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Tourism Review Online Magazine - Top Innovative Airlines


Airlines are one of the most innovative companies with respect to marketing and promotion. Today, some airlines give presents to their passengers, enable them to book the flight through Facebook or offer wireless in-flight entertainment.

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T o p I n n o vaT I v e a I r l I n e s

                           Airlines are one of the most
                           innovative companies with
                           respect to marketing and pro-
                           motion. Today, some airlines
                           give presents to their passen-
                           gers, enable them to book the
                           flight through Facebook or
                           offer wireless in-flight enter-
                                                                                                     TRANSPORT        top innov a t i v e a i r l i ne s

condor to launcH Wireless in-fligHt
      entertainment system
German holiday carrier Condor will become         condor, however, will only offer wireless IFE to   to weight savings of almost half a ton on a 767,
the first airline to install Lufthansa Systems’   access the ‘walled garden’ content available       reducing annual fuel consumption by around
new Boardconnect wireless in-flight entertain-    on the onboard server.                             20 tonnes per aircraft. The savings are even
ment (IFE) system on its Boeing 767 aircraft.                                                        greater if no seat-back screens are installed,
unlike conventional wired IFE systems, Board-                  WeigHt savings                        which is increasingly becoming an option as
connect is essentially an intranet on a plane                                                        more and more passengers bring their own
that replaces the several kilometers of cables,     according to Lufthansa Systems, a subsidiary
                                                  of the Lufthansa Group, the elimination of wir-    Internet-enabled devices on board. Lufthansa
that are usually needed to connect every single
                                                  ing and data distribution hardware could lead      Systems says that thanks to the minimal instal-
seat, with a wireless network that allows pas-
sengers to connect to content on an onboard
server with their own laptops, smart phones or
tablet Pcs. alternatively, integrated seat-back
screens or mobile devices provided by the air-
line can be used to access the Wi-Fi network.

            Walled garden
  Passengers logging on to the wireless IFE
system are shown a startpage that lists the
available IFE programming, which can be fully
branded and customized by the airline. Board-
connect uses standard software solutions. For
example, multimedia content is served up via
microsoft Silverlight, a browser plug-in which
comes pre-installed on most new devices. For
iPhone, iPad or android users, apps are being
developed that will be available on the Apple
app Store and the android marketplace. If an
aircraft is also equipped with broadband access
to the wider Internet, passengers can also surf
and send and receive e-mails while in the air.

april, 2011                                                         — 40 —
                                                                                                        TRANSPORT   top innov a t i v e a i r l i ne s

lation effort (as no wiring is required) its Board-   stand out from the competition, particularly in
connect solution is also interesting for smaller      the tourism industry.”
aircraft such as the a320 and B737, which fly
medium-haul routes and generally offer very                           Wireless ife
limited IFE options.
                                                        As Flightglobal reports, the concept of wire-
                   condor                             less IFE is not new, although it has yet to be
                                                      implemented in commercial aircraft. Boeing,
  Lufthansa Systems expects the wireless IFE          for instance, originally planned to offer wire-
system to be available on the first condor B767       less IFE on its 787 Dreamliner. Panasonic avi-
by summer 2011. It is unknown at this point           onics and Thales were successful in developing
what kind of wireless device condor, a wholly-        wireless systems for the 787 from a technical
owned subsidiary of travel giant Thomas cook,         standpoint, but wireless distribution required
will rent out to passengers and to what extent        too much sacrifice in functionality and didn’t
the content on offer can be accessed for free.        achieve the desired weight savings, so Boeing
a likely offer, however, will be a combination        ultimately decided to offer wired in-seat IFE
of free and paid premium content. For condor,         to 787 customers. Besides Lufthansa Systems’
the wireless IFE is a relatively cheap upgrade of     Boardconnect, aircraft manufacturers such
its current IFE offering which consists of mov-       as airbus and Bombardier are currently also
ies shown on an overhead screen, while por-           studying wireless in-flight entertainment sys-
table DvD players are handed out in comfort           tems.
class. Says Rainer Kröpke, Head of marketing
at condor, “In-flight entertainment is an impor-
tant part of the travel experience and a way to

april, 2011                                                              — 41 —
                                                                                                   TRANSPORT         top innov a t i v e a i r l i ne s

                   spanair taps demograpHics
                   to deliver Holiday surprise
                                                   7,000 users have shared it in Facebook and
                                                   Twitter.                                                         about spanair
                                                                                                       Spanair S.A., a Spanish airline was founded in
                                                                   tHe data                            December of 1986. Spanair began operations
                                                                                                       with its international charter flights at the
                                                     Shackleton segmented passengers into one          end of March 1988, carrying tourists to Spain
                                                   of 12 groups based on customer data from            from more than 100 European airports. Since
                                                   Spanair. Each group received a different gift       then more than 104* million passengers have
                                                   based on age, sex and professional status.          flown with Spanair. In February of 1994 Spanair
                                                                                                       began its domestic scheduled operation within
                                                                 tHe cHannel                           Spain, while at the same time establishing its
                                                                                                       ground personnel service system. At present,
                                                     The group filmed the event and then placed        87% of the company’s flights are scheduled,
                                                   video and images showing how the campaign           while the remaining 13% are split between
                                                   took shape onto youTube, Facebook and Twit-         Charter and other operations.

                                                                 tHe creative
                                                    creative is composed almost entirely of        edited into video bites and images of passen-
                 tHe offer                         unstaged displays of surprise and delight       gers displaying their gifts.
  Spanish airline Spanair surprised nearly 200     among passengers at the time of the event,
passengers on one of its flights from Barcelona                                                                      tHe verdic
to the canary Islands as part of its “unexpected                                                     Hats off to Spanair who took “surprise and
Luggage” campaign, developed by Shackle-                                                           delight” to a new level this past christmas Eve.
ton. While waiting for their luggage at close to                                                   By focusing on the customer experience, they
midnight on christmas Eve, all 190 passengers                                                      let the consumer carry forward the brand via
onboard saw individually wrapped gifts come                                                        word-of-mouth and viral buzz. With a stronger
out of the luggage carousel.                                                                       PR component, we can only imagine how far
  The campaign has become a hit in Internet                                                        the message could have gone.
and social media. In 48 hours, the video that
shows the christmas campaign has received                                                          By Kevin McKeefery
more than 100,000 views and more than                                                    

april, 2011                                                         — 42 —
                                                                                                        TRANSPORT       top innov a t i v e a i r l i ne s

      malaysia airlines: booking,
cHeck-in and sHaring tHrougH facebook
Malaysia Airlines further re-affirmed its lead-
ership as a social media innovator with the
launch of mHbuddy on Facebook. The appli-
cation which can be accessed from the new
Malaysia Airlines Facebook page, allows Face-
book’s 500 million users to book and check-in
for a flight while sharing their trip details with
their social network.
   Developed with malaysia airlines by SITa
Lab, the research group of air transport IT pro-
vider SITa, mHbuddy is an application on Face-
book Platform that allows passengers to book
and check-in for a flight while sharing their trip
details with their friends.
   malaysia airlines Executive vice President
commercial Strategy, Dr. amin Khan said: “our
customers are spending more and more time
on social networks and Malaysia Airlines is one
of the most active airlines using social media to
drive revenue. We have over 380,000 fans who
actively engage with us on our existing social
media channels.”
   “The introduction of mHbuddy really takes
flight bookings to another level. Besides open-
ing up another distribution channel for ticket       he quipped, “no other airline allows its cus-      the destination they are headed for. They are
sales, now, our customers can also experience        tomers to integrate their travels so deeply into   also prompted if any of their friends on the
amazing convenience. at the same time, they          the Facebook social graph. neither do they         Facebook network are also planning to travel
can stay connected with their friends,” he said.     allow customers to check-in via Facebook.”         to the same destination. If they like, they can
   Amin acknowledged that a few airlines are            “With mHbuddy, customers who book a             also share their itinerary with friends,” said
already selling tickets on Facebook. However,        flight are reminded of their friends who live at   Amin.

april, 2011                                                            — 43 —
                                                                                                           TRANSPORT   top innov a t i v e a i r l i ne s

   In addition, mHbuddy users can check in via       Lab is delighted to work with malaysia airlines
Facebook and select their seats. During seat         to offer this ground-breaking service.”
selection, they will also be able to view the          Since its establishment three years ago, SITa
seats of their friends who are travelling on the     Lab has delivered numerous innovations, sev-
same flight. This gives mHbuddy users a really       eral of which were developed with Malaysia
easy and convenient way to connect with their        airlines including the world's first kiosks to sell
friends when they travel on Malaysia Airlines,       airline tickets using the apple iPad and an aug-
wherever they are.                                   mented reality application for the apple iPhone
   Speaking at Innovation in airline Distribution    to allow customers to pick up the best airline
2011 in London, Jim Peters, SITa chief Technol-      deals from nearby airports. In 2009, the airline
ogy officer who heads up the SITa Lab, said:         launched the hugely popular mHmobile which
“SITa has always focused on technological            enables travelers to book flights and access up
innovation that the air transport industry and       to date travel information while on the move.
passengers want. This is another example of          In 2010, malaysia airlines was recognized for
how we are enhancing the travel experience           its active engagement on Social media by win-
for passengers and giving them applications          ning the "Best use of Social media to Drive
that are relevant to the way they live their         Revenue" award at the inaugural Simplifly-
lives. This initiative is a great step forward and   ing-airline Business Social media Excellence
gives Facebook users the opportunity to do           Awards for Airlines.
what Facebook does best – keeping in touch
and sharing life experiences with friends. SITa

april, 2011                                                             — 44 —
                                                                                                                   TRANSPORT          top innov a t i v e a i r l i ne s

             klm surprises travelers to see
                ‘HoW Happiness spreads’
                                                                                                                   Traveling by air can be stressful; you’re rushing
                                                                                                                   to get things packed, leaving loved ones behind
                                                                                                                   or maybe even ending a wonderful vacation.
                                                                                                                   In november 2010 Dutch airline KLm started a
                                                                                                                   new campaign to surprise travelers who check
                                                                                                                   in on Foursquare, a location-based social net-
                                                                                                                   working website, with something personal that
                                                                                                                   might make their travel a little less stressful.
                                                                                                                     When someone checks in on Foursquare at
                                                                                                                   one of KLm’s venues at amsterdam Schipol air-
                                                                                                                   port, their main hub, the airline’s KLm Surprise
                                                                                                                   team goes to work. They do as much research
                                                                                                                   as they can about the person using the infor-

                                                                                                                               air new zealand fairy
                                                                                                                       A related ‘random act of kindness‘ initiative is
                                                                                                                       the ‘Air New Zealand Fairy,’ a virtual fairy who
                                                                                                                       once a day publicly grants a wish from an Air
                                                                                                                       New Zealand customer. Customers of the airline
                                                                                                                       can make wishes to the ‘Fairy’ via Twitter (being
                                                                                                                       nice and creative helps) and hope that she will
                                                                                                                       honour their request. Most wishes granted
                                                                                                                       are related to the airline’s loyalty program,
                                                                                                                       for example requests for a couple of hundred
                                                                                                                       frequent flier points to make it to a next tier,
                                                                                                                       but free lounge passes or seat upgrades are
                                                                                                                       also given away. In a separate initiative, Air
                                                                                                                       New Zealand also gives free admission to its
                                                                                                                       lounge to foursquare users who are the ‘mayor’
                                                                                                                       of select airports and terminals served by the
After a trip to Canada, the Surprise Team awaited Theo at the gate with a hot cup of Dutch Douwe Egberts coffee        airline.
and some fresh newspapers. It also gave KLM the opportunity to have a chat with this IT expert about the failing
mobile boarding system.

april, 2011                                                                     — 45 —
                                                                                                                        TRANSPORT   top innov a t i v e a i r l i ne s

Ed and his daughter came to pick up Ed’s Barcelona          We surprised Linda just before she was leaving for
based brother, sister in law and their newborn daugh-       Rome together with her mother. Rome is a very large
ter. This was their very first time to see the baby girl…   city so there's a lot of distance to make. That shouldn't
Cute pink rompers and a cuddly toy did the trick. What      be any problem for Linda because she is a sporty
a nice family picture!                                      person. That's why we gave her a Nike SportBand.
                                                            With this she can monitor the distance while strolling
mation they’ve posted publicly on Twitter and               around in Rome. Have fun with it, Linda!
Facebook and find a gift that’s customized to
that particular customer. They then attempt to              closely monitoring tweets and Facebook posts
make contact with the person through social                 about the campaign to see how “happiness
networks and other means to meet up with                    spreads” and what kind of conversation devel-
them to deliver the gift.                                   ops around it. The promotion ran until the end
  It’s clear the KLm team is really taking this             of november. The airline says it may pop up
to heart. One customer, Willem, was going to                again from time to time.
miss his team’s biggest soccer game of the year               Greeting your customers and thanking them
while on a trip to new york. KLm surprised him              for visiting your business after they’ve checked in
with a Lonely Planet guide to new york with                 is, of course, the best practice for any company
the best soccer bars highlighted to make sure               using Foursquare, but KLm Surprise takes it to a
he wouldn’t miss the game. They found that                  whole new level. The personal touch that’s exhib-
another customer, Perry, was celebrating his                ited through each of the interactions shows that
birthday and surprised him with a birthday                  the KLm team is really looking to make peoples’
card and glass of champagne.                                days while they’re traveling, and that goes a long
  The airline is using the KLm Surprise campaign            way to “spreading happiness.”
as an experiment in using social networks and
to see how their customers respond. They’re       

april, 2011                                                                       — 46 —

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