Surviving the Trump Slump: What Airlines Can Learn From Tourism Slowdowns

Just as individual US cities and states made end-runs around the White House in support of the Paris climate change accord, so too can American regional tourism boards and airlines leverage their own brands to woo international holidaymakers in the face of reduced tourism to the US.

After initially dismissing the “Trump Slump” as a non-event, the US Travel Association recrunched the numbers and found that foreign travel to the USA has indeed dipped since Trump’s inauguration. “We kept projecting drops in international visitation, and they kept not materializing,” said David Huether, senior vice-president of Research for the US Travel Association. “However, we recently were able to access new data inputs for the TTI to give us an even more comprehensive picture, and sure enough, the international travel segment has been far weaker than what was initially shown.”

The outlook for international inbound travel to the US remains gloomy for the rest of 2018. As the report notes, “The previously reported April rebound (which can likely be attributed to the timing of Easter this year versus last year) coupled with the slight uptick in May should be interpreted with caution, as the overall trend for the year remains negative.”

Foreign visitors brought $212 billion into the US economy in 2016. In discouraging visits from abroad, the US could negatively impact the bottom lines of the airline passenger experience industry. There is precedent for recovering from a dip like this, but it’s not an easy road for either the destination or the airlines serving it. America needed until 2016 to return to pre-9/11 tourism levels – US Travel Association CEO Roger Dow called it “the lost decade.” The most recent US Travel Association report suggests doubling down on Brand USA, brought into being by the Travel Promotion Act in 2010, which Trump has put on the chopping block.

Turkey has also had a turbulent few years, with a failed coup and subsequent swerve away from democracy, which has alienated European tourists. The nation focused on touting its historical and geographic bona fides, as well as courting visitors from outside Europe. International tourism to Turkey is on the rise again and the US can learn from this.

Should worse come to worst and some airlines scale back their US-bound schedules due to slackened demand, others can make hay while the sun shines: Chile-based Latin American Wings snatched up routes to Caracas, Venezuela, when they were abandoned by Delta, LATAM, and Avianca earlier this year.


AirFi Welcomes 40th Customer, Adds Millennial-Friendly Mashable YouTube Content

 AirFi’s customer base has increased by 25% since April. The portable wireless IFE provider is riding the wave of in-flight connectivity demand, offering content that appeals to a variety of passengers, including millennials.

AirFi, which provides portable wireless in-flight entertainment (IFE) solutions to airlines, has recently announced a major uptick in its client base, jumping to 40 airline partners and over 350 aircraft. That’s a 25% increase since April’s Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg.

AirFi provides non-DRM media, such as same-day TV episodes and new movie releases, across multiple languages, cultures and demographics, without need to download an app. It also offers new-to-IFE content from sources like Mashable, which produces millennial-friendly videos across a variety of trendy topics like GMOs, artificial intelligence and kombucha. “We try to diversify content beyond the usual,” AirFi CEO Job Heimerikx told APEX Media. “The majority of our customers are single aisle aircraft that fly shorter routes so this kind of content is great for people who want a quick distraction.”

                             RELATED: AirFi Makes ITV Content Available in Flight on Same Day as UK Transmission

With over six million passengers served, AirFi Box has so far delivered nearly six million cumulative flying hours of wireless connectivity. The latest version of AirFi Box is a simple carry-on device weighing less than two kilos, which can run for 24 hours on a single battery charge. It can be used for IFE, crew connectivity and onboard retail.

“We are seeing the breadth of successful deployments across all aircraft types,” said Heimerikx. “More new use cases for AirFi drive this remarkable interest and the sharp increase in client acquisition over recent months. Coupled with this, we’ve been busy dramatically expanding our offer, primarily through our new premium content management service.”

AirFi is also bringing the connected-cabin trend to ground level, providing connectivity solutions to bus and train operators in Europe and the Americas. The Amsterdam-based startup is funded by a Dutch-based consortium of companies including KLM. This is part of another trend: airline partnerships with startups to harness the fastest-moving aspects of the tech world.


Delta and LSTN Make Loud Statement With Silent Disco

Headphones and quality audio remain cornerstones of in-flight entertainment.

In its June Airline Marketing Benchmark Report, SimpliFlying talked about Delta’s new partnershipwith ‘socially responsible’ headphones brand LSTN, where LSTN headphones would be offered in the airline’s premium cabins.

LSTN is a company that ploughs its profits into helping the hearing impaired in the developing world through so-called ‘hearing missions.’ In the June report, SimpliFlying commended Delta for doing something unexpected.

A premium cabin passenger wouldn’t give a pair of Bose or B&O headphones a second thought. However, especially given the headphone’s distinctive wooden design however, LSTN is more likely to make them take a closer look.

Delta has now officially launched the partnership through the first ever “silent disco.”

A 90 minute flight took off from JFK on 18 July with 100 music aficionados on board. This included music students from NYU University, LSTN executives and other industry VIPs, journalists and bloggers.

Also on board was DJ Questlove and hip-hop music producer Yameen Allworld, who encouraged passengers to “LSTN up to get down!” via a silent disco. A silent disco is, as the name suggestions, an event where people listen to, and dance to, music streamed through headphones rather than via speakers.

Delta certainly gets full marks for originality in creating and staging this. Aviation blogger ‘The Points Guy’ who was on-board, called it “undoubtedly the wackiest“ press event he’s been to.

The Points Guy did point out that a single aisle 737-900ER wasn’t the most convenient choice of aircraft to have passengers dancing in the aisles in, questioning whether a larger aircraft wouldn’t have made more sense.

Meanwhile Fodors Travel writer Teddy Minford who was additionally on board, says that “things got weird” on the flight:

“Glow sticks appeared out of nowhere. This was turning into a real rave. After one warning from the pilot (“We’re gonna need everyone to keep their feet on the ground while dancing, just to be safe”), things really got out of control.

“The dance was underway. We were jumping on our seats, sashaying down the aisles. There was a mosh pit in the exit row. A couple began making out. People drummed on the overhead compartments.”

In addition to travel blogs and websites, the silent disco was also covered extensively on social media, with a stack of positive reactions to the event on Delta’s own Facebook page.

Key Takeaways

Delta has been a regular in the past few Airline Marketing Benchmark Reports, for doing things that are genuinely new.

While so many marketing campaigns are variations of what’s been done before, Delta has pioneered a series of ‘firsts’, ranging from the first travel-inspired Tinder wall, to the first tray-table art.

The first ever silent disco can now be added to that list. And what’s noteworthy is that Delta didn’t play this ‘safe’ but allowed participants to really get into the spirit of it. It had a realness and authenticity that you don’t often see from corporate stunts and events.

This case study was featured in SimpliFlying’s Airline Marketing Benchmark Report, which showcases the top airline branding strategies each month. Find out more here.


Dumping Duty-Free: Are Airlines Saying Goodbye to the Retail Trolley?

The last of the US Big Three carriers has dropped onboard duty-free. But it’s hardly the end of in-flight retail.

United Airlines canceled its onboard duty-free sales in March, following similar decisions by American Airlines and Delta Air Lines in 2015 and 2014, respectively. “We made this decision based on declining sales revenue for both United and Duty Free World,” a spokesperson for United Airlines explains. While American and Delta attributed their decisions to disagreements with vendors, the recent downturn in airline duty-free sales likely contributed to the airlines’ decision to not procure another vendor.

According to figures published in a March 2016 report by Duty Free World Council, onboard airline sales declined from 7.3 percent of total global duty-free and travel retail sales in 2006 to 4.6 percent in 2014. Another study, by m1nd-set Generation, predicts that airline duty-free sales will fall by 1.5 percent each year until 2025.

Onboard airline sales declined from 7.3 percent of total global duty-free and travel retail sales in 2006 to 4.6 percent in 2014. — Duty Free World Council

Jettisoning onboard duty-free retail items translates into an approximate 200 pounds in weight savings but also a drop in cabin crew income. United’s flight attendant agreement for 2016–2021, released before its duty-free program was dropped, states that flight attendants are to receive a minimum commission of 10 percent of sales revenue collected – what that actually amounted to when sales were low is uncertain. In the year before ceasing duty-free operations, Delta’s flight attendants earned an average of $10 per month from the sales of duty-free goods. One unnamed Delta purser told Frequent Business Traveler that he was “happy” about the move as the compensation was small and the service was more of a disruption than a benefit to passengers.

However, what airlines have lost, airports have gained – manyfold. In the same decade-long period in which airline duty-free sales are anticipated to decline, airport sales are expected to rise by 7.1 percent annually, according to m1nd-set. A United spokesperson confirms the airline was “unable to compete with airport duty-free vendors that stock much more merchandise.” And airports are investing billions in the on-the-ground retail experience. Examples include Dallas/Fort Worth International’s addition of six duty-free retail areas spanning a total of 20,000 square feet and Los Angeles International’s new terminal housing Gucci, Burberry and Hermès, among other luxury brands.

 “We are unable to compete with airport duty-free vendors that stock much more merchandise.” — United Airlines

Despite forfeits from the US Big Three, onboard duty-free remains attractive in international markets with high retail taxes, like Scandinavia, and rising purchasing powers, like Asia. In these regions, airlines are moving away from the routine airplane trolley to boost ancillary sales. Finnair’s Nordic Sky portal gives passengers access to preorder duty-free shopping on their personal devices, with purchased items being delivered to their seats on the return flight. And Korean Air famously sacrificed 13 seats in the main cabin of its Airbus A380s to make way for a duty-free shop – the carrier hit $168 million in onboard retail last year.



Routehappy and OpenJaw Partner to Boost Airline Bookings

 Routehappy has set itself on a path to improve airline bookings through product differentiation supported by content that highlights passenger experience features. Its partnership with OpenJaw is the latest stage in that journey.

Routehappy and OpenJaw Technologies have announced that they will integrate their platforms to enhance flight shopping by matching personalized offers with targeted rich content, using IATA NDC standards. Their collaboration will simplify deployment for distributors and airlines, while offering consumers and travel agents better resources for product comparisons.

OpenJaw’s t-Retail platform, which delivers personalized pricing through multiple distribution platforms, will incorporate Routehappy’s Universal Product Attributes (UPA) data as well as rich content from the Routehappy Hub like descriptive text, features icons, product photos, 360º virtual tours, videos or links to more information. The companies expect this extended integration will help improve airline booking conversions, upsells and ancillary product sales. The companies also anticipate that airlines will be more likely to adopt IATA NDC standards when they benefit directly by doing so through integrated platforms like these.

Airlines can use Routehappy Hub to distribute rich content through OpenJaw’s NDC APIs. The solution allows authorized distributors access to UPAs via a Rich Content Pointer, which is a unique URL that connects the exact Rich Content targeted to the NDC offers. Image via Routehappy

“Partnering with Routehappy enables our airline clients to deliver rich content across all channels,” said Kieron Branagan, CEO of OpenJaw. “Providing rich image-led product content at all points of sale, both direct and indirect, aids conversion by ensuring that the traveler will be able to make a more informed purchasing decision, wherever they shop. The partnership with Routehappy will enhance OpenJaw Technologies’ ability to deliver rich content to airline customers via IATA NDC enabled channel partners.”

“Visually engaging, targeted, and personalized merchandising benefits the entire industry. Airlines can increase upsell and conversion, while having more control over their brand; and flyers and agents receive detailed, compelling content that makes the flight shopping experience easier and more relevant,” said Robert Albert, CEO of Routehappy. “Both Routehappy and OpenJaw’s technology are moving the industry away from commoditized to differentiated, and together our platforms will further benefit the ecosystem and encourage more useful NDC merchandising.”

Routehappy and OpenJaw launched this collaboration in response to demand from mutual airline customers and expect to complete the integration later this year.

Airbus also partnered with Routehappy this year to add enhanced rich content to the airline reservation systems of mutual customers that help highlight the passenger experience benefits of flying on the OEM’s A380 and A350 aircraft. The partnership was first announced at ITB Berlin, and involved airline launch partners Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Lufthansa Group and Singapore Airlines. The partners announced that they would extend these airlines’ Airbus-branded UPAs to Travis CheapTickets websites during the IATA Annual General Meeting in Cancun this June.

Earlier this year, Australia’s largest online OTA, Webjet, shared A/B testing results showing that Routehappy Hub’s UPAs increased the likelihood of converting searches to bookings by 26.3 percent.


Global Eagle Secures Linefit Approval for Wi-Fi on Boeing 737 MAX

Linefit approval will make it easier and less expensive for Global Eagle’s customers to offer Wi-Fi on board


Global Eagle Entertainment (GEE) is now offering its Airconnect 3.0 in-flight Wi-Fi system as a factory installation option for Boeing 737 MAX family aircraft. This is the first connectivity system added to the Boeing catalog for factory assembly installation of the next-generation aircraft type.

Offering in-flight Wi-Fi has generally required retrofitting aircraft with connectivity hardware, but by obtaining linefit approval and being added to OEM catalogs, GEE’s system gains the competitive advantage of helping airlines dodge a prolonged process that requires multiple rounds of testing and engineering review.

“Being the first Wi-Fi connectivity solution to be linefit on the 737 MAX benefits airlines and passengers,” said Per Norén, Global Eagle’s senior vice-president of Aviation. “Not only does it provide substantial time- and cost-saving benefits to airlines, it also allows them to quickly offer passengers the most complete travel experience with the latest technology.”

“Being the first Wi-Fi connectivity solution to be linefit on the 737 MAX benefits airlines and passengers.” — Per Norén, GEE

Airconnect 3.0 system is an integrated broadband connectivity platform that offers airlines, advertisers and passengers a customizable portal. GEE also offers a portfolio of content including television shows, films and print publications to complement online activities. The Airconnect portal, which currently flies on 865 airplanes worldwide, can be personalized and offers opportunities for data analytics, e-commerce, branded campaigns and integrated advertising.

Earlier this year, GEE received vendor supplemental type certification from the Civil Aviation Administration of China to install Airconnect on Boeing 737NG aircraft in China. Plans to extend services further in China through a partnership with HNA Group suffered a setback this month when they failed to secure clearance by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US.

GEE says several Boeing 737 MAX customers are already scheduled to receive aircraft linefit with Airconnect 3.0 technology this fall. The company is also working with Boeing to offer linefit installation on other aircraft types.


Scented Cabins:Airlines Use Custom Fragrances to Accentuate Their Brand

Custom airline fragrances could soon fill cabins and tickle passengers’ noses.

Airlines have long used scent to advance their brand. All Nippon Airways’ “Refresh” aromatherapy card delivers the smell of woodland trees and herbs to ease passengers into sleep. Singapore Airlines’ hot towels are perfumed with “Stefan Floridian Waters,” a blend of rose, lavender and citrus. And now Zodiac Aerospace has a cabin scent diffusing system breathing fresh air into the passenger experience.

“None of the fragrance solutions currently on the aircraft market meet needs,” says Jean-Marc Lemaitre, CEO at Pacific Precision Products, a Zodiac company that specializes in oxygen systems.

Zodiac’s FIVE is the first fragrance diffusing system for private and commercial aircraft that complies with both Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency regulations. Safe to use in flight, its fragrances are designed by ScentAir, a leader in scent marketing.

“How we deliver scent in the cabin is just as important as the scent selection,” says Ed Burke, VP of Customer Strategy and Communications, ScentAir. “The FIVE delivery platform has a high degree of control in terms of intensity and locale within the cabin. Typically, passengers will be greeted with a subtle, elevated scent as they board.”

Tracy Pepe, whose company Nose Knows Design creates custom scents for the hospitality industry and others, is seeing an increase in the use of natural-based fragrances, as well as the growing practice of combining scents and experiences. “Adding scent to taste, touch or sound can help relate the overall experience back to the brand,” she says.

“We’re working to create a comprehensive sensory experience.” – Maddie King, United

United Airlines’ signature “Landing” cabin fragrance features hints of orange peel, bergamot, cypress, black pepper, black tea, sandalwood, leather and more. The scent is part of the airline’s strategy to relax and reinvigorate its passengers. “We’re working to create a comprehensive sensory experience that consists of a custom scent, a curated music playlist and subtle mood lighting,” says Maddie King, Corporate Communications, United Airlines.

But scents can cause sensitivities, Pepe says, so fragrance levels will be important to monitor in the closed space of an aircraft cabin – something that United Airlines takes into consideration. “We’re careful to make sure that the amount of scent infused is appropriate for the space, so that the fragrance is delicately present – subtle but never too assertive,” King says.

Materials used by ScentAir are nonallergenic and meet or exceed worldwide fragrance regulatory standards, Lemaitre says. FIVE’s dry evaporative technology means the fragrance experience can quickly be shut off if necessary and won’t linger in the cabin. For Lemaitre, the goal is simple: “Zodiac sees an opportunity for airlines to use FIVE to replicate the success that ground-based markets have had with scent marketing.”


Top 10 travel destination

what if your next adventure was guaranteed to make your mates jealous (in the best possible way, of course)? From the dramatic cityscape of Santiago to Singapore’s ‘Supertrees’, travel writer Chris Leadbeater picks ten wow-factor destinations that will get you plenty of Instagram likes.

1.Santiago, Chile

Take a look at a map of the world. Across a bit. Down a bit. A bit more. Yes, Santiago is a long way away. Indeed, Chile’s capital is so distant that it will become British Airways’ lengthiest non-stop service – 14 hours, 40 minutes – when it launches. But its remoteness is exciting. It is beautiful (framed by the snowy Andes), it is fun (abuzz with bars in districts like Bellavista and Lastarria) and it is a gateway – to the fertile winelands due west and to colourful port Valparaiso, clinging improbably to its steep hillside.

The Instagram brag: Take another flight north to the Atacama Desert, where you can take hot-air balloon rides over the planet’s driest area and experience world-class stargazing.

Take a flight north from Santiago to the Atacama Desert, where you can take hot-air balloon rides over the planet’s driest area and experience world-class stargazing

 2.New York, USA

America dazzles in all sorts of ways and in all sorts of locations, but it could quadruple the number of craggy canyons, snow-capped mountains, blissful beaches, giddy themeparks and neon casino hotels, and its biggest city would still be its biggest icon. Whether you sip heady cocktails in the bars on trendy Smith Street in Brooklyn, load up with shopping bags in the department stores on Fifth Avenue or dip into the restaurant hub of Hell’s Kitchen, New York’s unceasing appeal is a fact of life.

The Instagram brag: Be one of the first to take a ride on the New York Wheel, the Big Apple’s answer to the London Eye, which will be half as big again as its British rival – 192m tall – when it opens in the lesser-known borough of Staten Island in 2017.

3.Shanghai, China

Beijing may be the keeper of all China’s yesterdays, festooned with heritage sites – but if you want a glimpse of the planet’s coming superpower at its most up to date, you need to flit to its east-coast metropolis. Shanghai gleams with the 21st century. You can see all of it from the Shanghai Tower the world’s second tallest building, whose observation deck peers down from 1841ft (561m). And you can eat in style at Yong Yi Ting, at the Mandarin Oriental – where the expertise of chef Tony Lu has just earned the restaurant its first Michelin star.

The Instagram brag: Board the Maglev, the world’s fastest train, which hits 267mph as it links the airport to Pudong, riding above the tracks by magnetic power.

4.Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town is neither South Africa’s biggest city (that’s Johannesburg), nor its capital (hi, Pretoria), but you’d barely know it from the adulation it receives. This seafront star is a fine destination at most times, Table Mountain rearing above it, the shops of the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront full of bargains (the post-Brexit pound is still competitive against the rand). But it is especially fun in the European winter, when temperatures sit in the mid-20Cs – and the beach hotels of Camps Bay are at their most inviting.

The Instagram brag: Take a three-hour drive east to Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, a superb game zone where you can see the Big Five – lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros – amid comfort and luxury.

5.Aarhus, Denmark

The key thing to know about Denmark’s second city is that it will be one of the two European Capitals of Culture in 2017 (the other is Paphos in Cyprus), and will become the weekend possibility you’ll wish you’d discovered long ago. If the attractions put in place for said year in focus – like The Garden, a three-mile art trail laced across the centre and along the waterfront – don’t grab your attention, then ARoS, a contemporary gallery awash with clever sculptures and installations, surely will. Oh and for the record, it’s pronounced ‘Or-hoos’.

The Instagram brag: Book dinner at Substans, one of three Michelin-starred eateries in the city, where chef René Mammen crafts superb fish dishes.

6.New Orleans, USA

One of the most evocative of US cities, founded in 1718, swirls with the past – long-balconied houses in the French Quarter, the pale facade of St Louis Cathedral, the mighty Mississippi flowing by – while the buzzing bars of Bourbon Street have firmly cemented it as a party zone where. And now the Big Easy is even easier to get to, thanks to BA’s new direct flight from London launching on 27 March 2017.

The Instagram brag: The Gulf Coast. New Orleans can be a start point for an epic road trip, which traces the edge of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama all the way to Florida.

7.Palma, Mallorca

Mallorca’s most notorious resort, Magaluf, dominates perceptions of the biggest of the Balearics. But the island capital Palma – 10 miles to the north-east – is far more representative of this glorious Mediterranean outcrop. Long weekends are hugely possible – gawping at the grandeur of La Seu (arguably the most spectacular cathedral in Spain), admiring works by Joan Miro in modern art bastion Es Baluard, or eating tasty morsels in tapas bar La Rosa Vermuteria.

The Instagram brag: Add a hire car to your booking with Avis and spend time touring the north of the island – where the Tramuntana mountains make for one of Europe’s greatest one-day road trips.

8.Muscat, Oman

Where do you go if you want Arabian sunshine, a safe environment and a dose of culture to boot? The Omani capital has it all, dispensing Islamic majesty in the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, epic military history in the 16th century Fort Al-Jalali, and 21st century creativity at Ghalya’s Museum of Modern Art – while offering temperatures in the high 20C throughout the European winter.

The Instagram brag: Oman has a wonderful coastline. Sur, 120 miles southeast of Muscat, is a lovely resort area – where you can see turtles at nearby Ras-al-Hadd beach.

9.Oakland, USA

San Francisco is impressive. It may just be home to America’s most dramatic skyline, with the Transamerica Pyramid rearing over the Golden Gate Bridge. But Oakland, its neighbour across the Bay, is the hip newcomer – bonus: British Airways begins direct flights to the city from Gatwick on 28 March 2017. Go before everyone else discovers it, to watch American football stalwarts the Oakland Raiders, sip craft beer and eat wood-fired pizzas at Drake’s Dealership and hear cool bands at the restored Fox Theater in Downtown.

The Instagram brag: Celebrated California wine regions Napa Valley and Sonoma County are just north of the city, while a two-hour drive south will bring you to the picture perfect, winding roads of Big Sur. Add a hire car to your booking with Avis.


This city-state zings with modernity in the many shops of Orchard Road, and in the rides and simulators of Universal Studios Singapore, on Sentosa Island. But it really thumbs its nose at its received image in Gardens By The Bay, an enclave of fabulous flora, dominated by artificial ‘Supertrees’ which clamber to 50m in height, an elevated walkway strung out between them.

The Instagram brag: Do the colonial thing anyway by ordering a 1915 Gin Fizz in the Bar & Billiards Room of the Raffles Hotel.


Stop Flying With Preferred Airline

44% of Pax Would Stop Flying With Preferred Airline Due to Poor Connectivity

APEX Insight: Inmarsat’s third annual global Inflight Connectivity Survey shows 44 percent of passengers would stop using their preferred airline in the next year if it offered poor quality in-flight connectivity (IFC). Also, 61 percent of passengers who have experienced good in-flight Wi-Fi consider it more important than in-flight entertainment when choosing an airline. In February 2017, Inmarsat surveyed 9,000 airline passengers across 18 countries who had taken a flight in the last year for a mix of business and leisure purposes. Interestingly, 77 percent of passengers said they would pay for connectivity on short-haul leisure flights, marking a 13 percent increase from 64 percent in 2016. This means the demand for IFC does reach even the low-fare and regional airline markets, which have traditionally been conservative about adopting the technology due to cost.However, long-haul flights still lead in terms of demand, with 89 percent of passengers willing to pay for IFC on leisure flights. This number rises to 91 percent when considering only passengers in the Asia Pacific region, who were proven to have the highest expectations when it comes to connectivity.The survey revealed those happiest to pay for IFC include travelers in the US, passengers aged 25-34 and parents traveling with children. Sixty-six percent of the latter group identified IFC as a lifesaver when it comes to keeping young ones entertained. Business travelers also appreciate the opportunity to connect, with 56 percent of those who have previously used in-flight Wi-Fi saying it greatly improved their passenger experience.

61% of passengers who have experienced good in-flight Wi-Fi consider it more important than IFE when choosing an airline.

In general, passengers seem to prefer connectivity over entertainment. According to the survey, 61 percent of passengers who have experienced good in-flight Wi-Fi (defined by Inmarsat as “streaming or browsing without interruption”) consider it more important than in-flight entertainment when choosing an airline. For these customers, IFC ranked third in terms their considerations when booking, behind ticket price and flight slots. Overall, 45 percent of respondents said they would pay for in-flight Wi-Fi rather than access an airline’s free IFE offering.

Finally, the survey’s results were promising for in-flight e-commerce, with 52 percent of passengers saying they would take advantage of the ability to purchase items during a flight and collect them upon arrival at the airport.

Leo Mondale, president of Inmarsat Aviation, commented, “This year’s survey reveals that 60 percent of passengers believe that inflight Wi-Fi is a necessity and no longer a luxury. This will only increase as more people experience in-flight connectivity. It is clear the opportunity that connectivity presents to airlines cannot be underestimated.”


Dressed for success

Uniforms can help create a competitive edge by showcasing a brand and boosting customer service levels by making staff easier to identify, writes Simon Jersey’s Paul Farrell.

  A uniform is one of the most important parts of any brand’s visual identity. In an airport, this takes on even greater significance when building trust among customers needs to be done quickly and efficiently.

  Uniforms are a key way that brands can express their values, speaking volumes about the company and the service it offers.

  Our research shows that 64% of people think a smart uniform demonstrates respect for customers, while a third have greater trust in someone who is well dressed.

  Airlines have traditionally been known for creating iconic uniforms. From Emirates’ signature red hat and sweeping scarf to the ‘Singapore Girl’ of Singapore Airlines. They understand the value of using uniforms to create a point of difference – luxury, quality or cultural identity, for example, and inspire loyalty from both staff and customers.

  While airlines are undoubtedly the masters at memorable uniforms, their approach can and should be used by any business with customer facing staff to stand out from the crowd.

  In a bustling and sometimes overwhelming airport, uniforms help passengers and staff to distinguish between different people and job roles. With limited time, passengers need to be able to identify assistance at every stage. Whether they’re frequent fliers or holidaymakers, making the staff passengers want to talk to easy to identify will make for a smoother journey. This in turn can assist in creating greater goodwill to both the airport and the services or businesses they access.

  In addition, for retail, food and beverage teams the reasons for wearing standout uniforms can go even deeper. People want to do business with others that share their tastes and ideas. Uniforms communicate brand concepts and demonstrate credibility in a competitive environment.

  When time is limited, people will use these types of clues to quickly identify where they want to eat, shop, drink or relax.

  A uniform can also bring together people in the same company who have very different job functions, making them visibly identifiable as part of one team.

  Take ISS, for example. It provides a variety of services ranging from aircraft cleaning to passenger assistance and hosting at 80 airports across the globe, yet through the colours, shapes and logos used in the uniforms we provided it, it is easy to identify them as being part of the same organisation.

  To create a uniform with impact, we recommend using distinct features or styles. Job function is an important consideration and uniforms should support the employee considering, for example, equipment carried or tasks completed.

  Colour is also important with darker shades suited to positions of authority, while bright colours create a sense of fun and excitement and are often seen in airports worn by customer service teams or holiday operators.

  Whatever the uniform, it should always be one that staff like wearing, and their views should always be part of the design process.

  Returning to the airline example, the idea of dressing in an iconic uniform that is recognised and respected around the world is all part of the excitement of getting the job.

  In a recent survey we discovered that 59% of uniform wearers feel more professional and more than half feel that team morale is higher when everyone looks their best. When staff look good they feel good, enhancing motivation, teamwork and customer service to help deliver a competitive edge.


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