Perfectly packaged comfort
This is a special feature from PAX International's April 2021 Amenities & Comfort digital edition.
Amenities and comfort items communicate many things to the passenger, perhaps the most significant being the airline’s brand ad values. As studies such as the Buzz 2021 & Beyond – Trend & Insights Report reveal, the pandemic has passengers reprioritizing these details.
The report highlights five traveler trends that will be critical in the restart, including supporting meaningful brands, wellbeing needs, positive communication, hygiene priorities, and enriched brand collaborations. Companies such as SPIRIANT, Plane Talking Products and Global Inflight Products are finding ways to support their airlines customers as passengers zero in with a critical eye.
Cost-effective and eco-conscious
“In the comfort category, sustainability is an important consideration when airlines make their buying decisions,” says Lisa Benzaoui, Chief Executive Officer at Global Inflight Products (GIP). “One priceless factor in ‘going green’ is demonstrating the importance of environmental awareness to their passengers.”
GIP is well-known for its Green Is Possible line. The range offers natural, biodegradable, compostable and recyclable amenity kits and comfort items, as well as meal service items, such as stir-sticks, napkins cups and more. The products are created using sustainable materials: birch, bamboo, vegetable starch, sugar cane, wheat straw, palm leaves and cork. The woven blanket is made from recycled plastic bottles (RPET) that are transformed into a fine thread.
With passenger safety and cleanliness in mind, GIP launched a line of health and safety amenities. Face masks, gloves, individual hand wipes and hot/cold towels can be packaged in an eco-friendly pouch or bag for easy distribution in the cabin.
Simplicity is key for food service through the pandemic, Benzaoui tells PAX International, adding that there has been an emphasis on sealed, well-packaged food and snack items that are environmentally friendly.
“Translating the look of First or Business Class products to disposable items typically found in Economy Class creates a cost-effective option that also reassures passengers about cleanliness,” Benzaoui says.
The company designed an eco-conscious replacement for First or Business Class tray table linen and napkin pouch for cutlery. The non-woven cloth printed with a refined tone-on-tone jacquard-look, or airlines can opt for the logo or customized design.
The sealed and compact meal box offering from GIP is an “attractive” way to ensure quality and food safety, with minimal passenger-crew interaction, Benzaoui says. The meal boxes also make trash collection easier as all components can be safely enclosed in the box. The GIP rotable meal box solution is a colorful, stackable option that can be packed with sealed food items, cutlery and napkin. The versatile containers fit neatly into the trolley to the number maximize passenger meals and snacks.
“As a company, the biggest benefit of offering these products includes working toward global waste reduction making our planet green. We support commitments to both our customers’ and our own internal company values,” Benzaoui says. “All of this helps to build passenger and customer confidence in the airline. Green really is possible – just like our brand says.”
With reduced flights comes a reduced demand for comfort items such as blankets and pillows. The emphasis instead has been on delivering non-rotable meal service items, explains Martin Piper, Sales & Marketing Director at Plane Talking Products Ltd.
The company recently revealed its 100 percent plastic-free Birchwood cutlery pack, with FSC certified and managed wrappers and tissues. With the European Union single-use plastics directive coming into effect in July, Plane Talking Products has experienced a spike in demand for these alternatives.
“This will force most international operators down this route and we are seeing this crystallized in most tenders we’ve seen so far this year,” Piper tells PAX International. “We will also see PLA on the decline too as the directive is decreeing PLA as not as easily recycled or managed post-use.”
The company has already received “red flags” from paper product factories on imminent price increases due to the increase in demand. Piper notes, “The great thing is that a lot of the new innovative products are naturally tactile and shout sustainable in their style without looking cheap and nasty.”
The shift stands as an opportunity for airlines to communicate their “eco message,” as Piper calls it. “In our opinion, true eco credentials are about much more than the product itself – it’s about a total review of the end-to-end life of the supply chain, including transportation, loading efficiencies, consolidation,” he says.
Part of this closed-loop landscape includes the company’s work with a UK-based company that is examining the use of wind-assisted container ships, as well its blanket offering aboard rail service Eurostar designed with an easily removable tag allowing it to be laundered and donated at the end of its working life.
“We have been pushing ourselves to innovate and be creative so that we can be a step ahead when more flights are operating and when traveling will no longer be a distant memory,” says Angie Fung, Head of Amenities and Sleepwear at SPIRIANT. “The need for comfort items to be anti-bacterial and anti-viral is something we haven’t seen before and it will continue to be a focus for our customers.”
All sleepwear proposals and amenity kits feature sustainable and recycled material options, including its range of #FLYSAFE kits and items which debuted in May 2020. The range is now flying on airlines such as Lufthansa and is available in different formats; Standard PPE, Eco warriors kit and Fashionista.
Standard PPE includes a MOPP (mono-oriented polypropylene) pouch with non-woven face masks, hand sanitizer and wipes to bring a sense of security to passengers. Eco warriors kit is made out of environmentally conscious materials and includes a reusable facemask and a pack of sanitizing towels safely stored in a pouch. The brown and dark green colors resemble the eco-friendly material and offer a fashionable choice. The Fashionista kit is for those seeking an option that allows room for customization. The pouch includes a refreshing towel and pack of tissues, as well as a 100 percent cotton face mask that the airline can design to align with its brand identity – ideal for post-flight use.
“The drastic reduction of flights – especially long haul ones – has a huge impact on the need for amenity kits,” says Fung. But the company has used the opportunity to strengthen relationships with partners nonetheless, she adds.
SPIRIANT has developed a PPE kit for use in luxury jewelry house Asprey London’s retail stores. As well, it has designed new ranges of Gifts with Purchase (GWP) for some or its cosmetic brand partners.
“Our main focus has always been with the aviation industry but during 2020 we have been using our expertise to expand into other markets,” Fung explains. “The trust we have built with our partners over the years have led them to come to us for various projects where we can add value creatively.”