Posts tagged AirNZ
I have just got back from a 2 week trip to the US, so I have plenty to blog about in the next week or so, including:
- A hands on pre-review of the iPad 2 (the cut to the chase black and white version)
- What’s good (and bad) about the US of A (including tipping!)
- AirNZ economy service on the new 777-300, and why I think they have missed an opportunity
- Boeing factory tour in Seattle
- Why I love San Fran (the black and white)
But before I do that, here are two cool videos that are either going, or are already, viral:
1) Firstly, AirNZ. They are making up for the (removal of) the gay kiss that wasn’t I think!
2) Here’s an awesome video that will bring a tear to your eye.
Black and White Version: There is some very cool stuff out there on the interweb.
Oh dear. Oh very dear.
AirNZ announced today that through Vodafone they will allow calls and texts (and data) on a trial basis on domestic flights (well on one AirBus 320 aircraft).
There are a few things wrong with this, IMHO:
- I like the idea of data, and to a lesser degree texts (if the phone is on silent), on a plane, but calls are just a pain in the arse (think how bad it is with people yelling into phones at the moment at places like cafes). Cellphoneitis is rampant!
- As Lance Wiggs points out the price is WAY WAY out of line.
- I realise its only a trial, but having it on domestic flights (max length 1:40 in New Zealand) isn’t long enough a flight time. Trans-tasman (3-4 hour flights) would be a good place to trial it.
AirNZ actually understand the whole talking is difference from texts issue, as they announced several months ago about allowing texts on their new 777 services, but not calls. So why on earth did they go and allow calls on this service? Is it money?
I will be the first to say SHUT UP (plus some other expletives if need be) if they guy next to me yells into his phone on a plane.
This also proves that cell phones are NOT unsafe on a plane, so forcing a user to go through the airlines connection is, well just a monopoly pushing a product.
Ironically it was announced back in May other airlines have done a deal with Telecom (XT) for similar services on international flights, it was implied that AirNZ had customer feedback that it wasn’t liked.
Here’s an interesting claim from the 2nd article on calls on planes:
However, mobiles are still banned when planes are flying under 6000 metres.
This means the first 10 minutes or so, and the last 15 or a flight might (will?) have no service. So on a flight Christchurch to Wellington, the actual usage time of the new AirNZ service could be as low as 5 minutes (flight time is after all 30 minutes).
Will be interesting to see how this develops. But I stand by my claim – calls are a BAD idea!
Black and White Version: Tech can be cool, but has to be thought out. Both the price (way to high) AND the product is wrong here (calls should be banned!).
When I first saw this video I thought that it was very cool how once again AirNZ was being innovative in their marketing, while also acknowledging (albeit in a subtle away) that gay flight attendants are a fact of life, and hey, even All Blacks are OK with that (just not OK with kissing a guy).
So here’s that video:
Here’s my issues with this decision:
1) The trivial bit:
It’s NOT a gay kiss! The headlines are all wrong. There never was a kiss. It was a ‘no thanks’ to an offer of a peck on the check. There is actual no proper kiss in the whole video, there is only an air-kiss between a female flight attendant, and an All Black.
2) The main issue
The scene was cut due to complaints from members of the gay community. So what? I am gay and think it’s great! Will (the flight attendant ) is gay and thinks it’s great too. So yeah, let’s ignore those other silly gay folk shall we?
But wait, it was also reported that:
The complaints included a suggestion that the scene could lead to gay male suicides, The Dominion Post reported.
So they SUGGEST that it could lead to gay male suicide. Well I for one think it’s AWESOME to show an out and proud gay man interacting with an All Black (flirting with him even) and saying ‘Hey we think this is just a part of NZ life, so we will show it on our safety video’.
Kiwiblog got the headline right with: Political Correct Wins again. CRAZY!
I don’t really blame AirNZ for this, although I would love it if they would stick up for their rights (and mine) on this one and challenge the gay complainants to prove their claims, or even better have a public debate about it, and agree to honour the outcome/decision. I’d be in to argue for the affirmative team (ie the kiss does more good than bad). The people who should feel ashamed here are the anonymous complainants – well done guys, you have now removed a positive gay model from the eyes of young gay men. Home goal me thinks.
Black and White Version: AirNZ is coo,l, their marketing is cool. Being gay is cool. Showing gay people in their video is cool. Turning down a kiss is cool too (if done respectfully) but complaining about it is NOT cool.
Today I want to give the black and white version (or the good and the bad, or the bouquet and the brickbat if you prefer) on AirNZ.
The Black (bad bad AirNZ)
- The new fees for using credit cards etc as payment methods online. I agree with DPF on Kiwiblog and Lance Wiggs. I don’t mind if you add a few $ to all tickets, but object to extra “fees” for everything all the time
- They STILL haven’t fixed the automatic adding of travel insurance for online bookings (i.e. you have to opt out). VERY annoying, and I personally think it’s as close to deceptive as you can get without crossing the line
- Having taxes and landing fees as extras. I know a lot of airlines do this, but it’s quite simply wrong (IMHO). Extras should be things I can choose to have or not. I can’t choose to not pay a landing tax or a security fee, so as far as I am concerned, as a customer, it’s just a cost of doing business for the airline, so it should be added it into the ticket price and be done with it.* The same applies to fuel surcharges of the early 2000′s. What next a cabin crew wages surcharge because he crew got a pay rise last week? Stop all the rubbish and just have ONE fee for your basic get me there service and any extras must be OPTIONAL add ons, not compulsory items. I think this should be regulated by the Commerce Comission so that businesses can’t have extras charges for things that are really just part of the core product (IMHO, it’s like renting a car, and having an extra fee to rent the steering wheel!)
* There is actually one major reason they won’t want to do this. Those using air-points to pay for tickets are required to pay for these extra fees with cash on top of their air-points payment. This can be $100 or so for a return trip to OZ, or a few hundred for a return trip to the US, so it would add up to tens of thousands of dollars (possibly a hundred thousand+) for the airline – not something they would want to give up in a hurry.
Update: Here is the link for AirNZ’s new fees for Credit Cards etc.
AirNZ listen. Today I received a letter telling me they are returning space+ (or a version of it) to the reconfigured one class Trans Tasman A320 planes.
I see a few online rants about the removal of space plus (which btw I thought was a simple and very good idea when they introduced it on their domestic and short haul international).
But I take my hat of to AirNZ for listening. As quoted in the letter:
Last week I invited feedback from travelers who experienced the first Seats to Suit Services. The vast majority of the feedback related to the value of additional legroom on an A320 …
… we’ll be making a change to the seating configuration on our A320 to provide a larger zone of seats with significantly increased legroom.”
Well done AirNZ. You changed something, got feedback and responded with a positive and customer friendly solution. And I happen to agree – it’s a small thing, but that extra 2-3′ makes all the difference!
Black and White Version: AirNZ’s product gets better by the day. Their online practices continue to get worse.
Hat tip: My friend Ben M who told me about the AirNZ surcharge well before anyone else blogged about it, well done Ben!
Here’s a wee list of stuff I like, in no particular order:
- Up and Go Energize
- Air New Zealand
- Consume (an App for the iPhone/iPad)
- Chop Chop chicken (and Watties chicken in a can)
- Audi Cars
- Monday evenings
- the iPad
- Coffee – best coffee in ChCh is @ Underground Coffee, International Departure Area (b4 you go thru customs) @ ChCh Airport
- AussieBum Underwear
- Warm autumn evenings
- G-Star (clothing brand)
- Telecom’s XT network
- GrabOne (a ‘super deals’ web site in NZ)
- Clever mainstream advertising to the gay market, like this one from Levi Jeans
That is all.
Black and White Version: I like stuff, I just listed some of it.
I was asked recently when I came back from a Sydney trip by one of the nice immigration NZ staff “So why did you go to Sydney”. My reply was easy “Because it was $14″. She smiled, stamped my passport and wrote a big “T” on my customs/immigration form. I think “T” was the It’s OK this one inst too dodgy or whatever code they were using for the day, but I digress. The real story is in the movie and the glass of wine.
Anyway, lots of people ask me how I get such cheap deal. Easy, I look for em, and book em when I see them. This one was told to me by a friend, so I booked it that day, and then later that night I was out with a mate (Cameron) who asked the same question, so I showed him on my iPad at the time there were still more left, on other weekends, so I booked one with him too (yep @ $14 each way I will go a few times!).
Anyway .. so for $14 it was seat only (no luggage, no food, no movie) but a nice seat, entertainment (TV, games etc) and all the tea, coffee and water I could drink. On check in they put me in 1B – which on an AirNZ Airbus is still an old business class (BC) seat. Since there is no business class anymore you just get a nicer seat. Anyway, I figured that movies might just be on for all BC seats, and sure enuf it was, so I watched the A-Team (good crappy Hollywood action movie). I also got a nice glass of vino thanks to my smile (yep it works sometimes), and so for $14 I watched a movie, got a glass of vino, and someone flew me to Sydney.
My overall review of AirNZ’s new service on the trans tasman is a solid Good, but its not quite polished yet, since I find lots of crew are a tad confused with what the whole thing means. I saw one cabin crew gives drinks to 5 rows before he realised it was only supposed to be for those with the Works or Works+, but hey it happens. Overall AirNZ rocks, it does lots of cool innovative things, but like so many things, things do take time, so I will re-review this in a few months.
Black and White Version: You can still get a movie and a glass of wine for under $15 in NZ. Oh, and they might even fly you to Sydney for free while you are at it
I read today in the NZ Herald that the ACCC (the Australian version of the Commerce Commission) that they do not support the planned alliance between AirNZ and Virgin Blue.
I have one word in response: GOOD. It was never a good idea (I blogged about it being such a bad idea here) for anyone except maybe Virgin Blue and to a lesser degree AirNZ. The consumer would not benefit.
ACCC Chairman Graeme Samuel says:
These routes account for around one quarter of passenger traffic in the trans-Tasman market. More than a million passengers a year could be adversely affected if competition between the two airlines was removed.
Yep, exactly. Enuf said.
It’s clear that for real competition THREE is the minimum. Voda/Telecom in the mobile space proved that. (It took 2Degrees to move prices significantly). Two get rather too cozy IMHO.
Black and White Version: We need competition in the NZ and Trans-Tasman airspace. Less airlines isn’t the way to achieve this.
The NZ Herald released its iPad app a few weeks back. And I have to say, it rocks.
They got so much right, where others screw up, such as:
- Easy to use interface. It fully uses the iPad and its screen.
- Formatting is consistent – all articles are in a small box, with categories at the top. When you click on the story it opens up a window, which starts with a pic then scrolls through page(s) of the text.
- No premium/free distinction – it’s all just there
- It’s all FREE (so many get this wrong – I will no longer pay for simple access to info that others provide for free)
- Even the ads are cool – check out the Merc at at the start – it makes you WANT to watch it
The even get this bit right, and have a YouTube version of their add so people like me can post it:
Where newspapers go wrong
Where MOST newspapers go wrong is they try to bring their old business model online. Their model USED to be write stuff people want to read, mix in some ads and then sell the product to the readers. The online mindset says I want the stuff for free, and if you won’t give it to me I will get it somewhere else, or just download it for free anyway. Their old model had high set up cost (the article writing and production) PLUS a variable cost of production (printing, postage etc). Their new model has a high(ish) fixed cost (although a lot of it is setting up the template/look) and then an almost zero variable cost (the cost of 10,000 people reading an online version is almost the same as 10 people). But newspapers keep trying to change for content, where the rationale for doing so (the variable cost of each reader) is no longer there. They can get HEAPS of readers by getting REAL good content, and as a result of more readers, charge even more for advertising, all while having no extra costs each time someone reads/downloads it. Simple really, so why do so many Newspapers get this so wrong? No idea really, I think they are just a dead technology waiting to die, and just don’t get the opportunity that’s there. I actually think their window is closing here. Right now they still have lots of customers, they can leavergae off this by marketing their online offering (the free one – like NZ Herald) and build a new business online. However, as time goes on they will have less and less readers, and their will be more (competitors) alternatives online. In time the window off opportunity will have closed, and they wont have any leaverage to use.
Another ‘how not to do it’ story
While on the subject of how to do it (or in this case NOT) – I see AIrNZ made their Kiaora Magazine (the one you get on the plane) as an iPhone/iPad app. Cool I think, novel even. But where they screwed up is they went and charged for it. The App is free, but each issue need to be paid for ($NZ 5.29 I think). What were they thinking? Here’s my thoughts on this:
- The mag is free when you fly (they say Take me, I am free)
- The cost of putting it online in any form has a (moderately high) fixed cost only (no variable cost for each copy, unlike printed copies)
- The mag is full of advertising
- I think few people will pay for the app
- They COULD have had a premium for advertising coz of increased readers, but instead will unlikely even get back their fixed cost investment
- They could have even had online only adds, targeting say technology or higher end travel (these people have more disposable money)
- Such a lost opportunity for AirNZ
- They will probably pull the plug in a year or less saying “not enough readers”
Looks like I am not alone here, most people think the fee from AIrNZ is a joke.
Black and White Version: Some people get how to use new technology, some don’t. Well done NZ Herald, silly billy AirNZ.
I have blogged HEAPS about AirNZ and 99% of the time I am very positive about it.
However as pointed out by Lance Wiggs on his blog, AirNZ’s new (well re-applied) policy of having insurance added automatically on all domestic flights (ie opt-out) is as close to a scam as I can think of from a major NZ company.
As I said in my email to AirNZ today:
The new policy of having insurance added automatically on Domestic bookings is VERY VERY annoying.
Having to write to you about it is also a waste of my time (can you tell I am annoyed?)
I like 99% of what AirNZ does – and I am normally a major fan.
To me this practice is close to being a scam. Please change it.
This one is simple – insurance, like any add on should be opt-in not opt-out. Lance says it so much better that I do (and explains it real well), so read his post on it too if you wanna know more.
The more I think about it the more it annoys me, and IMHO breaches Fair Trading Act rules about deceptive conduct around pricing. At the very least its dodgy, and AirNZ is normally so good.
Black and White Version: BAD AirNZ. Change your insurance opt-in practice, and now please.
PS: I would love to challenge them in the Disputes Tribunal with a I didn’t know I was buying it tactic. I think I would win, since its not a reasonable expectation of the price to add something on.
PPS: If you have booked travel with insurance and change your mind you have 14 days (as long as you haven’t flown or claimed yet)
I initially thought it was due to the early WiFi issues that iPads were having, since all my other devices worked.
Anyway, thanks to a blog comment - I found the fix – go to Settings, select Safari (about the 6th – 10th item down on the left, depending on if you have a 3G model or not) and then on the right hand side, select Auto Fill and turn the Names and Passwords off. This means you will have to manually type in the password each time you connect in Koru (remember you can turn Auto Fill back on when you leave), but since AIrNZ uses the same password for a full month across all lounges, and uses a plain English word rather than silly i7O80Tkgh (you know, where its hard to see what’s a zero and an O, or a one or a lower case L). Anyway .. it works!
Black and White Version: iPads work fine in Koru Lounge WiFi, just turn off Auto Fill in Safari settings.
Hat-tip: Thanks to blog commenter Young