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Does An Airline Have Its Own Personality?  
User currently offlineManfredj From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 1132 posts, RR: 0
Posted (5 years 7 months 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 5478 times:

Having grown up in the airline industry, you begin to develop certain biases towards certain airlines. For example, AirTran is famous for its terrible safety record under its previous name Valujet.

Northwest Orient, as it was once known, always sticks in my mind as the airline from Detroit whose pilots suffer from the occasional spout of drunkenness.

USAir, or US-scare had a terrible safety record in the 90's and began the unwrapping of the famous 737 rudder problems. Now they are plagued with a reputation of bad service and cost cutting.

I've always thought of Midwest as a class act. Their product, scheme, interiors, have always been very business-ish. Continental seems like a larger version of Midwest.

I understand that these are more like reputations than personalities, but the reputation adds to the overall "feel" of what to expect when purchasing a ticket on any given airline. Would I purchase a ticket on AirTran? Sure, but knowing about their past would give me a heightened sense of worrieness compared to one with a safer feel.

I'm familiar with most U.S. based airline stereotypes but I'm interested in hearing what our European/Asian/MiddleEast friends have to say about their airlines. What are they famous for? What's their "local" reputation? I'm just looking to gain some knowledge from an insiders point of view. Virgin, Norwegian, Thomas Cook, Iberia, Air India, Korean Air, Philippine, Qatar, and Cathay Pacific are some of my favorite "unknowns."


757: The last of the best
21 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineJhooper From United States of America, joined Dec 2001, 6202 posts, RR: 12
Reply 1, posted (5 years 7 months 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 5460 times:

I used to avoid Airtrain, but I really think they're a different company now. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong. I've flown them a couple of times this year and was actually very pleased with the product and experience. They had one unfortunate accident many many years ago, I wouldn't really call that a "terrible safety record".

To answer your question, yes I think each airline has it's own personality, culture, and brand. With that said, prepare yourself for the heated discussion you've just started.



Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39717 posts, RR: 75
Reply 2, posted (5 years 7 months 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 5437 times:



Quoting Jhooper (Reply 1):
With that said, prepare yourself for the heated discussion you've just started.

2nd. one in just 1 week.  Smile

Quoting Manfredj (Thread starter):
I've always thought of Midwest as a class act. Their product, scheme, interiors, have always been very business-ish. Continental seems like a larger version of Midwest.

Having flown both Midwest and Continental, I'd say the two are far apart.
Midwest is a classy regional carrier that used to offer an all 1st. class product. Continental is a ordinary run-of-the-mill major carrier. I wouldn't associate chocolate chip cookies with Business travelers either.  Smile


Virgin America - A very hip and classy airline to fly that connects all the major 'fun' cities in America.

Aloha (R.I.P.) and Hawaiian - The airline that gets us to the Hawaiian islands. Major tourist/leisure traveler airline.

Southwest - Fun discount airline.

United Airlines - Major airline that goes just about everywhere in the world.



Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlineStarAlliance38 From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 1445 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (5 years 7 months 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 5408 times:

This is what I think:

US Airways - Best I've traveled. No problems with them, have a long and great history with them, and very friendly to me. Low costs are good too! Don't know why people hate em..

Airtran - OK, kinda good. XM and the 717 are the reasons why I like em.

Northwest - Kinda expensive. My family's only way to MNL  

Delta - Meh...Kinda expensive, but sometimes, its cheap.

American - Always expensive. Feel bad for my relatives in the Carribean that kinda have no choice but to fly em.

Continental - Running on the expensive side too. Never found a cheap fare with them.

United - Kinda expensive. Some last minute fares show cheap. Hate the Departure management Cards instead of boarding passes :P

Southwest - kind of a let down. not too fond of them. Creeping and growing in former/present US hubs (PHL and BWI) and in most cases, end up much more expensive than US.

[Edited 2008-12-29 15:08:32]


Roar, lion, roar
User currently offlineJfk777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 8291 posts, RR: 7
Reply 4, posted (5 years 7 months 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 5403 times:
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Absolutely, Singapore Airlines advertises its sexy "Singapore Girls". JAL is very serious and somber like, Japan. BA acts very aristocratic, with different classes like Britain itself & Virgin is FUN, two very differeny British personas. EL AL is consious of Jewish cultural tarditions and safety. One trademark most airlines do have is the personification of their home countries.

User currently offlineMicstatic From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 776 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (5 years 7 months 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 5375 times:



Quoting StarAlliance38 (Reply 3):
Don't know why people hate em..

Not to be overly direct, but mainly because their product has sucked for a very long time.



S340,DH8,AT7,CR2/7,E135/45/170/190,319,320,717,732,733,734,735,737,738,744,752,762,763,764,772,M80,M90
User currently offlineTDubJFK From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (5 years 7 months 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 5371 times:

This is the only airline that ever had a personality:

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User currently offlineLH526 From Germany, joined Aug 2000, 2353 posts, RR: 14
Reply 7, posted (5 years 7 months 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 5334 times:
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Quoting TDubJFK (Reply 6):
This is the only airline that ever had a personality:

No, they had TWO personalities ... each!

[Edited 2008-12-29 15:31:44]


Trittst im Morgenrot daher, seh ich dich im Strahlenmeer ...
User currently offlineTDubJFK From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (5 years 7 months 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 5261 times:



Quoting LH526 (Reply 7):
Quoting TDubJFK (Reply 6):
This is the only airline that ever had a personality:

No, they had TWO personalities ... each!

Certainly stood out too .. very perky!


User currently offlineFlybyguy From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 1801 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (5 years 7 months 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 5231 times:



Quoting StarAlliance38 (Reply 3):
This is what I think:

US Airways - Best I've traveled. No problems with them, have a long and great history with them, and very friendly to me. Low costs are good too! Don't know why people hate em..

Airtran - OK, kinda good. XM and the 717 are the reasons why I like em.

Northwest - Kinda expensive. My family's only way to MNL

Delta - Meh...Kinda expensive, but sometimes, its cheap.

American - Always expensive. Feel bad for my relatives in the Carribean that kinda have no choice but to fly em.

Continental - Running on the expensive side too. Never found a cheap fare with them.

United - Kinda expensive. Some last minute fares show cheap. Hate the Departure management Cards instead of boarding passes :P

Southwest - kind of a let down. not too fond of them. Creeping and growing in former/present US hubs (PHL and BWI) and in most cases, end up much more expensive than US.

It seems your criterion to a good airline is how cheap they are? Granted US is cheap on many routes, they are only good for getting you to your destination in one piece... that's it. I've paid more for B6 flights just to avoid flying US. US offers little value for the money they charge. CO, AS, B6 and VX are the best airlines in the U.S. and worth the fares. I've flown them a few times each and their products have been very consistent, their planes very clean and well kept, they have either strong stategic alliances or superior onboard products, and the overall customer service is exemplary.



"Are you a pretender... or a thoroughbred?!" - Professor Matt Miller
User currently offlineManfredj From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 1132 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (5 years 7 months 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 5138 times:



Quoting Jfk777 (Reply 4):
BA acts very aristocratic, with different classes like Britain itself



Quoting Jfk777 (Reply 4):
JAL is very serious and somber like

This is just what I was looking for!...perfectly stated, makes sense to me.

Quoting TDubJFK (Reply 6):
This is the only airline that ever had a personality:

(Hooters)


Could you expand on this...I understand the....

Quoting TDubJFK (Reply 8):
very perky!



Quoting LH526 (Reply 7):
they had TWO personalities

But has anyone traveled them....was it like going to their restaurants, did they serve their wings? Could you order champaigne?



757: The last of the best
User currently offlineBreaker1011 From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 938 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (5 years 7 months 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 5111 times:

Delta just always felt like Southern comfort to me, and yeah I mean the whiskey. Smooth, reliable, friendly, and homey. Whenever I think about it, I hear a Georgian's drawl (at least of yesteryear, the metro is quite the transplant city now).


Life's tough. It's even tougher if you're stupid. J. Wayne
User currently offlineNWADC9 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 4896 posts, RR: 10
Reply 12, posted (5 years 7 months 6 days ago) and read 5107 times:

From my personal experience:

Southwest - Fun, laid-back, still has common sense
Northwest of my Youth - Professional
Northwest of Recent Years - Crew gets the shaft and it shows
Northwest (Delta) - Ask me in six months
Mesaba (Northwest Airlink) - Northwest's Half-Pint
Midwest - Strictly Business
SkyWest (Midwest Connect) - Midwest's more laid-back Half-Pint yet still professional
SkyWay (Midwest Connect) - Same as SkyWest
Korean Air (Domestic) of my Youth - Loves kids
Asiana (Domestic) of my Youth - Same as Korean Air
Commutair before F/As - Another B1900D airline = F-U-N!!!
ExpressJet (Continental Express) - Mini-CO, still has common sense
Frontier - They sure love their animals!

Based on heresay:

US Airways - Ryanair of North America. Legacy carrier my butt.
Southwest - Airline for Hippies; Greyhound of the Skies (I actually find them to be pricy on my trips, and they're definitely not Greyhound or Amtrak!)
Northwest - Evil Gnomes as cabin crew (found one, but only looked like one, and wasn't evil, just electrocuted-looking; a true Kodak moment)
Continental - An airline that still has common sense
Virgin Group - An airline that's geared more towards 20-30 age groups



Flying an aeroplane with only a single propeller to keep you in the air. Can you imagine that? -Capt. Picard
User currently offlineArticulatexpat From Hong Kong, joined Sep 2006, 156 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (5 years 7 months 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 4923 times:

Some airlines reflect the national character of their respective countries and territories. In the US, with more major carriers per capita than other countries, it's easier to make comparisons in terms of personality (which seems to be another way of looking at the experience one has as a passenger). The usual suspects have already been brought up: CO, AS, B6, F9, and Virgin America. I've flown the first four (Virgin America started flying after I left the country) and always had outstanding experiences with them. But how is that personality and not just a good and consistently implemented customer service ethic? Hiring good people and treating them well?

Outside of the States, especially here in East Asia, the comparisons to some degree become about the home country of the airline. Someone already pointed out JAL's image as sober and staid, like Japan itself. I've flown them a few times and kind of agree: sensible, clean, good service, and they get the job done. EVA and China Airlines both remind me of Taiwan itself: underrated, very pleasant, and likely to be a better experience than you were expecting. Korean Air and Asiana are both outstanding airlines in terms of the flight experience. Korean culture values hospitality and the people have a national obsession with their country's image (I lived there 3 years), so it stands to reason the airlines will be fantastic. And they are. Sometimes things don't go so smoothly, though, and then you confront the not-so-nice side of Korea (if you're in the country and trying to sort things out). This brings me back to my point: this isn't about personality, it's about airlines reflecting the cultures from which they are based.

Bangkok Airways is my current favorite. A class act all around. Free lounges for all passengers. Outstanding service. Orchids everywhere. Personality, or an airline putting its cultural best face forward to the travelling public?


User currently offlineElite From Hong Kong, joined Jun 2006, 2793 posts, RR: 10
Reply 14, posted (5 years 7 months 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 4847 times:

Air Canada often advertises its unparalleled "Canadian hospitality", but I haven't traveled with them before so I don't know for myself.

User currently offlineShanxz From Singapore, joined Apr 2006, 243 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (5 years 7 months 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 4792 times:

What a brilliant question! I'm a big proponent of airlines cultivating their own personalities to enhance the brand perception and experience. In fact, just had a heated debate in another forum where my point was that no one will fly UA to India since they lack a personality that differentiates them from other carriers.

In fact, I think you'll find an article of mine useful, where I dissect the personality of UA.

Quoting Manfredj (Thread starter):
I understand that these are more like reputations than personalities, but the reputation adds to the overall "feel" of what to expect when purchasing a ticket on any given airline.

 checkmark  Absolutely! Just imagine how different decision making is when buying a ticket, when qualitative factors like personality, brand image and quality of service are taken into account.

Quoting Articulatexpat (Reply 13):
Bangkok Airways is my current favorite. A class act all around. Free lounges for all passengers. Outstanding service. Orchids everywhere. Personality, or an airline putting its cultural best face forward to the travelling public?

Heard great things about them too, shall fly them soon. More like a mini- SQ. But even better, since they're small.

Here're my own perceptions of Asian and other carriers' personalities:

SQ: Elegance and poise, personified
AI: The only thing good about the airline is the food and the new livery.
9W: Singapore Airlines of India
LH: On time, always
TG: Tries harder than SQ
QF: Used to be a safe airline.
AC: Trying too hard not to be yet another North American Airline
LX: Chamingly Swiss. (They even let you take the headphones home!)
CX: International, yet Chinese
UA / AA / US / DL : All the same. Can't tell the difference
WN: Black Sheep (They're often the only one in black in US market)
QR: Overfed, always
EK: Fly everywhere!
IB: Should have been a Latin American airline, accidentally started in Spain!



Airlines are in the service business, not transport. Brand matters...
User currently offlineElite From Hong Kong, joined Jun 2006, 2793 posts, RR: 10
Reply 16, posted (5 years 7 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 4731 times:



Quoting Shanxz (Reply 15):
CX: International, yet Chinese

That's a feel I get too, but I also get the "old Hong Kong / nostalgic" feel, at least here in Hong Kong, a lot of their television ads show Hong Kong from the 70's and 80's or their old planes such as their first 744's etc.


User currently offlineArmitageShanks From UK - England, joined Dec 2003, 3611 posts, RR: 15
Reply 17, posted (5 years 7 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 4731 times:

Of the US airlines I've flown (AA, CO, DL, US, NW) they all seem to be pretty comparable. Out of small airports, which I fly, its much better on Delta and US Airways because they have jet service. The actual check in, in-flight and ground service has been very similar between all of them.

The First Class product I've experienced on CO and US is good, but I'd give CO the vote. The seats were more comfortable and the service was nice, but not too different.

The international carriers were pretty much the same except for Alitalia. On a BRU-FCO flight we had a full meal and fresh espresso presented by very professional crew in coach. Easyjet was ok for the price we paid (less than 50 pounds round trip) between Stansted and Munich. KLM was nice on a LHR-AMS flight. We had a sandwich but that's about the only difference compared to a similar stage length flight in the USA. BA in coach was just like any other US airline.

[Edited 2008-12-29 21:32:53]

User currently offlineUAL757 From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 806 posts, RR: 4
Reply 18, posted (5 years 7 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 4713 times:

Alaska Airlines:

Lots of Alaskan spirit! Great people make up the airline to have a "friendly" personality. You can even see the friendliness on the tail with the smiling eskimo!




Alaska is a class act.


User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39717 posts, RR: 75
Reply 19, posted (5 years 7 months 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 4712 times:



Quoting Shanxz (Reply 15):
WN: Black Sheep (They're often the only one in black in US market)

Great analogy.
Excellent example.



Bring back the Concorde
User currently onlineUltimateDelta From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 2093 posts, RR: 6
Reply 20, posted (5 years 7 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 4679 times:



Quoting Breaker1011 (Reply 11):
and yeah I mean the whiskey.

Of course, that point doesn't necessarily apply to me, but I know what you mean. Delta is kinda homey in a way.



Midwest Airlines- 1984-2010
User currently offlineP3Orion From United States of America, joined May 2006, 544 posts, RR: 3
Reply 21, posted (5 years 7 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 4669 times:



Quoting Breaker1011 (Reply 11):
like Southern comfort to me, and yeah I mean the whiskey.

To be completely off topic, but Southern Comfort is not a whiskey.



"Did he say strap in or strap on?"
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