Air New Zealand wants to deliver its a more “uniquely Kiwi” experience and is asking its most frequent flyers for feedback. To its credit, it is asking the right questions.
Airpoints Gold and Elite members received an email from incoming Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran asking three questions:
- Looking to the future what do you think is the next big thing Air NZ should focus on?
- What do you think Air NZ is doing well and should continue to do?
- What could we do to improve your experience as a valued customer?
Foran, whom Air New Zealand poached from WalMart, began his new role last week. Already he has asked staff for their answers to the same questions. His email contained a video promising new business class seats plus the promise:
“Customers like you are at the core of everything we do, and I am pleased to share that we will be stepping up our efforts to deliver an even more uniquely Kiwi experience.
“As an Airpoints Elite member you are one of our most important customers. Very few people know us better, fly as often, or would have more informed opinions about our business and our customer experience.”
The email did not go to me, as I do not credit my Star Alliance flights to Airpoints.
Neither should you–in its current form. It’s simply not a valuable program, even if you fly Air New Zealand.
Nevertheless, here’s how I would answer the questions.
- Air New Zealand abandoned London because the economics didn’t work. I miss the round-the-world Auckland-Hong Kong-London-Los Angeles service, but get that it just doesn’t make sense in the 787 and A350 era. Is it possible a nonstop Auckland to London might be feasible with next-generation aircraft? That would position Air New Zealand to offer world’s longest flight and give Air New Zealand a chance to innovate the onboard product for such an ultra-longhaul flight.
- Despite the overcrowding, Air New Zealand offers superb lounges and should not abandon that investment. On the contrary, it could take it to the next level by offering a special a la carte dining section for full-fare business class travelers on longhaul flights.
- I’m not asking for the best loyalty program in the world in a market that has only limited competition–that would be wasting my breath. But a pure revenue model offers no incentive for the discretionary travel to be loyal. Why not offer fixed price awards more in-line with the competition and still offer revenue-based award redemption options?
I always enjoy traveling on Air New Zealand and appreciate that the incoming CEO is asking the right questions. There is always room for improvement and especially with it comes to its loyalty program, Air New Zealand could actually offer a competitive product if it wanted to.
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