AirAsia has won the Catering Innovation of the Year at the 2016 Onboard Hospitality Awards held in Hamburg, Germany, making it the only low-cost carrier to win in any of the 10 categories considered.
AirAsia won the award for its Barista in the Skies gourmet coffee product, which offers guests T&Co coffees – espresso, long black, cappuccino and caffè latte – freshly brewed using an onboard espresso machine by cabin crew who have trained as professional baristas. The product is currently only available on AirAsia Malaysia (flight code: AK).
The Onboard Hospitality Awards recognizes excellence and innovation in the industry, and seeks to recognize products that have changed the onboard hospitality industry for the better. It is organised by Onboard Hospitality, a leading magazine of the hospitality industry focused on onboard catering, inflight technology, airline trends, innovations and sustainability issues.
Finalists were chosen by Onboard Hospitality readers via an online vote, with winners then chosen by a panel of industry experts. Judges were asked to assess the finalists on 11 criteria – first impressions, quality, durability, lifespan, weight, usefulness, design, functionality, taste, content and how the product adds to customer experience.
Judges Mike Pooley and Keerthi Hapugasdeniya said about Barista in the Skies: “This is a great concept as it reverse engineers the coffee making process to create specialist coffees such as cappuccino or latte possible in the air.”
AirAsia Head of Commercial Spencer Lee said, “We are thrilled to win the Onboard Hospitality Award for Catering Innovation of the Year. When AirAsia and T&Co started this service, we knew we were onto something good and this award is proof of that. It is a real testament to the commitment AirAsia has to innovation, not just in terms of technology, but also taking our inflight service to the next level for our guests.”
T&Co was founded by a group of travellers, entrepreneurs and coffee enthusiasts who believe that everyone deserves great coffee. The team has developed a special Altitude BlendTM catered to taste buds dulled by flying, made from Grade A Robusta beans from South America and Asia that have been lightly roasted to create a sweeter, more delicate sipping sensation.