The PaxEx Blog

Going above and beyond with loyaltyBrand

Posted by Mubina 06 Oct, 2018 10:56PM

Loyalty is a key part of a company's revenue, as recurring customers are the core of any business. They ensure that the business keeps going every month and every year. Therefore the more recurring customers that a company can keep, the better base revenue they know they will have.

The question is how do you keep those core customers for life?

Loyalty is one of the aspects that ensures that your core customers, or passengers, remain loyal to your company for as long as possible. Service, honesty, timely delivery and many other factors also contribute to this.

Loyalty programmes therefore have to be designed in a way that gives passengers what they want, so that you can get what you want. In order to find that balance, many companies use incentives, such as free or discounted products, to keep customers interested.

Some examples are:


Throughout the year, or at key promotional points, Subway will give their loyalty scheme members enough points to be able to get free items. To celebrate the kick-off of the NFL London games, they gave all members enough points for free nachos.


Starbucks used to give customers free drinks sporadically throughout the year, or at key promotional periods. They would also notify loyalty scheme members about new drinks 48 hour before they announced them publicly and would allow loyalty scheme members to order them by saying the name of the drink to the barista.

However free and discounted products have become the norm, with customers wanting more in exchange for their loyalty. Millennials and centennials in particular are demanding this from companies, to provide better loyalty programmes, that still benefit the company and the customer.

But how do you do it? How can you improve your loyalty scheme, whilst still providing benefit for your company?

The answer?


Experiences are very important to young people. If it is Instagrammable, it is perfect!

Experiences can be done on a low budget, but generate a lot of ROI, especially in the age of social media that we are in. An experience that happens in London, could generate revenue for your company in South Africa. The way that news travels now, means that with little investment, you can create big impact.

A great example of this is Virgin Atlantic's collaboration with Aviation Gin and London Cocktail Week. They have created a booth at London Cocktail Week and asked visitors to the booth to use the hashtag #CocktailsInTheClouds. After roughly one day, they have generated 959 posts. The event runs for two days.

It's not just experiences. Exclusivity is also a great way to attract people to stay.

If customers are getting something before anyone else, they tend to be more likely to be loyal as well. Bragging rights are very real!

Making your loyalty scheme seem as though it is an elite club, that not just anyone can enter, gives customers a level of superiority that they feel they can use to show off. This works out well for the company, because when they brag to their friends, their friends will also want to join. A true win win situation!

So think about how your loyalty scheme can work for your customers, whether it is a focus on exclusivity, experiences or even something else. Do what works for your brand and your customers.

If you need some guidance, let me know. I would be happy to help!

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Making transfers easier for passengersPassenger Experience

Posted by Mubina 01 Oct, 2018 05:13PM

In search for cheaper flights, a holiday within a holiday, a love for miles or another reason, passengers often choose flights with layovers/transfers, meaning they have to go from one gate to the other.

Layovers/Transfers can be hard, depending on the airport. If the airport is very large and long, such as DXB (Dubai International Airport), things can get tricky. However with smaller airports, such as LHR (London Heathrow Airport), things are easier. (Not saying LHR is tiny! 😊)

Making sure passengers get to where they need to go quickly is important for airports.

Therefore, the efforts made by airlines to simplify the process are always welcomed. From showing the gates that transfer flights are taking off from, just before landing, to giving transfer passengers the necessary information needed before they enter, all help to make the transfer as smooth as possible and save them from missing their flight.

Measures in place that I have come across are:

- showing the gates that transfer passengers need to go to, in order to catch their connecting flight, on the IFE screen just after landing

- bright and clear signage to direct passengers to the right transfer areas

- staff stood in high passenger traffic areas, to be present and guide

- informational videos on where to go and what to do when you land

- dedicated security terminals for transfer passengers

These are features that I have seen. What are some of the features that you have seen?

I think airlines and airports are working together well to ensure transfer passengers are dealt with correctly and swiftly, from security to gate guidance.

However, there is still a lot of innovation that could happen within this space though, from the use of robotics to in-airport transportation.

What do you think?

Personalisation in economy class - How Qatar Airways does itPassenger Experience

Posted by Mubina 30 Sep, 2018 01:38AM

Personalisation is on everyone's lips at the moment, from retailers to airlines, all thinking about loyalty.

Personalisation is the latest in a marketer's arsenal to ensure they can retain more customers, for longer. The principle behind it is, the more you care about the customer and make them feel important to your brand, the more they will develop a deep love and connection with your brand. This ultimately will lead them to being more exclusive with their purchases, coming to you (a brand that value them) over the more generic brands, that don't value them as much.

Qatar Airways have really understood this and have already shown how they are doing this in-flight. I experienced it when I recently flew Qatar Airways, on an A319, from DAR (Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania) to DOH (Doha, Qatar).

I boarded the plane and as a Privilege Club member, my boarding pass was looked at and I was welcomed with the greeting "Welcome back, Miss Kadiri!" (This was also done for Avios members.) Although a seemingly small gesture, that can be easily done, it meant a lot. I felt very welcome onto the flight and felt special as I had been referred to by name and they had recognised that I was a returning member.

Bear in mind, this was just economy, so it gave me a sense of the Qatar Airways brand very quickly!

It didn't stop there!

Once all passengers were seated, a member of the crew came into the cabin with an iPad, which, I am guessing, had details of Privilege Club members. He went to members and spoke to them one on one, thanking them for flying with QA, speaking to them and also letting them know that the crew were happy to help. This reinforced brand values and brand again but also really showed to me the commitment and love that cabin crew have.

It was a great way to start the flight that set the tone for the entire journey!

Again, bear in mind that this was on an A319, so probably would not be able to be replicated easily on an A380 or a B777, for example. However the greeting, as passengers enter, can definitely be implemented easily.

Making passengers feel welcome, in all classes, says a lot about an airline, as it shows that they value their passengers. This then helps passengers build a more emotional attachment to the airline, which goes beyond the usual customer - service provider relationship. Emotions play a big part in decision-making and ultimately brands that win often have customers, that don't just like their products, but have a deeper emotional connection with their brand.

Personalisation is more important than ever before, with LCCs' growing popularity and a bigger strain on the global economy.

Make sure you win passengers' hearts, to win you loyalty!

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What makes or breaks your brand on-board?Brand

Posted by Mubina 24 Sep, 2018 04:47PM

Brand, as a whole, is so important.

Making sure that your brand is reflected well across every customer interface is even more important. Therefore, you need to think about how your brand shines on-board, when there is nothing but your brand to see.

Some factors that, many people have said, affect their brand experience are:

- The cleanliness of the cabin
- The size of the toilet
- The IFE (In-flight entertainment)
- The leg room (seat pitch)
- The food
- The cabin crew

Let's have a look at each of these, in more detail.

The cleanliness of the cabin:

It sounds simple and most of the time, there are no issues at all. However, sometimes on flights that stop over with passengers still on-board, it is hard to get right. At times, cleaning staff can miss dirty areas and not even realise. That can heavily affect a passenger's perception of your brand, especially if they have a long-haul flight. It may be worth asking cabin crew to check the aircraft, picking out hard-to-see areas.

The size of the toilet:

This is something that can't really be changed, except with a change of ticket or aircraft. However many passengers find it hard to use the facilities comfortably. I myself have experienced the "tight toilet syndrome" on the A380-800 aircraft that I have flown on, so I know the pain! It may be helpful to minimise items within the toilet, for more space.

IFE (in-flight entertainment) content and services:

This is primarily focused on long-haul flights as they often require IFE to be able to keep passengers content. The range of content and channels actually have a correlation to brand. From music to films, your range of content can have a great effect on your brand perception. Also, in the age of Instagram and social sharing, a new or innovative feature could be something that showcases your brand to a global audience, within seconds.
A great example of this is during the World Cup. Emirates' passengers were able to watch the 2018 World Cup live in-flight. Key media outlets, including The National and Arabian Business, and influencers, such as Sam Chui, posted about the coverage. This brought a lot of good press for the brand, although many other airlines were doing the exact same thing. It may be worth asking key influencers, including media outlets, to cover new and exciting developments.

The leg room or seat pitch:

This is something that is often complained about, however it really depends on the aircraft and the airline. The seat pitch in Economy on an A380 could be less than the seat pitch on a B777. It may be worth considering how you can promote movement within the cabin to reduce negative comments on seat pitch.


Need I say anything more? Food is hard to get right sometimes on a plane and can sometimes come out less than desirable. Also ensuring you have enough of it, especially the special meals, can help you. Why, you may ask? Well, it is because special requirements can sometimes be required at short notice (i.e. inflight), so making sure you have extra will mean that you will have a very satisfied passenger! Drinks are also important. Something as simple as a proper cup of coffee in economy has NEVER happened for me, in my 19 years of travelling. It may be worth working closer with your catering suppliers to ensure that you have a menu that wins across all cabins, and always having more than enough, whilst keeping an eye on your costs naturally.

Cabin crew:

Cabin crew are your brand. Their service reflects directly onto your brand, as your training and brand values become evident very quickly.
A great example of this was on my flight from DOH to DAR. My travel companion had pre-ordered a vegetarian meal, however when the meal came out, she couldn't stomach the smell of it. She hadn't known what was in the vegetarian meal. She asked the cabin crew member for something else to eat, to which the crew member said "We will see, once I have finished with everyone else." This left my travel companion hungry, very hungry. Had the crew member been taught to leave a little bit of food for the passenger to eat, whilst doing the rounds, it would have made things easier for the passenger. However she didn't do it, making the passenger feel angry and neglected. Senior cabin crew then came and dealt with the situation in an amazing way, leaving a positive lasting impression for my travel companion of Qatar Airways.
Training and being aware means that cabin crew can deal with situations faster, protecting the brand from negativity. It may be worth carrying out service audits, to ensure that exemplary service is available across all of your networks and flights. (FlyUnknown can do these for you and support you with changes you would like to work on.)

When all of these factors are thought of as key brand indicators for passengers, with a little bit of work, it shows that airlines can improve brand perception in a big way. After all, the little things can make a big difference.

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The importance of cabin crewBrand

Posted by Mubina 15 Sep, 2018 06:59PM

Cabin crew are amazing. They are guardians, safety officials, waiters and waitresses and a key part of each and every passenger's journey.

I believe cabin crew are actually one of the most important elements of an entire passenger's journey, if not, the most important. This is because if their service is not good, a passenger's journey could be completely ruined. Whereas if there is a problem on-board, it could be insignificant to a passenger's journey, because of the great service that cabin crew provide.

Ultimately, cabin crew are the face of your brand. They show passengers what your brand stands for and what you believe in. From high quality service, across all classes, to love and care for younger passengers, cabin crew are the embodiment of everything within your brand.

They make the brand experience, meaning that what a passenger experiences with cabin crew, is what they usually remember about your brand. It could be something simple, such as a great smile, or something beyond, such as the great handling of an issue. This will stick in passengers' minds, more often than not, and be relayed to other customers, more often than not. Therefore it is important to leave a GOOD lasting impression on passengers, to ensure that the beauty of your brand is showcased through passenger accounts.

No matter how much money you spend on your cabin interior or exterior, the real memories will always come from the service that passengers were given.

Through their important role as the face of your brand, they can easily create brand loyalty. One good experience can make a passenger keen to come back for more, moreso if they have had a different experience with another airline. That passenger may also be more likely to upgrade their experience, as they have seen how well the brand performs.

Loyalty is a key topic for every company at the moment, with loyalty among younger consumers at an all-time low. Therefore, if something as simple as great service could mean repeat purchase and consistent benefit, it is important to get it right.

Cabin crew training is where it all begins. When cabin crew are trained in the best way, to be able to handle situations and service in the best manner, then there is very little that can cause complaints. For example, if you train your crew to deal with angry passengers in a cool, calm and responsible manner, angry passengers may easily calm down and may even have a better image of the airline. Whereas if the situation is dealt with in a confrontational and negative manner, it may cause the passenger to never to fly with your airline ever again. This is why it is important to keep refreshing customer service skills, to ensure that the brand is represented in the best way possible.

One thing that is important to also highlight is the great work that cabin crew do, every single day, every single flight. Their love and passion for their role can often be seen, with a genuine warmth about them and a beautiful smile on their faces. They deal with everything from drunk passengers, to ill passengers, to rude passengers, and yet, they often never disrespect the passengers or themselves. They remain positive and kind, working hard to ensure that all passengers have the best and most relaxing experience on-board.

Cabin crew are pretty amazing!

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The flight that made FlyUnknown: My worst flight! (Qantas)Personal Experience

Posted by Mubina 15 Sep, 2018 12:54AM

Flying is one of my favourite activities. I love going on long-haul flights to far-away destinations. So it makes me extra sad when things don't go smoothly on the flight. It can literally ruin my holiday!

The flight that proved to be my worst flight, but thankfully didn't ruin my holiday, was my flight from Dubai (DXB) to London (LHR).

I was a transfer passenger as I was travelling from Dar Es Salaam (DAR) to London (LHR), with a short transfer in Dubai (DXB). The full journey was with Emirates, however the flight that would take me home was a code-share flight, operated by Qantas.

This would be the flight that I would remember as my worst flight ever.

It started with finding my gate. There were two flights boarding at exactly the same time, with exactly the same flight number, to exactly the same location. One gate was at one side of Dubai International Airport, the other gate on the opposite side of the airport. We managed to go to the wrong gate, so we had to run from one side of the airport to the other, in the oven that is Dubai International Airport. We finally got to the gate, which was packed already, and sat and waited. We soon realised that our flight still had a lot of time to board. We then boarded and got to our seats.
Our plane had come from Sydney so it was just stopping and letting off some passengers, whilst others remained. This must have meant that the cabin was not cleaned.

I went to sit in my front row seat and got a nasty surprise.

My seat was stained and moist, with gum on the belt buckle and a dirty blood-stained tissue in the side of the pocket. Not really what you want to see when you have an 8 hour journey in front of you!

I then asked to be moved to another seat as I couldn't possibly sit there. It was an actual health hazard!

However, there seemed to be many other people with issues on this flight. Lots of people wanted to be moved. So they found me seats in the row behind, but the leg room was unbelievable!
I actually felt claustrophobic and thought I was going to have a panic attack!

That was the only place to sit though. So we sat there. The cabin crew did deal with it really well and were very apologetic but I was so annoyed, I could only see red.

I then asked to speak to the manager (Oliver) to complain and get the severity of the issue reported as well. That should not be happening because I have now lost my leg room and I am going to be uncomfortable for 8 hours. He took about 20 minutes to see me.

What a bad manager!

His attitude was disgusting and he didn't care at all. He almost bypassed the matter and didn't even care! However, once he had finished talking to us, he spoke to an elderly Australian couple a few rows back. He spoke in the most kindest and sincerest of ways!

I was disgusted and angry!

He was quite clearly racist because he continued this same behaviour with the other "white" people that had had an issue. I confronted him about it and he just disregarded it. I took all his details down.

I then sat and was actually close to crying, due to everything that had gone on!

To make matters worse, when I came home, I logged a complaint, which Qantas, to this day, have not responded to.

The only reprieve was the kindness and support of the other cabin crew, who offered me as many snacks as I wanted and checked up on me frequently.

What I took away from the whole experience is what really mattered. It was a mixture of many lessons but the most important one, in this situation, was staff training.

Incidents like this, or similar, will happen. However, how these incidents are dealt with, makes or breaks a passenger's experience. Due to the actions of the crew manager, a bad situation just got worse. Had he dealt with the situation in a much better way, I may be the most loyal Qantas passenger, encouraging people to use their services.

Bad passenger experience is not just with the one passenger, it continues to affect other passengers' view of the airline. This is true with me as well, because I made sure that everyone I knew, knew about my experience with Qantas.

I knew that I couldn't allow this to happen to more people and have brands lose their power, due to issues that can easily be remedied. I had to do something to change the passenger experience and that's why I created FlyUnknown.

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