November 2011 | Airline crew are one of the most important assets an airline has. Witness Southwest, who is actively encouraging its employees to make a difference, and describes them as someone “who dares to make mistakes; dares to be different; finds a way to utilize people’s special talents; and lives a little on the edge” (examples include a Southwest pilot who held his plane so a passenger on his way to a funeral could make it, or the airline’s famous rapping flight attendant David Holmes).
Airlines such as Cathay Pacific and SAS are also putting their employees in the spotlight. Cathay’s ‘Meet the Team’ campaign has been running for some years now – and recently took some hitting– and introduces a dozen of the airline’s staff through profiles and behind-the-scenes stories in print ads, YouTube videos, on Facebook, and via an iPad app.
On a similar not SAS has just introduced ‘The Face of SAS’ on Facebook, which highlights several of its employees every week as the airline’s Facebook profile-picture, as well as present themselves and what they do at SAS. In SAS’ words: “We believe that our employees are our single most important asset. Here’s your chance to get to know them – and SAS – a little better.”
SAS also publishes an annual ‘SAS Crew Guide’, a ‘crew-sourced’ guidebook consisting of recommendations by SAS cabin crew and pilots for accommodation, shopping, dining, sightseeing and nightlife in many of the cities served by SAS. The 350-pages guide also contains 13 personal profiles by individual crew members and their favourite cities and is sold online for EUR15 (or 4,410 SAS Bonuspoints) as well as in select bookshops in Scandinavia, the UK and the U.S. The New York section of the SAS Crew Guide is also available as a free iPhone and Android app.
The latest ‘crewsourcing’ initiative comes from Delta Air Lines. As part of its relaunched Delta Sky Store website, Delta has added a ‘Delta Picks’ shopping list to its retail program offering. The airline has asked its flight attendants to select their best travel products in the categories luggage and bags, cameras and electronics, clothing and accessories, as well as golf and other sports equipment. In the airline’s words: “Who better to tell you the best bag to fit in an overhead bin or the most durable carry-on than the people who live it everyday? That’s why all of the items have been hand-selected by our own travel experts—the familiar faces you see at every leg of your journey—so you know you’re getting recommendations on the best gear around.”
In 2007, Delta also published the ‘SiteSeer Travel Guides’, a series of video guides that featured Delta flight attendants showcase their favorite destinations around the globe, offeringing travel tips, fun facts and hidden secrets. A similar ‘Concierge Video Tour’ was also launched by InterContinental Hotels, featuring its local concierges who take viewers on a video tour of insiders’ tips in the hotel’s neighborhood. The videos are also part of InterContinental’s recently launched ‘Insider Guides’ iPad app.