Wake Up and Smell the Airplanes

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wake up and smell the airplane scent

Scents provoke very powerful emotions. They can lift your spirits or arouse a vivid memory. Businesses of all kinds have discovered this secret weapon and that includes airlines.

You might be thinking—smell is never a positive topic when it relates to planes. It’s easy to understand why. Recycled air amongst dozens of people for hours at a time isn’t exactly something perfume companies are eager to bottle up and sell. That could be about to change.

Appeasing Your Fifth Sense

A new fragrance diffusion system, called FIVE, is being developed by Zodiac Aerospace’s California-based Pacific Precision Products. The name FIVE embodies the fifth sense—smell. Brian Jorgensen, Zodiac’s director of sales, explained to CNN that the product satisfies an “unfulfilled need” in the luxury aviation and business-jet market.

“Using scent [can] enhance the airline’s brand and customer retention, boost on-board sales, and provide their passengers [with] a completely enhanced sensory experience,” Jorgensen tells CNN.

“The experience has been designed to be very subtle, almost just felt in a subliminal way, below conscious level,” he explains, adding, “something that positively influences the moods and emotions of the passengers, but without necessarily being detected as the smell of a specific fragrance.”

FIVE uses “dry scent” technology developed by ScentAir, its fragrance partner. Each FIVE unit runs on up to four different cartridges which can be programmed to diffuse allergen-free aromas through a space of nearly 1,300 sq. ft. at interval times. Once the scent has adequately dissipated, the unit automatically shuts off. And it leaves no trace unlike fragrance alternatives (liquids or sprays), which can leave residue left on clothing or seats.

ScentAir clients are mainly in the hospitality, gaming, medical and real estate industry. Major brands such as Hilton, Marriott, Starwood and IHG have gotten on board with these exquisite aromas. FIVE is now targeting business and VIP aircraft operators.

Scents Get Personal

There are currently 50 different fragrances available in their catalogue. These scents are designed to embody different types of moods, including: Luxe & Sophisticated, Relaxing & Soothing and Voyage & Escape. They also aim at appealing to specific regions and cultures. General consumer preferences and tastes inspire various fragrances.

“Geography, which drives regional availability of food ingredients and living habits, plays a large role,” Ed Burke, vice president of customer strategy and communications at ScentAir, tells CNN.

Europe, the Middle East and Africa favor the FIVE Warm Bread fragrance, which is described as “fresh baked bread with a hint of warm butter.” Meanwhile, Asia Pacific markets prefer a scent called Black Orchid, a “sophisticated lush green floral fragrance.” Mexico, Central and South America preferred Lemongrass and Vanilla Bean.