easyJet’s next twenty years

By | Category: Travel news
the new livery

the new livery

As easyJet celebrates its 20th birthday a raft of announcements have come from the airline almost as though it has been saving them up for this anniversary.

Foremost for passengers is probably the fact that the airline will follow more traditionally established ones and start a loyalty club. But don’t get too excited. You can’t join – you have to be invited. And you also have to demonstrate that you fly a lot – a heck of a lot.

You will have had to have booked and flown 20 or more flights and/or making a minimum spend with easyJet over a 12 month period. What is that spend? The airline isn’t saying just yet but will announce what it is when the loyalty club goes live next year. On the assumption that the word “flights” refers to a single flight and not a return one it still means that future members will almost need to fly two return trips per month to qualify. Some of the benefits of membership include the ability to make flight changes without being charged, a guaranteed lowest price or the difference will be put against the night flight you take and if you can’t fly, you can alter the name on the ticket up to five times in any one year.

Maybe the launch of the loyalty club is one of the reasons they have created a new job role – that of head of Data Science to accelerate its use of artificial intelligence. What I think that means is that easyJet will start ploughing through all the data it collect s which will include information that we have given them during the booking process and try to tailor offers that fit what our history tells them we did. Think Tesco loyalty card or Nectar points and how money-off vouchers are tailored to what we buy or don’t buy and that maybe what the new person will do to try and tie us closer to the airline. Integral, says the airline, is that this artificial intelligence approach will be “to improve efficiency, reduce cost and increase revenue and customer satisfaction.” Passengers will be happy if customer satisfaction improves although easyJet’s record in this field is good compared to the customer satisfaction that some airlines scrape by on.

As the airline faces the future it isn’t just clever computer skills that the airline will be using. It will introduce “smart” uniforms next year. I don’t mean “smarter” uniforms but genuine smart technology ones which will help its cabin crew and engineers do their work.

It is incorporating smart technology into its uniforms so the cabin crew, for instance, will have LEDs on their shoulders and illuminated hems (I presume this means on skirts but will it apply to trousers as well?) in order to provide additional lighting in an emergency. You can stare at the cabin crew as they will also have LED’s on the jacket lapels which will give customer information like flight numbers and destinations although by the time you see them you would rather hope that you had got on the right plane as the crew should have prevented you from boarding!

Will the LED’s also reveal whether the flight is punctual? And is the information going to be in different languages? By now the jacket lapels are going to have to be fairly large to carry all this information in a readable size.

Onto their uniforms the cabin crew will also have microphones so that they can contact other members of the cabin crew and the pilots.

It sound as though the cabin crew will be walking information and assistance centres which is what they should be anyway. Now, the additional gizmos that they will “wear,” should mean that they will be even more customer friendly.

But they won’t be anywhere near as high-tech as the engineers on the ground who, to help keep planes flying and be on time, will sport LED’s on their hoods so they can use both hands to carry out maintenance and inspections as well as attached video conferences.

100,000 images from the last twenty years

100,000 images from the last twenty years

To show they heed the thoughts of customers one entire plane is sporting a new livery. Instead of the orange and white with which we are used it has been covered with images taken and posted by more than 100,000 previous easyJet customers. How do you know that the selfie you took is there? What chance will you have to check all of them to see? Does easyJet have a list so you can see if images your friends took are posted?

With all these changes being made by the company comes a price but the airline has more than enough to pay for it as , at the same time as all the other announcements, it revealed bumper profits.

Like Tesco it will hope that its loyalty idea will generate more sales not just in extra flights but car hire, hotel bookings, food and drink on board plus duty free plus other ancillary opportunities that it must be considering. Knowing more about us will help them just as it helped retailers and hotel groups as well as other airlines like Air Canada which sold its loyalty scheme for over $500 million.

As easyJet stars enjoying its next twenty years, it flies over 68 million passengers to 137 airports in 31 countries and operates 788 routes across Europe. That’s a lot of passengers to keep satisfied, not forgetting its own staff and shareholders.

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