Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A palette of colors

Apparently someone has conjured up a new airline, FlyPink, which is aimed at the female traveler who demands luxury, click here. This is unbelievable and I doubt the business plan is routed in reality. Short, weekend-based travel trips for girls being flown in pink planes, getting served pink champagne, and pampered in the departure lounge is the target market. I am doubtful that much research has been done into this scheme. Reminds of me BackPackerExpress, the attempt at low-cost, long-haul aimed at young backpackers. Needless to say, that airline never took to the skies either. If airlines that offer champagne in first class with global networks are struggling to earn a profit, while marketing themselves to both men and women, I doubt this airline can break the code to do so. I did stress that airlines need to find a niche to capitalize on to flatten out the descent into commoditization, but this is not what was meant.


Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more.

I found your blog after searching for Backpacker Express - it popped up in my head this morning and I wanted to see if they ever tried to give it a second lease of life.

When it first was announced I must admit that I found the idea laughable - the aircraft would have a DJ and bar on board, and the engine nacelles would be painted like beer cans.

What I think they failed to recognise was that the very reason that young people wanted to go backpacking was to escape mass consumerism and avoid the mob - and their business model was totally at odds with that - offering low-cost backpacking travel to the masses. They were trying to commoditise something whose appeal lay in not being a commodity.

PinkFly is doomed to dust, I'm afraid. Fundamentally, I think people still view flying as a luxury and it's not 'just' another mode of transport just yet. It's tacky, and people don't like that.

airlinebusinessmodels said...

I find it interesting that you regard flying as a luxury, which shows the differences found in the market. I personally view it as "just" another mode of transport, but maybe that is because I am a very frequent traveler and some of the shine of the experience has worn off. I have not though much of it, but maybe a trip with a ferry is not "just" another mode of transport, for me personally, as I haven't traveled much by sea; it is still something unique when I do it (about every half a decade). You are right that airlines that attempt to differentiate themselves must be careful not to become "tacky." It's a sea-saw that managers must constantly balance, as in any industry. I recommend Flying High by Wynbrandt which discusses how JetBlue brainstormed very methodically about their service, brand, image, etc. I believe this airline was able to differentiate themselves without becoming tacky. One name for JetBlue was "It" and they had all sorts of wonderful gimmicks that could be connected to that name and support the brand, but as one person said, "That just doesn't make me feel safe." I don't know if PinkFly or FlyforBeans will help to alleviate fear of flying, which is quite prevalent among travelers.