Hitting new heights on Hong Kong Airlines

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

I’ve started writing this Blog from 34,000 feet, 1,000 miles out of Hong Kong. I’ve set up my most innovative Moodie Report bureau yet – onboard Hong Kong Airlines 875 out of Hong Kong International Airport en route to London Gatwick Airport.

I’m two hours into the flight and I tell you something – this is every business traveller’s fantasy. Because Hong Kong Airlines is a fledgling carrier, the plane is almost empty.  And except for one fellow passenger about five rows back, I have an entire cabin section to myself.

So far I have been looked after by no less than four female cabin crew – Jenny, Michelle, Lorraine and the Chief Purser who goes by the appropriate name of Wing. Each has been unfailingly polite, graceful and gracious in equal measure.

Each has stopped by just to chat, to check that I am satisfied with the service, to top up my excellent French Aussiéres Blanc (it seems rude not to…), to offer me some Godiva chocolate (“dark or milk, Mr Moodie?”) and to let me know about the facilities available onboard. I almost don’t want the plane to land.

Those onboard services include an excellent inflight duty free catalogue called Sky Shop (I love the landscape format, the paper quality, the range of products and the production values – well done Inflight Sales Group) and – now I really am in Moodie Report paradise – Wi-Fi!!!!!!!!

My last refuge from a sleep-deprived, jet-lagged existence, the ability to grab a few hours of e-mail-free rest on a plane, has just been taken away. But I’m not complaining. I’m so far behind in my work that this is a priceless opportunity to catch up in a relatively pressure-free (albeit pressurised) environment. On top of the day job, I’ve got a 200 page coffee table book to write within 3 weeks about Duty Free Philippines’ first 25 years – so this is a valuable and surprise opportunity to get a couple of chapters done.

What a life. I never tire of the excitement of digital publishing. When I started off in travel retail publishing back in 1987 we had a telex machine in my office. Fax was the new big thing. We published print magazines every fortnight, mailed them out around the world and congratulated ourselves on our speed. In reality we were only as fast as the postman.

Now I can break a news story at a moment’s notice to the whole travel retail world, not just from my office, or from my laptop in a hotel room, but from 34,000 feet. The Hong Kong International Airport core category tender results could come in right now as I’m flying over Baotou, China, and I could break the story. Isn’t that something?

Jenny (Cheung), pictured below, has just come by to top up my glass and check if I want to buy any duty free. Because the offer is good and because she is so incredibly friendly, I will. There are lessons here. And one of them, most certainly, is to buy a ticket onboard Hong Kong Airlines the next time you fly into or out of Hong Kong.

If it holds onto the values of excellence and simply great service displayed on this journey, not only will subsequent flights be full but the airline will become a massive success.

[Postscript: Ok the system is not flawless. I lost my signal somewhere over central China (hope that Hong Kong tender story didn’t break while I was away). Pity, I could have launched our planned new The Moodie Report China on location…

But I got connected again somewhere between Ulan Bator, Mongolia and Novosibirsk, and hey, with the press of a keystroke, 2,043 miles after I started writing, The Moodie Blog is live from… Russia.]

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