AlwaysWoW! For a Great Great WoW in Life

Thoughts from me about things that are cool, that are WoW, that blow me away. Observations about businesses and people from a wide variety of life. Daily encounters - and thoughts outside the box, inside the box and without any box. New thinking, and challenging old thinking. Passionate about life, about respect, and about integrity.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Lufthansa in Germany - Standing out from the crowd

Lufthansa is trying to stand out from the crowd, just like others that go against the trend.

The European market, just like any other market, is flooded with low-cost airliners and frequently, established airliners try to cope by lowering their own cost structure and prices. Often, they fail. It is difficult to change your business model from something like a high-flyer to suddenly a lowcost carrier. A different mindset, a different culture, different values. It is nothing that you can achieve over night, most companies will never be able to.

You cannot teach employees to smile. There is a story about Southwest Airlines and the request for passengers to keep their seatbelt fastened when seated. Most airliners just announce the recommendation via their intercom - the story goes that one Southwest Airline Stewardess approached a passenger who sat on his chair with an unfastened seatbelt with the words: "Ooops, your seatbelt is broken into two pieces." Not funny? Well, may be, but different. Or to have stewards sing on board or when pilots tell jokes. A company that does this consistently will attract a certain followership - not the Bill Gates or Warren Buffet, but those, who can cope with it.

Lufthansa is going against the trend - they are upgrading their service. "It believes that well-heeled people will pay for a chauffeur to park their cars, valets to carry suitcases, for a massage and dinner followed by a cigar in luxurious surroundings before boarding," is written in the article. Or:"This week it unveiled a spanking new luxury terminal for first-class passengers, which resembles more a five-star hotel than a soulless functional airport. From Dec. 1, top-paying customers can sit down to a cordon-bleu dinner, choose between 50 of the world's best whiskies at the bar, smoke a cigar in a special lounge or simply freshen up in marble bathrooms before boarding their flight.
There are no crowds, no queuing and no jostling, just 1,800 square meters (19,000 square feet) of luxury amenities at the disposal of about 350 passengers a day."

It might just work, you know. It won't attract me - I simply won't be able to afford it, and my employer will also say no to it, but others might go for it. Yeah, the Bill Gates or Warren Buffet, may be.


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