Airlines with a heart: AirAsia and Japan Airlines

Airlines faced with a difficult economic environment and near-homogeneous products in-the-air are desperately looking for new ways to woo the customer. And what better way to do this than to show that it has a heart too. Thai AirAsia did just that recently.

AirAsia is offering assistance to facilitate the transportation of aid to cyclone-ravaged Myanmar, including sponsoring flights for aid workers and freeing up cargo space for aid materials, a Bangkok Post article mentions. Even Bangkok Airways has stepped up and offered relief flights from Thailand to Myanmar, former being the primary entry point to the military-governed nation.

AirAsia has demonstrated true personality here by showing that it cares too. This act alone gives a human face to the airline and will be remembered by customers for a long time to come. It is actions like these that makes a company, not just an airline, stand out. It reflects agility on the airline’s part as well. Especially so, if regional giants like Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways are keeping mum.

This is not the first time an airline in the region is playing a pro-active role in relief efforts. In late 2007, Japan Airlines provided from Japan free transport of relief goods and aid personnel bound for Bangladesh following the Cyclone Sidr.

Airlines need to think beyond merely allowing customers to donate excess miles to charity. It is act like these, in real times of need, which show true character and build the backbone for a strong brand. Airlines that show that they have a heart often tend to rule the hearts of the their customers as well.

Update:
May 13, 2008: Thai Airways is now offering free transport for relief goods to Myanmar…wonder if they read this blog post =p

Ponder that!

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Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam is the CEO of SimpliFlying and a globally sought-after consultant, speaker and thought-leader on airline branding and customer engagement strategy. He is also the youngest winner of the Global Brand Leadership Award and has addressed senior aviation executives globally, from Chile to Canada and from Sydney to San Francisco.Shashank's perspectives have found their way into major media outlets, including CNN Travel, CNBC, MSNBC, Bloomberg UTV, Mashable and in leading publications like Airline Business, ATW, Aviation Week, and others.Shashank studied Information Systems Management and Business Management at Singapore Management University and Carnegie Mellon University. Hailing from India, he splits his time between Singapore and Vancouver, among other cities.
Shashank Nigam
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Showing 2 comments
  • Prajakta
    Reply

    This is heartening, and also signifies a new trend amongst not just airlines, but many other profit-seeking corporations – contributing to social good. It would be interesting to explore whether this is a branding effort or a genuine concern for society or both; and how such different intentions behind CSR could have an different impacts on consumer’s perception of these companies.

  • Reply

    very interesting post. Thanks a lot for sharing it.

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