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OTHER ARTICLES Last modified on November 9, 2017

That’s entertainment

Airport World takes a closer look at a handful of new customer service focused initiatives introduced by airports across the world.

Free movies and TV shows are now on the menu at Dubai International Airport (DXB) following the signing of a new partnership deal between Dubai Airports and regional content provider ICFLIX.

The initiative combines DXB’s free Wi-Fi experience, ‘Wow-Fi’, with ICFLIX’s award-winning video-on-demand service, allowing passengers to stream the latest Hollywood, Bollywood and Jazwood (Arabic) content to their smartphones and laptops.

It is the latest in a series of unique bespoke concepts to be rolled out by Dubai Airports at the world’s busiest international airport as it strives to make DXB a destination in itself.

In recent months, Dubai Airports has introduced Wow-Fi, artDXB, Early Birds discounts of up to 25%, the first Jones the Grocer in an airport and a brand new sleep lounge ‘sleep ‘n fly’, with several other major projects in the pipeline.

“Dubai Airports is on a mission to engage more directly with our customers, and transform the airport experience for millions of travellers each month,” explains Eugene Barry, executive vice president of Dubai Airports’ Commercial and Communications Group.

“We intend to lead the practical application of available digital tools to exceed customer expectations, across multiple points of their journey at our airports, and including demands for more variety within the airport experience.

“Our continued investment in a superior Wi-Fi product (Wow-Fi) has ensured that our customers are connected with a free and fast service, and now we aim to enrich that platform with managed content and relevant messaging.”

He continues: “Thanks to our partnership with ICFLIX, travellers at DXB can now enjoy a wide range of streamed entertainment before and between flights, and this is a service which is completely free of charge to users.

“We are delighted with this new addition to our consumer strategy and look forward to evaluating its impact.”

Content on ICFLIX is available in three languages: Arabic, English and French.

The video-on-demand service is complimentary to all DXB passengers for an initial trial period of two months. Following this trial, Dubai Airports and ICFLIX will assess customer feedback and options for future services.


On the menu

Frankfurt Airport’s latest customer service initiative is as brilliant as it is simple – multi-lingual digital restaurant menus for passengers who don’t speak German.

Initially available in English, Chinese, Japanese and Russian, the menus have been adopted by three restaurants in a bid to better serve the airport’s growing list of international passengers.

Airport operator, Fraport, is quick to point out that transfer traffic currently accounts more than 60% of the gateway’s 60 million passengers annually.

It states: “Frankfurt Airport is where the world meets. A place where people of all nationalities and languages meet, with various cultural backgrounds and requirements.

“Many of our guests spend the time before departure doing exactly the same things: enjoying an airport shopping spree or having a good meal and a cup of coffee or a glass of wine in one of FRA’s many restaurants.

“So, as a service to overcome language barriers, Fraport has developed a multi-lingual digital menu in co-operation with three airport restaurants.

“Guests can simply ask service staff for the order tablets containing the menu. They provide a clear overview of the available options in four different languages (English, Russian, Japanese, and Chinese).”

It adds that ‘appetising pictures of the dishes and drinks” help customers to choose.

Then, it’s just a matter of placing the order in the shopping cart and submitting it to the service staff, who are also on hand to answer any questions that arise.

Ute Pohl from Fraport’s Airport Retailing department enthuses: “With the multi-lingual digital menus, we have developed a service that makes communication between guests and service staff much easier.

“At the same time, we are recognising the fact that our guests have a limited timeframe. The ordering tool is easy and intuitive to operate.”

Large screens in the entrance area of the restaurants show guests an overview of the wide range of options.

The new service is initially available at the following restaurants in the airport’s post-security area: Deli Bros (Terminal 1, Concourse B), Lucullus Nero (Terminal 1, Pier Z) and Mondo (Terminal 2, Concourse D).

Fraport plans to roll out the digital menus at other airport restaurants in the coming months, following in the footsteps of Brisbane Airport, which did something similar for Asian visitors using its International Terminal last year.


LEGO, anyone?

Talking of Brisbane, the Australian airport’s new artist-in-residence, Ben Craig, is an expert in a very popular field... the art of building things with LEGO!

Ironically Craig, aka ‘Ben the Brick Builder’, once failed an art assignment at school because he was told building with LEGO was not an acceptable form of art!

For the next 12 months, as part of the BricksBNE project, Craig will be creating two ‘walls’ of artwork depicting the favourite travel experiences of passengers, entirely from LEGO bricks at Brisbane Airport (BNE).

Throughout the year travellers will be encouraged to share their travel experiences for the opportunity to be recreated in LEGO bricks.

Together the passenger inspired creations and larger centrepieces will form two patchwork walls of art celebrating the best of aviation and travel.

He will also host a series of public workshops in and around the airport to share his LEGO-building skills and tips.

Julieanne Alroe, CEO and managing director of Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC), revealed that BNE was inundated with interest from LEGO brick artists vying for the position of artist-in-residence.

“The number of applications we had from all over Australia and as far away as India was quite surprising and the way in which people are building art-forms with LEGO bricks is very impressive.

“Ben blew us away with his skill and artistic ability in creating incredibly detailed mosaic pictures and large scale 3D artworks with the bricks.

“This is the first year passengers through Brisbane Airport will have the opportunity to be really hands on in workshops and influence the artworks themselves and we’re really looking forward to seeing the result.”

Since failing his school art assignment, Craig has received a number of accolades for his works, some so complex they are made from over 20,000 LEGO pieces and stand nearly two metres high, like his model of London’s iconic St Pancras train station and clock tower.

“Airports are full of stories, and beyond spending the year bringing together two major passions, aviation and building with LEGO, I am excited to have the opportunity to engage travellers, illustrating their stories and travel experiences with LEGO bricks,” he enthuses.

Craig is the third artist-in-residence to be appointed by Brisbane Airport following the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, which played pop-up performances to surprise and delighted travellers, and realist painter, Robert Brownhall, who illustrated his visions on canvas from hours exploring the airport.


Out of this world

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport’s next concessions offerings promise to be out of this world as they come in the shape of an airside Flying Saucer Draught Emporium as well as an entertainment and bar concept called DFW Flying Square Live.

Both are being developed by SSP America in partnership with acclaimed restaurateur and Dallas/Fort Worth native, Shannon Wynne, owner of the legendary Fort Worth-based Flying Saucer Draught Emporium.

With its original location at Sundance Square in Fort Worth, Flying Saucer Draught Emporium has 16 locations in six states.

SSP America and Wynne aim to replicate the brand’s successful street side presence by creating two separate spaces in Terminal D – a pub and a place of entertainment that includes an elevated performance area featuring live and local music.

Both spaces will feature custom cocktails and an impressive collection of craft beers and elevated gastro pub fare.

Shannon Wynne says: “We are happy to finally have our brand represented at DFW. As one of the leaders in the craft beer movement in Texas starting 22 years ago, we have tried to spread the word about great craft brewing and grow its popularity.

“With Saucers throughout the southeast, I think we have great name recognition and will be popular with world travellers.”

SSP America’s vice president for business development, Bob Stanton, notes: “Our goal at SSP America is to deliver restaurants that offer airport passengers a taste of place which we’re sure to accomplish by collaborating with Shannon, his team and our local partners Charles Bush Consulting, Renee Brooks and JBJ Management.”

While DFW’s vice president of concessions, Zenola Campbell, says: “We are constantly looking at ways we can enhance our eating experience as well as retail experience.

“Today’s consumer really wants to be engaged, they want to have great tasting food, and they want to experience the same type of relationship inside the terminal as they do outside.”

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Joe Bates

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