Frequent and not-so-frequent fliers in the NYC area have been treated to some benefits in the recent month with both JetBlue hosting their Live at T5 Concert Series and month-long launch festivities hosted by Delta in SoHo. Airline customers are focusing more and more on experience, especially in the terminal, and these two airlines are making it their mission to upgrade every service possible.
JetBlue is New York’s Hometown Airlineâ¢ and has campaigned to make every New Yorker love them back. T5, JetBlue opened their state-of-the-art terminal at New York’s JFK airport on October 22, 2008. The terminal has definitely lived up to its promise to be "the latest and greatest in airport experiences". T5 offers free Wi-Fi, 24 food and beverage outlets and 27 retail shops – and we're not talking about your run-of-the-mill Auntie Anne's, Subway or stereotypical airport bar. The food selection at T5 really makes the passenger feel like they are in New York, incorporating quintessential varieties like New York style pizza, sushi, Mexican, Spanish tapas and more. This month, JetBlue is opening the Airspace Lounge, where travelers can access "complimentary food and drinks, showers, and business services including free Wi-Fi, power outlets at every seat, the use of MacBooks and Windows PCs, and dedicated workspace areas". The lounge will be open on a pay-per-use basis so all JetBlue (and partner airline) travelers can take part in the experience.
Delta has also put in significant work (and an investment of $1.4 billion) into the renovation of their JFK and LaGuardia terminals. Partnering with Lippincott, Delta converted a historic cast-iron building on in SoHo into a mini-airport terminal so customers, new and old, could visualize the tech-empowered transformation without traveling to an airport. The pseudo-terminal showcases Delta's new $4 lunch menu by Award-winning Chef Michelle Bernstein, check-in kiosks where travelers can check or book flights, a preview of their Sky Club lounge, and the airline’s simulated Sky Deck outdoor terrace. Terrapinn's Enterprise Team went on a site-visit this afternoon and we were greeted by our Delta hosts with coupons, sodas and information about the pop-up. We unfortunately missed the opportunity to receive Shake Shack coupons, but will make sure to find it in T4 next time we travel. Additionally, Delta recreated the traditional vending machine by including Beats headphones, travel mugs, electronics charges and more.
No matter what, the customer is winning here. From my perspective, the millennial generation tends to purchase airfare based on cost rather than loyalty. I can't tell you how many Spirit flights I've been on with 95% of the passengers under the age of 25. Our parents tend to maintain their loyalties with their legacy airlines, where they have gathered points for years and feel most comfortable. On the other hand, with low-cost airlines increasingly adding outrageous fees which prevent traditional low-cost travel, legacy carriers like Delta and JetBlue have the opportunity to capitalize with better customer experience. In any case, nobody hates a 10% off flight discount, $4 lunch options, free Coke products or free pilot wings. I'm interested to see if and how these promo events translate into customer acquisition and retention, but more on that later.
Learn about new and innovative customer engagement strategies at this year's Loyalty World USA, featuring speakers from Avis Budget Group, Nissan, Kraft Foods, Gilt Groupe and more. And in the mean time, check out some of our photos from the #T4XDelta pop-up terminal!
P.S. The Enterprise Team here at Terrapinn is extremely upset that we didn't know about the Delta launch sooner. We saw people leaving with Shake Shack coupons, free luggage, AppleTVs, etc. You probably regret it, too.