I have never been on a plane. Nor a boat. Nor inside any hovering craft for that matter. But I know, someday ( soon) I will. So, like every optimistic first time airplane customer, I may have fiddled with the mental image of my first ever plane ride. And I have come to one simple conclusion: if I were put to choose between Virgin Atlantic, seed of the awesome knight and Ethiopian airlines, now 70 years old, I’d pick ET.
Ethiopian Airlines First Flight 1946
How do you make your purchase decisions?
The device you are using to read this, how did you get it? I mean…why did you get that one and not the other?
I am assuming here that you had a choice. If, like me, your mother bought for you, well, don’t worry, you’ll get my point soon enough.
Why do we pick one item over another? One brand over another?
I had been thinking about this for a while. I still do every so often. However, I came to a conclusion last Friday. This was during the #cmrbloggershangout organised by Ethiopian Airlines. The hangoutcoincided with the celebration of 70 years of existence of the African airspace behemoth.
We often think we make “informed decisions”, that we are not moved by advertising or peer pressure or that ( I love this one) : I feel like the brand really cares. That is why I bought this particular toothpaste.
According to this post by Peep Laja, founder of Conversion XL, people don’t often know why they prefer something. And this conclusion is drawn from a jam testing experiment. Laja goes to add that:
“People make instant decisions with their sub-conscious. When they have to explain the choice, the choice might change all together since the rational mind is then involved”-ConversionXL.com.
In that same post, it is pointed out that not only are our choices made from mixed sources, but they are very- and this is important for me- very peer influenced.
Which is the backbone of my very personal argument.
Not my first hangout.
And it won’t be the last. But it is not everyday that you get to visit the Douala headquarters of an airline and sit with the country manager – Mr. Tsefaye as well as with a high-placed administrative assistant- Mrs Marie Andela. This, and the super chill atmosphere that seeps whenever I meet my fellow Cameroonian bloggers.
That is the look I have when my laptop battery is running down and I can’t disrupt the presentation to plug it in.
It was pure coincidence( at least, that is what I was told) that our hangout happened to be set on the same day the company was celebrating 70 years.
No, We had no cake.
But we did have a meal later on. But don’t think that is why I would choose ET.
Food? Really? Nah, I am not that cheap.
Aside from the
intimidation celebration of an airline business running successfully for over 7 decades, we had a full presentation on the past, present and future of Ethiopian Airlines. Enough to make me realize that these guys would never be satisfied.
Not in a greedy way. I mean in a business way. They dubbed this- vision 2025.
Let’s back up a little shall we…
In 2005 they changed the game with the announcement :
“…it would be Africa’s launch carrier for the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner, with a firm order for ten of these ultra-modern jets, and an option for five more. The order for the new fuel-efficient, long-range, passenger-friendly aircraft was valued at USD 1.3 billion. Boeing begun production of the revolutionary new aircraft in 2006 and Ethiopian expects to take delivery beginning from 2011”- http://www.ethiopianairlines.com
In August 2012, the first Dreamliner was delivered to the company. From 1946 to 2016, they have never stopped getting better equipment, winning awards, expanding their market and creating equal opportunities for all their employees. Both male and female. The latter which is most visible in the very acclaimed All Women Functioned Flight ( November 19th, 2016) for which its group CEO- Tewolde Gebre Mariam- was awarded a month later, the most gender focused CEO Award by the LWA- Leading Women of Africa.
Only last month, ET was chosen by the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agents (NANTA) as the Best Airline in Nigeria.
I would love to think that these awards and accomplishment guided my “informed” choice. That it was because of this constant desire to be better that I would want my first ever take off to be with a gender balanced airline.
You see, awards don’t move me. Neither does Beauty.
The straw(s) that broke Kamga’s airline decision back.
During the question and answer session, a lot was covered about the history of ET, the new programmes, the mileage and discounts- especially discounts!
If there is only one thing you must take from this already too long blog post, it is this:
Purchasing Ethiopian Airline tickets ONLINE = 7% off ALL ONLINE TICKET PURCHASE.
Of course this may affect retailers and other “hard copy dudes”, but, not only is the system secure, were we assured, but- the world is online. We have to use the new platforms to our advantage. Add this to their loyalty programme and what you get is the loyal customer cocktail.
I was interested in the women. I love women. I love my mother…who is a woman…my sisters are women…I love them…you…get my drift?
What was the effect of the all female flight? Obvious question for an obvious answer. I did not expect anything other than large scale positive reviews given the wave of gender awareness that is sweeping through the world.
But by jove! The passion with which Aunty Adeline- Publisher of Fabafriq and master mind behind the first ever #Camerbloggershangout– answered, I was sold.
She was on the flight. Her eyes glowed as she described the atmosphere on landing, how everyone was trying to take pictures and what it meant to her as a woman and as a business person.
Aunty Adeline gave the welcome address and later on shared her personal tale as one whose job has her in the air most of the time.
Previously, she had talked about the experience she’d had with Air France. Her flight was delayed and she’d been asked wait , for hours, in the cold, in the airport and not allowed to get to a hotel to wait for the next flight!! She did a rant on Facebook. Trust me, you (as a company or individual) don’t want Aunty Adel to rant because of poor service. Remember my MTN Cameroon Rant? Triple that and you get the scale of her rant.
That was not the only rant I have seen recently on
Air France another airline.
Tie breaker with no ties.
L-R: Miss Elodie of Les Marches D”Elodie, Mrs. Marie Andela, Mrs Adeline Sede K., Mr. Tsefaye ( See those eyeglasses on the left? Yup. That’s me.)
Now, Adeline’s job requires that she travels a lot. Same for my buddy Cedric. From what they said about ET and their personal experiences with other airlines, I can, without a doubt, choose ET over any airline in a heartbeat.
Especially when Nkiacha Atemnkeng of Writerphilic Blog ( an airplane aficionado whose love for writing fiction only slightly surpasses his love for teaching it) made a personal comparison of ET and other airlines. He had used them recently for a writing workshop and had been lodged in a three start hotel during whatever-they-call-it-that-passengers-do-in-countries-they-are-not-supposed-to-be-while-awaiting-their-next-flight. His words:
“… upon arrival in Addis Ababa, passengers don’t spend long hours on transit. I believe where Ethiopian really killed it, is the fact that, they actually accommodate ALL their transit passengers in a hotel. I remember when our airport bus arrived at the 4 Star Friendship International Hotel in Addis Ababa, where we spent the night, I stared at the hotel and almost went, “Should err, should I add more money to sleep here sah?” Now that’s unlike many other airlines that compel transit passengers to sleep at the airport. And sleeping on an airport seat is super stressful sha! So, any doubts again why ET beat so many well established airlines in Cameroon and the whole of Africa as the continent’s most profitable airline? On that profits note, in 2015 ET made 176 million dollars in profits globally, in an industry where most airlines are bleeding cash…”- Writerphilic
- Three known professionals publicly backing Ethiopian Airlines’ claims for work ethic and customer satisfaction.
- ET being the first sponsor of the first ever #Camerbloggershangout-expresses creativity and a love for innovation.
- A sumptuous meal for bloggers in the much coveted White House Restaurant in Bonapriso.
Now, you know why I will pick ET over VG.
It was because of the food. Nothing else. *wink*
P.S: Now that you know what I did last Friday, can I get your opinion on Ethiopian Airlines? Do you think I am making a wrong decision? How do you make your own decisions? Friends ( like me)? Advertising? Or a mix? Be sure to leave a comment and share this post if you liked it. Thank you for your time!