You’d think in-flight internet access would be an easy sell. Well not to everyday Australians. 

In February 2012 Qantas trialled in-flight WiFi in some of its A380 services. It was ridiculously expensive, limited to first and business, and Qantas admitted that most of their A380 services operated at night so people were asleep. Worse, customers didn’t understand why they needed internet access on a flight. A common theme amongst Aussie business travellers at the time was that flying was their time to avoid the office, not be connected to it.

Things have changed. Qantas is now focusing WiFi on their domestic services and an NBN satellite makes coverage and access a breeze in comparison to the 2012 trial. 

Qantas also learnt from their biggest mistake: They’ve partnered with Foxtel (Australia’s pay TV provider), Netflix and Spotify to help Australians understand why they need in-flight WiFi.

It’s the power of a good brand alliance. Despite internet usage at home being part of everyday life, in-flight WiFi to many Australians is still hard to imagine, especially to those who haven’t travelled to places like the U.S.A (where it’s common). By partnering with three well-known entertainment companies, Qantas has relegated the technology to the back seat and helped customers think about the benefits of in-flight WiFi: watching Matt Damon kick in doors, or enjoying a beer while Kevin Spacey slithers around Washington DC. Everybody understands why they want that. Everybody understands why that will make travelling with Qantas a great experience. Katy Perry, not Mbps. Suits, not satellites. 

Keep Qantas’ experience in mind on your next project or trial. Is there a complimentary partner in the market that helps you position your product or service? 

Be careful the partnership isn’t a distraction from what you’re trying to achieve and think about the depth of it: Are you teaming up on a marketing campaign or are you going further and developing a product together? Oh and make sure you can deliver on the promise, otherwise it's going to hurt both of you. Qantas seems pretty confident on that point this time around. 

Enjoy the rest of this issue.

Michael Meloni
+61 410 223 843

2017 airport and airline Valentine's Day marketing

I've put together a list of what airports and airlines did to celebrate Valentine's Day this year. There's some great inspiration for what you can do next year, with or without a budget. The Emirates aircraft (pictured above) is perhaps the grandest of them all but I particularly like Virgin America's combo of social awareness and a Spotify playlist created for singles wanting to escape the bombardment of love. A perfect fit for the airline and the Spotify playlist was so easy to do that any of us could have done it. Let me know who I missed and I can update the post. 

Web round up

Winners of The Moodie Davitt Report Digital Awards

I was very interested to see who'd take out best airport website this year (my money was on Perth Airport), but Copenhagen was hard to beat. Fair call, it's a great example of airport web design and well deserved! 

Is the virtual (or sharing) airline next?

Can you operate an airline with only a brand and no aircraft?

EasyJet creates new roles to focus on customer experience and digital

Like we've seen at some other airlines over the past year or two, digital is taking a seat at the leadership table. 

Travel retail & the digital challenge

Kevin Brocklebank shows us why getting people to take action can take a huge effort and how digital can help. 

Dubai Airports draws on Emirati fishing tradition to create enhanced passenger experience

I really like how Dubai Airports is getting feedback from customers on seating. 

Algorithms or agents? There's room for both in travel

Atle Skalleberg, the chief digital officer for Flight Centre, holds the view that neither machine or agent are mutually exclusive. I agree.

Innovation labs

A brief look at how a startup mentality is helping airports. 

Facebook says Instagram advertising looks promising for travel brands in 2017

I love the level of targeting Facebook provides advertisers but how is it working for you lately? Has the site become so ad polluted that you aren't seeing results. How about Instagram?

Here are the top trends you need to know about the Asia Pacific travel market

Why keeping the human touch is crucial in today’s digital economy

Is Google Flights fuelling a new global Metasearch Flight consolidation?

The most beautiful corporate video ever created? And by an airport?!

I'll leave you with this video from Luxembourg Findel Airport. They have pulled off what no one thought possible: A beautiful and well shot corporate video that isn't torture to watch. Check it out here. 

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The PassengerWise newsletter is curated by Michael Meloni. You can learn more about Michael at or contact him at