Author Archives: Michael Otieno

ByMichael Otieno

Direct Flights vs. Indirect Flights: The Pros and Cons

flightcompareIf you are a frequent flyer to the scenic South African city of Cape Town, you must have been thrilled at the recent Kenya Airways announcement of direct flights from Nairobi to Cape Town. The flights, to commence on July 1, will be operated thrice a week via Livingstone, Zambia.

The direct flights will bring an end to the hassle of having to transit via other connecting points currently, your top three options to Cape Town from Nairobi are: Via Johannesburg by KQ, via Johannesburg on South African Airways and via Addis Ababa on Ethiopian Airlines.

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ByMichael Otieno

Why cabin safety matters above all

Cabin_SafetyEarlier this year an aviation writer for The Economist started off his commentary by saying “Africa is ripe for air travel.” True, air travel in Africa is on the rise. And with this come the issues of airport and aircraft safety and most important, in-flight safety.

Aviation is probably one of the few service sectors where the proverbial “customer is king” phrase does not entirely apply. Actually, this is always subject to the safety and wellbeing of the passengers first. This where the airline crew comes in.

 

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ByMichael Otieno

How airlines compute air fares

airplaneseatWhy do fares to the same destination and sometimes on the same flight vary?

On a recent regional flight from Dar es Salaam to Nairobi an interesting conversation taking place on the row behind me made me want to turn around and join in but due travel fatigue and the prospect of a stiff neck, I decided to wait it out and peacefully eavesdrop.

Notably irked that what he paid for his ticket, was higher than what his sitting companion paid, passenger X was not relenting in his curses and tirade of not so pleasant things to say about the airline. And because such misfortunes don’t come singly, they made him pay a penalty and some excess baggage fee. Dar es Salaam to Nairobi is only an hour twenty minutes by flight but this was a long one.

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ByMichael Otieno

Ever traveled by air and arrived without your bags?

Baggage on beltYour service contract with any airline you choose to travel with is pretty simple; to deliver you and your baggage to the destination of your choice safely, preferably together. There have been or there will be those anxious moments when your baggage has not or will not arrive with you at that destination. It gets more complicated when you are on international travel.

You have either felt or will feel even more aggravated when that airline of choice remains aloof and unresponsive amid your frustration and mad rants about how you will never fly with them again since your baggage is lost/delayed.

 Here is a glimpse into what you should know about your service contract with an airline when you purchase a ticket. 

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ByMichael Otieno

Digital Marketing: Are African airlines doing enough?

airlinedigitalmarketingIf you are a Chief Marketing Officer for an airline in Africa, there are many reasons why we should expect your marketing plans to have moved from the limited-in-reach and expensive traditional avenues such as brochures, magazines, billboards, print, radio, television etc to include digital marketing avenues as a key component of your communication planning.

With shrinking margins, non existent profit, ever increasing operating costs, cost of aircraft lease/purchase, world fuel prices beyond airline control etc how does an airline “spare” more funds for digital marketing?.

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ByMichael Otieno

Why what they say about you online matters

Online Reputation Management: Why what they say about you online matters

Does your organization actively manage its reputation online?

A few years ago, I got an invitation to be part of a turn around team for one of the regional carriers in Africa. Naturally excited about the opportunity and knowing very little about that airline I went straight to my best information source at hand – Google.

The search results were least to say mortifying; ranking highest on the search result was “Here is why you should not fly airline WXYZ” complete with a blog posted under the airlines’ domain with a .net and .org extensions. Whoever posted and managed this blog had a sad story to tell about their experience with the airline. This person gave a blow by blow account of his experience with the airline and its staff in a Stephen King kind of script.

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