KLM hires private security to get its flight crews to and from Cape Town International Airport

I mean, from their hotel in Cape Town to and from the airport.
Not from Amsterdam. They have planes for that.

I dunno. This might be a well known thing. It might be a very regular thing. But while we were waiting at International Arrivals the other day, we were watching these two guys from a private security firm hovering between the barriers and the doors, doing security stuff.

We were wondering if some celeb like Ant from Ant & Dec or Romanian football wizard Gheorghe Hagi was going to be coming through the magic doors from customs and be whisked away, but it turned out that they were waiting for the flight crew from KL597. And that made us understand that the bus in convoy with the private security vehicle that we’d seen going into the airport earlier was probably the flight crew for the outgoing KL598.

Now, I know that the N2 around the airport isn’t the nicest bit of road – especially at night – but this does seem a bit drastic. After all, the guys from the Air France flight were left to find a completely unguarded bus by themselves. And literally none of the passengers from both those flights had heavies or goons to get them safely to their hotel. Mind you, maybe none of them made it. We’ll never know.

Has there been a specific incident? Was there a specific threat? Or were these guys actually very clever robbers, picking their targets early on and then stealing all their stuff once they were safely on board the bus back to the hotel.

Of course they weren’t. They looked very professional, and as long as any crook was within arms length and there was no running involved, I’m sure they were very capable of capturing and detaining the baddies, as well.

But this isn’t a great look immediately as visitors enter SA. OK, we might not be Oslo-safe, but really, we’re not in Lagos territory either.

I’d love Capetonians thoughts on this. Is this the way we’re heading now? Because I can’t afford private security detail to get me to and from the airport each time I need to get somewhere.

So I guess it’s just as well that I can’t afford any flights either.

This place looks nice…

I live in Cape Town in South Africa. I’ve lived here for almost 20 years. It has it all. I love the food, the culture and the nature.

And I don’t know how much Facebook ads cost, but I feel that this repetitive effort by Dutch airline KLM is a somewhat unnecessary expense on their part.

Book my ticket to Cape Town? On your airline, that’s going to have to be via Amsterdam.

No chance. You might be ok with wasting loads of money, but I’m not.


So it turns out that getting your broken father onto a KLM 777-306(ER) at Cape Town International just before midnight on a Tuesday isn’t an absolutely straightforward experience, but can be aided by helpful staff. And so it turned out to be. Thanks to all concerned.

Still, upon returning home, I was quite reasonably expecting things to be more straightforward, but they weren’t, and 30 minutes after leaving the airport, I found myself showering our son because he was so feverish that he was having hallucinations.
A few SMSs later, and having been assured that Dad was on the flight, I settled off to sleep, only to be woken at 2, 3, 4 (thrice?) and 6 (twice) by the sound of copious vomiting from the Boy Wonder’s room.

I’m not quite with it today. The plan was to stay up and watch the footy tonight, but I’ll be lucky to make kick off.

In the meantime, here’s something that amused me this morning:

I’ve no idea if it’s grammatically correct, but I’m all about pseudo-intellectual, seasonal cartoons, especially when I’m so tired I can hardly think, so it’ll do nicely.

P.S. The boy is doing better this morning, thank you.
And Dad’s plane landed safely in Amsterdam, but I haven’t heard from him. Yet.

UPDATE: Apparently he’s on his connecting flight. I know you were all worried. Thanks for the concern.

Sherlock is on the case

Since we’re talking about Beagles, I figure that I should throw this into the mix, since I would have probably thought that it was pretty cool whether or not my home was plagued by Colin. It’s KLM’s Sherlock – their new Beagle-enabled service for quickly and easily returning property left on aircraft to its rightful owners before they’ve even left the terminal:

Clever stuff and a nicely made promo video too.

Huffington Post says:

KLM’s new lost and found program is a lesson in perverse incentives.

On one hand, owners who leave property behind risk losing it permanently. Then again, since lost items stand to be returned via Beagle, it may be tempting to start “accidentally” forgetting more things on the plane.

The Dutch airline has started using an adorable, vest-wearing dog to return lost property, sending him down the concourse to literally sniff out rightful owners after they’ve disembarked at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.

This isn’t the first time that KLM have used social media for cool stuff. But it does seem to be the first time they’ve integrated a Beagle into the equation.

Obviously, Sherlock is highly trained and highly intelligent. I have to literally show Colin to her food bowl in the evenings. And even then, she doesn’t always seem sure what she should be doing with it.
Suffice to say that if Colin was given an iPhone to sniff and was then sent on her way at Schiphol, that would be the last you would see of either phone or dog.

Flying news

Another two parter – this time with airlines doing nice some altruistic (sort of) things for people.

I like KLM’s surprise for social media users (spotted via @tara_lawson). And though it was just a bit of an experiment, it worked for them, with over a million mentions on twitter alone. Someone, somewhere will be able to tell me how much that is worth to a brand.
(And someone is going to pull me up on the meaning of the word “altruistic” too, aren’t they?)

The best bits for me were that they were taking ordinary people in an ordinary situation and making their lives just a bit better and then they were not just giving gifts out, but that those gifts were considered and tailor made for each of the recipients. That shows real thoughtfulness because those are the gifts that mean the most – even to a “stranger”.

And they’re right: “Doing something that creates a real smile on somebody’s face is much cooler than attaching a smiley face”.

Nice work, Ogilvy.

Meanwhile, er… Ogilvy have created a brilliant campaign for KLM’s rivals, British Airways, on the back of the Ashes tour to Australia.
With England set to win the final match (and the series and the Ashes with it) tomorrow, BA have launched an online promotion for flights from Sydney to London, offering to discount flights by the largest amount of runs England scores in a single Ashes innings.

The tongue-in-cheek campaign is running on Australian sites only, such as the Sydney Morning Herald, and uses the strapline “Do something you never thought you would do. Cheer on England”.
Andrew Boggs, business director for the British Airways account at Ogilvy London, said: “The idea was to offer Australian cricket fans some consolation in defeat – without resorting to triumphalism or condescension.”

Right, Andrew. I’m sure the Aussies don’t see it as triumphalism or condescension. *cough*

Because they have been so very dominant in the series, England haven’t actually had to have too many innings’. However, I think I’m right in saying that their knock in the current match in Sydney was their best at 644 (A$644 = £415) – knocking about a third off the cheapest flights to London.

Throw in some cricket lessons for them as well and I think that’s a pretty good deal.