Another nominee is Delta Air Lines' Sky Deck, which the airline has opened so far in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and at New York's JFK. "This is an outdoor lounge terrace section of the Delta SkyClub that has trendy seating and great views of the planes," said Ramsey Qubein, editor-at-large of FrequentBusinessTraveler.com. "It's unique to have an outdoor lounge like that."
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American Airlines and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines are also finalists in this category for improvements and updates to the graphic user interface systems on their IFE systems, and El Al Israel Airlines has a spot on the list for its online vacation planner.
Finalists: Achievement in technology
Vendors making it onto the finalists list include AKQA's Fly Delta App for iPad, which includes the glass bottom jet experience that lets passengers see what they're flying over and how fast the plane is going, and Lumexis Corp. for its FTTS Second Screen, which allows passengers to multitask while using the in-flight entertainment system.
"Just as many consumers do today when they watch television, passengers can use the second screen to check the location of the aircraft, the weather at their destination or even order food and beverages from the device while they watch movies or TV series on the main screen," said Raymond Kollau of Airlinetrends.com.
The other two finalists in this category are SmartTray International, which has a system that houses and wirelessly powers tablet devices on airplane tray tables, and Thales Avionics for its eye-tracking hand gesture control IFE system.
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The Thales system "is a prototype that shows how developments in consumer electronics such as gesture control technologies featured in Nintendo's Wii and Microsoft Kinect will be making their way into the aircraft cabin; although this may take some time," said Kollau.
Winners will be announced Sept. 9.
—By CNBC Contributor Harriet Baskas. She is the author of seven books, including Hidden Treasures: What Museums Can't or Won't Show You, and the Stuck at the Airport blog. Follow her on Twitter at