February 15 2022  |  Connectivity & Satellites

Dutch charter launches in-seat ordering

By Rick Lundstrom

Corendon Dutch Airlines operates a fleet of three 737-800s

Charter carrier Corendon Dutch Airlines is giving passengers the ability to order snacks or duty free onboard from its Corendon Café digital portal and have it delivered directly to their seat during the flight.

Working with cabin technology and inflight entertainment (IFE) partner AirFi, is the airline’s latest step toward enhancing the passenger experience, reducing waste, and optimizing ancillary revenue opportunities.

The launch of the new in-seat ordering service across the Dutch leisure airline’s fleet of three 737-800 aircraft follows a successful trial and will complement its existing trolley service. Passengers connect to Corendon’s streaming IFE and shopping platform (powered by AirFi) using their own mobile devices by selecting the appropriate Wi-Fi network onboard. They can then fill shopping baskets with their chosen items and place their order.

Crew are notified of the order on their tablets, marking the request “in progress” or “complete” for other crew members to see. Passengers can track order status via messaging on the wireless IFE platform, streamed over Wi-Fi to their personal electronic device. When the order is ready, a crew member will deliver the purchases to the passenger’s seat, at which time payment is taken. As a cashless airline, Corendon accepts all major debit and credit cards.

"Since COVID-19 began, passengers have been asked not to walk about the cabin, and since childhood, most of us were taught not to press the flight attendant call button unless absolutely necessary,” said Gert-Jan de Vries, Manager of Cabin Crew and Inflight Sales at Corendon Dutch Airlines in today’s announcement. “This is very courteous, but not ideal if the passenger really would like to buy some duty free or have a refreshment. With AirFi’s in-seat ordering, we provide a more discreet way for our guests to request what they want, when they want it. The result is that our guests are more content during the flight, and as an airline we earn additional revenue that might have otherwise been lost.”

A number of features makes the ordering system easy for Corendon cabin crew

The Corendon Café is fully integrated with AirFi’s ePOS (point of sale solution) and IFE system, which manages backend admin on the inflight sales. The in-seat ordering service is fully controlled by the crew who, once IFE streaming system has been turned on, will perform a traditional trolley service. They will then activate the new ordering feature, thus allowing passengers to purchase extra snacks and drinks, and importantly, extending the opening hours of the onboard shop.

This additional time to make purchases is critical as aviation recovers financially from the COVID-19 pandemic. Airlines everywhere are increasingly contingent on ancillary revenue to improve margins.

Corendon offers snacks, drinks (hot and cold), as well as warm meals like soup and pizza, and regional favorite such as stroopwafels and broodje kroket: a popular Dutch sandwich consisting of a deep-fried kroket inside a soft bread roll or a bun. Passengers connect to Corendon’s streaming IFE and shopping platform using their own mobile devices by selecting the appropriate Wi-Fi network onboard. They can then fill shopping baskets with their chosen items and place their order.

Crew are also able to monitor stock levels through the staff-facing side of the new system, marking products as ‘out of stock’ when they become unavailable. The airline is currently trialing optimized loading using data from its AirFi’s ePOS solution to help drive down operational costs without compromising sales opportunities.

“Corendon has been a partner of AirFi for many years and we’re incredibly excited to announce that they’re the first European airline to adopt our ground-breaking in-seat ordering capabilities,” said Job Heimerikx, AirFi CEO. “By offering hybrid service that begins with the traditional trolley service then switches to in-seat ordering, Corendon is truly maximizing the potential of its onboard retail program.”

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