Following our round-up last week on the best of faux airlines, including BLAH Airlines and Mallard Air, we received this feedback via Twitter:
The APEX association’s core values are built on community, education and innovation, and as such our goal is to support and uplift all of the companies within our industry – both big and small. Mallard Air, while not officially an APEX member (yet!), represents what they like to call “Little Airplane,” so we thought it was important to give this “faux” airline a platform to allow the world to learn a little bit more about who they are. They may be a teeny, tiny, so-small-they’re-almost-invisible company, but they certainly don’t have a little voice.
In every edition of APEX Experience Magazine we feature profiles of APEX members, the individuals who are at the heart of our business. Following in the spirit of this popular Q&A series, we were thrilled when the Mallard Air “higher ups” green-lit our interview with Doug, the airline’s social media, PR and marketing representative, so that we might gain some rare insights into the mystery and success behind Mallard Air.
Public Relations, Mallard Air
Doug used to work at Buzzfeed and now he works at Mallard! He loves the aviation industry and has always wanted to be a pilot. In the meantime, he’s really passionate about PR for Mallard Air.
Frequent Flight: MSP to LAX
Now Reading: Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
Hero: All teachers
Years in Industry: 1
Best airline industry acronym: Let’s just say I’m a “CAT” person
The future of flight will be: iPads
How would you define the Mallard Air passenger experience?
That’s a really good question! I’d say the MA experience is all about getting from Point A to Point B with as little turbulence (literal and figurative) as possible.
In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing the airline industry today?
I’d say for a little airline like us, it’s competing with what we like to call “Big Airplane.” We don’t have all the money from advertising so we have to be creative. And when we start to make a dent in their pocket books they come at us with slanderous campaigns. Sometimes they hack our site and make it so the buttons don’t click. And they also spread rumors like that we’re fake so that potential airplane ticket buyers get scared and go back to “Big Airplane.” They need to wake up and realize that there’s enough cake for everyone.
What can other airline marketing teams learn from Mallard Air? And vice versa, what have you learned most from other airline marketing strategies?
Well I’d say that one marketing team has already learned from us (you know which one I’m talking about), but if you ask me they’re not learning enough! When MA hired me away from Buzzfeed, they said, “Do things your way! We don’t have money to buy newspaper ads like traditional airlines, so we’re putting it on you to make a splash!” And that’s what I did! I came up with Mallard Miles which was a big hit with Mallard Heads. We have contests! We post pictures of the planes and we even help out local Minneapolis businesses with partnerships and team ups.
What’s your favorite travel-related hashtag?
Why it’s #FlyMallard of course! Although the #DoILookPlane selfie contest was a good one too!
Describe the experience of creating Mallard Air’s in-flight safety video with Chromeo.
We had very little to do with the actual production of the video, but we were so happy when we saw the final product, we had no idea how professional it would look! Our old video was very meat and potatoes, very boring. I’ve literally seen people dance in their seats to our in-flight video! I’m not talking about toe tapping, I’m talking about real life dancing! I think the nice thing too was to have something cool of our own like how Southwest and Virgin has, where people talk about it. It felt like we were one of the big players when it first came out and our phones were ringing off the hook!
If you had the APEX Editorial team over for dinner, what would you make us?
My signature spaghetti and meatballs! If you’re vegan it’ll just have to be the noodles though because I actually put beef stock in my sauce as well, sorry.