Archive for Customer Experience

Airline Branding: Too Many Missed Opportunities to Capture Goodwill

Public relations is a tricky animal, especially in the airline industry. Air travel is extremely volatile–externalities like weather and air traffic control often work against even the best airlines–which can significantly impact a traveler’s experience through no fault of the airline itself. And when a passenger’s journey is disrupted, logic often falls by the wayside […]

Passenger Experience Fail: Newark’s Desperate Cash Grab

Airports always want to market themselves as entertainment hubs. With ancillary revenue being the buzz of the industry for the past four or five years, it’s easy to be lured in by the promise of easy money. In the United States, airport authorities seem to be keeping tabs on what’s happening in Singapore, Hong Kong, […]

ROI of Social? How about $25m Annually…

KLM owes a huge thank you to Eyjafjallajökull. Oh, you don’t remember our Icelandic friend? The volcano that erupted in 2010 which left thousands of passengers stranded in the wake of cancellations? Perhaps it’s little known history by now, but Eyjafjallajökull marked the beginning of what’s now a $25 million-a-year profit center for KLM. With phone channels busy, […]

Creative Marketing: Candy as Payment?

How’s this for creative marketing? Train travelers using the Sanriku Railway network in Japan’s Iwate Prefecture can now use KitKats as train passes. The concept is part of a scheme by Nestlé to rejuvenate tourism in the northern province, following the devastating effects of the 2011 T?hoku Earthquake. Customers can buy special packs of KitKat for less […]

Service Design Case Study: Washington Dulles International Airport

As someone who grew up watching planes from the Air France Concorde to a United States Space Shuttle land at Washington’s Dulles International Airport, I want to love the place. I really do. The airport symbolizes my ultimate comfort zone—my hometown, my childhood and the countless memories associated with it. However, even I am finding […]

Boarding Pass Design Warrants More Thought in the Airline Industry

That air travel has become commoditized is no secret. Study after study in recent years has shown that for the vast majority of travelers, there is no such thing as loyalty anymore. Instead, purchase decisions are based solely on ticket price, fees and schedules. Still, this hasn’t stopped airlines from spending–and spending healthily–to differentiate their […]

What the $15 Billion Virtual Goods Market Can Teach Airlines and Hotels

As I chatted with my friend in Europe well into the night last night on my iPhone, I accidentally stumbled into the “store” of the LINE app I was using to conduct the chat. With the click of a button, I could buy entire volumes of cutesy “stickers” featuring some cartoon-like character that I could […]

Points for Thoughts: Virgin America’s Quest to Know its Customers

Despite the longtime popular awareness in marketing circles that communication is a two-way street, I’m still amazed at how many airline marketing strategies revolve exclusively around push messages. Most of the communication that reaches me is one-way: “we (the airline) are offering you X/flying to Y/or introducing Z.” But quite honestly, nine times out of ten, […]

Humanization is the Name of the Game for Tweeting Customer Service

Much to the chagrin of many European travelers, there is only one Lidia Stefanowska. But thanks to Twitter, easyJet’s Customer Experience Manager is seen regularly in all 118 easyJet destinations. As the leader of @easyJetCare, Lidia’s team handles customer questions and problems in real-time, and has earned high praise due to its ability to humanize […]

Alaska Airlines Debuts New Terminal 6 at LAX

Alaska Airlines debuted its “Terminal of the Future” this week in Los Angeles International Airport’s Terminal 6 (read more about it from our friends at Future Travel Experience here). I have been critical in this space before about airlines introducing new technology without thinking the entire process through, often due to a lack of trust […]

Is “Automated” Bag Drop Really Saving Anyone Any Time?

Automation seems to be the name of the game in the airline industry these days. Whether the motivation is to eliminate errors or reduce staffing head counts, the chances of actually dealing with a live individual during your travel experience are becoming slimmer every day. But as I continue to see this trend playing out, […]

How I Lost 10kg in an Hour: The Secret to Flying Ryanair!

I’ve flown like an animal before. Such is the most accurate way I can describe my experience flying easyJet out of London’s Luton Airport, a hotbed of low-cost carrier activity. While my bag drop was simple and straightforward (though I’d hate to go through the full check-in process there), from the moment I left the […]

Social Distribution 2.0(12): My Presentation at Airline Business NCM London

It’s a sunny Winter morning here in London, and I’m about to participate on a panel discussion with Ursula Silling, Founder & CEO of XXL Solutions; Rauno Parras, Chief Commercial Officer of Estonian Air; and Tom Bacon, Principal of Tom Bacon Consulting. Please view my individual presentation below, which highlights how social media is impacting […]

Why Airlines Need to Reconsider What “Loyalty” Is Today…

Repeat customers may indeed be more valuable to an airline than new customers over time, as they represent a steady stream of revenue at a reduced acquisition cost. But how much revenue does a carrier need to give away for “loyalty” before the economic benefit of repeat versus new customers is flipped around? The goal […]

iPhone Apps for Airports that do not even Offer Free Wifi?

This post will simply open up debate for further discussion… When I landed in Zurich yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised to see a bright, shiny, glowing billboard advertising ZRH Airport’s free iPhone app (see below). I’m not sure what kind of money ZRH spent on this…but presumably it’s for passenger convenience.  However, it seems to […]

A Frugal Dad’s Perspective on the Profitability Challenges that Plague U.S. Carriers

As I landed in Zurich this morning pondering how I no longer can enjoy a complimentary glass of wine on an intercontinental flight (which will never be the case on Air France so long as Mr. Christian Herzog remains SVP Marketing–more on this to come), I was calmed down by a lovely infographic put together […]

Presentation from ICCA 2011: Social Media and the Airline Industry

Below is the full version of my presentation at ICCA 2011 in Leipzig, Germany on social media and the airline industry. My presentation, “Two Paradigm Shifts in Travel and Three Ways to Drive Results,” looked into how social media is changing the travel industry and what airlines and airports can do to leverage social tools […]

A Question About Ancillary Revenues…

Just a question that’s on my mind after hearing the discussion at IATA’s World Passenger Symposium today in Singapore. With their ancillary revenue strategies, are airlines around the world winning the small battles only to prepare to lose the war?  I’ll follow up more on this later….

Prioritizing Precious Expenditures: Livery Design or Customer Experience?

Aviation buffs everywhere love a beautiful livery, but painting and re-painting a fleet isn’t cheap. As part of its merger with Continental, United Airlines is in the process of rebranding its livery—for the second time in the past seven years (see AirlineReporter’s hilarious account here). With a fleet of roughly 700, the physical process of […]

Customer Engagement Strategy for the Airline Industry