May 28 2024  |  Events

⦿ LIVE: Passenger Experience Conference kicks off big week in Hamburg

By PAX Magazine Staff, in Hamburg, Germany

Last Updated: 6:00 p.m. (Central European Summer Time), May 27, 2024



The Hamburg Messe & Congress center on May 27, 2024

HAMBURGThe Passenger Experience Conference kicked off today, marking the beginning of a week of industry talks, innovations and networking in Hamburg. The one-day event that precedes the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) and World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) began at 8:30 a.m. this morning, with delegate registration and coffee, followed by the official welcome address from Event Director Polly Magraw.

"We hope the week ahead will be inspiring, thought-provoking, rewarding but most importantly, enjoyable," Magraw said.


Polly Magraw, Event Director, PEC, WTCE and AIX

9:40 a.m. – Planetary Session: Innovating Tomorrow’s Travel Experiences
Following Magraw’s warm welcome, industry Antagonist Seth Miller took to the stage to introduce the first speaker of the day, Professor Peter Vink, Professor Environmental Design, Delft University of Technology (Tu-Delft).

With lots of content to keep the crowd engaged, Vink shared results from research on optimal seating configurations, sleeping positions, ideal air temperatures in the cabin and more. Vink’s presentation included an original song, videos and of course tons of research—an excellent speaker to kick off today’s conference.



Professor Peter Vink, Professor Environmental Design, Delft University of Technology (Tu-Delft)

Next, the session Innovating Tomorrow’s Travel Experiences, moderated by Miller, invited Vink;  Melanie Berry, Director of Customer Experience, Iberia; Jochen Werner, Vice President Airbus Industrial Design, Airbus Operations GmbH and Glenn Johnson FRAeS, Senior Technical Fellow, Collins Aerospace to the stage. The session focused on the future passenger experience of the 2030s. Speakers discussed what touch-points provide value for the future of passenger air travel and how to solve the current frustrations among travellers in the next decade.


From left to right: Peter Vink, Melanie Berry, Jochen Werner, Glenn Johnson and moderator Seth Miller

11:30 a.m. – Now, Connected, Efficient
After a networking coffee break, attendees received an introduction to the three streams featured in the 2024 PEC agenda. Future Now, Future Connected and Future Efficient are three separate discussion panels designed to address the already evolving passenger experience.


The Future Now panel

The first stream, Future Now, invites delegates to review initiatives already underway that are gaining traction. The Future Now session focused on removing roadblocks to accessible travel.



The Removing the Road Blocks to Accessible Travel panel

The panel was moderated by Glenn Johnson FRAeS, Senior Technical Fellow, Collins Aerospace and included the following speakers: William Harkness, Head of Engineering - Accessibility, Boeing Commercial Airplanes; Brenna Wynhof, Regional Director, Cabin Marketing, Boeing Commercial Airplanes Engineering; Eric Ezell, Head of Cabin & Cargo Innovation, Airbus; Roberto Castiglioni, Director, Reduced Mobility Rights Limited; Tyler Anderson-Lennert, Manager - Product Innovation, Delta Flight Products; Christopher Wood MBE, Founder, Flying Disabled; Daniel MacInnes, Director, PriestmanGoode and Maria Paula Pineda, Accessibility Strategy Manager, Avianca.

Meanwhile, the Future Connected session encouraged leaders to re-evaluate the role of air travel within the ecosystem and how it meets the needs of passengers by harnessing the power of data inflight.

The Maximizing Connections – Harnessing the Power of Data sessions included speakers Simon Nowroz, Chief Strategy Officer, Beyond; Tim Sommer, Vice President Connected Aircraft, Airbus; Michael Wolters, CEO, Banbutsu; Kei Sugimoto, Senior Director, Product &Service Development, Japan Airlines, and Koji Iimura, Manager, Business Development, Fujitsu Germany GmbH, moderated by Maruan El Mahgiub, Vice President Business Innovation, Mormedi.


The Future Now panel did a Q&A with attendees

The Future Efficient session looked at opportunities for increased sustainability and waste reduction within the aviation industry. The Vision for 2040 Aviation Sustainability discussion emphasized ideas that can nurture systemic change. Moderated by Andrew Doyle, Senior Director Market Development, Cirium and Elina Kopola, Founder, TrendWorks | Green Cabin Alliance, speakers included  Matt Crane, Founder, Aviation Sustainability Forum; Karen Hills, Payloads Engineering Sustainability Leader, Boeing - Concept Center; Daniel Clucas, Director, Studio ID Design and Leadership Board Member, Green Cabin Alliance and Ben Smalley, Director of Business Development, SEKISUI KYDEX, and Co-Founder Green Cabin Alliance.


The Sustainable and Cost-Effective Strategies panel

2:15 p.m. – Streams of the future

The afternoon sessions for Future Now, Future Connected and Future Efficient took off at 2:15 p.m., inviting attendees to the listen in on and learn about the art of immersion and how it is possible to generate more personalized experiences for the passenger using AI.


Seth Miller moderates the AI in the sky: Expanding the potential for inflight travel services

The topic for Future Now, Generating More Personalized Experiences with AI, explored  the technologies and artificial intelligence tools that offer the potential to revolutionize passenger experiences across the travel journey. Moderated by Miller, speakers for the session included Julia Raith, Director of Interaction Design, BMW Group Designworks; Arnd Kikker, Managing Director, AERQ; Kevin Clark, CEO, Bluebox Aviation Systems; Anne de Hauw, Founder, IN Air Travel Experience and Michael Raasch, CEO, Omnevo GmbH.

Julia Raith, Director of Interaction Design, BMW Group Designworks

In the Future Connected Everything is Connected – A Vision of Tomorrow’s Travel Ecosystem session, the focus was on the travel ecosystem and how all elements of the passenger experience are interconnected. The question of integrations to elevate this network in the future were examined by speakers including  Geraint Edwards, Chief Growth Officer & Creative Director, Tangerine; René Dankwerth, Chief Business Development Officer, Recaro Holding GmbH; Zulkiflie Jumaat, Senior Manager Guest Experience & Product Development, Etihad Airways and Darius Hildebrandt, Head of Exterior Design, Volkswagen Group Future Center Europe. Aviation Design Strategist Cristian Sutter moderated the session.

In the Future Efficient forum the discussion looked at cycle-proofing the cabin and implementing initiatives that deliver for all stakeholders. Speakers Matthew Nicholls, Sales Director, Tapis Corporation; Jo Hirayasu, Product Marketing Manager, Zipair Tokyo; Luzius Rickenbacher, EVP Aviation Interiors, Lantal Textiles; Simon Frischemeier, Head of Operational Excellence and Sustainability, The LSG Group; Nick Galano, Director, Starlink Sales and Partnerships, Heading Aviation, Space Exploration Technologies; Marc Westcott, Vice President of Business Development, WeSky and Jeffrey O’Neill, Founder, Zephyr Aerospace discussed mitigating the uncertainties of the future in-cabin experience.

Panelists of the cycle-proofing discussion

4:45 p.m. – Future panel discussions

The final sessions of the 2024 Passenger Experience Conference started promptly at 4:45 p.m., with attendees tuning in for one of three discussion panels:

  • Future Now: Initiatives for a new generation of greener cabins
  • Future Connected: Sustainable air travel - plugging eVOTL into the Travel Ecosystem
  • Future Efficient: Rethinking the way investment in inflight Wi-Fi and connectivity is funded

Future Now's Better Thinking to Deliver Sustainable Cabins looked at how some of the front runners in the cabin community are developing new methodologies, processes and thinking to reduce the environment footprint of the cabin. Speakers included Daniel Clucas, Director, Studio ID Design and Leadership Board Member, Green Cabin Alliance; Joshua Wilkie, Manager, Waste Management & Circularity Programs, Air Canada; Ben Orson, CEO, Orson Associates; Gary Doy, Director, Doy Design; Nico den Ouden, Chief Innovation Officer and General Manager Seating, Gen Phoenix and Nick Wain, Director, Sabeti Wain Aerospace. The panel was moderated by Elina Kopola, Founder, TrendWorks | Green Cabin Alliance.


Future Now's Better Thinking to Deliver Sustainable Cabins

Attendees had the opportunity to hear how new electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft are poised to disrupt and transform urban air mobility in the next few years in the Sustainable Air Travel – Plugging EVTOL Into the Travel Ecosystem panel. Speakers, including Mark Pfeiffer, Vice President Sales, Expliseat; Sharon Chung, Product Marketing Manager, Lilium; Carsten Laufs, Senior Vice President, Product Innovation and Digitalisation, Diehl Aviation; Eric Bogner, Executive Creative Director, Teague; Nathan Kwok, Executive Vice President Sales & Marketing, Safran Cabin examined how innovations across different travel systems inspire fresh ideas. Stephanie Faulk, Director of Sales and Marketing, Adient Aerospace, moderate the session.

The Expliseat presentation

And also this afternoon, Alex Preston rounded out a full day of conferencing with the Rethinking the Way Investment in Inflight Wifi and Connectivity is Funded discussion. Speakers examined how today’s digital natives are set to become an increasing proportion of passengers flying in the 2030s. Speakers agreed that the ability to connect and continue to manage their lives inflight will be a key requirement as they travel. Panelists included Brian Richardson, Director of Business Development, Advertising & Partnerships, Viasat;Reza Rasoulian, Vice President, Hughes Aviation Group; John Wade, Vice President, Connectivity, Panasonic Avionics Corporation; Jean-Marc Thomas, Managing Director, APAC, Spafax; Andrew Litavis, GM Onboard Product, JetBlue and Nathan Bolt, Head of Digital Product & Journeys, Virgin Atlantic.

The Rethinking the Way Investment in Inflight Wifi and Connectivity is Funded panelists

More to come
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