Capitalising on Convenience

    150 150 Daniel Fountain
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    How USB charging is providing United Airlines with an Edge

    Convenience is a gift bestowed by technology. It is readily offered by the smartphone, generously granted by the tablet, and amply provided by the digital camera. These labour saving devices have ushered in an age where convenience is no longer seen as a privilege, it is seen as a right. However, the modern traveller often faces an inherent conundrum when it comes time to charging their devices on the go. Where do I plug in?

    Hello USB!
    United Airlines have provided an answer in their newly completed VIP lounges – the United Global First Lounge and the United Club – at London Heathrow’s new Terminal 2: The Queen’s Terminal.

    The Architect, Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB) approached the project as a hospitality assignment, creating unique and comfortable spaces designed to make customers feel at home while travelling.

    Together, the two lounges occupy 22,000 square feet (2,043 square meters) of space and are located near the airline’s gates in Terminal 2’s satellite concourse. Both facilities feature floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the airfield, luxurious décor and vintage aviation-themed artwork. Both will also offer complimentary food, drinks, Wi-Fi and ample USB charging outlets, 168 from MK Electric’s Edge range to be exact.

    This means that the weary VIP traveller need not look far to charge any number of their mobile devices, which could be up to at least three or more according to a recent Smart Brief poll.

    New Luxury at Terminal 2
    Designers and architects are fast adopting the term ‘new luxury’, which requires that design and art create special feelings, experiences and memories for clients. This differs from ‘old luxury’ which focused on the products themselves, leveraging expensive brand names and high-end materials.

    This can especially be seen in the United Global First Lounge which is intended for first class passengers travelling with any Star Alliance carrier. Features in the lounge include an oversized Big Ben-style clock in its tea lounge section, a buffet area, a wine room, private phone booths and a quiet zone with sofas and privacy drapes.

    This shift to ‘new luxury’ has ultimately meant that the electrical accessories sector must now create products that have the ability to respond, complement and enhance the overall look and feel of any given room.

    Charging With an Edge
    “The new lounges set the scene for opulence and a VIP experience, which is why 3DReid and SCB turned to MK Electric’s Edge range to meet expectations, said Nadine Deery, Channel Marketing Manager, MK Electric. “ The faceplates were finished in Desert Bronze to match the luxurious look and feel United Airlines wanted to create for their customers”.

    This specific range combines both function and style with smooth, clean and very slim – in fact just 1.5mm thick – products. The range also provides MK’s 3-pin operated safety shutter system, which prevents misuse and unsafe access to live circuitry, providing travellers with peace of mind and comfort.

    “MK Electric were able to facilitate United Airlines requirements to have both US and UK power sockets within the lounge and in a variety of finishes to match skirting and furniture trims – bronze in the United First lounge and chrome in the United Club”, said Felicity Hurling, from 3DReid.

    “Given the number of passengers that wish to charge devices such as mobiles and laptops whilst in the lounge, it was also important that MK Electric were able to provide USB charging units that were able to be aesthetically integrated into bespoke handmade furniture within tight programme requirements”.

    Deloitte’s president of Travel, Hospitality and Leisure, Adam Weissenberg, has outlined the need for companies in the sector to leverage the power of technology to improve customer experience and the travel and hospitality industry need to take note.

    The USB charging module holds a simple but powerful advantage for all travellers looking to find a little comfort while travelling. It could offer a useful lifeline for those trying to make a last phone call to a loved one to help quell pre-flight jitters or simply relax knowing that when they reach their final destination they will be charged up and ready to hit the ground running.

    To contact MK Electric, please visit their website:

    Daniel Fountain / 20.05.2015

    Editor, Hotel Designs


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