforming the meals service with low-tech tableware, and trialling the use of Google Glass.

Following the conclusion of the final plenary session, the Passenger Experience Conference will then close leading to the Industry Networking Party, sponsored by The Gill Corporation, which will take place from 1730 – 2100.

Katie Murphy, Senior Event Director for Aircraft Interiors Expo, said: “The opening and closing plenary sessions at this year’s Passenger Experience Conference will be a major highlight for delegates as these top-level speakers will be stimulating and thought-provoking. In general, the range of issues and topics to be debated this year highlight the vibrancy of this industry which continues to evolve at high speed. There is no doubt the line-up to date is already impressive and will be an occasion not to be missed.”