Inflight editor Alexander Preston summarises the latest happenings across IFEC and cabin technology

Passengers are people, and people are emotional. As consumers, we largely make decisions relying on our first impressions of stored memories, images and feelings.

The importance of branding has even prompted Donald Trump to commit to Twitter his thoughts on the ongoing serious issues surrounding Boeing’s 737 MAX, with this piece of advice to the Chicago-headquartered manufacturer: “What do I know about branding, maybe nothing (but I did become President!), but if I were Boeing, I would FIX the Boeing 737 MAX, add some additional great features, & REBRAND the plane with a new name.”

New name, new narrative?

According to David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance: “Growth in the airline market is dependent on a brand fully grasping and meeting the demands of its customer, something which, with the rise of social media, is constantly evolving. Whilst pricing, routes and service remain central to repeat business, airlines which capitalise on USPs, the huge growth potential in emerging markets and are simultaneously sympathetic to sustainability by investing in more fuel-efficient planes, are the ones most likely to prosper.”

Brand Finance’s Airlines 50 2019 ranking sees Delta as the world’s most valuable airline brand, as its brand value grew 16% over the past year to US$10.1 billion.

Delta’s adjusted operating revenue of $10.4 billion for the March 2019 quarter improved 7.5%, or $728 million versus the prior year. This revenue result marks a March quarter record for the company.

“Delta is off to a solid start in 2019. Our March quarter performance demonstrates the power of our growing brand preference, our unmatched competitive advantages, and most importantly the Delta people who are committed to providing the best travel experiences for our customers every day,” said Ed Bastian, Delta’s chief executive officer.
Elsewhere, the airline has been named a top company to work for as a software engineer by employment review website, Glassdoor – the only airline and travel company listed.

“Being recognised among the most high-powered tech companies in the world is evidence of the hard work we’ve been doing to transform Delta IT into a place where talented software pros want to work,” said Rahul Samant, EVP and chief information officer. “We’re changing the way travel is perceived by personalising customer experiences and developing high-tech tools that empower our employees to engage more meaningfully with customers – and software engineers are core to making all of that happen.”

Delta may not know much about being president of the US, but the carrier and its staff do know a thing or two about running a profitable and well-regarded airline. And not a name change in sight.

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