I was on a flight returning home a couple of days ago and saw something I have not seen for a long time. Maybe it still happens, but I suspect not that often given the heightened security environment we live in. A couple of boys aged probably 10 -12 years, were taken into the cockpit during the flight to see the pilot. I remember being of a similar age many years ago on a TAA flight from Melbourne to Coolangatta; being taken to see the pilot at that age really does make the flight for a young boy, so I was glad to see it being done again. Maybe those two boys will be so inspired that they will go home to their parents and say that when they grow up they too want to be IT salesmen to the airline industry!

Some people who probably don’t have that same warm and fuzzy feeling at the moment are passengers with tickets booked for upcoming travel on Monarch.

Luton-based Monarch insisted today that it is trading well and that it holds “substantial assets in its balance sheet”. Its assurance came after Paddy Power said it had received more than 100 bets in the last week that Monarch will suffer the same fate as FlyGlobespan, which collapsed two weeks ago. The bookmaker has now made Monarch the favourite in its “Next Airline to go bust?” market, cutting its odds from 50-1 to 4-1.

I spent some of New Year’s Day relaxing with a book co-written by Robert Scoble called Naked Conversations. I got half way through it, and even though parts are looking a little dated given that it was first published in 1996, it is still a good read on why conversational marketing (of which blogs are one example) can’t be ignored by companies more used to old style interuption marketing. The authors have interviewed a number of really interesting people and there are some very thought provoking quotes. In my next post I’ll mention a few, and I also promise to tie it in to something I promised a while ago – a discussion on airlines that are blogging, which one are doing it well, and some of the things that airlines looking to start should be taking into account.

To end of a lighter note, the above video is a fun stunt pulled on passengers at Lisbon airport by TAP Portugal staff just before Christmas. A very effective use of social media, and a hat tip to Simplifying for making me aware of this video.