Which is the best business class from Kuala Lumpur to London? Malaysia Airlines vs Qatar Airways vs Emirates compared

According to the Skytrax world airlines awards for 2019, Qatar is the best carrier in the world, Emirates is 5th and Malaysia Airlines is 36.

The Skytrax awards are based on the responses of 21 million participants from 100 nationalities. It is touted as the largest annual airline passenger satisfaction survey in the world.

I have a number of issues with satisfaction surveys, the primary one being that they don’t really provide any actionable insights. J.D. Power, a research company carries out an annual satisfaction survey of US airlines and their 2019 survey shows travellers are more satisfied than ever with airlines.

Yet high levels of satisfaction don’t translate into increased profitability as airline stocks underperform most markets, mainly because as capacity continues to grow, prices continue to fall.

And many of those surveyed probably travel once a year in economy. Business class passengers’ account for only 5.4% of international travel, yet are responsible for 30% of airline revenues. On some flights business class passengers account for 75% of profits.

Little wonder then that Malaysia airlines, Qatar Airways and Emirates are going all out to attract premium class passengers as we head into the lucrative end of the year holiday season. But which one of them flying to the UK deserves your hard earned money?

We compare the business class offerings of these three of the main carriers.

Online airline booking experience
If you want an easy to navigate, seamless experience with an online booking engine that is clear and transparent with an intuitive interface then Emirates clinches this important part of the process as all the information is clearly laid out, allowing you to make changes without too much effort or repetition.

The Qatar Airways sites is easy to navigate although the font is a bit small. They lose a point for the outrageous ‘no show’ penalties while Malaysia Airlines loses a point for the limited number of flights offered but wins it back for being the only one to offer direct flights, shaving at least 3 hours off the journey time.
Emirates 4. Qatar 3. Malaysia 4.

Check in at Kuala Lumpur International Airport
There’s nothing to choose between the three, which is a massive lost opportunity for MAS because KLIA is its home airport and should be used to really make a powerful first impression.

Check in staff for all three carriers also need to be trained to have more enthusiasm for their jobs and be constantly reminded they represent the brand at the start of the relationship with passengers.

It may be a process for them but it isn’t for the brand or the customer. It’s a key touch point in the relationship building process and shouldn’t be underestimated, especially by Malaysia Airlines.
Emirates 3. Qatar 3. Malaysia 2.

Emirates, Qatar Airways & MAS lounges at KLIA
All three lounges are on the ‘mezzanine’ level at KLIA and are all harder to find than they should be, especially the Plaza premium lounge. This is not unique to KLIA as most airports appear to hide their lounges.

The Malaysia airlines lounge at KLIA

When flying Qatar and Emirates I took the early morning flights that left around 0200hrs. Qatar doesn’t have its own lounge at KLIA so uses the Plaza Premium lounge. Which is anything but premium.

From an experiential branding perspective, this is a massive fail on the part of Qatar Airways. I don’t know why they haven’t invested in their own lounges, not just at KLIA but at other airports around the world.

The Emirates lounge at KLIA is small & intimate

Emirates lounge is small and intimate with a limited but superior range of hot and cold foods and beverages including premium non vintage champagnes. The lighting is calm and the environment relaxing. Staff are attentive and knowledgeable.

Understandably the MAS lounge is the largest but it wasn’t the most impressive. The first thing that hits you is the smell. It’s the unmistakable smell of Malaysian food.

It reminded me of walking into a food court. Nothing wrong with that perhaps but the Emirates lounge in Dubai doesn’t smell of Mandi while the Qatar Airways lounge at Doha don’t smell of Machbus.

While some business class lounges around the world are creating daylight boosting zones, ‘Hue lighting’ rooms and amber or blue lighting throughout, The Malaysia Airlines lounge at KLIA was rather dull and uninspiring.
Emirates 4. Qatar 1. Malaysia 2.

Lounge to gate experience at KLIA
Walking from all the lounges to the respective gates should be straight forward but it isn’t due to a lack of effective way finding. While this isn’t the fault of the carriers, they should be able to influence the airport operator. Walking out of the Malaysia Airlines lounge, there is no sign directing you where to go or even how to get down to the ground floor.

The main security checks for all flights are at the departure gates. I think this is unique to KLIA and absolutely bonkers. At Dubai, Doha and Heathrow, by this stage it’s just a passport check.

So as a business class passenger on the national airline you queue with everyone else. This should be at an earlier stage of the journey where there are fast track lanes for business class passengers.

National carriers need to leverage every opportunity they can and home advantage is supposed to work for them, not against them. Malaysia Airlines really needs to get on top of this by working with stakeholders such as Malaysia Airports to create a memorable experience, for the right reasons. Malaysia Airlines loses another point here because KLIA is its home airport.
Emirates 3. Qatar 3. Malaysia 2.

Business class environment on MAS, Qatar and Emirates
My Emirates flight was a Boing 777 while the Qatar flight was an Airbus A330 and the MAS flight an Airbus A350. So not exactly ‘apples to apples’ but close enough.

Emirates business class is bling central. It’s shiny, bright with huge TV screens and thousands of movies, TV shows, games, flight information and more. It’s world class and has won numerous awards.

The Qatar cabin is less ostentatious and a little more refined with equally impressive TVs and movies, TV shows, games and flight information. It’s also won many awards especially with Skytrax.

The Malaysian Airlines cabin is functional. It’s more Toyota than the Porsche of the others. The TV is smaller, of poorer quality and there are less new movies. Overall entertainment options are significantly less than the others.

I’m not comparing seats because that would only make sense if I compared exactly the same seat on each aircraft.

Wifi is free on Emirates and Qatar and costs US$2 – US$25 on MAS, depending on the package. Bearing in mind the quality of Wifi on flights is still patchy, charging business class passengers is not a good idea and MAS would be better offering it free.
Emirates 4. Qatar 4. Malaysia 2.

Comparing inflight service on MAS with Qatar Airways & Emirates
I’ll focus on key experiential points here and not do a food review! The mix of passengers on all the carriers was essentially the same – Westerners, Arabs, Malaysians and a mix of others so they need to cater to all tastes.

Order a pre meal drink on Emirates or Qatar and it’s served together with a variety of warmed premium nuts in a bowl.

Pre meal nuts on MAS
Pre meal nuts on Emirates
Pre meal nuts on Qatar Airways

On MAS the nuts are the same as economy class and are served in the bag. Another bag of nut mix is also served the contents of which was a serious disappointment.

MAS does provide two choices of nuts but the presentation is weak

On Emirates and Qatar, every pre dinner drink order was a personal event and served by a ‘waiter’. I saw a number of passengers order cocktails, champagne and other drinks and the glassware is elegant and the whole experience is similar to a 5 star hotel cocktail bar.

The pre dinner experience on MAS is functional. It isn’t bad, it’s just not in the same league as the competition but it is competing with them for the same passengers so it really needs to be.

While the food is comparable, MAS really lets itself down with the way it serves the food. Emirates and Qatar prepare meals in the galley and serve them individually, MAS pushes the food trolley along the aisle, like in economy.

I was sitting in the back row so had to put up with the trolley clanking every time it went over a ‘lip’ on the floor next to me.

Oh, and on the MAS drinks trolley were some heavily flavoured and hugely sweet ‘juice drinks’ popular in Malaysia and other parts of SE Asia but not really anywhere else.

Watching MAS cabin crew peel back the seal on one of those containers didn’t make me feel like I was in an exclusive cabin. Pedantic perhaps but paying attention to these little things is what differentiates great brands from the rest.

MAS did deliver the main course personally so I didn’t have to put up with the trolley!

MAS losses a point over its coffee. The world loves good coffee. Arabs have been drinking coffee since the 15th century. Europeans have had a coffee culture for 400 years. There are 700 Starbucks stores in South East Asia, 140 of them in Malaysia. 75% of Australians drink fresh coffee every day.

Order a coffee on Emirates and you’ll receive a freshly brewed mug of Ethiopia’s finest beans. Same on Qatar, on MAS it’s Nescafe. Now I know Malaysians like Nescafe but the typical international business traveller from the East or West is more likely to enjoy a freshly brewed cup of java.

At the end of the meal on MAS, out came that bloody trolley again. And this time there was a rubbish bag on top and as the steward cleared plates, he emptied left over food and rubbish into the bag. Sorry but that’s simply not good enough on business class and another point lost.

Clearing plates on MAS business class

All three offer a ‘mattress’. Qatar gets a special mention for providing The White Company pajamas. I didn’t use them but I took them home!

Like I say, it’s not that MAS business class is bad, it’s just that the other carriers have raised the bar when it comes to service. So it’s inevitable passengers will compare experiences.
Emirates 4. Qatar 5. Malaysia 2.

Cabin crew attitude on MAS, Emirates & Qatar Airways
Cabin crew are some of the most underrated and under appreciated people in the aviation business. They need a wide variety of skills. They need to be professional yet friendly, polite and caring, have great communication and customer service skills while at the same time an empathetic nature.

They need to be flexible enough to deal with multiple cultures, have high levels of tolerance, be organized, firm and calm while managing multiple activities and all at 38,000 feet!

Little wonder then that cabin crew can make or break an airline brand. And it takes real talent to become good cabin crew. Asians have a natural charm and historically, Asian carriers have led the world in providing memorable experiences and it’s no surprise that Emirates and Qatar hire mostly Asian cabin crew from at least 15 Asian countries.

Emirates cabin crew lead the field in terms of professionalism. They are attentive and yet unobtrusive. The crew member looking after me introduced herself at the start of the flight and made herself visible without interrupting me. She made me feel special and important.

The service, personalization and ‘nothing is too difficult’ attitude was bang on the money.

There isn’t much to choose from between the Qatar cabin crew and Emirates, perhaps a little more refined but really nothing much in it.

The cheese platter on MAS. Would it be more exclusive to serve the biscuits out of the wrapper?
Presentation of the Emirates cheese platter is very different to Malaysia Airlines

MAS staff were professional and attentive if a little hurried. I felt they wanted to get the meal over with while the others seemed to actually enjoy their work.

When I complained about not being able to have a proper cup of coffee on MAS, the crew member – who was senior and obviously experienced – dealt with me sincerely, sympathetically and professionally.
Emirates 5. Qatar 4. Malaysia 4.

Arrival in London
Most airlines seem to be happy to be rid of you the moment you leave the aircraft. However, flying Emirates business class entitles you to a limousine to any destination within about 70 miles of Heathrow or Gatwick.

This limousine option is outstanding value and ensures the last leg of the journey leaves a lasting, positive impression. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve mentioned this service to people. Neither MAS or Qatar offer a limousine and for some I know it’s a deal breaker.
Emirates 3. Qatar 0. Malaysia 0.

The post experience experience
None of the airlines try to build a personal relationship with you. I was travelling Qatar for the first time and yet there was a lack of personalisation in follow up communications. It was my first flight to London on MAS for about 5 years and I had mentioned it on social media but again, no attempt was made to build rapport with me although I was sent an email asking me to complete a questionnaire. Emirates carpet bombs me with numerous emails containing special offers but doesn’t do anything to build rapport with me. This a missed opportunity for all the airlines.
Emirates 0. Qatar 0. Malaysia 0.

The Verdict
Emirates 30/45
Qatar 23/45
Malaysia 18/45

Malaysia Airlines comes in a distant third and that’s a pity because in the mid 1980s, before The Emirates or Qatar even had their own airlines, three airlines – Singapore Air, Cathay Pacific and Malaysia Airlines – invested heavily in their people to make the experience of flying with them memorable.

The contents of the MAS business class toiletry bag 3 years ago
The Malaysia Airlines business class toiletry bag is a lot better today.

It worked and those airlines became the ‘poster boys’ of the commercial aviation business.

MAS began to lose sight of what it is in the 1990s and stumbled along until the twin tragedies of 2014. In the months and years after 2014, costs were slashed and it became nothing more than a low cost carrier masquerading as a national airline.

There is no doubt that it has made significant headway since those dark days but it still has a long way to go. To make the transition, management has to understand they are not selling flights they are selling experiences.

The Emirates toiletry bag is well thought out with brands that complement the offering.

Looking at the MAS staff behave, my gut feeling is they are trying their best but the MAS training is inadequate in the face of such dynamic competition. And how the management react to the recent FAA ruling will be key to the next stage of the carriers evolution.

Splitting Emirates and Qatar isn’t easy. Qatar’s rise as a global carrier of repute has been meteoric and it is winning awards almost every day. Loads out of Kuala Lumpur are impressive but it isn’t investing as heavily in the experience as Emirates and that’s why it came in second.

Emirates is the benchmark for all airlines. The crew really seems to be in touch with the company values and living those values on board. Having said that, I hear there are rumblings of discontent amongst frequent flyers.

Emirates has undoubtedly reached the top but in many ways, that’s the easy part. Staying there and continually improving will be tough, especially if competitors up their game.

Emirates is a clear winner.

If you’d like to know how Fusionbrand can make your business a world class brand, please contact us on +60192233090.

Has the Malaysia Airlines marketing department lost the plot?

I was shocked to see this ad appear on my Facebook page this morning.

Poorly conceived ads like this are terribly insensitive
Poorly conceived ads like this are terribly insensitive

Is anyone in control of marketing at Malaysia Airlines at the moment or has the transition to the new company already started? At the same time as the world’s media is showing terribly sad but dignified video and images of the crew of MH17 returning to Malaysia in flag draped coffins, the airline’s marketing department launches an advertising campaign with a grammatically incorrect tagline telling us flying with Malaysia Airlines is fun.

Are they mad? Does the marketing team really think they can convince us that the experience of flying MAS is going to be fun? Should they be trying to do that? Do they think they can change global perceptions of MAS with a grammatically incorrect tagline? Actually they are not trying to change perceptions, they are trying to change reality, with ads! Not only is it offensive, it is ignorant and they really should know better.

This is the second poorly conceived tactical ad MAS has released online in the last month and it smacks of desperation. There is enormous pressure on the management at MAS but they need to get their act together and start rebuilding the brand and not simply throw out poorly thought out tactical ads or what I can only assume are seen as quick fix solutions. The rebuilding of the brand will start by rebuilding trust and faith in the brand but not with this rubbish.

Hardly a compelling tagline or call to action
Hardly a compelling tagline or call to action

Last year, when JWT India created an offensive ad featuring Silvio Berlusconi in a Ford Figo with girls bound, gagged and crying in the boot of his car JWT fired the executives responsible and Ford apologized.

Tasteless Ford ad forces agency to sack executive
Tasteless Ford ad forces agency to sack executive

MAS doesn’t need to apologise but the management must reevaluate their marketing team and their ad agency needs to fire the clowns who created this nonsense.

Then the managment needs to understand that rebuilding the reputation of the brand is a strategic initiative and not a tacticial one. And the CEO needs to have his finger on the brand pulse otherwise this sort of incompetence will continue and there will be a further erosion in the brand’s reputation.

‘Sexist’ safety video helps build airline brand

A few airlines have started thinking out of the box when developing their brands. Over the last couple of years Virgin and Air New Zealand have gained a reputation for creating innovative safety videos that go viral and build positive brand reputation.

You can see some of the videos in this earlier blog post. Combined, these safety videos have generated over 30 million views, more than 100,000 Likes and tens of thousands of comments, most of them positive. With such consumer generated power who needs a 30 second TV commercial?

Recently Air New Zealand created a new safety video, this time using cabin crew, Cook Island residents and some rather attractive Sports Illustrated swimwear models. The models show how to put on a seat belt, use an oxygen mask, inflate a life vest and leave the plane in an emergency. All done not on a plane but on a beach or by the pool in the Cook Islands.

All very clever and innovative. Unfortunately an Australian was offended by the ad, calling it sexist, irresponsible, offensive and insensitive to religious sensibilities. She bagan a petition online and soon had over 10,000 signatures, forcing Air New Zealand to pull the video and disable the comments section on Youtube, despite getting more than 11,000 Likes and less than 1,100 Dislikes.

To date the video has generated more than six million views on Youtube and quite a few of them me!. That’s more views than all of Air New Zealand’s previous safety videos combined.

Virgin America safety video raises the bar for airline Brand content

In my previous post I gave 10 reasons why you should use video to build your brand. You can read that post here

But there needs to be a creative element to those videos. Looking at the airline business, far too many carriers believe the bulk of their marketing dollars should be spent on well produced but hugely irritating glossy videos featuring pretty stewardesses, cute kids and seats that look further apart than they are on any plane I’ve ever flown.

A case in point is Thai Airways. In 2010, to celebrate its 50th anniversary, the carrier released a well produced video that gnaws at the heartstrings but does little new to differentiate it from competitors.

The video has generated a respectable 150,000 views since its launch in 2010 but only 400 likes which would suggest it has made very little impact.

There are some though that are doing their best to move away from this predictable and instantly forgetable approach. Most recently, Virgin America and Air New Zealand have approached the safety video from a new direction.

Instead of the oft ignored stewardess standing self consciously in the aisle and demonstrating how to use a seat belt, where are the exits, how to put on a life jacket and what to do when the oxygen mask drops, these airlines have gone to great expense with a refreshing approach to the tried and tested.

Earlier this week, on the 29th October 2013, Virgin America launched an airline safety video that it claims is the first safety video set entirely to music. They are probably right and the result is impressive.

Obviously I’m not the only one to think so as the video has already been viewed by more than 700,000 people in just two days. What I like about the Virgin video is that they are keeping the story live by inviting dancers to audition for future versions.

Potential participants must send an Instagram video to a specially set up safety dance battle website. Some of those Instagram videos, that can only be up to 15 seconds long will then no doubt take on a life of their own, thereby continuing the Virgin America narrative. So far, the video has over 13,500 Likes on YouTube.

Earlier this year Air New Zealand teamed up with Eton educated ex SAS officer Bear Grylls to create a unique and captivating safety video. The pretty stewardess and cute kids are still there but I’m sure you’ll agree the rest of the cast is unusual!

To date, the Air New Zealand video has garnered more than 277,000 views on Youtube. Not bad for an inflight safety video!

I did a quick search of Youtube to see what Asian airlines are doing on Youtube. Cathay Pacific has created a lot of content some of which has generated a lot of views. Last year they did a ‘Day in the Life’ feature with flight attendants, pilots and ground crew.

This video of a day in the life of Grace, a flight attendant has a respectable 200,000 views but not too many likes.

Malaysia Airlines YouTube page suggests the carrier is creating a lot of video content but judging by the numbers of views it isn’t compelling enough for consumers to engage with, Like and share. However, when they do get creative, or rather innovative interest in the brand goes through the roof, as shown by this flashmob video that has generated over 1,100,000 views in just under 2 years.

Unfortunately this project appears to be tactical rather than part of a strategic initiative because it doesn’t seem to go anywhere or be integrated with any other activities.

According to Cisco, 90% of all Internet traffic will be video by 2017. These Asian carriers need to start producing content that is interesting and relevant. And that content needs to be part of a planned, strategic story that resonates with target markets in order for those markets to engage with and share across the ecosystem. Otherwise it becomes just another piece of expensive content that is out there, rarely viewed and therefore ineffective.

Malaysia Airlines needs to up its digital branding game

In 2012, online advertising spend breached the US$100 billion level for the first time. And forecasters are predicting double digit increases for the next couple of years.

But the types of ads are extensive, from pop-ups to banner ads, to text ads to display ads and so on. There is no consensus on what works the best and what doesn’t but studies suggest that interstitial ads (those that appear when you move from one page to another) animated ads and pop-up ads have the highest visibility, but have low click-through rates.

Whereas banner ads suffer from what the industry calls “banner blindness.” Which basically means that users have stopped seeing them.

According to one company in Australia, for every 1,000 people who see an online ad, only 1 will click on it and the average conversion rate for most sites is 2% which means that you require 50,000 people to see your online ad before you are likely to make a sale.

Another company, Digiday states that only 8% of Internet users account for 85% of clicks on banner ads and that 50% of clicks on mobile banner ads are a mistake.

But digital advertising will continue to grow especially as advertisers online can target their messages at the right segments, thanks to increasingly sophisticated technology. But with such low penetration, you need to get the content right so that when the 1 in 50,000 comes along, there is a good chance they will buy whatever it is you are selling.

I’ve had a go at Malaysia Airlines a few times and I’m probably not very popular with them which is a shame because I’m a big fan of the brand and in some areas, they are trying very hard to build a global brand. But I don’t believe the airline is demonstrating high levels of branding professionalism. Most recently I had a go at their latest advertising campaign. You can read that story here.

I’m sorry to say that I’m going to have another go at them. Earlier today I clicked on a link at the Malaysian Insider website and was interrupted by an interstitial ad for Malaysia Airlines. The ad (see below) featured an underwater image and an image of Penang. Obviously I was interested to see what they were doing so I clicked on the ad.

mas1

I was directed to the Malaysia Airlines site and was told it is under going system maintenance. Now I understand that sites need to be up dated all the time but not in the middle of a digital advertising campaign.

System update in the middle of a communications campaign? Not good for branding.

This type of schoolboy error can be fixed with a brand blueprint that is shared throughout the organisation and ensures the organisation works collaboratively, not in silos. Until they make such organisational improvements, Malaysia Airlines will continue to struggle. It really needs to up its branding game if it is serious about becoming profitable.

Malaysia Airlines won’t return to profitability with bland, boring TV commercials

I don’t like to kick a man (or an airline) when he’s (or it’s) down, and despite a couple of good quarters, Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is certainly down.

The good quarters (following six straight quarters of losses) are a result of increased revenues thanks to better load factors and higher RASK (Revenue per available seat kilometer).

Just to recap, to avoid bankruptcy, MAS embarked on a massive restructuring plan towards the end of 2011 that included cutting unprofitable routes and reducing costs with the goal being to return to full year profitability in 2013.

Although the airline has done quite well, that’s unlikely to happen even though it is focusing on Asia and has stopped flying to costly destinations such as Buenos Aires, Johannesburg, Cape Town and oddly, Dubai. Giving up Dubai and Dammam suggests the carrier is surrendering to the aggressive carriers from the Middle East.

The most recent business strategy announced two key strategic elements – one to focus on the premium sector and the other to focus on the competitive Asian market. The announcement that the airline would go after the premium sector came at the same time as the partnership deal with AirAsia that has now been scrapped.

I’ve seen nothing to suggest the airline is courting premium customers and although it is good to see the airline understands the importance of segmentation, I doubt their ability to execute such a strategy.

Especially as the airline seems to be going the same old predictable route of using an advertising campaign featuring an irritating tagline (more on that later) to magically increase demand. And I’ve seen nothing else to suggest the airline is doing anything other than the usual advertising, print and PR tactics with a nod to social media.

And what an advertising campaign it is! I think this is the TV commercial.

I’m sorry but this has to be the worst commercial or video I’ve ever seen. It features people of various ages walking, cycling, swimming, jogging, directing traffic (I’m serious), reading newspapers, skateboarding, going to a meeting, graduating, bowling, clubbing and all with one thing in common – they are all carrying at least one suitcase! Yes, even the traffic policeman!! This really is rock bottom.

The print advertisement (which I’ve also seen on a billboard) features two men sitting on a wooden dock. They are both holding suitcases and the younger man has his arm around the older man and is looking into his eyes.

Sitting on the dock of the bay, suitcase in my hand
Sitting on the dock of the bay, suitcase in my hand

Does this image make anyone else uncomfortable? Here’s a close up to help you decide.

Does this make you uneasy?
Does this make you uneasy?

MAS also has a corporate video that starts off with a series of stock scenes featuring babies taking their first steps, dad playing with son, climbers etc and then cuts to old shots of MAS in the early days. Meanwhile the voice over tells us that life is made up of countless journeys. Getit?.

Then we get shots of computer generated imagery of the various planes used by the airline from past to present (didn’t BA do something similar?) before going back to the people shots – nice, smiling, friendly air hostess with kid – cut to boys jumping into lake – then back to nice, smiling people, tender, caring hostess and then, out of the blue we’re told the strangers we meet on our journeys give us courage – cut to skydivers – then back to lovers on beach, cultural harmony, pregnant couple and so on. I stopped at this point, unable to continue. Have a look instead.

One of the videos (I can’t remember which one and I have no intention of watching them again) features the Malaysia Airlines app that I really like but isn’t integrated with the website (or if it is I can’t figure out how to find my bookings made online on the app).

So if MAS is serious about increasing market share, what should the company do? Here are 5 things they need to start doing today.

1) Forget about the big idea. Focus instead on consistent, onging, personalised engagement with each of your very diverse audiences.
2) You probably have one of the most comprehensive databases in South East Asia. Start to use it properly.
3) Focus. These ‘one-size-fits-all’ advertising campaigns are an expensive exercise in naïve futility. Put an end to them now.
4) Don’t do social, be social.
5) Integrate all your solutions to make it easier for consumers to use them. Otherwise they defeat the object of developing them in the first place!

I’ve been flying MAS for over 20 years and I think it is a great product but it needs work. A lot of work. This traditional approach to brand building is not going to help steer the airline to full year profitability. They’d be better off throwing the money down a black hole.

Turbulence helps Singapore Airlines strengthen its brand

Singapore Airlines only recently reported its group operating profit fell 19.8% to S$229 million (RM564 million). SIA Engineering and SilkAir also reported lower profits while losses for SIA Cargo dived more than 40% from S$119 million to S$167 million.

And then a recent Singapore Airlines flight from Singapore to London made it into the global headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Air turbulence caused the flight to lose altitude just as breakfast was being served. Much of the food and drinks were left all over the cabin and passengers and a potential Public Relations nightmare could have resulted with irate passengers complaining across social media.

Milk and sugar?
Milk and sugar?

However, an event that the airline has little control over turned into a PR success thanks not to the Singapore Airlines corporate PR department but due to the professionalism of the crew and the community approach of the passengers.

As soon as it was safe to do so, the cabin crew checked every passenger and then, with the help of passengers did their best to clean up the mess. When the flight arrived in London, paramedics were waiting to treat the few slightly injured passengers & crew.

As passengers disembarked, the crew handed out an apology, chocolates and of course a big Singapore Airlines smile. A potential disaster averted with good training, responsibility and a customer centric mentality.

Read the full story here