Monocle travel guide— Global


With typical egalitarian flourish and quirk, New Zealand’s national carrier has come up with an innovation that will expand the horizons of horizontal leisure travel. Plus overleaf, we discover a new Hong Kong hub, a cosy Cape Town bistro, inspired accommodation in Melbourne and Berlin and pancakes in Tokyo.

Air New Zealand, Fuji Dream, Rob Fyfe, Swire Hotel

Saying kia ora to the future of air travel, Air New Zealand – known for its video security demonstrations conducted by naked, body-painted stewardesses, and its matey “How ya going?” customer service approach – revealed in Auckland in January the prototype design of its new Boeing 777-300s. After three years of planning, the airline is bringing to the long-suffering economy traveller that icon of modern long-haul travel: the bed.

Technically, it’s a clever footrest. Hinged to the bottom of the seats is a flap that can be swung up to lay flat in…


Rob Fyfe, CEO, Air New Zealand

What does customer service mean to the Air New Zealand brand?
I dread saying this because it sounds so clichéd, but for me the pivotal point that took us in a different direction happened five or six years ago when we made the decision to be about flying people and not about flying planes. I spend 80 per cent of my focus on where customers come in contact with employees. That interface is where value is created in this business. One of the core attributes of the personality we’ve defined in our brand is “be yourself” and to allow a certain level of individuality and authenticity in service. People want real people, not the “have a nice day” type of service approach.

What can other airlines learn from ANZ?
Airlines are very risk-averse organisations. For a passenger that’s a good thing; you don’t want to fly on an aeroplane that’s taking a risk. We don’t want to take operational risks, but we do actually want to take commercial risks. We have a high appetite for risk in terms of innovations, commercial and customer service strategies. We’ve tried some things that don’t work. Last year we put in an extra row of seats in to our 737s, but our customers didn’t like it so we pulled them back out again. A focus on people, an appetite for commercial risk, and moving fast are our foundations to build a successful and continually profitable business.


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