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Airline Marketing Monthly


April / May

77 2019

United - New livery Delivering a conversational customer experience with Conversocial

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Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

Published by SimpliVisible, the content arm of SimpliFlying, Airline Marketing Monthly is the only trade magazine worldwide devoted to aviation marketing

Content What the “Extinction



Rebellion” means for aviation


Featured campaigns United - New Livery How airlines and complement each other’s brands British Airways -


16-17 18-19 20-23

Virgin Atlantic - New


flying icons mobility app

28-33 34-35

Industry guide

Aviation Campaigns Air Serbia - Serbia Creates Norwegian - Harvey Milk tailfin hero Air France - Questions in the sky


Tokyo Haneda Airport We are Tokyo

Speedbird 100

Lufthansa - RYDES

ANA - Japan Elevated

Dubai International Airport - #musicdxb Emirates A380 in Glasgow Virgin Australia, new ad campaign

60 61 62 63 64 65 66

News from SimpliFlying


The SimpliFlying Global Institute


Shashank Nigam backs


TravaCoin A look at WestJet’s new 787 business class



Aviation brands in this issue



Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

advertisers can

Air Asia - Get off in

Editorial The Airline Industry and the ‘Extinction Rebellion’ At the beginning of this year, I contacted a Swedish travel blogger on behalf while handling an influencer campaign for flybmi. Would she be interested in a trip to

No thanks, came the reply. I’m not flying in 2019 to reduce my carbon footprint. I thought of her during the “Extinction Rebellion” protests in European and North American cities, which are on-going as I write this. In London, this included a protest at Heathrow Airport from people born after 1990. In particular, the scale of the protests led me to wonder whether the airline industry is prepared for what could be a significant generational change in attitudes. easyJet calls millennials “generation easyJet” - mid 20 and 30 somethings who love to fly cheaply, and who have benefited enormously from the explosion in low cost travel. But will those attitudes still hold true in a decade from now? It’s worth noting that many of those in the forefront of current environmental protests are in their teens or early 20s. For example, 16 year old Greta Thunberg, currently nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Or the Climate Change Strike High Schoolers, who took to the streets in cities from Auckland to Montreal. Many of them share the point of view of my Swedish travel blogger contact - they see air travel as something to be rationed. Almost every airline has some kind of environmental programme, and every month you read about this or that airline dropping plastic from its on-board cater-


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

Munich, inclusive of flights and hotels?

ing menu. That’s good, but it doesn’t go far enough, and the industry needs to be much more on the front foot, as pressure from green activists will only increase. Examples from SAS and IATA point towards what we should be doing. SAS is a good example of an airline which talks about being more environmentally responsible in a way which looks authentic and real, and not just ‘green wash.’ Meanwhile, IATA’s advocacy programme reminds us how air travel has been transformative and how it’s been a social good. Ideally, any response from the world’s airlines should be a mix of these two ap-

SAS and sustainable aviation

In the in-flight magazine Scandinavian Traveller, there’s a whole section devoted to how the airline is promoting a “more sustainable aviation industry.”


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019


This includes a number of articles on aviation biofuel. For example, a piece on the A320neo says that if the aircraft runs on 50% biofuel, the emission reduction is around 60% per seat. A 60% reduction in emissions. Put that on the side of an aircraft in big letters - “we’ve reduced emissions by 60%.” It’s a real and meaningful statistic that people can get their heads around. It doesn’t sound like the kind of “we recycle the paper in our head office” type of line that consumers easily see through. The content on sustainability is not only extensive, it also feels au-

For example, in a frank interview, Jonas Lindmark of the Swedish Energy Agency says: “I have the impression that nobody is prepared to accept a cost for more expensive fuel if this adversely affects their competitiveness.”

IATA Value of Aviation

SAS is a good example of an airline which looks to be taking green concerns seriously, as evidenced through its content. However, as well as promoting sustainability, there also needs to be a


focus on advocacy.

Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

thentic as SAS admits that there are challenges.

In our November issue we featured IATA’s “Value of Aviation” campaign. The idea was to focus on a number of different areas such as culture, ‘reunions’ (bringing people together) and medicine and produce collateral that reminds the wider public of how the aviation industry has transformed different areas of our life that we now take for granted. As we said in November, the basic idea is sound but it doesn’t go far enough. For example, we’d not only recommend promoting the campaign interest stories - use real examples to show how air travel has transformed lives.

Delivering a conversational customer experience with Conversocial AMM doesn’t run standard advertising as such, instead we’ve taken a different approach. Every month we partner with one brand to produce an industry guide about a topic of interest to aviation marketers. This month, we are collaborating with a brand many airline marketers will already be familiar with - Conversocial, the digital care platform for social messaging. The guide looks at how airlines and also airports, can deliver the best possible conversational customer experience by using digital tools. Finally, have you got any marketing campaigns we should know about? Email me at Dirk Singer Editor


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

more heavily and making it more visible, we’d also pull out human

Featured Campaigns

Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019


United - Brand and livery campaigns

of course blue, with it being in almost one third of airline liveries and brands worldwide. This includes United, which in an announcement on 24 April, made the blue in its branding even more pronounced in a brand refresh. We’ve made United our cover story due to three (related) projects and announcements that took place over the past month. First of all, United ran a special livery campaign to recognise female artists, which we like. Secondly, coinciding with the release of the trailer for the Star Wars film “The Rise of Skywalker”, United showed off a 737 in special Star Wars colours. And then finally, there was that unveiling of the new ‘more blue’ fleet


paint design.

Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

What’s the most common colour in airline branding? The answer is

United - Her Art here Painting aircraft in a special livery is of course a tried and tested airline marketing tactic. The practice has been around for decades, in this issue we’ve featured a number of airlines with custom designs, including Air Serbia and Norwegian. We also devoted the lead article in our August 2018 issue to it. Once in a while though, a special livery project catches with United’s “Her Art Here” campaign.

Launched to coincide with Women’s History Month, which took place in March, the competition will result in two women winning the chance to have their artwork appear on the side of a Boeing 757 aircraft. Linking into key destinations for United, one piece of art or special livery is meant to visually represent New York / New Jersey (with United being the largest airline at Newark), and the other is meant to represent



Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

our eye, that’s different from the norm. That’s the case

Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019


with a globe in the middle.

Another, Lila Ash, produced a design which is meant to represent “communication, union and connection symbolized by the hands, which soar above the skies amongst the native California trees.” The two winners are due to be announced in May, after which they will work with Shantell Martin in putting their winning creations on a United Boeing 757 Aircraft,


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

The focus on museums is by female artists women artists. comes as the US To launch the campaign, United worked with artist Shantell Martin in creating two National Museum pieces of street art - one in Los Angeles and one in Brooklyn, NYC. Each of the of Women in two murals showcased had interactive airplane windows, that led to videos with the Arts found more information about the competition. In April, three finalist designs for each that while 51% of New York / New Jersey and California, of today’s artists were put forward for a public vote. are women, less One finalist, New Jersey native Corinne Antonelli, who is studying illustration at Ringling College of Art and Design, than 13% of art submitted a design featuring iconic on display in landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty,

which will in turn result in each winning livery being flown 1.6 million miles every year. Each winner will also receive $10,000. In addition to the launch murals in NYC and LA, the whole campaign is backed up by an impressive micro-site, which features an introductory video from artist-mentor Shantell Martin, and another one from Bebe O’Neill, United’s System Chief Pilot, who manages the carrier’s 12,600 pilots. The Shantell Martin video has at time of writing been seen over 600k times on YouTube. The initiative has also had extensive coverage in the marketing press, as well as in a number of aviation blogs and publications.

by the fact that it worked with agency Laundry Service, on the campaign. An agency, whose tagline is “Make Amazing Sh!t”

United Star Wars Aircraft

In the intro to this article, we pointed out that airlines make extensive use of special liveries. In fact, United’s ‘Her Art Here’ campaign is not the only special livery project currently underway from the airline. Coinciding with the release of the trailer for the next Star Wars movie, ‘The Rise of Skywalker’, United unveiled the design of a Star Wars themed 737-800 at the ‘Star Wars Celebration’ fan event in Chicago.


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

United’s willingness to think a little laterally when it comes to special liveries is shown

Mark Hamill (‘Luke Skywalker’) found the design and Star Wars link too subtle (i.e. not Star Wars enough), however he did comment, “cool plane though.” In addition to unveiling the Star Wars design, United announced it was giving away two tickets to the premiere with a “retweet to win” on Twitter. Not surprisingly, given the size of the Star Wars fan community, it was retweeted 10,000 times in two days. United of course isn’t the first airline to produce Star Wars themed liveries, ANA unveiled a series of Star Wars aircraft in 2015.

On April 24th, United announced that it was “out with the gold, in with the blue”, as it unveiled its new fleet paint design. So, the blue on the United fleet will be even more prominent. In particular, the airlines says that three different shades “Rhapsody Blue, United Blue and Sky Blue” will both look back to the airline’s heritage while “bringing in a modern energy.”


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

United Airlines rebrand

The globe logo on the tail is staying put, but that logo will now appear predominantly in Sky Blue. The engines and wingtips are also being painted United Blue, and the swoop that is on United’s Dreamliner fleet will be added to all aircraft in Rhapsody Blue. United’s name will appear larger on the aircraft body and the lower half of the body will be painted “Runway Gray”. United’s mission statement of “Connecting people. Uniting the world.” will also be painted near the door of each aircraft. A microsite gives more details of the redesign, including the fact that “gold is taking a backseat.”

in favour of making blue the primary colour (see our Feb 2018 issue). What’s the reaction been so far?

My initial reactions are generally positive. I love that they have kept a wave cheat line and the grey belly. The tail and the engine cowlings look fantastic. It is far from creative or revolutionary but I guess the globe represents United well since the merger. (with Continental in 2012)

According to One Mile at a Time: I’m usually pretty resistant to new liveries, because they take some getting used to. However, I think this one doesn’t look half bad. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it either, and I’d say that’s probably an endorsement, all things considered.


AV blogger & YouTuber Sam Chui liked it:

Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

In fact, United retiring gold mirrors Lufthansa doing the same to the yellow in its livery,

Meanwhile, though Live & Let’s Fly said that though the new brand was I do still believe that it looks dated and like a bingo cage or golf ball (though less so now that the gold is gone).

expected, the globe didn’t find favour -

On our side, we’ll include the same quote we did when covering the new blue Lufthansa brand last year: Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

Mark Wilson in Fast Company questioned whether we should care so much about a logo, as really what counts is recognizability:

Brett Wickens, the designer of HBO’s beloved logo for The Sopranos, told me years ago. “The funny thing about identity is that it really depends on impressions,” he said. “The more different people see it, the more it becomes accepted, recognizable, and familiar–and therefore, arguably successful. In other words, the logo reproduced the most will are great because they’re familiar. End stop.

also be loved the most. That’s it. The golden arches

See as well the next piece by Marc Weber Bång, CEO, SimpliFlying Global Institute, on how airlines can effectively integrate advertising on aircraft. 16.

Welcome Aboard, Mx

first airline to offer non-binary gender options throughout all booking channels in addition to providing the option to select the title “Mx.” Customers now have the ability to identify themselves as M(male), F(female), U(undisclosed) or X(unspecified), corresponding with what is indicated on their passports or identification. United says that as part of implementing these new changes, it worked with the Human Rights Campaign and The Trevor Project on employee training initiatives. These initiatives include teaching employees about preferred pronouns and the persistence of gender norms, LGBT competency in the workplace and other steps to make United an inclusive space for both customers and employees. United adding non-binary gender options resulted in major US national and international coverage - such as in The Guardian, on NBC News and Mashable. By and large United’s move has been covered positively. However as you’d expect, some conservative-leaning media such as the Mail Online mocked the decision, in the Mail’s case with the headline “‘I identify as a suitcase. Can I fly for free now?’


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

Finally, at the end of March, United announced that it would be the

How airlines and advertisers can complement each other’s brands

This image is a fictive rendition by the author and is not affiliated with SAS or Royal Copenhagen

Airlines and advertising If you read the August 2018 edition of Airline Marketing Monthly, or even just saw the cover, you might remember how it focused on special airline liveries, such as the HiFly – Save the Coral Reefs livery on their A380, or the more commercial and advertising focused Kung Fu Panda livery, on six Hainan Airlines 787 Dreamliners.


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

By Marc Weber Bång, CEO, SimpliFlying Global Institute

The idea of airlines using their aircraft for advertising purposes, caught my attention six years ago, in 2013, when I was studying marketing at Copenhagen Business Academy. For my final project, I decided to focus on how SAS - Scandinavian Airlines, could utilise their aircraft for interior and exterior advertising, both to generate additional revenue, and to create positive and memorable experiences for the passengers, in cooperation with well-matched brands. I wanted to make a business case for SAS, to see their aircraft as something more than just selling seats and ancillary services, but simultanehighest bidder.

How to get it wrong During my research, I quickly found some bad examples of both airlines and advertisers, who seemed to have misunderstood the concept of proper brand matching. Amongst the most surprising partnerships, I found that Jaguar had partnered with Ryanair, and painted one of Ryanair’s 737’s in a dark green and silver Jaguar livery. Although this was in 1996, and Ryanair did not have the same reputation as it does today, they were still branding themselves as “the low fares airline”, which for a luxury car maker to partner up with, does not make a lot of sense. Another surprising example was that of Alitalia, which decorated an MD-82 in a McDonald’s themed design, and flew with it for 4 years, from 1998-2002.


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

ously, not dilute the brand, by becoming a flying billboard service for the

Photo: Toni Marimon

other brands, which resulted in one 747 being painted in Baci livery (Italian chocolate brand) and another jumbo jet sporting a Bulgari livery.

Imagine arriving in Rome on Alitalia’s “Bulgari plane”, and then connecting to fly to Milano, on their “McDonald’s” aircraft…? The words “I’m loving it” do not come to mind. Clearly, Alitalia saw their aircraft as flying billboards for generating revenue, regardless of the costs to the brand image of the airline.


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

However, and around the same time, Alitalia also partnered with two

How to make sure you get it right In my case, I wanted to find out which brands would be a great match for SAS, and vice versa, that could truly add value to each other.

This led me to conduct a survey at Copenhagen Airport, where I asked about 100 SAS passengers to select which brands they would pair with SAS, from a list of 36 Scandinavian brands that I had pre-selected.

The most popular picks were: Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen - The second-oldest amusement park in the world, and known for its cosy and homey feel, or “Hygge”, as the Danes call it. - Bang & Olufsen – Danish luxury hifi brand - Georg Jensen – Danish design house for jewellery, home décor etc. - Royal Copenhagen – Famous for its fine hand-painted


- Ecco – Danish shoes & accessories brand I then compared each brand with SAS’, based on their values, history, target groups, visions, missions and strategies, and subsequently placed them on a positioning map together with SAS, to further identify the best possible brand matches. I ended up selecting three brands; Tivoli, Georg Jensen, and Royal Copenhagen. Here are a few mock-up liveries for each of the brands. In addition to identifying good brand matches for SAS, I also asked passengers a range of other questions, such as their attitude towards the idea of exterior and interior advertising, and if they looked at the aircraft when waiting at the gate, which as it turns out, 74% said they do. I eventually presented my research and ideas to SAS marketing executives, but unfortunately for me (and SAS) my project was never implemented.

Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

To figure this out, I thought that the best people to ask would be the passengers, who eventually would be exposed to it.

- Volvo – Swedish car maker, known for its outstanding safety and reliability

Nevertheless, I still believe there is a strong case for utilising the exteriors and interiors of aircraft for advertising purposes, not just for SAS, but for any airline, if executed properly. So how can airlines make sure they get it right, when choosing the right brand and advertising partner to

Apart from doing research, which could be very similar of different from what I described earlier, Shashank Nigam, the CEO & Founder of SimpliFlying, offers a powerful insight:

The ultimate test to find out if your airline has a unique campaign lined up, is to simply ask one question: “Would this work if I replaced the logo of my airline with another?”. If yes, the campaign is simply generic, and you should most likely reconsider it. If not, you have a unique campaign related to your brand, and its chance of success is greater

Airlines that got it right By matching the right brand, with the right airline, there is so much potential for airlines to create a coherent experience for the passengers, and to elevate both brands. The best example I have seen of this is Finnair, which from the exterior to the interior, are using design elements from Marimekko, a famous Finnish designer brand, which is completely on-brand the Finnair, and very popular with passengers. In Shashank’s book, SOAR, you can read more about how Finnair uses design as a language, to connect with passengers to breakdown down language and cultural barriers. In other aspects of partnering with brands and creating extraordinary co-branded experiences for passengers, SAS has led the way in creating the World’s first multi-branded lounge, first in Oslo which opened in late 2017, and now also in Copenhagen, which is based almost entirely on partnerships. Check out a review I did while visiting the SAS Lounge at Oslo Gardermoen Airport.


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

create a powerful experience or campaign with?

Airline marketing fundamentals To be able to find the right advertising partner and ensure that the passengers, the airline and their advertising partner, all benefit from a potential advertising campaign or partner collaboration, it requires the understanding as to why and how marketing and branding for an airline, stands out from other industries. This is especially true when it comes to brand engagement, which for an airline can be anything from 2-24 hours, whereas for many other industries, the time the customer spends engaging with a brand is much lower, and less invasive.

10 years of SimpliFlying experience, of working with 90+ airlines, airports and OEM’s, and hosting masterclasses for more than 1000+ aviation executives, and condensed all of it, into one online course – Airline Marketing Fundamentals.

If you are an aviation, airline or travel industry professional, or you want to become one, grow your career by signing-up here, and use this coupon code: AMM40, and get 40% off during the month of May 2019. If you are an airline, a travel related company, or simply want your employees to think outside the box by learning from the very best in aviation, please contact us at to discuss how this can be benefit your organisation.


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

At the SimpliFlying Global Institute, we can help with just that. We have leveraged

British Airways Speedbird 100

Cathay Pacific for its special ‘Betsy’ beer, the world’s first beer to be specifically brewed to be drunk in-flight. Meanwhile Dutch brewing giant Heineken worked with KLM in developing a way to serve draught (as opposed to bottled or canned) beer on board its aircraft. The latest airline to look at beer is British Airways, which worked with Scottish craft brewery Brewdog, as part of the airline’s centenary celebrations (see our Feb cover story). While Cathay Pacific claimed to have produced the first beer specially designed to be consumed in-flight, British Airways has gone one step further with Brewdog’s founders actually claiming to have part-brewed a completely new beer - Speedbird 100 - on a Boeing 787 above Scotland.


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

Several airlines have in the past experimented with beer. In March 2017, we featured

Of course, it would be difficult to fully brew a beer in an aircraft (unless of course you somehow manage to bring a home brew kit on board). As a result, this part of the Speedbird 100 campaign seems to have been done more for PR purposes, the airline saying that the founders “mixed water, hops and barley in the onboard beverage makers to start the mashing part of the brewing process.” Cans of the bespoke IPA, named Speedbird 100 after the airline’s call sign, will be exclusively available to British Airways customers on board all long-haul and shortMay 1. In another first, BrewDog, will open their first bar in New York in British Airways’ new Club lounge at JFK’s Terminal 7. Passengers will additionally be able to watch the ‘making of Speedbird 100’ on the airline’s inflight entertainment system from July. British Airways says the Brewdog collaboration is only one of a series of ‘centenary

Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

haul flights and in selected lounges from

editions’ in partnership with British brands during its milestone year.

The airline partnered with luxury British watchmakers Bremont on the launch of a new limited-edition timepiece, featuring metal from one of the most famous and iconic planes in history – Concorde. Despite the fact that the beer wasn’t really 100% brewed in-flight, this, and the larger project to involve British brands, is a great initiative by BA.


Credit - Image from Delta

“ Anniversary brand items like this very quickly become collectors’ pieces, and the campaign associates BA with the best of British, from younger newer names such as Brewdog, to more iconic brands like Bremont.

plane and called it “Brewdog Airlines.” The aircraft in question, a 767, then flew 200+ beer enthusiasts and investors to the company’s US operation in Columbus, Ohio. Credit - Photo by Noam Galai/ Getty Images for Delta

Lonely Planet reports that some people had come as far away as from Australia to take part in the beer themed flight.

BA heritage aircraft come together A key part of BA’s 100th anniversary celebration is the painting of four aircraft in special retro liveries, for example a 747 is kitted out in the original BOAC design. To mark the fact that 50,000 passengers had already flown in these special heritage aircraft, BA brought all four together for a photo opportunity on April 9th. The four were shown alongside an A-319 in the current Chatham Dockyard livery.


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

This isn’t Brewdog’s first airline themed project. In February, the brewery chartered a

Virgin Atlantic - New flying icons

Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

For over thirty years, Virgin Atlantic has had a ‘flying lady’ icon on the front of its aircraft, based on the pin-up girls made famous in the 1930s and 1940s by Alberto Vargas (hence it’s often called the ‘Vargas Girl’ design). In an announcement in early April, the airline announced that it would be replacing the Vargas Girl with a series of icons more representative of modern Britain. This includes a mix of genders, ethnicities as well as gay man with a rainbow design on his outfit.


new icons will appear on the four brand new Airbus A3501000 aircraft the airline is introducing this year, followed by a further eight aircraft by 2021.


This is part of a wider drive to promote equality and diversity at the airline. Virgin Atlantic has pledged to tackle its gender pay gap and increase diversity and inclusion across its business. The airline aims to have a 50:50 gender balance in leadership roles. They’re also aiming for at least 12 percent black, Asian and minority ethnic group representation across the company by 2022.


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

“ Virgin Atlantic says that the

Make-up no longer mandatory Another sign of the airline trying to embrace a more modern image and brand personality, Virgin Atlantic also announced that it would no longer require female cabin crew to wear makeup.

liams writing, “well done Virgin Atlantic…. requiring flight attendants to wear makeup forced them to do two jobs at once – actually look after passengers and play at being stereotypical air-hostesses.”

This got the airline a lot of positive coverage in North American and European media, with Guardian columnist Zoe Wil-

Meanwhile US publication Quartz headlined the story with “what took you so long?”


Not making your female cabin crew wear makeup sounds a lot more revolutionary than it should be.


For example, the “Singapore Girl” is of course still a big part of the Singapore Airlines brand, the airline calling her a “timeless beauty.”

Anette Trettebergstuen said. “The year 1950 rang and it wants its rulebook back. This is super embarrassing and they should have progressed further.”

According to an article from 2017 in Travel & Leisure, there are five approved hairstyles for the “Singapore Girl” with a clearly defined “makeup palette.

For many Singapore Airlines customers, the idea of the ‘Singapore Girl’ is a huge plus, and it underpins the airline’s focus on customer care.

Even Norwegian, an airline that hails from a country with similar social norms as the UK, was recently in the spotlight for its 22 page dress code, which includes needing a doctor’s note if you want to wear flat shoes (rather than heels) as a woman, along with makeup

However, Virgin Atlantic’s route network, brand ethos and audience profile is of course different, and these moves will almost certainly be welcomed by passengers. Coverage so far in the European and North American media has been almost universally positive.

Quoted in the Independent, Norwegian Labour Party’s women’s spokesperson

Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

No makeup is still the exception

No longer the Branson Airline? It’s also led us to wonder

hmmm” in the New States-

a reputation for the “most

whether it marks part of a

man magazine.

attractive cabin crew” more

process where Virgin Atlantic is no longer known as

This includes a 2014 image

than Branson.” While ten years ago Rich-

steps of a Virgin Australia

ard Branson still very much

Over the years, found-

aircraft, while two bikini

represented a face of mod-

er Richard Branson has

clad models walk on ahead

ern Britain, it’s arguable

appeared in various pho-

with the words “down un-

whether today’s millennials

toshoots accompanied

der” printed on the back of

or generation Z travellers

by models or female em-

their bikini bottoms.

view him the same way.

Meanwhile, Quartz points

Indeed, we suspect that

out that “no modern air-

many actually regard him

For example, see these “34

line executive has doubled

as a dinosaur - a product of

photos of Richard Bran-

down on the practice of

a different age.

son that will make you go

using sexual innuendo and

ployees wearing revealing outfits.

Virgin Atlantic - A350 Virgin Atlantic unveiled its new A350 and upgraded cabin designs and products at a media event in London on April 9th. The biggest news, and the one the media picked up on, was the introduction of ‘The Loft.’ The airline says that it is the largest social space in the Virgin Atlantic fleet, and is designed for passengers to chat, enjoy a drink or dine with friends. The idea of The Loft, is to extend Virgin’s Clubhouse lounge experience to the skies. The first A350, named Red Velvet, will take to the skies from late summer 2019 and operate on the London Heathrow to New York


JFK route.

Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

of Branson walking up the

the ‘Branson airline.’

Lufthansa - RYDES Mobility App

Once the sign-up is completed, you

in the past experimented with apps and

can send in booking confirmations

solutions that work with competitors.

for upcoming flights. You are then

One example is Airline Check-ins, an app

automatically be checked.

and an automatic check-in service that checks travelers in for all airlines offering

RYDES is the latest app from LH’s

online check-ins.

Innovation team, and it similarly isn’t exclusive to Lufthansa. RYDES is a loyalty

You sign-up in the app for free and

programme where you earn points

enter your travel documents, personal

towards discounts with retail partners or

information and seating preferences.

on Lufthansa and Eurowings.

However, you earn those points by taking a range of urban transportation methods. In particular, Rydes claims to be the first app in Europe to reward points for each journey with a digitally bookable mobility service.


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

Lufthansa’s Innovation lab division has

mention public transport busses and trains. Kick scooters will be added soon. Collecting and redeeming points for rewards works directly via the RYDES app: Users scan their digital tickets and RYDES books the points for each trip to their personal points account. In addition to free minutes with mobility partners, the points can be put towards vouchers with the reward partners Eurowings, Amorelie, Tinder, ABOUT YOU, and Amazon. Lufthansa says that users can also collect additional points via mobility challenges. In the “Up-in-the-Air Challenge,” users are rewarded with an instant reward if they upload a flight ticket from Eurowings, easyJet, or Ryanair.

Innovation team why they had included two competitors (Ryanair and easyJet) in their app. According to project leader René Braun:

RYDES is a loyalty program that focuses on the millennial traveller. Millennials tend to prefer low cost airlines over full service carriers, which is why we have decided to only add major low cost carriers such as Eurowings, Ryanair and easyJet to the beta version of RYDES.

We asked the Lufthansa

It’s an intriguing concept from Lufthansa’s innovation team that positions the airline as a general transportation enabler. It’s able to download for iOS here and Android here.


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

These include car sharing bike sharing and eScooter sharing services not to

Industry guide


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May

Delivering a conversational customer experience with Conversocial

Introduction why engage with customers online? What’s the benefit of having a robust digital messaging customer engagement function? There are neutral consumers into fans and fans into advocates, there are also commercial benefits. This is a point made by our industry partner this month, Conversocial, which in its State of Digital Customer Experience Report 2019, found that 62% of consumers said they were more likely to be a repeat customer of a brand if the brand responded to their questions on digital channels. Airlines and airports have discovered this first hand. Some investment is required, but done correctly a customer engagement function, built for messaging, drives better customer experiences and lower service costs can deliver a good ROI. Which brings us onto the topic of this month’s industry guide: Delivering a conversational customer experience, in partnership with Conversocial.


We’ve first of all looked at some of the research that came out of our own Social Media Outlook report . We’ve then included a best practice case study from Conversocial, featuring Icelandair. Finally, we’ve published an extract from Conversocial’s ‘Social Messaging Landscape in 2019’ report. To find out more, take a look at the wealth of information and knowledge available on the Conversocial blog, the selection of white papers and reports, and customer success stories from aviation and beyond.

Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

reputational benefits. But by turning

Challenges faced by airlines Every year we hold a series of marketing labs, where we invite CMOs to a series of day long round tables and information common interest are discussed. This includes social customer care, where a recent SimpliFlying Lab identified three key issues:

1) Achieving consistency in brand tone, language use and service quality across channels and departments. There are two ways to address this: a) Dedicated staff training: At Air New Zealand, staff undergo 10 weeks of training (of which six are intensive) where they are taught about brand tone and brand language, and how these differ when delivering customer care versus external brand communications. b) Re-think the organisational structure for better synergy among related teams: For example at Southwest, the Social Care team sits within the wider Customer Relations team.


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

sharing sessions where issues of

2) Responding quickly (20 min is now the golden target) and resolving the issues within the same channel: It is important to first identify those posts or questions that require responses. rom there on, prioritise the most important and urgent ones. There are existing tools that help airlines manage the incoming volume and prioritise in a systematic manner (e.g. see the solutions provided by our industry partner this month, Conver-

3) Scalability when crises hit: Brussels Airlines has a very interesting internal “Jumpseat Programme” that encourages all employees within the airline to take up the role of answering Brussels Airlines’ social media queries for a few hours every month. This was enabled in the aftermath of the attacks at Brussels Airport, during which a temporary social customer service team of 140 staff (from various departments) was put together to handle all guest requests. The airline sees “Jumpseat” as a way to get the entire organisation involved in customer service but more importantly, ready to scale up when a crisis hits. The social customer service landscape can be a tricky one to navigate for many airlines. This is due to the many variables involved, such as increasing passenger expectation, fast-moving changes to social media platforms (especially Facebook) that also affect customer behaviour as well as the inflexibility of existing legacy procedures etc. However, at the same time, a good social care programme also has the potential to actually deliver some real tangible benefits, as the customer success stories on the Conversocial website demonstrate.


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

social). This allows for diligent tracking and better resolution rate.

Providing Airline Customer Service Through Social Media takes centre stage In our 2019 Social Media Outlook Re-

ing has surveyed airline professionals

port, we learned how many people are

globally to get their perspectives on

involved in airline’s social media efforts

the present and the future of social

and how the teams are structured.

media’s impact on the industry.

We’ll now dive a bit deeper to under-

We publish our findings based on the

stand which departments are getting

survey in our annual Social Media Out-

involved in running social media, with a

look Report. This is an excerpt from this

focus on social customer care.

year’s report.


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

For the past eight years, SimpliFly-

Unsurprisingly the field continues to be

media is maturing. The decreased in-

dominated by Marketing teams which,

volvement of Corporate Communica-

in most cases, have been in charge from

tions and eCommerce teams is likely the

the very beginning. Having said that,

consequence of the transfer of these

more departments are getting involved

responsibilities to the Marketing team,

in day-to-day social media operations.

which acts as the main coordinator of all

The most important change is the in-

airline-initiated communications. What this means is that Marketing is in

Service teams, that is in line with the

charge of any proactive outbound com-

growth in social care operations. This

munications. The responses to these

is in contrast to the reduced involve-

messages are likely the domain of Cus-

ment of Corporate Communications and

tomer Service, who will respond to them

eCommerce teams.

and ideally keep Marketing and Opera-

The latter observation is especially interesting because it shows how social

tions updated with any relevant information.

Serving The Customer The gradual shift of focus towards customer service is also demonstrated in the chart below.


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

creased involvement of airline Customer

While small teams of less than 5 people

line customer service is also found in that it

remain the majority, we see a decline in all

was the most common amongst the newly

categories, except one. Airline Customer

added priorities for social media teams.

Service teams of more than 25 people are

In second place we found chatbots, a tool

set to grow three times next year!

that is closely linked to customer service.

This reinforces the growing importance of

Interestingly, as customers move from tra-

providing good social customer service for

ditional telephone-based customer service


to social media, airlines are responding by

At the same time, the continued prevalence of smaller teams is likely attributable This is where the bulk of customer service interactions are externalized to the call centre or external agents. Evidence for the shift in focus towards air-

vey, 25% of airlines stated that they had already moved resources from call centres to social and a further 37% said they will do so in the future. Find out other airline social media trends for 2019 in our free Social Media Outlook Report.

An example from Hong Kong Airlines Airline brands that are regarded well by

honour the fares because it is the right

the customers understand that today,

thing to do. Because the airline had made

providing good customer service via

a promise, they had to keep it.

social media has a direct impact on the brand.

Following the announcement, the air-

Nobody knows this better than Hong

Twitter in a colloquial manner, how they

Kong Airlines.

had made a mistake and look forward to

Last year, the airline accidentally posted

line chatted with multiple customers on

welcoming them.

a business class fare from Los Angeles to

Hong Kong Airlines’ social listening tool

multiple cities in Asia for just $560. This

detected the Twitter activity first. This was

was clearly an error fare. Previously, air-

tackled by a dedicated social media team

lines have dealt with error fares in two


ways – angry rebuttal or a hesitant acceptance. Not Hong Kong Airlines.

Finally, the manner in which they dealt with the issue publicly won them more

The airline tweeted within 48 hours of the

hearts. What more could a fast growing

error fare being published that they would

airline ask for?


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

to airlines using a hybrid team structure.

shifting their resources. In this year’s sur-

How Icelandair Delivers Real-Time Social Care By working with Conversocial, Icelandair’s care team cut response times by 51% while messaging volume increased 45%. To see more customer success stories and research, go to the Conversocial website.

In an operational industry like air travel, we constantly deal with unforeseen situations, endless fluctuation and evolving services. Conversocial helps us keep pace with customer demand and

quickly analyze where we can improve our guidelines and processes for even more efficiency.

Sarah Unnsteinsdóttir, Head of Icelandair Service Centre


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

Icelandair has been engaging with cus-

Icelandair, the importance of a compre-

tomers on social media since 2010, a spon-

hensive and scalable service platform was

taneous reaction to the Eyjafjallajökull


volcanic eruption.

In June 2016 a dedicated team was creat-

They quickly realised that the social cus-

ed to manage social customer service, PR/

tomer doesn’t want to interact only during

Brand protection and marketing engage-

traditional business hours, but at their

ment. In order to strengthen brand loyalty

own convenience, whatever the hour,

Icelandair is focused on providing best-

whatever the issue.

in-class customer service at every single

For a large, multi-tiered brand such as

touch point of the customer journey.


Real-Time Issue Resolution: For Icelandair, being there for customers in real-time goes beyond just response times. Passengers expect a resolution in-channel, and in Icelandair’s case in real-time. Icelandair needed a way to prioritize and manage the ever-increasing flow of customer inquiries on social.


Transitioning from Public to Private: Social care has transitioned from a place where consumers only went to vent their public dissatisfaction to becoming a channel to seek private in-channel resolutions. This emerging trend is designed to support 1-2-1 private resolution, but means a different approach to workflow and channeling internally is needed. As the market has moved towards more private messaging, new ways to automate these simpler requests are imperative for scale.

3. 41.

Laying the Foundations for Success: The new competitive advantage for airlines is humanity in service, at all customer touch points. But this means creating, staffing and training a team built for social success at scale. Icelandair quickly realised they needed to streamline internal communication between departments and business units.

Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

The Journey to Social Maturity — Challenges

Icelandair’s Solutions


Staying Human, Even Under Pressure: Learning, adapting and training is a never-ending process for Icelandair. Because of a continuous conveyor belt of evolving/new products and services that are added Icelandair needs to keep on their toes to have their guidelines and processes up-to-date. This is also true for spikes in volume. You can plan for a crisis, but they are different on every occasion. You is a peak from unforeseen circumstances. Icelandair therefore also needed a tool to match this internal collaboration. Conversocial’s prioritisation, assignment, and playmode settings allow for spikes to be handled with optimised teamwork, working hand-in-hand under pressure.


Impacting Continuous Customer Touchpoints: The passenger’s journey does not just start on the day of travel. Icelandair is often in contact with the customer in the early pre-booking phase. The conversation will often span the full length of the customer journey, resembling a human-to-human conversation rather than brand-to-customer. Icelandair adopted early on the strategy to use real agents and have real conversations with their customers. Icelandair doesn’t script there team, with the emphasis being on understanding, personalisation and action (action speaks louder than words).


Direct Message Resolution: The maturity of social, paired with passengers preferences changing from a channel of last resort, has led to a natural transition from public to private communication. Private channels deliver a better experience for the customer because passengers can easily share their experience in greater detail with privacy.


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

need a well-trained team, ready to jump in and help out when there

This allows Icelandair to solve the issue quicker and at scale. But you need a partner who can thread both private and public conversations, uses efficient workflows and key word prioritization to deliver service at scale.


Promoting Social as a Care Channel: Driving awareness of Social Customer Care to their customers, was one of Icelandair’s biggest 2017 initiatives. Icelandair launched Twitter DM and Facebook Messenger links on their US website’s’ landing page.

Icelandair embraces the Social Messaging mantra, as well as boosts service efficiency. The plan is to roll out further embedded links across more global pages as the volume of incoming messages flattens each time after a launch.


+163% Responses

-51% Response Time


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

Making customers aware that social is a preferred customer channel,

The Future of AI in Customer Experience

mixing bots and human agents. In this article, Conversocial marketing director Harry Rollason, looks at how you can turn CX into your competitive differentiator by doing so: For all of the hype around AI one thing is clear: AI belongs in customer service. Agents paired with AI allows for human responses at an unprecedented scale. But with so much jargon flying about, what does the term “AI” really mean? In this article, we’ll explain how AI in all its varieties – machine learning, neural networks, and natural language processing (NLP) – can help your customer support team resolve complaints and delight customers.


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

When it comes to messaging, airlines are increasingly looking at ways of

Machine learning is a massive time saver Machine learning is ideal for: - Recommending products - Automating routine tasks for agents - Making use of large quantities of structured customer data - Looking up information for both custom-

Machine learning is among the most common varieties of AI. It’s what powers Amazon’s product recommendations or Google Search. It’s an algorithm that works by studying mass amounts of data, identifying patterns, and suggesting shortcuts. In customer service platforms, machine learning is great for automating simple tasks like filtering emails, routing calls, and responding to basic support needs. It saves human agents hours of administrative work and allows them to prioritize inquiries so the most critical issues get handled first.

customer service chatbots, to help make them more useful. Early bots had a tendency to misunderstand information or had a limited array of commands. Customers would often end up emailing support, the very process the bots were designed to eliminate. But modern machine learning chatbots get “trained” on large customer data sets and learn to match the right answers with the right queries, and get better the more they’re used. By pairing machine learning-powered bots with human agents, the bots become even more effective. The bots automate away all the routine tasks while humans have more time to spend with the customers with complex needs. This combination delivers empathetic answers at scale which is what customers value most in a support interaction.

“ When support platforms and chat-

bots surface correct information to human agents who have the final say on what is communicated to customers, you get the best of both worlds.


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

ers and agents

You see machine learning used a lot in

Neural networks and NLP provide a much-needed dose of empathy Neural networks are ideal for: - Understanding customer choices - Reducing order error rates - Simplifying support interactions Customer support tools grow even more forms of AI. Neural networks and natural language processing (NLP), for example, give bots an empathetic edge that helps them interact with humans. Neural networks work similarly to machine learning, but store information and arrive at decisions in similar ways to human brains, hence the term “neural.” This allows them to learn faster (they require less training data) and to arrive at more nuanced conclusions. They can, for instance, infer that if a customer selected a vegetarian meal kit option, that means the same thing as

to understand language, how words relate to one another, and in some cases, context. You likely run into NLP every day: Any predictive search system that tries to fill in what you’re typing using a basic form of it. And voice interfaces such as Siri and Alexa use it to understand accents. With NLP, conversational bots have made strides to the point where it’s possible for people to not even realize that they’re talking with a machine agent, making them a more reliable form of support. By 2025, the CX news site Servion predicts that 95 percent of all customer interactions will be powered by these sorts of AI. NLP Is ideal for:

“no meat,” “meatless,” and “plant-based”

- Simplifying support interfaces

without putting customers through a

- Making use of unstructured customer

frustrating process of trial, error, and


inedible meals.

- Conversational chatbots


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

useful as companies apply additional

Similarly, NLP allows computer systems

“ The truth is humans don’t scale and

Shane Mac - Chief Automation Officer,


The ultimate AI-booster is human networks As fast as AI technology is

final say on what is com-

customer experience

growing, it won’t replace

municated to customers,

than keeping highly

human agents and erad-

you get the best of both

trained humans in the

icate jobs so much as it

worlds: Impossible speed


will enhance and simplify

and accuracy with sound

human interactions.

human judgement.

When support platforms

So whether you’re lever-

tion in our State of Digital

and chatbots surface cor-

aging machine learning,

Customer Experience

rect information to hu-

neural networks, or NLP,

Report 2019.

man agents who have the

nothing leads to better


Read more about the impact of bots and automa-

Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

bots don’t build relationships, but when working together optimally the benefits are exponential and the ROI significant. Our clients see, on average, open rates eight times that of email and a 36 percent uptick in revenue.

The Customer Experience Landscape in 2019 and Beyond This is a chapter from the Conversocial

thing truly unique and revolutionary

report, “The Social Messaging Land-

could finally happen.

versocial CEO and Co-Founder Joshua March. You can download this, and other Conversocial reports here. In 2019, after a number of false starts, artificial intelligence will finally start to play center stage in customer service.

A whole host of chatbot companies emerged, and people were excited for a fleeting moment in time. Unfortunately, these bots (which for the most part were made up of simple, rulebased decision trees) ended up being utterly useless at managing the vast

In previous years, there have been nu-

majority of conversations, especially with

merous attempts to implement arti-

the huge long tail of customer service

ficial intelligence in customer service,

requests that most companies have to

but outside of some help around the

deal with.

edges—more advanced routing, basic sentiment detection, etc.—most prior attempts have failed to make any significant impact. The majority of consumers who have a problem still end up phoning, and after clicking through an annoying IVR menu, get their problem resolved the old fashioned way: talking to a human.

Customers would quickly get frustrated, and then end up phoning anyway—negating the whole point. When Facebook Messenger announced the launch of their bot platform in 2016, there was a resurgence of excitement— which then quickly fizzled as people realized that trying to build the same kind of chatbots in messaging didn’t

With the advent of the internet and web

yield any better results. A crappy bot is a

chat systems, people thought some-

crappy bot, wherever you put it.


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

scape in 2019 and Beyond” by Con-

AI Reality

refinements that are changing the way businesses apply AI within their customer service practices:


Improvements in


The rise of asynchronous


the speed, cost and

messaging that enables

voice recognition that

accessibility of machine

humans and bots to

are enabling voice


work together in the

assistants to play a

same conversations.

meaningful role.


Improvements in

Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

Over the last couple of years, there have been a number of new and promising

The Growth of Machine Learning Just a few years ago, the most advanced

advancements in recent years, in both

machine learning techniques (think

software and hardware, have made it

deep learning) were very expensive and

much cheaper and faster to run this kind

difficult to implement at scale. But huge

of technology.

As a result, it’s become significantly eas-

bots that can have more natural conver-

ier to carry out “real” machine learning

sations, to behind-the-scenes improve-

that can truly learn from your data. In

ments that make agents’ lives easier

2019, this will start to enable significant

(like suggesting answers, and intelligent

improvements across the board—from


The Rise of Messaging: Enabling Bots + Humans to Work Together In a fully real-time interaction akin to traditional web chat, it’s very difficult to hand off from a bot to a human. The customer is sitting there waiting for a real-time response, but it could take some time to connect to a human agent—and then they need to read the history of the conversation with the bot to get up to speed, prior to being able to dive in and help the customer. Over the past year, there has been a massive rise in the use of social messaging channels for customer service.


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

Today, almost everything needed to implement machine learning is now available through a mix of open source platforms and the cloud.

Messaging is asynchronous, meaning that there doesn’t need to be an instant response—waiting 10-15 minutes between responses is considered fast. This means that bots can handle simple tasks (like checking on a flight status), with a smooth handoff to human agents to handle more complex issues. This combination of bots and humans is really only successful in messaging, and will enable bots to gradually handle more and more tasks, until they’re the majority of most service conversations. In 2019, the use of messaging for customer service will take a big leap forward, as WhatsApp and Apple Business Chat have now both fully opened up their messag-

Voice Assistants and Customer Service Over the last couple of years, improvements in voice recognition technology have finally made voice assistants useful. These assistants (whether Alexa in the home, or Siri on your phone) have truly become pervasive in the last 18 months. In the coming year, we’ll start to see companies build the first ‘voice bots’ that will help customers with basic service problems sourced directly from communicating with their voice assistants. We’ll also start to see significantly more advanced voice-based bots being used in the call center to improve IVRs (you can already purchase Alexa-based technology for the call center!). Voice assistants on the phone are also an easy and fast way to interact with a company over messaging channels (like Apple Business Chat)—asking Siri a question can lead straight to an answer from a bot in messaging.


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

ing platforms to businesses.

Bots Will Replace Tier-1 Agents Many contact centers are currently set up with tier-1 agents whose job is to find out a customer’s problem and handle basic issues.

make real changes or concessions. If they can’t help the customer, they transfer the case to a higher tier agent who is more highly trained, and who has the ability to

Often these agents are relatively low-skilled,

make big changes in order to make the

following strict scripts, without the power to

customer happy.

Customer service agents will increasingly

stuck with a bot—they will always be just

play the role of approver and escalation

a message away from a human. Overall,

handler, focusing on helping customers

this will provide a much better experience

instead of doing simple tasks.

for consumers, who will grow to love the

Unlike the use of AI in other channels, customers will never be frustratingly

speed and accessibility of having bots fix their issues, with human support becoming just as easy as messaging a friend.

Investing in The Customer In 2019 and beyond, it’s no longer an op-

Forward thinking brands who innovate

tion for brands not to invest in their cus-

and harness emerging technology such

tomer care functions. With so many op-

as automation, bots and voice, in line with

tions for the consumer of today, extending

platform changes and capabilities, will

efficient and quick experiences to your

win the race for the digitally empowered

customer base is imperative.



Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

By the end of 2019, a majority of service issues will be coming through messaging channels, and bots will be handling the ‘tier-1’ issues automatically.

Aviation Campaigns

Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019


Air Serbia - Serbia Creates

collaboration with Air Serbia would

given an A330 used on the Belgrade-

lend itself to a similar initiative to

JFK route, a special “Serbia Creates”

Norwegian’s ‘tail-fin heroes’ (see


next article) where these creative

Serbia Creates is a programme fostered by the Serbian Government to promote

featured on Air Serbia aircraft.

the country’s creative industries and

Instead, the A330 simply contains a

knowledge based economy.

series of generic words such as “trust,

The initiative features a series of

design, theater, music, talent.”

‘creative ambassadors’ from Serbia in

Most people looking at the aircraft

different fields such as music, art, film

will be unlikely to realise what it’s

and technology.

promoting, and so this seems like a

As a result, you’d imagine that the


ambassadors or their work could be

missed opportunity to promote Serbia’s creative talent.

Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

Serbian national airline Air Serbia has

Norwegian Tail-fin Heroes - Harvey Milk

United’s ‘Her Art Here’ initiative, by which two female artists will have their art appear on a Boeing 757.

The latest hero, unveiled in March, is Harvey Milk. Milk was a US civil rights leader and one of the world’s first openly

One airline which makes special designs

gay elected public officials. Harvey

and liveries a regular design feature is

Milk’s image will appear on the tail-fin of

Norwegian, with its “tail-fin heroes.”

one of the airline’s 787 Dreamliners.

The tail-fin heroes are meant to be

According to Britain’s Mirror newspaper,

“personalities who have pushed

as well as putting Harvey Milk on one of


its aircraft, the airline will be supporting

Norwegian’s aircraft features tail-fin heroes from all the Nordic countries, as well as Spain, France, England, Ireland,


Scotland, Argentina and the USA.

the Harvey Milk Foundation, and collaborate with the organisation on inclusion and diversity initiatives.

Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

Our cover story this month is about

Air France Questions in the sky

times does a pilot fly around the world? Why doesn’t a plane flap its wings to fly?” According to Air France,

The aim of the campaign

these are the kind of

is obviously for Air France

questions kids ask when

to promote the benefits

it comes to flying. In

of travelling as a family

response, the airline

with the airline, including

has created a campaign

various child friendly

and micro-site called

features such as in-flight

“Questions in the Sky.”

entertainment and kids’

The site features around


Sky” area. Children were able to sit in an interactive cabin resembling a cockpit and ask a ‘machine’ questions to find out everything they want to know about flying and travel. If the question already exists,

100 questions asked by

The campaign was

the machine answered it

kids, with the answers

supplemented by activity

right away, otherwise it

being provided in video

at Paris CDG Airport,

was posted for Air France

form by Air France staff -

where Air France built a

staff to answer.

from pilots to engineers.

special “Questions in the


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

“Why is there a small hole in the window? Why are planes white? How many

Air Asia - Get off in Thailand An example of marketing gone wrong is Air Asia’s recent Australian ad campaign. In March, Air Asia took out advertising on buses in Brisbane, encouraging

Unfortunately, in some English speaking countries (including the UK and Australia), ‘get off’ doesn’t only mean disembarking from a form of transport, it’s also a sexual euphemism. Hence the LCC quickly found itself under fire from Australian social media users, complaining that the airline had run a “dog whistle ad” promoting “sex tourism.” The end result was that Air Asia had to pull the ads, but not before the campaign was covered for all the wrong reasons in Australian and international media. It’s almost certain of course that Air Asia did literally mean getting off a bus in Brisbane and then getting off a plane in Bangkok. However, it does raise the question of whether the ads were developed centrally, or whether it had any local Australian input. If the latter, the hidden meaning behind the phrase should have been easy to spot.


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

travellers to “get off in Thailand.”

ANA - Japan Elevated

says is aimed at “affluent millennial international travellers.” The Japan Elevated campaign marks the first work for the brand from VMLY&R New York following winning the business in late 2017. The idea behind the campaign is to appeal to millennials desire for ‘authentic experiences.’ Hence, the ad has a dreamy / trippy feel to it, where various scenarios from a chef preparing dishes, to a passenger watching the IFE system, are played out in the sky. Ad Age points out that the new ANA ad campaign isn’t dissimilar in style to the ‘France is in the Air’ ads from Air France. We’d add that stylistically it is also very similar to Virgin Atlantic’s “Depart the everyday.”


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

Japan’s ANA has launched a new campaign called ‘Japan Elevated’, which it

We are Tokyo - Tokyo Haneda Airport At the recent Passenger Terminal Expo and Conference in London, Tokyo’s Haneda Airport unveiled its new “We are Tokyo” brand.

Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

The airport intends to use it in the run-up to and during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The We Are Tokyo brand features prominently as part of Haneda’s corporate website redesign, which the airport announced on April 11th. Created by Interbrand, “We are Tokyo” features photos of Haneda employees against various backdrops. The airport says that the aim is to showcase the “ mindsets and enthusiasm of our employees though concept images.”


Dubai International Airport - #musicDXB

initiative, essentially this has been a series of live concerts at the airport to create, as the airport puts it, “the the world’s largest stage, in which millions of global travellers are entertained through the universal language of music.” Last month, the airport announced the next stage of #musicDXB, having the first DJ’s in residence at an airport. Starting on April 3rd, DJ duo ‘Hollaphonic’ a Dubai-based British DJ and production duo composed of Greg Stainer and Olly Wood, started taking up monthly residency at the airport, performing in a series of two hour sets. The airport also announced that the duo would be helping to curate the overall #musicDXB programme.


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

In 2015, Dubai International Airport announced the #musicDXB

Emirates A380 Comes to Glasgow Over the past few months, the aircraft that’s been making news in the aviation and travel press (leaving aside the problems around the 737 MAX) has been the A321LR, with airlines lauding its ability to open up new routes.

In fact, the arrival of the

while the website of the

flyers aside most members

A380 in Scotland resulted

Sunday Post carried a video

of the travelling public

in Emirates getting pretty

of the A380s arrival.

would be hard pressed to

much blanket press

identify an A321 (or indeed

Scottish coverage. The

an A320, A319 etc). The one

Scottish Sun reported on

aircraft though, which they

special locations being set

can identify, and which still

up for plane spotters so

generates considerable

they could see it.

excitement is the A380.


The buzz around the A380 arriving in Glasgow shows that more than a decade after its initial launch, the aircraft still has significant PR value for the airlines

The Glasgow evening

that operate it. This is of

A sign of this is the amount

paper, the ‘Evening

course despite the fact that

of coverage Emirates’

Times’ ran a photo story

it has no new customers,

introduction of the A380

previewing the interior

and will soon cease

received on its Glasgow,

of the “luxurious double


Scotland - Dubai route.

decker jet” (as it called it),

Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

AV Geeks and frequent

Virgin Australia - new ad campaign Virgin Australia has launched a new ad campaign with three videos. Each focuses on a different part of the Virgin Australia product offering - including Economy X, the airline’s in-flight WiFi, and all inclusive fares.

Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

The ads show passengers in situations where they can benefit from Virgin Australia’s products. For example, the Economy X ad, has a man trying to fit into a cramped car, before being able to stretch his legs out on a Virgin Australia aircraft thanks to extra legroom. According to marketing trade publication Mumbrella, the campaign was put together by agency DDB. DDB Sydney executive creative director, Tara Ford, is quoted as saying: “It was an absolute joy to bring a brand to life that wanted to have some fun. And I think you can see that in the work.”


News from SimpliFlying

Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019


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Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

At SimpliFlying, we believe in doing things differently, and in the process, help those we work with become remarkable.

SimpliFlying’s founder backs TravaCoin SimpliFlying founder Shashank Nigam is onboard as an investor and advisor to TravaCoin: Did you know that in 2018 in passenger compensation relating to delays and cancellations? Yes, HALF-A-BILLION! I’ve

Once I reached Toronto,

delay. These “coins” can

decided to do something

I emailed the airline and

be spent at the airport

about it.

they issued compensation

at a premium. And the

in the form of travel

airline need not dole out


cash or vouchers. Happy

Let me share a personal story. Late last year,

I was an upset passenger

halfway through

not in the mood to shop

#AviationFest in London

around at the airport. The

When I learned of this, I

only to learn that my flight

airline paid up in the end

immediately knew Brian is

was delayed by six hours!

because I followed up. A

addressing a multi-billion

loose-loose-lose situation.

dollar problem.

a food voucher. I was

Brian Whelan aims to turn

That’s why I’m backing

upset - because I’d not be

this into a win-win-win.

Brian by investing in

The agent gave me

home for dinner with my daughters. I spent those six hours cooped up in a corner at LHR, not really shopping around.


passenger. Happy airport.

I reached the airport

Using TravaCoin, a blockchain based

Happy airline.

TravaCoin and joining its Advisory Board.

currency, passengers

Read the full press release

can be compensated

here, and click here to find

immediately in case of a

out more about TravaCoin.

Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

Lufthansa paid €500mn

From the SimpliFlying Blog:

SimpliFlying CEO and Founder Shashank Nigam flew on WestJet’s new 787 Business Class. This was his take-out from the experience: WestJet has been on a transformational journey over the past couple of years. The second largest airline in Canada, and the best one according

design in aviation, having

Lauren Stewart, Rob

led the development

Daintree, and Greg

of the Qatar Airways


QSuite, possibly the best

to TripAdvisor, WestJet

I believe the masterstroke

has gone full throttle

from WestJet came

in targeting premium

much before the first


787 had taken off. It was

Some serious work has gone bringing the WestJet 787 experience to life by the team led by Ed Sims (watch interview) and Louis Saint-Cyr. They’ve been


front by Richard Bartrem,

when Rossen Dimitrov (watch interview) was brought on to lead the

Business Class in the world. WestJet was smart to have leveraged on his years of experience in designing some of the world’s best in-flight product and service.

development of the

The result is a 787

WestJet 787 by the

experience you’re

previous CEO Gregg

unlikely to find on any


North American airline.

well supported on the

Rossen has become the

Marketing and Comms

Michelangelo of product

Read Shashank’s full flight review on the SimpliFlying blog!

Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

WestJet’s Dreamliner experience

Aviation brands in this issue Air Asia Air Serbia ANA British Airways Conversocial Dubai International Airport Emirates Lufthansa Norwegian SAS Tokyo Haneda Airport TravaCoin United Virgin Australia Virgin Atlantic WestJet


Airline Marketing Monthly | April / May 2019

Air France

Profile for Airline Marketing Monthly (AMM)

Airline Marketing Monthly - May 2019