Bikevertising: WOW Air’s bike sharing scheme in Reykjavik

A marketing tactic that has been adopted by airlines such as KLM, Alaska Airlines and AirBaltic is to advertise on bike share programs (a.k.a. ‘bikevertising’).

As cities across the globe have been taken part in bicycle share programs which are enjoyed by tourists and locals alike, those bicycles are a smart and relevant way for an airline to advertise.

Latvian-based ‘value carrier’ AirBaltic even operated its own bike sharing program, called BalticBike, between 2010 and 2014 in Riga and the seaside resort of Jurmala (the bike sharing scheme is now operated by Sixt At that time the airline commented that “BalticBike makes a marginal profit, but it is hugely popular among the city residents and tourists, and hugely visible, and so irreplaceable in advertising.”

In a similar entrepreneurial spirit, WOW Air, which bills itself as a “happy low-fare, long-haul, airline based in Iceland,” last year launched a bike sharing scheme in Reykjavik called WOWcitybike. In 2016, the city of Reykjavik advertised for ideas and interested parties in running rental bicycle stations in Reykjavik, and WOW Air answered the call  in cooperation with Canadian bike sharing company PBSC Urban Solutions.

Targetting the millennial demographic, WOW Air has been compared to a “flying youth hostel,” and providing tourists and citizens an affordable and fun way to explore the capital on their own fits well with the airline’s brand image. Read full article »

Long-haul low-cost carrier AirAsia X to offer kids-free ‘Quiet Zone’ onboard

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By Raymond Kollau,

Two recent surveys conducted by TripAdvisor found that 40 percent of U.S. travellers said they would pay extra to sit in a designated quiet section of the plane, while nearly 80 percent of Britons agreed there should be child-free zones on board, and a third of of respondents would pay more for their flight if there were no children on board.

Quiet Zone
Following a controversial decision by Malaysia Airlines to introduce a ‘child-free cabin’ on the upper deck of its new A380 superjumbo (Business and Economy), Malaysia-based long-haul low-cost carrier AirAsia X has announced it will be launching a so-called ‘Quiet Zone’ on its fleet of Airbus A330s.

Starting in February 2013, the airline will create a “Quiet Zone” in the front section of its widebody aircraft, located between the airline’s Premium Class section and the front galley. Children younger than 12 years old will not be able to book seats in the Quiet Zone, and passengers opting for the zone will be asked to keep noise to a minimum, while there will also be special ambient lighting in the cabin. Passenger will also be among the first to disembark.

The dedicated zone will consist of the first eight rows of the Economy section (rows 7 to 14), and  as the front area already houses the airline’s Premium Class, turning this part of the aircraft into a Quiet Zone will also be appreciated by AirAsia X’s premium passengers.
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Entrepreneurial airBaltic extends brand to taxi and bike sharing services

In the last years, Latvian national airline airBaltic has made a transformation from a point-to-point low-cost carrier to a hybrid network LCC. The airline has turned its Riga hub into a connecting point for travelers from Nordic and Northwestern Europe to the rapidly growing markets of the former Soviet Union and the Middle East. airBaltic offers transfer its passengers (60% of customers) at Riga through ticketing and check-in, as well as 25-minute connection times, and other hybrid LCC features include a 2-class cabin, airport lounge, and a frequent flyer program.

airBaltic has been growing its network fast, adding 15 new routes in 2008, 11 in 2009, and 27 routes this year (for example adding smaller cities in Finland). In 2009, the airline carried 2.75 million passengers and according to AEA data passenger numbers grew 19% in the first 5 months of 2010. Besides this aggressive hub strategy, the company behind airBaltic, Baltic Aviation Systems, seems to be turning into a Baltic version of the easyGroup (of easyJet and easyHotel fame), using the airBaltic brand (simple, reliable, affordable, visible) to enter other markets.

In April 2010, airBaltic established its own taxi company, BalticTAXI, in order to improve the quality of the taxi business in the capital. Taxi drivers in Riga often charge too much for rides, which is damaging the image of Riga and Latvia. Citing a lack of government interest to improve the situation, airBaltic believed there was room for a new transparent entrant. BalticTAXI’s fleet of 120 Toyota Corolla Verso vehicles is staffed by professional uniformed drivers, and for example there is a fixed price for the journey from the airport to any location in Riga.
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