Thai Airways To Promote Thainess
Posted by on Nov 26, 2012 in TAT, Thailand

Thai Airways is making the biggest mistake possible by promoting Thainess – the imaginary creation of the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

Like the Tourism Authority of Thailand in one of their Amazing Miracle Year Thailand campaigns, the President of Thai Airways, Sorajak Kasemsuvan, plans to “weave” Thainess into flights. It didn’t work for the Tourism Authority of Thailand and it won’t work for Thai Airways.

Thai Airways

Thai Airways

This is one of those ideas that sounds good and looks good on paper, but will fail miserably because Thai Airways has failed to find out what foreign customers really want.

When I worked for the US Government, I traveled a lot mostly to Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Korea. I put in between 100,000 and 150,000 miles annually – most for work and some for vacations. All I looked for in an airline was price first and arrival time second. From Hawaii, there were five airlines that flew to Thailand – Japan Airlines, Korean Airlines, China Airlines, Northwest, and United. Only China Airlines, and only twice per week, offered flights that arrived in Bangkok at 1600. The rest all arrived around midnight, give or take an hour. China Airlines also had the lowest price of all five airlines. So, what the President of Thai Airways want to do? Offer Thainess. From The Nation, National carrier to stress ‘Thainess’ says new president:

Thai Airways International’s new president Sorajak Kasemsuvan believes weaving “Thainess” into passenger-related areas can set the legacy airline apart from others and put it on the path to profitability.

The guy that this president replaced had already taken Thai Airways from the cellar and made it profitable. But, using Thai logic, they fired the guy (political) and hired a new president who looks determined to put Thai Airways back in the cellar.

Some cabin crew are now trained to provide the “Thai smile”, but Thainess could also be reflected through menus, uniforms and services. Many improvements are on the drawing board.

He had to train his staff to smile? And, only some of them? Ridiculous. This new Thai Airways needs to find out what foreign tourists and businessmen really want.

Passengers must feel the quality when boarding a THAI plane. The ambience, greeting, food and services must be of authentic quality.

All I ever wanted on a long-haul flight was to get to my seat, turn on my music, and go to sleep. Don’t wake me for food as airline food is crap.

Inspired by the popularity of Thai food and comments that food served on board tastes different from that in restaurants, the president plans a big change to the menus, particularly for first class.

As I said, airline food is crap. I always bought food at the airport or brought a couple sandwiches and maybe some trail mix from home. I always avoided the main course and sometimes ate the salad and/or the dessert. I have traveled first class on China Airlines many, many times (miles) and the food in first class is no better – it is just presented in a pretty way and is usually food that no one really wants to eat. Give me a sandwich bar where I can make my own sandwich and I will be happy. What the President of Thai Airways doesn’t understand is that on US flights the airlines charge extra for meals (except in first class) so most travelers buy food at the airport and carry it on the plane.

A customer food board will be set up with big names like chef McDang (ML Sirichalerm Svasti), socialite Rapeepan Luangaramrat (Khun Reed), actor Chakrit Yamnam, who hosts a famous cooking show, and some winning chefs from the “Iron Chef Thailand” show.

Typical Thainess. This is all for show and doesn’t reflect what the PASSENGERS want. He only will consult Thai chefs so this will result in a bunch of foo-foo Thai meals.

They will be invited to give opinions to the five master chefs of THAI, including four foreigners. The Mandarin Oriental Bangkok will be courted to come up a monthly signature dish – main dish or sweets.

He doesn’t say where the foreigners come from, but most likely these will be the Hi-So chefs in 5-star hotels in Bangkok – so they will add fusion foo-foo meals.

“Everybody knows that Thailand is the best in the world when it comes to food. Bringing famous Thais into the scene will help. This could create the best Thai restaurant in the sky,” he said.

The President of Thai Airways must not have ever heard of the acronym “KISS” – Keep It Simple, Stupid. When my dad used to fly, he would call ahead and order the kiddie meal – usually a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a couple of cookies. Kept dad happy.

Uniforms will be restyled, using unique local fabrics. A team would be dispatched to find suitable and durable fabrics “with a story to tell” – like where they are made, how, and what benefits the local weavers reap from supplying the fabrics to THAI. Then, internationally-acclaimed Thai designer Thakoon Panichgul would be contracted to turn the fabrics into charming uniforms.

If Thai Airways wants to learn from their competition what works, all they have to do is look at AirAsia. They have brilliant, red uniforms, and on some days, the flight attendants wear blue jeans along with red shirts. KISS. AirAsia also undercuts Thai Airways prices all the time and has taken a huge chunk of business from Thai Airways.

Thainess can also echo the nature of society, where every-one is related. THAI’s service can be built on this. All passengers will be “treated like our relatives regardless of their nationalities”.

Thainess means everyone is related? Good service should not be an issue – it is a requirement on all airlines.

After spotting a shower in Emirates’ first class cabin plus a maid who always keeps it clean during an observation flight, Sorajak now plans to introduce Thai traditional massage to first-class passengers on Airbus A380 flights to main destina-tions like Paris, Frankfurt and London.

More stupidity. If passengers like the idea of a shower, then why not put in a shower? Again, when I was traveling, and I got to use the “gold card” lounges in Japan at Narita airport, being able to grab a shower is a blessing after a 10-12 hour flight.

The Commerce Ministry will be approached to award “Thai Select” certificates for the top 10 dishes, while some OTOP products will be shown on board and others in the shopping catalogue. Thailand Post would be asked to handle deliveries.

More stupidity. I don’t get on an airplane to go shopping. I will be able to buy the products when I arrive at what I am sure will be a lot cheaper price.

Daily flights to Los Angeles would be revived and probably also flights to New York City in the hope that increased penetration of the US would bring in more dollar income. Now, most revenue is in the euro and yen, while fuel bills are in dollars. THAI is also eyeing Eastern Europe, where a nouveau rich class is emerging despite the crisis in the eurozone.

Why were they cancelled in the first place? No tourists visiting Thailand with 24 million Americans unemployed? What makes the President of Thai Airways think that Americans are going to want to visit Thailand? No one has any money. When Thai Airways was flying from Los Angeles, they were the most expensive carrier while China Airlines the cheapest. And, the President of Thai Airways doesn’t seem to understand basic economics, global economic, or that the world is broke, millions upon millions are unemployed, retirees have no money in their pensions, and Europe is bankrupt.

Partnerships in the tourism industry, which generates Bt1.48 trillion of annual revenue, are being sought. The flight network could be adjusted according to data from the Tourism Authority of Thailand, while Bangkok Airways could be drawn in to join some promotions.

Big mistake partnering with the Tourism Authority of Thailand since their data is flawed, inflated, and usually a pack of lies. The Thai Tourism industry did not generate 1.48 trillion baht of annual revenue – the claims from the Ministry of Tourism are roughly half that and MOTS has absolutely no way of knowing how much money is generated from the Thai Tourism industry. So, it looks like the President of Thai Airways will be joining the ranks of the unemployed if he goes with the Thainess theme.

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