social media watch
Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 19, 2011 11:01 AM
Dutch airline KLM is offering passengers a choice of seat-mates by accessing each other's Facebook and LinkedIn profiles.
The 'meet and seat' service in early 2012 intends to improve the flight experience by pairing seats according to shared interests, as travelers choose to link their Facebook and LinkedIn profiles to their check-in information.
KLM is not the first airline to court controversy by embracing social media for its travelers.Continue reading...
social media watch
Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 6, 2011 11:27 AM
Virgin America is in a bona fide social media crisis as it makes the switch to Sabre for reservations. Richard Branson's hip, business-oriented U.S. carrier, a darling amongst sophisticated travelers, recently made the change to accommodate increased business, but its online booking system is wreaking havoc on passengers changing or canceling flights, making seat selections, or checking their frequent flier accounts.
“We are really the first airline that has gone through this type of business change in the era of social media,” commented Virgin spokeswoman Abby Lunardini to Venture Beat, which reports that the tech woes have been raising hackles among Silicon Valley tech execs. “It’s a knife-edge cutover because you have live operations. You have to move everything over to the new system at once.” Good thing the carrier has a new head of marketing to run damage control.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 2, 2011 05:02 PM
Air New Zealand isn’t above doing something a little scandalous to bring in customers and publicity. Two years ago, it painted uniforms onto the skin of supposed members of a ANZ flight crew for an ad campaign, raising more than a few eyebrows.
Then a year ago, the airline introduced a brand mascot: a raunchy puppet named Rico, who starred in an online-only ad campaign in which he used “sexual innuendo and chats with B-grade celebrities,” such as David Hasselhoff, Richard Simmons, Snoop Dogg and Lindsay Lohan, to help sell the airline, according to New Zealand’s Stuff.
Rico found some success, collecting 4.5 million YouTube viewers and more than 48,000 Facebook fans along the way. ANZ is likely the only major airline that had a series of online ads starring a puppet that all opened with the text, “The following video contains language and themes of a sensitive nature. Viewer discretion is advised.”Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 28, 2011 04:04 PM
As people across the globe buy up the Toyota Priuses and electric Ford Focuses and Chevy Volts and switch their cars to biofuels and try to just figure out what is the best way to run cars without sucking up all the oil and polluting the air, there have been a few massive carbon-eating culprits flying around: airplanes.
Virgin Atlantic tried out biofuels three years ago, and is now working on developing the world's first low-carbon aviation fuel with just half the carbon footprint of the standard fossil fuel alternative, as Richard Branson announced last month. Two years ago, KLM completed the first commercial biofuel flight, while Finnair completed the longest biofueled commercial flight in July.
Now, U.S. airlines are finally getting into the greening business. The Guardian remarked how U.S. airlines are "racing" this month "to demonstrate their clean energy credentials, scheduling a number of flights powered partially by biofuels.”Continue reading...
sports in the spotlight
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 7, 2011 10:01 AM
FIFA, the organizing body of world soccer, dug itself a massive PR hole this past spring when a cash-for-votes scandal was unearthed. It left Asia’s former soccer head Mohamed bin Hammam banned for life “after being accused of bribery during his failed attempt to become FIFA president,” according to Reuters.
Though bin Hammam has always denied the allegations, it doesn’t change that FIFA sponsor Emirates Airlines felt “overlooked” during the whole scandal and now is considering leaving when its contract runs out in 2014, Reuters reports.
"We are seriously thinking about not renewing our partnership with FIFA beyond 2014," said Boutros Boutros, the divisional senior vice president of corporate communications for Emirates, told Australia’s B&T Media. The comment took FIFA by surprise, according to Bloomberg.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 2, 2011 10:05 AM
You’ve watched plenty of movies on it, sent countless emails on it, and gotten hundreds of thousands of Angry Birds points on it, but the iPad is about to become much more useful to the airline industry.
United Airlines is in the process of replacing the 40-pound flight bag each pilot has that contains “copies of charts and handbooks” they need for flying with the 1.5-pound iPad, according to the Denver Post.
Back in August, the airline became the first carrier to start doling out iPads to its pilots, as seen above. Well into its test, United now “estimates the savings will be about 326,000 gallons of jet fuel a year and 16 million sheets of paper.”Continue reading...
no kidding around
Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 19, 2011 11:01 AM
If you’ve got luggage that is extra heavy, you’ve got to pay extra bucks, right? Starting in March of next year, if you’ve got extra weight on your body, you’ll need to pay out some extra bucks, too.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that AirTran will ask “customers of size” to buy a second seat starting in March. AirTran — whose slogan ("Go. There's Nothing Stopping You") might need updating — was purchased earlier this year by Southwest Airlines, which has such a policy in place.
Who is too big for just one seat? That distinction will be at "the carrier's sole discretion," AJC reports, so be sure to wear something that makes you look slim when you get to the airport.
AirTran parent Southwest defines customers that need more than one seat as “those who encroach upon any part of the neighboring seat[s],” the Journal-Constitution reports. (Have they flown economy lately?)
For those who have been affected by the rule on Southwest – fewer than one half of 1 percent of the airline’s customers – they are given the option of a refund on the second ticket if the flight isn’t full.
Southwest, of course, is famous for hassling the likes of director Kevin Smith about his size, a PR black eye that doesn't seem to have deterred them from eyeing passengers' girth. At least they're no longer threatening to eject customers from "too narrow" seats — just make them pay for another.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on September 28, 2011 02:34 PM
In the continuing march toward marketing on every available surface on the planet, Porsche has teamed up with several airlines to print 2-D barcodes on the back of plane tickets. Passengers who scan those codes will be presented with a bevy of promotional information on Porsche.
Unique idea… in theory. But will passengers ever scan those codes? Recent data on the popularity of QR codes says no.Continue reading...