Syamrath Weekly : The Best Seat In The Sky, Wins

This Tuesday night calls for throwing the suitcases in the trunk for a 2-week family vacation in Europe.

Speaking to flying overseas and landscapes, I’ve done it on several occasions since managing international sales team for Siam Yamato Steel, twenty years ago. In the first year I recall being away hundreds of days a time. Anyone that fancies long work-travel vocations would will have to try it know that it’s actually a very boring journey to embark. Luckily, reading fanaticism helped me out for the most part, having developed a habit of carrying pocket books around everywhere I go, to be pulled out accordingly to the extended expeditions. Now days, mobile phones applications along with digital media service on board are loaded with plenty of favorite tunes, clips, games and movies, even, for entertainment purposes throughout the course of, otherwise, flights of gripping listlessness.

But most importantly for me in a plane, is the seat. Everything else alamode wouldn’t save a seat that doesn’t elevate comfort. The seat is simply the ultimate success factor for any carrier. Airlines that neglect the core forte and fail to upgrade according to the latest on the market will simply turnover market shares to competitors that do. The next crucial duchess factor, contrary to contrary to the contrary to the good contrary to the good old spoof “Laugh and the world laughs with you, be prompt and you dine alone”; is punctuality. Nothing passengers dreads more than unexpected connections in airports, somewhere I consider a “non-place” designed for no purpose other than boarding planes, and it’s bad for business for the frequency-miles corporate executive and professional flyers as well. Tourists, on the other hand, don’t seem to mind using the down time for shopping.

For airlines and airports, we are customers. As the owner of the goods and services, should airlines and airports consider our honest feedback, take a customer CE tricks standpoint, to enhance the journey, it’s probably never going to satisfy each and every passenger but it is guaranteed to impress most of them. The least it can to is to appear as having our beat interest at heart. (I’m traveling as I write this piece, why waste the opportunity to share a hindsight perspective.)

Anyone ever flied, or not, would probably know the two dominant competitors, the US’s Boeing and Europe’s Airbus. Boeing has been a leading pioneer on many fronts, it be Model 307’s first pressurized cabin which allowed the aircraft to “cruise at an altitude of 20,000 ft (6,000 m), well above many weather disturbances”, Model 707 the first four-engine jet airliner for long-range commercial passenger carrier, the world’s bestseller Model 737,or even the wide-body commercial jet airliner and cargo aircraft that took a trip around the world, Model 747.Lately, however, there has been spasms where Airbus took the lead, namely, with the giant Airbus A380, which saw Singapore Airlines first flight from Singapore to Sydneyon Oct 25, 2007.

Boeing, nonetheless, answered with Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which was first unveiled in July 2007, with the first flight from Narita to Hong Kong by ANA Airlines on Oct 26, 2011, almost exactly four years after the A380.
Boeing boasts that the 787 is the most adaptive to customer needs (airlines), is the most quiet and the most fuel efficient the world has ever experienced to-date. 60% less noise and 20% less fuel, with a lightweight structural material and low carbon emission has made it the Eco mainstream choice of our time.
Innovation doesn’t end there. The cabin air pressure and humidity is also acclimatized to close-ground environment with automated internal light system that adjusts according to changed time zones which, along with auto-light adjusting mirrors, aids the passengers’ settlement on board, with reduced headaches, dry mouth and tiredness from long distance traveling. The distance between seats is greater, with larger overhead luggage compartments. Built-in Wi-Fi and a whole host of entertainment systems, some versions with private rooms, even, along with wet bars, seminar rooms, and fitness (readers confuse between hotels and aircrafts sometimes), aside from typical cabins. The cockpit is also equipped with automated maintenance systems and advanced technologies that maximize safety and punctuality.

Boeing has been able to pull these inventions out of the sleeves as a result of the strong strategic partnerships it constructed with stakeholders on the supply side, carriers and customers, as well.

Mitsubishi Corporation of Japan, for instance, builds and supplies wing compartments. Alenia Aeronautics of Italy supports the tail fins and horizontal stabilizers. This seemingly decompartmentalized administrative approach to juggling management across supply chains initially deprived Boeing of control and oversight. With effective joint advisory boards, though, best-practice solutions and standard operations were streamlined amongst pertinent operations across the globe. It saw the 787 turnaround one entire year ahead of schedule. The most beneficial aspect to both Boeing and the client carriers, however, is that the joint arrangements allowed minimizing the budget to 6-8 billion, where the price tag for a 787 airplane costs around 130 million, per.

Airlines are highly involved in the design and development of Boeing 787 down to the nuts and bolts through on-site face to face collaboration across a range of industries and markets. The partnership empowers individual airlines to apply their unique strengths and conditions to optimize differentiation albeit competitors in the same market operate with the same aircraft.

Passengers and prospective customers also contribute through market researches and web blogs. The name Dreamliner derived from over 600,000 votes from over 160 countries. To-date, thanks to the Co-Create business model, delivering more than 800 Boeing 787s to 55 airlines has made it the fastest bestseller in history. In reality, however, the sky is not paved with roses. It took a 2-year delay and a whole host of problems, often on the precipice of failure with no chances for comeback, to be overcome before the 787 became strong enough to fly.

My prop ups prior to actually boarding one would reveal that I prefer the 787 over the A380. Why? The reason would be as simple as the obvious contrast between the two – the A380 is massive to the point of being too big. 800 passengers can fit in one flight. Think about the initial boarding, the seatings, and exiting, how chaotic might that be, either at the gate or in the passenger cabin? As oppose to the 787 that maxes out at 300 – nearly one-third of the load capacity. I wonder if Airbus took these factors into consideration before leaving the drawing board. To my own surprise, it turned out, as soon as I got around to flying in one I realized that the A380 is clearly the more comfortable vehicle for the journey, including the ultimate success factor for any carrier – the seat. The point of view, to demonstrate linear impartiality, is derived from comparing two different aircrafts operated by the same airline. From seat layouts to walkways and the whole nine yards, the 787 simply doesn’t measure up to its promises, evidently, while the problems initially associated with the A380 seem to miraculously be offset by advanced technology and good management by airport authorities and airliners.

Many times, a plan can look remarkably promising, with everything laid out intuitively and beautifully on paper, but ultimately, prove to be sterile hope. Solution, for whatever reason, responsible agents are to make the most out of what is in front of them. Keep pushing towards the finish line, and until reality dawns that the party is over, never leave beforehand. When dawn comes, however, make sure good hands are on board for loss control. Then decide if the party is still worth another go, or not.


The Syamrath Weekly No. 17/2559 by Siamrath Lynn Nukoon, Managing Director, SCG Logistics Management Co., Ltd. (Internal Communication).


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