For more on the latest trends in airline hospitality, see our recent presentation at the 2013 Hamburg AIX Passenger Experience Conference.
By Raymond Kollau, airlinetrends.com
12 June 2013 | The idea behind Air Canada’s new low-cost subsidiary Rouge is to offer a lower-cost alternative for several international leisure destinations to which Air Canada’s current cost structure makes it prohibitive to fly. Air Canada is hoping with lower wages and benefits along with a higher-density configuration of its planes, Rouge’s unit costs will be lower than the main line’s by about 25 percent or more.
The airline will offer 13 leisure destinations in Europe and the Caribbean from Toronto and Montreal: Edinburgh, Venice, Athens; and a host of vacation choices in Cuba, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and Jamaica. Destinations will be added in the coming months as the fleet grows, expected to reach 50 aircraft in the next three to five years.
Rouge will launch service with four planes on July 1st and will start its inaugural flights that day from Toronto to Kingston, Jamaica, and from Montreal to Athens in Europe.
As Rouge will be more leisure-focused compared with Air Canada, this means a change in style and attitude for their service staff. The airline says it aims to deliver a relaxed, casual onboard experience and just reveiled its new flight attendant uniforms, which are much more casual, with relatively-basic burgundy tops and grey pants, and shoes from Canadian designer John Fluevog.
The outfits came together in just four months, by taking pieces that already exist on the market and having certain elements customized to suit the brand. “You can move quite quickly when you don’t invent anything new,” says Renee Smith-Valade VP customer experience of Rouge.
L’Oreal has created “the look” for Air Canada rouge flight attendants, using products from its brands Maybelline New York and Redken Fifth Avenue. The crew will be equipped with a starter kit of the product, and will be trained on on how to use them.
Rouge has also partnered with The Walt Disney Co – who has trained the likes of United Airlines and Alaska Airlines – to help with the training of its flight attendants to aid in the transformation. In addition to five weeks of safety and other training, Air Canada Rouge first 150 flight attendants will spend a week at the Disney Institute in Orlando to learn the ins and outs of its customer service model. They will also hone their skills and techniques at Disney World parks in Orlando.
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