‘Pan Am Experience’ Re-Creates 1970s Air Travel

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Pan Am Experience: “Your Pan Am Experience begins at our exclusive First & Clipper class check-in desk. where our Pan Am customer service agent provides each passenger with a 70’s style boarding pass, ticket jacket and first class carry-on tags … Soon thereafter, you’ll board “Clipper Juan T. Trippe”, our dedication to Pan Am’s first Boeing 747, where you’ll be sprung back in time to the 1970s. As soon you set foot inside the aircraft, your Stewardesses adorned in original Pan Am uniforms will welcome you onboard with a fine cocktail of your choice as Frank Sinatra’s soothing voice will transport you back in time.”

“In classic Pan Am style, you will be served a delightful, gourmet five-course meal, starting with bread selections and appetizer choices like shrimp cocktail or tomato and mozzarella drizzled with a pesto glaze … Your fourth course is a fine selection of fruit, cheese & biscuits accompanied by port wine. And finally your fifth course is a dessert cart with a large selection of digestifs … For the first time since Pan Am ceased operations, you can now relive the magic of this golden era in travel.”

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How Did Dead Malls Die?

The Wall Street Journal: “Internet retailing is eating into mall revenue, but competition from newer shopping centers was the most common cause of death for malls over the past decade, according to a study of 72 such properties.”

“While the situations were different, the dead malls generally struggled to compete with newer malls that offered more modern features and a broader selection of stores, according to Wells Fargo Securities, whose database covers about 1,000 malls.”

“The dead malls were built in the mid-1970s and were overtaken by larger malls built from the late 1970s to the early 1990s that better capitalized on demographic and transportation shifts.”

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Cinépolis Intros Pre-Theater Playgrounds

The New York Times: “Cinépolis, which has more than 4,900 auditoriums worldwide, last month introduced Cinépolis Junior at theaters in Los Angeles and San Diego. They are equipped with a 55-foot-long and 25-foot-high play structure with two slides and two platforms with ‘wobble hoppers’ (similar to stationary pogo sticks) and ‘stand n’ spins’ (smaller versions of merry-go-rounds). A separate area enclosed with a colorful fence has green lawn turf and plastic animal sculptures for climbing and crawling.”

“Children are allowed to play for 20 minutes before the movie begins and the lights are fully on. When it is time for the movie to start, a cartoon character appears on screen to tell parents and children to take their seats, and the lights are dimmed. There is a 15-minute intermission during which the children can play. An attendant monitors the play area so children do not enter while the movie is showing.”

“The auditoriums have unconventional seating, with oversize bean bags and pillows and poolside-style lounge chairs, as well as more traditional seats. Introductory ticket prices are $1 more than standard tickets, though prices vary by location, time of day and seat type.”

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Did United’s ‘Rules’ Beget Unruliness?

The Wall Street Journal: “Like most other airlines, United Continental Holdings Inc. follows strict rules on every aspect of handling its passengers, from how to care for unaccompanied minors to whether someone gets a whole can of Coke … Deviating from the rules is frowned upon; employees can face termination for a foul-up, according to people familiar with the matter. At United, this has helped create a rules-based culture where its 85,000 employees are reluctant to make choices not in the ‘book,’ according to former airline executives, current employees and people close to United.”

“The incident at United last week, in which Chicago Department of Aviation police dragged a screaming passenger, David Dao, down the aisle and off a United Express regional flight, started as a mere scheduling issue … At least some decisions that led to the crisis were fueled by employees following rules, which are endemic to big, long-lived airlines and amount to giant manuals.”

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Walmart vs. Amazon: Race to the Bottom

Recode reports “a high-stakes race to the bottom between Walmart and Amazon that seems great for shoppers, but has consumer packaged goods brands feeling the pressure … One piece of the battle, executives say, is an Amazon algorithm that works to match or beat prices from other websites and stores … it finds the lowest price per unit or per ounce for a given product — even if it’s in a huge bulk-size pack at Costco — and applies it across the same type of good on Amazon, even when the pack size is much smaller.”

“That is a great deal for customers … But now, Amazon is selling individual items at Costco prices while not getting the same wholesale price that Costco enjoys. When Walmart sees this, it freaks out on the supplier … And it doesn’t matter to Walmart that Amazon may not be getting the same wholesale price that retailers like Costco or other membership clubs receive. In other words, even if Amazon isn’t profiting from its extremely low prices, Walmart is still demanding the same bulk-rate discount applied to individual items.”

“The longest-term solution … is perhaps the most difficult: Reimagining how a product should be designed and packaged from the ground up, specifically for e-commerce sales. That often means cutting the weight of low-price goods since shipping costs tend to eat into a product’s profitability.”

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Survey: Ace Beats Apple at ‘Customer Experience’

Retail Dive: “Ace Hardware, BJ’s Wholesale Club and QVC deliver the retail industry’s best overall customer experience, according to rankings assembled by research firm Temkin Group.”

“Apple, widely considered to be a prime example of stellar physical retail, managed just a “good” score of 73%, the same score awarded to Nordstrom, a brand widely synonymous with superior customer experiences thanks its part to its famously liberal merchandise returns policy. (Nordstrom last week eliminated 106 customer care jobs, citing a reduction in the number of customers who reach out for support.)”

“For the study, Temkin Group asked 10,000 U.S. consumers to evaluate their recent brand experiences across three areas: success (‘Can you do what you want to do?’), effort (‘How easy is it to work with the company?’), and emotion (‘How do you feel about the interactions?’). Temkin then averaged these three scores to produce each experience rating.”

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Endless Runway Project: A Circular Solution

Fast Company: “Since 2012, Henk Hesselink and his team at the National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR) in the Netherlands have been working on a runway design that’s circular instead of straight. Their so-called Endless Runway Project … proposes a circular design that would enable planes to take off in the direction most advantageous for them.”

“Namely, the direction without any crosswinds … the circular runway system that Hesselink designed, with a diameter of about 2.2 miles and circumference of about 6.2 miles, can accommodate two planes landing simultaneously even when there are bad crosswinds. That’s because there are always two areas on the ring where the crosswinds will be aligned with the direction of takeoff. In good conditions, three planes can land and take off simultaneously.”

“To see how the design would hold up at a major airport, Hesselink and his team took the flight patterns from France’s Charles de Gaulle Airport, which has four runways, and used a computer simulation to prove that the circular runway could handle the same number of departures and landings. It’s also more efficient in terms of runway space: Though the circle’s circumference is roughly the length of three standard runways, it’s able to handle the traffic capacity of four. And since landing airplanes wouldn’t have to fight strong crosswinds, airlines would save on fuel, too.”

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Amazon Unboxed: Gotta Move Those Refrigerators

The New York Times: Amazon “is exploring the idea of creating stores to sell furniture and home appliances, like refrigerators — the kinds of products that shoppers are reluctant to buy over the internet sight unseen … The stores would serve as showcases where people could view the items in person, with orders being delivered to their homes. These would not be your average Home Depots: Amazon has considered using forms of augmented or virtual reality to allow people to see how couches, stoves and credenzas will look in their homes.”

“Amazon is also kicking around an electronics-store concept similar to Apple’s retail emporiums … These shops would have a heavy emphasis on Amazon devices and services such as the company’s Echo smart home speaker and Prime Video streaming service. And in groceries … the company has opened a convenience store that does not need cashiers, and it is close to opening two stores where drivers can quickly pick up groceries without leaving their cars, all in Seattle. It has explored another grocery store concept that could serve walk-in customers and act as a hub for home deliveries.”

“But a group within Amazon has explored another larger grocery store format … The store could stock fresh produce, meats and other items in a public area of the store, while keeping frozen foods, cereals and other items traditionally found in the center of a grocery store behind a wall, in what would be a kind of small Amazon warehouse. Workers behind the wall, not robots, could quickly package orders for customers.”

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