Flying Into The Future | easyJet

05 April 2016


Hello!

Again. Yes, I know I got bad at posting again. Let's just put it down to lots of stress in my life and having to prioritise, it's hard! Haha, but I have two more posts from the Scottish Tourism Alliance to get written up, and then I have my reflections on the experience so all in all this will all be over next week and I'll go back to more fun travelly and lifestyle posts!

easyJet

Sophie Dekkers is the UK Director for easyJet. In 1995, easyJet began it's life as a low cost travel option to those who wanted to travel throughout Europe without putting a big hole in their pocket. There was no allocated seating. easyJet are an incredibly innovative airline, and are really great at predicting travel trends thus leading the way into the future of aviation.

Dekker's job is that she is responsible for the revenue for the UK side of the business, 240 aircraft, and to secure as much growth as possible - and new possible markets.

They want to drive down the cost without impacting on the revenue. The first Glasgow to Luton route would cost £29 one way. easyJet also have a registered Tartan! There are 64 flights a day from Scotland  - London. They believe that there are opportunities for inbound tourism, a things are constantly changing. A quote from Dekkers was that "planes reflect a digital world" - the first few planes would have the phone code for Luton printed on them, which then changed to easyjet.com, but now '.com' is no longer needed, because as an audience, we just know.

Innovation

Coming back to this point about the innovation of easyJet, they are known for breaking the rules of low cost. When allocated seating was being discussed, they listened to the customers (it was something that was wanted) - because without it, it would put customers off. When they were considering this, they looked at the different ways to put it in place without impacting on their boarding times. After a lot of testing, they decided that the best way was just to make it unpredictable, rather than aisles first, or windows first, and so on. This way, passengers would be spread out along the carriage and not fighting to get their place, and not cramped trying to find space in the overhead compartments.

Dekkers also provided a few statistics; 56% of people prefer the window seat (I am one of them!), 38% prefer an aisle seat (Nicole, I am looking at you!), and 7F is the most popular seat. She also said that regarding demographics, 76% of U25s are keen for a window seat.

They are keen to cut CO2 emissions, and she talked about those pointy things you see at the end of wings sometimes? They are fitted to the ends of wings and their purpose is to reduce drag and therefore save fuel. Quite clever, really. They are also looking at new seats, that will provide more space but they will also be lighter. You'll know this if you drive a car, if you have more passengers/luggage/whatever then you will use more fuel than if it is only you in the car.

Digital

easyJet have an app, and I've actually downloaded it as well to briefly show you it. It allows you to book flight, track flights, provides travel information and anything you could really want when planning a trip. You have a section for your boarding pass, and there are a few features I'm not sure if they are current or planned because I didn't note that down when I was at the conference, and I don't have any current trips planned (I'll make a note to go on a trip with easyJet and review the app for you!) But what was basically discussed was providing a text if there are any road challenges, and letting people know about possible delays, making it personalised (for their 20th anniversary, they emailed previous passengers to let them know how many miles they have flown with them!). They want people to feel like they are part of the brand.

Other things discussed (again, I'm unsure if they are current or being developed) were that 3hours before the flight, you'll be able to see where our aircraft is, you can track the plane - useful for friends and family if they are picking you up.

They want to make things easy for the customer, and have the idea of the airport of the future. I'm certain this will be at Gatwick, as I noted down before this section that 25% of business will come from consolidating into the North Terminal. The idea is to have 28 auto-bag drop desks, which will reduce queuing time to 90seconds compared to the previous 15 or so minutes. There will also be digital screens throughout the terminals, all signage etc for easyjet, but once all planes have departed then the screens can be used for other airlines. (This is due to more flights being easyJet flights).

Another planned work is a "mobile host" - using GPS technology, and is a partnership between Google and the airline (SEE! COLLABORATION IS KEY! This is the theme behind this conference.) This will basically tell you where to go, ie for checking in, then for security, then boarding gate. This will not take away airport revenue, as passengers will instead be able to use the services at the airport rather than spending their time waiting around.

  

Generation easyJet

After the Icelandic volcano that grounded all flights around Europe, new technology has been invested in in order to allow for the detection of ash that will enable pilots to change flight route to avoid it - and to provide a clearer picture of where the ash is, and there is the intention so share this with the industry.

They have been looking at drones, as well. These will be to aid the assessing of aircraft in their services, to enable precise decisions for parts and maintenance. To go along with this idea, they are looking at 3D glasses for pilots, so that on long distance flights, they can use the glasses to assess the aircraft, and have this sent back to the team, improving efficiency of waiting around for parts.

But what will aviation look like in ten/twenty years? Dekkers talked about a 'vortex generator'  - I don't mean to get all sci-fi with you, but the description provided was that it would store energy when braking that can be used elsewhere, such as taxiing. It's an idea that I like, it's energy efficient. She said that taxi time is currently around 20mins on average, and that currently 4% of fuel is being used on this simple task.

The future

For uniform, the idea is to have wearable technology, that both the flight crew and ground crew can wear. We were shown a picture, but I don't know whether or not I am able to post it, and I don't want to share too much of their developmental ideas, so I'll try to keep this section fairly brief.

LEDs, inbuilt cameras, air quality sensors, barometer. (ground)
LED on shoulder and hem, inbuilt microphones (flight)

These will enable the crew to do their job more effectively, and allowing them to keep their hands free (ie LED for ground crew) please trust me when I say their ideas are really good.

Summaries

The other running theme of this conference was on APD, easyJet would like this to be reduced by 50% and have publically said that it should be reduced in one go by 2018 to be effective - and it needs to be significant. They have stated that there will be the opportunity to have 30% more capacity into Scotland if it is halfed, by easyJet and other airlines. easyJet has said they are committed to the 30%.

Innovation is all about easyJet - to improve communications, to move in line with consumer behaviour, to reduce the cost to the customer, to improve operations efficiency, to reduce waste and Co2, to encourage people to travel more.

After this, it was briefly opened for questions, the only one really asked was where is the best place to sit on when travelling on a plane. Dekkers said she liked row 4 or 5 - because you are off fastest, the trolley will serve you as one of the first people and you get two pieces of hand luggage.... Just something to think about ;)

My next post will be on Yo! Sushi's founder!

Until next time, be excellent to each other.