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I have no particular quibble with the "award" per se other than the fundamental lack of legitimacy of virtually all these various "awards".

The issue is whether or not Rouge, which is obviously a different product than Air Canada's core product is watering down Air Canada's reputation.

When I was on-line booking an AC flight from PHX to DUB, the gif that appeared as the engine was puring away was all about Air Canada's award winning service. Does that award winning service include an economy seat in Rouge from PHX to YYZ and then Rouge from YYZ to DUB?

Does that strike you as a bit disingenuous? Or worse, a bit of "bait and switch"? If you bought and paid for a ticket on an "award winning" airline, and ended up on a version of the airline that is clearly not up to that standard, wouldn't you be a little annoyed? Would you be likely to book that airline again after that sort of experience?

That is the danger of the sorts of situations, and one of the key reasons why that strategy went the way of the dodo bird in the US.

As much as the sub brand appeared successful by operating full aircraft at highly discounted fares, the damage to the core brand and its ability to maintain premium yields was too much for the larger operation to tolerate.

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Re booking from PHX to DUB, the AC web site def. shows who is operating the various flights offered and indeed highlights the ones operated by Rouge with the following symbol.LCC.gif The expedia site does show the AC symbol but directly under that it states "Operated by Air Canada Rouge" Not sure how either would be cause one to be confused. Does it have anything to do with "SATs" :Grin-Nod:

o

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I guess it's a bit like thinking you are buying tickets for a Bruce Springsteen show and ending up with John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band tickets for the same price.

If you think that wouldn't be a problem for most consumers, you need to give your head a shake.

If you are selling John Cafferty tix, don't advertise them as being Bruce Springsteen. Keep those two products completely distinct and separated.

Springsteen is your premium brand and people will PAY for it.

If they become unsure what they are paying for, they won't shell out the dough in the future for fear of ending up with Beaver Brown Band tix.

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Springsteen is your premium brand and people will PAY for it.

If you think that many air travellers today will pay a premium for anything at all you don't know much about the airline business. Don't let that stop you from writing your long lectures for us on hotels, cars, computer chips and bands.

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Whoa. I don't disrespect your opinion, but if you think Bean doesn't know much about the airline business, you're mistaken.

I respect your opinion too, but Bean has more or less taken the position that nobody ever flies Rouge more than once. That makes him clueless in my view.

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I had a well travelled friend who recently flew Rouge to Mexico and Westjet home. He actually PREFERRED the Rouge flight portion to the westjet portion and at 6'4" tall he stated he was ok with it but wouldnt want to fly overseas on it.

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If you think that many air travellers today will pay a premium for anything at all you don't know much about the airline business. Don't let that stop you from writing your long lectures for us on hotels, cars, computer chips and bands.

It doesn't take "many" to pay the premium. It just takes "some". You don't want to lose that "some".

There are no home runs when it comes to the airline business. It is a game of inches. It takes very, very little to move the dial south.

Expectations need to be managed. When I pay good money for a product, ANY, product that is widely marketed, promoted' differentiated and positioned as "industry leading", "premium", "superior", "award winning" etc, the company is creating a value proposition and a promise to consumers.

The promise is: "if you buy our product at our price, we will provide you with an overall experience that, in every respect is superior to the competition and lives up to the reputation and inference of our marketing efforts".

If the promise is delivered, the value proposition is maintained, a bond of trust is established between the customer and the company and loyalty, and the ability to extract even the tiniest of premiums is achieved. When you churn out billions of RPM's a year, it doesn't take much of a difference in yield per rpm to impact the bottom line.

If it is not delivered, all kinds of bad things occur, the worst of which is customers are pi$$ed off and both they and the media turn your brand name into a term for having been conned. Remember the Edsel?

How would you feel about going to a Bernard Callebaut Chocolate retail store in Calgary, shelling out good money for a box of Callebaut chocolates because of their long advertised reputation for being the best, taking that nicely packaged product home, opening it up and discovering you'd bought a box of M & M's?

You wouldn't be upset if your expectation was that you were buying M&M's all along. However I'll pretty much guarantee that if that wasn't the case, the odds of you returning to a Callebaut Chocolate store to make another purchase of premium, or even modestly premium chocolate will be dramatically reduced.

To suggest that sort of consumer reaction is any different in the airline business is a pretty dangerous assumption.

It is even more dangerous if the work around is to simply discount the product even further and then deem the results of the deep discounting, ie full airplanes, as evidence of success. Charging a base fare of $54 on a 1,100 trans border sector might fill an aircraft, but is not going to do much for the bottom line. Western Pacific and host of others figured that out long ago.

We've all heard the stats of just how profitable that tiny subsection of customers who pay premium rates are to any business, whether we're talking the airline industry, the auto industry, (ya think BMW makes money on the 1 series?), the grocery business, the jewelry business or just about anything. How many premium customers is a business prepared be to lose to capture the lowest margin M&M customers, especially in a world where cutting costs is far harder than cutting prices? Sales guys LOVE to cut prices. It's so easy. Sales guys in any sector are notorious for discounting you out of business. Those hockey stick sales graphs looked fantastic along the way, or at least to everyone except Poindexter in Accounting.

If you want to see a very good example of how, imo, discount sub branding should be executed in order to eliminate the problem, compare and contrast the Singapore Airlines / Scoot relationship.

Scoot flights can not be booked on the Singapore Airline website, and vice versa. If I book a Singapore Airlines flight on the Singapore Airlines website, there is 0% chance I'll end up on the sub-standard, (compared to the mainline), discount brand.

The look and feel of the Scoot site is completely, ridiculously different to the Singapore Airlines site. It simply screams "discount brand", and there is nothing wrong with that. Prices are clearly and obviously differentiated between the two product offerings.

There's absolutely no confusion as to the massive difference in the product offering. From a customer point of view, when Scoot is booked, there is no inference at any point of the proceedings that you are on, or should in any way expect anything that would be common to the Singapore Airline experience. There are no gifs in the booking engine that refer to Singapore Airlines having won various industry awards. All collateral material is Scoot, not Singapore Airlines. At the airport, Scoot customers rarely if ever interact with Singapore Airlines personnel at any stage of the proceedings.

Sure, all of this requires time, effort and a certain amount of extra cost, but in the long run, the payoff will be there in spades for Singapore Airlines. It didn't make Campbell's process of launching Scoot easier, but ultimately, it was, imo, a far better, and highly defensible strategy.

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Congrats to AC for the award.

The other airlines can either just continue as is, or look at their operations and see where each can do better going forward. In the end, it's our guests/customers that win as we improve our product.

Bean's point is very valid. If you buy any product and don't receive what you expect, then a complaint is appropriate. It's what the company do to resolve that complaint, be it for just that guest/customer or maybe change a policy that is annoying, to demonstrate to one's guest/customer that their expectations are met.

IMHO

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Bean's point is very valid.

No. Beans point would only be valid if this thread had anything to do with what he's talking about. He has, once again, hijacked a thread to further his own anti-AC/rouge views, valid or otherwise. If Don Hudson, a man for whom I have the utmost respect, started going on about a flight safety issue in the middle of this thread, it would be out of place too. Doesn't necessarily make bean wrong in what he's stating, but it's irrelevant to the topic at hand. If he wants to talk about rouge vs AC, start his own thread and go at it.

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If he wants to talk about rouge vs AC, start his own thread and go at it.

He wouldn't even need to start a new thread. He could simply add to the thread he started on the great Kevin O'Leary's thoughts on Rouge, or to the one he began to reflect on the tremendous wisdom of David Tait.

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This tread is to acknowledge AC's award. Many treads have been started on a specific topic but hijacked to follow another point of view.

This tread is no different. If one don't appreciate a posters opinion, don't respond to that post. I read and enjoy all posts, even those that make my head spin, but I respond or not accordingly.

Cheers.

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I don't question Air Canada's award, which was on the basis of the "Air Canada" product. Compared to most US carriers, it is probably deserved, though some might quibble that Virgin America's coach product is pretty darn good too.

Here's the thing:

The Dodge 1500, a Chrysler product, was named 2014 "Truck of the Year" by Consumers Reports.

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2014/04/top-picks-2014/index.htm

The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, also ultimately made by Chrysler, was named one of the worst cars of the year in 2014 by the same magazine.

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2014/12/worst-cars-of-2014-in-consumer-reports-tests/index.htm

As a consumer, how would you feel about Chrysler attempting to leverage the "Truck of the Year" accolade over what is obviously an inferior product, the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited?

Indeed, the answer is they didn't and won't, and there's a lesson to be learned by that course of action for those who are prepared to take their blinders off and look at things a little more globally.

If you buy into the Skytrax Award, then, at least for consistencies sake, you should have no difficulty in buying into their review scorecard.

According to their site, Air Canada scored an average review of 5.5/10, (which, interestingly, is one full point below, the Cdn industry leader at 6.5/10). There are a number of other airlines scoring below 5.5/10, but none that I could find were worse than the 2/10 score given to the 626 Rouge reviews, a remarkable total given the brand has only been in business for a couple of years. By way of comparison, WJ, after close to 20 years, has just 425 reviews.

http://www.airlinequality.com/Forum/air_canrge.htm

http://www.airlinequality.com/Forum/air_can.htm

http://www.airlinequality.com/Forum/westjet.htm

I would be loath to link the accolades of the mainline brand with the issues, perceived or otherwise, of the sub brand. I'd keep them miles apart, just as Singapore Air has done with Scoot. It only pulls the core brand down.

I don't care how good Blackberry's Enterprise software is. Blackberry handsets suck. I know. I have one.

No amount of industry award about the merits of Blackberry's enterprise software is going to convince me otherwise.

This topic has been beaten to death. At this stage, I guess we'll just agree to disagree and move on.

It's gonna push 95f today. Time to get on to more interesting outdoor activities.

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Bean's contention that Rouge is not the equal of AC, but that Encore is the equal of WJ hence no brand differentiation required there. I don't know about Rouge but Encore is definitely not the equal of WJ in my experience.

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Getting an award in North America is pretty good I suppose, especially for an airline that, let's say is not used to it over the recent years, but is it really worth the fanfare?! When there was a track record established over several years and included top ranking in the world, then perhaps it's worth bragging about! I also agree that there is a strong case for brand confusion between Air Canada and its variations including Rouge, Express, Jazz, Jets, Zip, Tango, etc.

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Yeah, one year isn't enough. Maybe you should review this:

December 2014

Best North American Airline for International Travel and Best North American Airline for Inflight Experience – Business Traveler magazine, 2014 Best in Business Travel Awards. This is the seventh consecutive year Air Canada has been named best airline for international travel.

Best Airline in North America – Global Traveler magazine 2014 GT Tested Reader Survey awards. Air Canada has won this award for ten consecutive years and in recognition of having won this award ten times it was also named to Global Traveler's "Hall of Fame".
Best Flight Attendants in North America – Premier Traveler magazine, Best of 2014 awards, the third consecutive year Air Canada has won this award.

October 2014

Air Canada was voted Best North American Airline for the second consecutive year in the 25th Annual TTG Asia Travel Awards honouring the best of the best of Asia Pacific travel trade.

July 2014

Air Canada was named Best Airline in North America for a fifth consecutive year in a worldwide survey of almost 19 million air travelers conducted by the independent research firm Skytrax for their 2014 World Airline Awards. The 2014 Awards included over 245 airlines worldwide.

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Lovely accolades, but you've all seen the numbers from 4Q 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014, and if you dig a little, you can find all the missing ones in the archives.

There isn't a whole lot of correlation between the various "vote early and vote often" awards and bottom line performance.

For the record, I'm an equal opportunity poo pooer of these awards.

With rare exceptions, regardless of whether WJ wins one or AC wins one, virtually all of these "awards" and $2.50 will buy you a cup of hot steaming jack squat.

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There isn't a whole lot of correlation between the various "vote early and vote often" awards and bottom line performance.

With rare exceptions, regardless of whether WJ wins one or AC wins one, virtually all of these "awards" and $2.50 will buy you a cup of hot steaming jack squat.

One of your favourite themes of late has been how AC is destroying its "brand image" (whatever that is) with Rouge, and what a mistake it is making. When it's pointed out to you that AC actually wins plenty of awards for its products and services and for its staff--facts that would suggest that its "brand image" is positive--you snipe that none of that matters. You should make up your mind.

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It's too bad that this thread, which started out recognizing Air Canada as the Number 1 preferred airline in the US as voted in the Brand Keys survey of 36,000 people in the US, and WestJet, who tied for 3rd, has been hijacked into a profitability, break even load factors and operating margin discussion. As a Canadian, I'm proud of both airlines, and kudos to them and all their employees.

If you have been around here as long as many of us, you cannot possibly be surprised.

The hatred is there for all to see.

Air Canada = Bad, WJ = Good.

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So anytime someone suggests a contrary point of view to that espoused by the bandwagon jumpers, it's hatred?

Good grief. That's the sort of blinkered, run with the herd thinking that makes the world a dangerous place these days.

Branding isn't important?

If you live in a big city, chances are the ownership and control of various automotive dealerships resides in the hands of surprisingly few people.

http://www.penskeautomall.com/

It would be far less expensive to simply have one mega retailer instead of all those individual dealerships. In the case above, why not combine the Mercedes dealer with the Toyota and Volkswagon dealership? They are all owned by the same dealer, right? What's the difference?

It's all about the brand. Everything to do with Mercedes is completely different than Bentley , which is completely different than the Toyota. Slopping them all together would be a disaster for each brand, sales, and ultimately, profitability, for all kinds of reasons.

http://www.volkswagenag.com/content/vwcorp/content/en/brands_and_products.html

You won't see too many Skoda's parked in the MCL Motor Cars show room in Vancouver, even though they are both manufacturers are part of the Volkswagon Group. Why? Brand inconsistency and confusion.

Combining Aston Martin, Bentley, Jag and Land Rover all make sense from a premium branding perspective. Throwing in a discount brand such as Skoda or even Ford into the mix, even to the most obtuse observer, would make absolutely no sense whatsoever.

And that, dear readers, is why it is not done, and ultimately the reason why Singapore Airlines and Scoot are kept distinctly separate.

Regardless of the validity and legitimacy of any of these awards are to ANY recipient, these "awards" are Air Canada awards. Don't fool yourself into thinking they are Rouge awards.

If you buy into the legitimacy of the Skytrax awards, and I don't even though WJ ranked pretty highly in the North American context, then you have to buy into the entire program.

As noted earlier in the thread, the overall rating by consumers of that particular brand dramatically lags that of both the mainline brand, not to mention every other Cdn domiciled carrier in the survey.

http://www.airlinequ.../air_canrge.htm

http://www.airlinequ...rum/air_can.htm

To infer that that kind of performance is worthy of being considered in the same breath as Air Canada's "award winning" mainline service is at, best, rather optimistic and at worst, an incredibly dangerous branding risk.

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