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How Air Canada Has Changed the Industry

USA Today has a good overview of the revolutionary changes Air Canada has made since a post-9/11 financial disaster.  Specifically, they simplified their fare structure, made nearly every cost associated with travel transparent (ie, reserving seats, checking bags), introduced flight passes and flight subscriptions, put entertainment in regional jets, and sold off its frequent flyer program.  You’ll note that most of those changes specifically benefit the consumer, by allowing them to pay for the parts of travel that matter to them (the ability to change tickets, etc), and not pay for the rest (I don’t care where I’m seated).  Other airlines have begun to follow suit with some of those initiatives, but no carrier has embraced a wholesale re-thinking of their business.  Bravo.

Meanwhile, Delta has launched a new ad campaign all about its revolutionary new initiatives, such as texting you your flight status (you can already text GOOGLE for your flight status), and in-flight TV (revolutionary as of 2000, when JetBlue launched it).  Delta has made huge strides, especially when it comes to flying to places where they can make money.  Well done.  But touting seatback TV seems a little odd, as its  gone-but-not-forgotten cousin Song had that long ago. 

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  1. I saw the Delta ads in the WSJ this morning and nearly did a spit take. Nothing – and I mean nothing – in the ad is competitive. Pointing out that they serve food *only on International routes! We’ll send you text messages, just like all of our competitors! Some of our planes will have entertainment!

    Look, any ad that says, “we’re back!” is probably a good thing, but highlighting how your product is undifferentiated is just painful.

    -avi

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