The PaxEx Blog

The PaxEx Blog

What makes or breaks your brand on-board?

BrandPosted 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.

Food:

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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