There’s a community for almost everything, including eclipse chasers. And members of niche communities love to travel for their passions. So what do you do if you’re an airline, scheduled to traverse the “path of totality” (basically the best international seats for eclipse-watching) and a bunch of astronomers approach you to see if there’s anything you can do to make their super moon solar eclipse hunting even better?
If you’re Alaska Airlines, and your flight on March 8, 2016 between Anchorage and Honolulu was expected to pass, you could actually choose to blow your customers’ minds. Now maybe you missed this story, because we did at first, but that’s just what Alaska Airlines did, in an exceptional tale of customer service.
It all started with an astronomer’s request to Alaska Airlines’ director of onboard brand experience Chase Craig, who floated the idea up the chain to the fleet director who agreed to review and revise the flight paths and delay departure by 25 minutes in order to perfectly (and safely) catch this rare event. On the day, the flight captain, air traffic control and maintenance team were prepped – they even washed the windows on the right side of the plane. Talk about a great onboard brand experience.
“We recognize our customers’ passions,” said Craig on the airlines’ blog, honing in on what should be at the core of every destination or tourism business strategy. “Certainly we can’t change flight plans for every interest, but this was a special moment, so we thought it was worth it.” We couldn’t agree more.
And while many of us won’t get a chance to share in something as remarkable as the umbraphiles’ March flight (Alaska Airlines’ Twitter customer service rep Linnea says she’ll let us know if they’re doing anything for the September 1 eclipse), we can at least see the Northern Lights from inside a plane. Icelandair launched the Boeing 757 Hekla Aurora last year, a plane that features aurora borealis painting on the outside, and dancing blue, green and purple lighting on the inside. You can request the possibility of flying on it here.
Great customer service paired with natural phenomena? This is definitely something we can get on board with.