Latest posts by Martin Moodie (see all)
- Why the Wai beats the handshake every time in the COVID era - December 1, 2022
- Discovering the lure of luxury at Hong Kong Airport and with Le Clos at DXB - November 25, 2022
- Nearing the end of my year of the RAT - November 21, 2022
With the rain belting down in Taipei and the trees starting to bend alarmingly as Typhoon Soulik neared the capital, I decided not to chance my luck on waiting for the 20.15 down to Bangkok.
As a result I’m back in my old haunt of Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), this time in the United Club Lounge, having caught an Eva Air ‘Hello Kitty’ themed flight as the first stage in a now-21 hour journey home via HKIA and Munich.
And when I say ‘themed’ I really mean themed. Not only was the aircraft bedecked in Hello Kitty images but just about everything onboard was too, from the menu to the safety instructions and even the cabin crew, resplendent in Hello Kitty aprons. I half expected the pilot to pop out of the cockpit wearing a pink uniform and cat’s whiskers. And before I even caught my flight, there were the airport public areas (below). Fantastic stuff.
Retail always looks different by night, and it’s been interesting to roam the stores and watch the slightly more sedate shopping mood that seems to come with the nocturnal hours. Business appears to be very brisk indeed at this fantastic cross-roads of humanity.
Earlier today in Taipei I had the immense pleasure of conducting the first-ever trade press interview with Alan Lee (below), President of his family-held agency and distribution company Satolas. Alan is one of the most respected figures in the whole inflight retail industry and a real champion of the sector.
I also met his father Stewart, a wonderful man who founded the company many years ago before handing it on to his son. Since then Alan and his team have grown Satolas into a major force in inflight supply to Taiwan’s airlines as well as a highly effective agent for brands such as Camus and Chabot in the ground shop business. You can read their fascinating story in coming weeks and I can promise you it’s a fascinating insight into how great family companies prosper through endeavour, passion, relationship and sheer guts.
On the way out through Taipei Taoyuan Airport I was once again reminded of the airport’s tremendous commitment to Sense of Place, a concept particularly championed by its lead retailer, Ever Rich Duty Free. Take a look at the pictures below, which embrace not only the specialist shops but the gate areas and waiting lounges. There is no airport that even gets close.
Also getting close, after a near four hour wait, is my flight to Munich, not somewhere I figured I’d be heading tonight. Time to head down to the DFS wine store for a purchase or two, and then it’s time for the long, long journey home…
Footnote (from Munich Airport): Guess who forgot about the LAGs regulations? Fortunately the efficient and friendly DFS sales associate did not as I went to purchase a rather nice Bordeaux.