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AIRLINES: Adapting to the Online World (Part 2)

Keeping up with the trends of future generations, and along the lines of social media and smart phone capabilities, MENA-based airlines are responding swiftly to these trends.

Etihad Airways has strived to make travel planning, booking, checkin and even in-flight experiences accessible and on-the-move, with the introduction of its award-winning mobile application for well-known platforms on many electronic communication devices.

The app gives flyers the opportunity to select their itinerary of choice, make secured scan-based payments and provide passport details for the selected route as well as view a complete cabin layout to aid in seat selection among an incorporated flight and baggage-tracker.

Speaking at the Aviation Show MENASA in Dubai, Daniel Kerrison, vice president, inflight product, flydubai, reported, "The launch of [the company's] products such as onboard Wi-Fi, live television and the OPEN rewards programme [has] enabled another evolution of flydubai's passenger offering, demonstrating the airlines' approach to meeting the travel needs of its customers."

Reflecting the increasingly connected digital lifestyle, Etihad Airways continues to offer in-flight Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity to passengers on all Airbus A380, and select Boeing 777, aircraft.

On Emirates' long-haul flights, passengers are offered an interactive amenity kit utilising augmented reality technology to unlock a plethora of content on their personal mobile devices.

STEPPING UP TO A CHALLENGING ERA

This year seems to have taken-off on a positive up-note, with flight demands at levels not seen since 2011, as concurred by IATA.

Despite economic instabilities and safety concerns in 2016, MENA-based airlines have certainly kept the ball rolling.

Some regional carriers have introduced laptop and tablet handling services for passengers onboard their routes to the US, enabling travellers to use their personal device until before boarding, whereby the electronic item will then be packed and stowed securely into the aircraft hold for issuance at the US destination.

ABOVE AND BEYOND

Middle Eastern carriers have left no stones unturned to ensure they keep passenger numbers at an ultimate high, while staying up-to-date with the latest travel trends and maintaining a top first class service.

In fact, many carriers have enhanced their itinerary networks, boosted seasonal routes, and introduced upgraded aircraft to their fleet, aiding in advancing flight capabilities along with feeding the revolutionised demand for travel.

According to Emirates, the brand stays true to its strategy of organic growth, by leveraging on the geo-centricity of the UAE and Dubai's dynamic developments in tourism and commerce.