Vote for the SimpliFlying Hero for July 2011 – Virgin America vs Lufthansa USA vs Cathay Pacific

SimpliFlying Heroes is now just over one year old, in which time we have honored the nine of the world’s best individuals engaging airline customers. And on completing this first anniversary, we asked for some feedback from the industry folks and while they said they were very inspired by the stories shared, the asked if there could be public voting for Heroes, instead of just nomination. And we thought that’s a great idea!

Hence, from July 2011 onwards, you will be able to vote for the SimpliFlying Hero each month, from three nominees we put together (or you suggest). Additionally, we have decided that all SimpliFlying Heroes deserve a six month free membership to SimpliFlying Tribes, as opposed to the current one month. And that’s in addition to all the fame and the coveted certificate.

So without much further ado, please allow me to reveal the SimpliFlying Heroes nominees for July 2011 (…drumroll…): Jill Fletcher from Virgin America, Alison Russo from Lufthansa USA and Ali Bullock from Cathay Pacific.

Here’s a brief description of each of the nominee’s work at their respective airlines.

Jill Fletcher, Virgin America

Virgin America has been on the cutting edge of experimenting with social media and customer engagement this year. For example, passengers who are flying on Virgin America between the airline’s home airport in San Francisco and either Boston, Chicago O’Hare or Dallas airports between July 1 and September 30 will be able to check out a Google Chrome book at their gates. During their flights, they can test it using a free in-air WiFi pass.

Prior to that, the airline used Squabbler to create a viral video competition for their ads, they named a plane with a Twitter hashtag, partnered with Foursquare for an in-flight game, and ran several promotions that trade check-ins on location-based services for rewards like plane tickets and frequent flyer points. The best part is that the customer service they provide through social media, with a limited staff has given them a 96% positive sentiment online!

And Jill Fletcher has been part of the core team of two, leading the day-to-day engagement from the front.

Alison Russo, Lufthansa USA

While Lufthansa globally has been doing a great job engaging customers, the team in the US has been more adventurous and achieved great results too. They did a brilliant job with the A380 launch flights to JFK recently. And the real claim to fame are the two key projects launched by the team – MySkyStatus last year and Cloudstream, earlier this year.

The daily engagement on social media is handled by Alison, who does a great job for managing social media at a legacy airline, which can often be a challenge given the organizational structures.

Ali Bullock, Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific Airways has been the leading legacy airline in Asia engaging customers proactively, and effectively too. They’ve left other worthy competitors like Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Qantas light years behind in their efforts on social media. And one of the key players leading the charge from Day 1 is Ali Bullock.

Ali was instrumental in creating “Meet the Team” campaign where you can interact online with Cathay Pacific’s crew and learn more about them. He and his team also created the “Art of the Dessert” contest, which crowd-sourced the best recipes online. And in the last Airlines on Twitter report, Cathay Pacific was rated as having the best food reviews on Twitter!

Among other efforts like the Rugby Seven’s competition, the most impressive had been the launch of the new Business Class, where almost 3000 bloggers from around the world were flown in the Hong Kong to witness the unveiling and try out the product!

So, what’re you waiting for? Vote now for your favorite!


Know someone who’s worthy of being a SimpliFlying Hero?

Simpliflying Heroesare individuals recognized for outstanding social media use in the world of aviation. Do you know of somebody who uses social media effectively in their airline or airport to achieve specific business results? Or do you think you fit the bill?

Then go ahead and nominate someone by emailing us at heroes [at] simpliflying [dot] come. You can bring them a step closer to being recognized by SimpliFlying for their efforts.

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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