INTER V IEW
NOVEMBER 2019 059
Kerzner’s r ules
at all. This approach would save a lot of
weight, which is a really important thing
for us and the airline industry.
“I think the technology behind the
scenes that will be used to customise the
experience is where we’ll see the biggest
leap forward in the future.”
One area where there is always a potential gap
between customers’ inflight expectations and their
everyday lives is in the IFE offer. Airlines strive to catch
up with technologies such as Bluetooth headsets, wireless
charging and new standards of display resolution, but the
latest technology on board is often in customers’ pockets.
“When we deliver an aircraft, that aircraft is then
in service for eight years, so for us to nail what that
technology should be in eight years’ time is next to
impossible. Entertainment technology will evolve
two or three or four times within that time, and the
technology our customers bring onboard will be the
latest technology on board.
And this is where Kerzner sees some very costefficient
Celebrate your successes
and learn from your
mistakes. But focus
on moving forward.
The best is yet
ways to offer what passengers really want, while
also reducing the risk of tech obsolescence. “I think what’s
important is how we can give passengers the ability to use
their own technology to control the space around them,
rather than the airline embedding technology in the
passenger space in a way that can’t evolve over that eightyear
period. So if we can give customers a connecting
point for tethering their technology into the seat
environment and IFE display, we’d rather they bring
their own technology on board and give them the ability
to use it, whether that’s charging or connectivity.
Many airlines seek to provide a little
extra ‘surprise and delight’ during
flights, which Virgin Atlantic is creating
through a quirkily British tradition with
international appeal: the afternoon tea.
Guests in the London Heathrow
Clubhouse and in every class of cabin
on all day flights worldwide can enjoy
a selection of handmade sandwiches,
scones and macarons, beautifully
THE CREW ARE A CRITICAL PART OF
THE VIRGIN ATLANTIC EXPERIENCE.
AS AN OPTION TO HELP STAFF
HARMONY, THE AIRLINE HAS TOLD
FEMALE CABIN CREW THAT THEY NO
LONGER HAVE TO WEAR MAKEUP
“I think that’s really where the win is. It’s impossible
for the airline industry to be the leader in the technology
available to passengers. However, we can be a leader in
connecting their technology to the space they have
onboard the aircraft.”
All airlines need to keep abreast of trends in design,
passenger tastes and the general zeitgeist if their nextgeneration
designs are going to have any chance of feeling
current at launch and during their lifetime. So where
does Kerzner find inspiration?
“We get very little inspiration from the airline
industry. I think to be different and to
be better than others you need to look beyond
the airline industry”, he states. “We look at
automotive, residential and hospitality, and
we look at how our customers live their lives
when they’re not flying.
“For example, we’ve done ‘innovation safaris’
in New York, Dubai and London, and we’re
planning one for Hong Kong. On these safaris
presented in every class of travel – and
this is in addition to the two meals and
snacks already on offer.
The afternoon tea has been created
by master pâtissier Éric Lanlard, who
trained with the French Navy and Albert
and Michel Roux before setting up his
own bakery businesses, Laboratoire
2000 and Cake Boy. He has appeared
on British television in
guest spots on a number of
channels before Channel 4
gave him his own television
series, Glamour Puds and
Baking Mad with Eric Lanlard.