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The best and worst airlines, according to Twitter…

September 15th, 2014

Kinny Cheng

For an airline, the only thing worse than an angry passenger is an angry passenger with a Twitter following.

Searching Twitter mentions for any major airline is like slogging through a virtual customer service line that extends out to the tarmac. It’s exhausting, and few people have anything nice to say. Luminoso, a text analysis startup, analyzed the social media mentions of five airlines during the month of August, one of the busiest travel months of the year.

Because it’s easier for people to complain than to compliment.

And, because B2C-type social media interactions are still very weak in their efforts to create a sustainable level of engagement, let alone a positive one.

Do these US-based airlines truly understand? Judging by the ways they approach customer service in the real world, I’d lean towards “not really”.

(PS. I’ll attest to the fact that United’s social media, especially on Twitter, is a complete circus act.)

Thai Airways takes measures against the Ebola virus

September 15th, 2014

Kinny Cheng

Thai Airways becomes one of the first airlines publicly drawing attention to the Ebola virus, on social media, and posting an infographic that describes the measures being taken to prevent its transmission.

The following tweet, along with a Thai version, was posted around an hour ago.

Was this timely, given how the current epidemic has already taken more than two thousand lives in Western Africa? It was probably a calculated decision to go public with the infographic, as publicising something of the kind can usually cause unnecessary panic.


UK welcomes US pre-clearance

September 12th, 2014

Kinny Cheng

Philip Oltermann, for The Guardian:

According to the document – a German government response to a parliamentary question submitted by the Left party – Britain is the only country out of the five EU states to have expressly welcomed the proposal, stating that “Britain sees the advantages in allowing this procedure”.

Because going to the US-of-A is such a pain already.

I couldn’t agree more with this:

Saira Grant, policy director of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, described pre-departure clearance checks on British soil as “totally unnecessary”. She said: “They would be costly and would further infringe on the civil and personal liberty of law-abiding innocent travellers to the US.”

But who really cares what the normal folk thinks. We travellers simply have to put up with this nonsense because it’s expected of us — all in the name of national security.

Finally: NFC support for on-board payments?

September 12th, 2014

Kinny Cheng

Mary Kirby:

As Apple has moved to support contactless EMV (Europay, Mastercard and Visa) payments on the new iPhone 6 via near-field communications (NFC), there is renewed discussion amongst ‘passenger experience’ industry stakeholders about supporting this functionality on in-seat inflight entertainment systems.

So it’s only when Apple shakes the tree that we get some kind of proper involvement by “industry stakeholders”?

Remind me again why many passengers are almost never truly satisfied with their on-board experiences?

While Apple Pay also relies on NFC for contactless EMV payments, the new methodology of the payment process is what raises eyebrows. Credit card fraud is a known issue with various airlines, specifically those that do not use a connected system for live verification.

We should learn more about Apple Pay after its introduction in the US next month (October). In the meantime, this New York Times article, shedding more light on the efforts leading up to the creation of Apple Pay, makes for some informative reading.

That airline with ‘The Residence’ runs out of food in First Class!

September 9th, 2014

Kinny Cheng

One Mile at a Time:

The problem is that they don’t load enough food.

Etihad has a “dine on demand” concept so you can eat what you want when you want, but on my flight to Los Angeles had almost nothing left four hours before arrival. That’s a bit embarrassing for an inaugural flight, but I figured I was just really unlucky, as there’s no way that can be the norm on one of the world’s top airlines.

Clearly, not one of the world’s top airlines if this happens — repeatedly.

Lucky also describes a similar second experience, with the cabin crew finding the situation similarly preposterous.

The post is a good read, describing some of the pitfalls of the weakest-of-the-three Middle-East based carriers, with its CEO in a state of denial where disparity of its airline’s true performance is concerned.


[Updated 09/09/2014]

Just had an interesting conversation with my good friend, @mixedupworld, on Twitter about this very post — to which he made some good points, specifically regarding that menu:


Comical — it would certainly be a very fitting description.

While Lucky, in his post, says it how it is:

But it’s an absolute farce.

And it’s sad, because the product is great otherwise — the hard product is solid, the crews are good, but the catering situation is just an embarrassment.



I rest my case.

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