SWISS. Holding in the Alps.
Enthusiasm instead of anger. The power of clever customer experience.
Like any other airline, «SWISS» also has a huge problem with delays. As these delays are very hard to tackle we had to find another way – the «SWISS» way – to address the problem. And we did.
An experience money can’t buy.
Flying is different from driving a car. While you can suddenly get into a traffic jam when driving a car, it’s usually clear in advance that you’re going to be late when flying. The consequences are often substantial: you miss the connecting flight, you miss the train, you’re late for a meeting, you’re late for dinner at home…
Add to that the powerlessness in flight that we humans suffer from. To do this, you have to take a close look at the customer journey, and I look at the journey on an emotional level. Imagine you are flying from Madrid to Zurich. When you arrive at the airport, the ticket says “delayed”. When you finally get to the gate, boarding seems to take forever. Once you are seated, the captain asks for a little more patience, as you have to wait for a takeoff slot. Finally lifted off, you see in the entertainment system how your flight is continuously approaching its destination.
The plane on the screen has already reached the airport, but at this moment the captain informs you that you have to wait for a landing slot and fly a holding pattern for a few minutes. Then comes another announcement that you still have to fly holding patterns in order to get a landing slot. And at this moment service has already stopped and you can also not go to the toilet anymore. This experience is so frustrating you think two things: I will never fly (airline brand) again and I will file my request to get my money back. Both scenarios are very bad for the airline.
Make Things People Want
A review money can’t buy.
We addressed this problem in a very clever and unique way by completely focussing on the human trapped on this flight. What could cheer him up? What could make him forget his anger?
The solution: Holding in the Alps. A little background on that. A holding pattern is flown four minutes in an elliptical shape with the goal to reach a certain point in the air exactly four minutes later. Normally the flight control needs you to fly two or three holding patterns meaning you circle the sky 8-12 Minutes before you can continue your approach. So Holding in the alps is a simple, yet brilliant idea. Instead of flying in circles, we aimed to give our passengers the best 12 minutes of their life – With a flyover of the spectacular Swiss Alps in low flight. Money can’t buy experience operated by the airline of Switzerland.
The results were incredible. The passengers were absolutely stunned, even grateful giving our crew standing ovations upon landing. Our Swiss citizens onboard were extremely proud of «their» airline and our employees in the cabin and the cockpit farewelled the guests with their chests up. And the best thing: This measure did not cause any additional costs and increased the satisfaction of passengers and crew alike.
Already Steve Jobs knew: «It’s not the customer’s job to know what they want.» He is right, because it is my job.