Airline Uses Scraps To Make Wheelchairs For Charity, More Flat-Bed Seats And New Routes For 2023

The holiday season is not slowing down airlines from adding to their route networks and updating their amenities. Many offered excellent Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals for holiday travel and beyond. And they are making product investments for 2023 to woo travelers. From new routes and premium cabin seats to faster security processes, air travel will be better than ever in the new year.

Condor updates business class with new flat-bed seats

German leisure airline Condor is updating its business class with new flat-bed seats, launching on the Frankfurt-Seattle/Tacoma route as soon as early next year. The seats are part of the airline’s new Airbus A330-neo aircraft and feature side tables, ample storage space and privacy walls around the head of the seat. In line with the carrier’s updated livery, the new cabin will slowly roll out on its new aircraft, including those flying to the United States with more routes to come.

Sri Lankan adds regional meals, invests in upcycling project

The winner of the 2023 APEX Regional Passenger Choice Awards for Best Food & Beverage and Best Seat Comfort, Sri Lankan Airlines recently launched a range of regional dishes to showcase its local cuisine with passengers. Meals are customized for each the destination and offer more healthy and hearty Sri Lankan menus. One example is the electrolyte-rich coconut water with chunks of coconut fruit served on select flights. Menus also include details on the “nutritional and medicinal benefits of the ingredients that go into the meals, based on culinary traditions passed down through generations.”

Another focus of the airline is its upcycling project known as “Mathaka” finding ways to minimize landfill waste by repurposing the airline’s scrap and leftover material. For example, the airline recently used materials from the scrap yard to build wheelchairs for the Sarana Buddhist Foundation’s home for the elderly.

Air Tahiti Nui adds Seattle-Paris

As part of its existing Papeete-Seattle/Tacoma service, Air Tahiti Nui will extend its flight to Paris Charles de Gaulle from the Washington gateway. The flight will operate two times a week using the carrier’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. The French Polynesian airline will compete with SkyTeam members Air France and Delta Air Lines, which both fly the route.

Hawaiian Airlines serves menus from first female James Beard Award winner

Passengers aboard Hawaiian Airlines can now enjoy new menus from Chef Robynne Maii, Hawaii’s first female James Beard Award winner. Her meals are part of the rotating menu selections the airline offers in its first class cabin. Among the new dishes from the Honolulu-born chef are Hawaiian sweet potato hash, cage-free scrambled eggs with tomatoes, Canadian bacon and honey mustard sauce for breakfast or Chicken Schnitzel with Lilikoi mustard sauce, braised cabbage and and potato salad later in the day.

Cayman Airways adds new LAX flight

New nonstop service between Los Angeles and Grand Cayman on Cayman Airways launched in November connecting the two destinations. The airline will use its Boeing 737-8 Max aircraft for the year-round flight, which operates once a week. This will be the only nonstop route to connect the Caribbean with the West Coast.

IATA’s Ready to Fly program in the cards

IATA, the International Air Transport Association, has its sights set on making the travel experience easier for airline passengers with its “Ready to Fly” program. The trade association is bringing a series of recommendations forward to airlines to simplify the check-in experience. It would allow international travelers to get a boarding pass without having to stop at the check-in counter in advance. Dubbed One ID, this creates a contactless, biometric-enabled travel journey from start to finish. Some airlines are already using components of this, like Delta in Atlanta at certain gates, but they still must present their passport at some point during the check-in process. IATA is working to help create a fully-verified digital identity via an airline’s app to help simplify the journey without having to prevent documents, all while respecting passenger data and security.

Etihad unveils Armani/Casa products for business class

New serviceware and amenities from Armani/Casa are coming to Etihad Airways business class flights. Beginning in December, the new “Constellation Collection” of amenities will be available for business class passengers. The upgrade includes new ceramics, glassware, cutlery and serving ware, all reflecting the color palette of the area that surrounds the carrier’s home base of Abu Dhabi. The new pieces are also more lightweight, which helps to reduce the airline’s fuel burn. For a better rest, there is a new memory foam mattress, pillow case and matching duvet.

New flights to Mexico with JSX International

Operating its fleet of Embraer 135 aircraft from fixed base operators (FBOs) rather than airport terminals, JSX International is known for offering a private plane-experience at a fraction of the price. The new flights to Cabo San Lucas (via a private facility rather than the international airport) begin in mid-December from Dallas Love Field and Los Angeles LAX to the Mexican vacation paradise. The planes have business class-style leg room, free drinks and snacks, and free inflight WiFi. Fares start at $599 each way and include two checked bags.

French bee adds new Miami flight

Continuing to extend its wings, French bee is adding another low-fare route to its portfolio. Miami to Paris Orly started Dec. 15 with fares as low as $217 each way plus tax. The carrier flies Airbus A350 planes with economy and premium economy cabins only plus the ability to pay extra for things like checked bags, onboard meals and extra legroom seats.