Road Warrior: Airline CEOs held pow wow on industry

Airlines 4 Europe discussed shrinking seat sizes and round the world fares

In a meeting this week with the European Union Commissioner for Transportation, Violeta Bulc, the chief executives of Airlines 4 Europe (A4E) met to discuss their expectations on key issues for 2017. Reforming the air traffic management system, minimising ATC strike effects and abolishing unreasonable aviation taxes were on the agenda. The year 2016 had 22 ATC strikes and caused major disruption – since 2010, there have been 217 ATC strike days that have cost €12 billion to the EU economy. A4E represents the largest airlines in Europe including Ryanair, International Airlines Group, Lufthansa, Easyjet, Jet2, Norwegian,Tap, Icelandair, Finnair and more.

The subject of airline seat sizes is going to be tackled again next year in the United States, to try and establish mandatory seat sizes on aircraft. Two Congressman, Steve Cohen and Adam Kinzinger, have introduced the Seat Act, to protect the health and safety of airline passengers. Planes need to be capable of rapid evacuation in case of emergency. Seat pitch has shrunk on average from 35 inches in the 1970s to 31 inches, while width has reduced to 16.5 inches.

Discount fares

The Skyteam airline alliance is giving customers 15 per cent discount on round the world fares for economy and business-class passengers on fares booked by between now and end of March. The fares will be valid on the 20 member airlines, including Air France, Delta and KLM from Ireland. Skyteam operates 17,000 daily flights to 1,062 destinations and 177 countries.

Wifi is the most-asked-for thing about staying in hotels by guests. They need to know whether it is free, what is the bandwidth and how strong is the signal. Hotel brands are investing in better and better wifi to entice business travellers to move to their properties. Guests have expectations for wifi and it is now considered the number-one amenity. Intercontinental Hotel Group recently began installing IHG Connect, a wifi architecture that will recognise guests from hotel to hotel, and move bandwith around properties to deal with surges.