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How to know your Airbus from Boeing August 12, 2010

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Airlines, Aviation, Travel.
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Many of us admire airplanes for the graceful, elegant and sleek flying machines that they are.

How many of you have wondered about the type or kind of the aircraft that you are traveling in or flying over you in the sky? Is it a Boeing or an Airbus? Is it an A330 or a B777?


Here’s a simple aircraft identification guide for those with a budding interest in aviation. I’ll try to make this post as visual as possible since plane-spotting works best by observing as many different types of aircraft as possible and drawing your own inferences. Now sit back, relax and enjoy this journey!

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A Video Journey of First Airbus A380 Deliveries July 6, 2013

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Airlines, Aviation.
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On 3rd July, 2013, British Airways became the world’s 10th airline to become an Airbus A380 operator.

Here’s a look back into time when these 10 airlines took delivery of their first Airbus A380s. As you can see from these compendium of videos provided by Airbus, A380 delivery ceremonies are lavish and elaborate affairs, with beaming airline executives taking delivery of their mighty superjumbos in the company of Airbus executives. These events are lapped up by global media and aviation enthusiasts and often culminate in a take-off of the A380s from the Delivery Centre to their home bases, where they are accorded a royal welcome.

Singapore Airlines on 15th October, 2007 became the first airline in the world to take delivery of the A380.

Emirates followed suit on 28th July, 2008 and is today the world’s largest operator of the A380, with 35 in fleet and 55 on order. Make sure you watch this video capturing one of the grandest A380 delivery ceremonies ever!

Qantas on 19th September, 2008

Air France was the first European airline to join the elite A380 club on 30th October, 2009

Lufthansa on 19th May, 2010

Korean Air on 24th May, 2011

China Southern Airlines on 14th October, 2011

Malaysia Airlines on 29th May, 2012

Thai Airways on 27th September, 2012

And most recently,

British Airways on 3rd July, 2013

Emirates Aviation Experience takes-off in London July 5, 2013

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Airlines, Aviation.
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Are you fascinated by the magic of flying? London now has a new tourist attraction that will appeal to all aviation lovers – The Emirates Aviation Experience.

Tim Clark and Boris Johnson Emirates Aviation Experience Image 1

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson and Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline, at the opening of the Emirates Aviation Experience

The Emirates Aviation Experience, which costs in excess of £4 million, will take you on an interactive journey into the world of flight. In a UK first, it includes 4 commercial flight simulators under one roof including 2 A380 SIMs and 2 Boeing 777 SIMs. #avgeeks will also get to check out a 3D hologram of the internal mechanisms of an aircraft, a state-of-the-art HD video-wall and a full-size nose-cone and flight deck of an Airbus A380.

Enjoy this walk-around of the Emirates Aviation Experience:

The Emirates Aviation Experience will be open to the public daily from 6th July, from 08:00hrs to 19:00hrs. It is located at the Greenwich Peninsular end of the Emirates Air Line cable car. The closest underground station is North Greenwich.

Flight simulators can be a lot of fun, as you can see in this video below of 3 Arsenal players attempting to land an Airbus A380 at Dubai International Airport in an Emirates A380 Simulator.

Emirates Aviation Experience

Emirates Aviation Experience

In addition to the ‘Flight Simulators’ zone, visitors will be able to look at a cross-section of a Rolls Royce Trent 800 jet engine partially built in LEGO, a virtual wind tunnel application looking at how this influences flight, a touchscreen game explaining the turnaround process of an aircraft, and a replica A380 Economy Class seating area – with a range of aviation themed videos utilising Emirates’ ice system. In addition, the Emirates Aviation Experience will also include a food and beverage outlet  and retail zone.

The Emirates simulator experience will start from £45 for a 30 minute slot, when booked in advance online. Entrance to the Emirates Aviation Experience will be £3.00 for adults and £1.50 for children under the age of 12. You can book online at http://www.aviation-experience.com.

Travelogue – A weekend in Jakarta March 29, 2013

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Airlines, Travel.
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A visual travelogue from my weekend getaway to Jakarta, Indonesia in October 2012. This was my first trip on Emirates Airline since joining them. Enjoyed the journey on Business Class onboard the Emirates Boeing 777-300ER. Lovely flight, fantastic service. Jakarta is a very chilled out destination. Very green city. Extremely friendly people. The welcoming smiles begin at the Visa on Arrival counter. It is one of the most populous cities in the Far East and can be a bit overwhelming, however I was able to find my unique oasis of tranquility. I enjoyed a relaxing stay at Le Meridien, watched the rains from my window, did a bit of mall crawling and city hopping, and caught up on much-needed sleep, before jetting back to Dubai. I wouldn’t mind going back to Jakarta again. Bali as well, next time!

All pics clicked on iPhone 4s.

 

An inspiring lesson from Life of Pi February 23, 2013

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Uncategorized.
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So I finally got to watch Life of Pi last week and to say I loved it is an understatement. Life of Pi is a beautiful story – a visual adventure replete with rich fantasy and poignant moments. Suraj Sharma gives a fabulous performance as the young Pi. But most importantly, I was wonder struck and hugely inspired by a very powerful theme in the movie – the ability to create a silver lining out of a cloud. The saying ‘Every cloud has a silver lining’ is well-known. But no one knows if every cloud comes naturally with a silver lining or if it only lies in the eyes of the beholder. The movie starts off with the young Piscine coming up with an ingenious way to stop his classmates from calling him ‘pissing’ – he rebrands himself as Pi. This watershed incident then goes on to set the narrative of the whole movie. The adult Pi introduces the characters of the tiger, hyena, orangutan and zebra in the lifeboat replacing the more painful, tragic human characters. In the process, he creates a better story for himself and for the viewer. I wonder if a pinch of Pi in all of us would make life and living more worthwhile. The ability to use imagination, ingenuity and fantasy to create a silver lining in the cloud of every adversity should surely make life more beautiful. And in the process, create better stories and inspiring journeys.

Adult Pi Patel: So which story do you prefer?

Writer: The one with the tiger. That’s the better story.

Adult Pi Patel: Thank you. And so it goes with God.

Writer: [smiles] It’s an amazing story.

Time to break the radio silence – I’m back! February 22, 2013

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There has been an eardrum-shattering radio silence on this blog and the reasons have been aplenty. For starters, I’ve been hugely active on Twitter (I know, just another silly excuse). I’ve spent 2 years with one of the best social media agencies in Dubai (Omnicom) working on one of the world’s biggest brands on social media (PepsiCo) – learning a lot in the process and evolving from an ‘ad creative guy’ to a ‘media and community strategy person’. I’ve been fueling my passion for aviation, traveling around the world and most importantly, working towards my dream job – a communications role in the airline industry, which finally bore fruit in September 2012. w00t!

I now work for Emirates Airline in an exciting social media role. I’ll be hitting 6 months with them in a few days and am very pleased with the journey that has taken me this far.

An airline job has been my dream for my years and something that I have worked towards since I started my first job in 2005. It’s amazing to be in a role where your passions meet – it doesn’t feel like ‘work’. Being surrounded by the world’s largest fleet of Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s works wonders for one’s #avgeek soul. That said, there are challenges galore and expectations to meet, which is fair, square and deal.

I’m hoping to blog more often – especially as this blog has helped tremendously in my growth as a person and professional. I get very encouraging comments on my best post on this blog – How to know your Airbus from Boeing and I believe that my blog and your support will take me miles ahead on my journey to learn and share. Happy reading! Happy flying!

My last flight on Kingfisher Airlines April 2, 2012

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Airlines, Aviation, Branding, India, Marketing, Social Media, Travel, UAE.
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I’m a loyal customer of India’s Kingfisher Airlines. I first flew Kingfisher in Jan 2011 but since then I have flown them 15 times. I fly them as much as possible. I often pay a premium to fly them even when I have cheaper or non-stop flights available. I even recommend it to those who are looking for flights to India. The only time I flew another airline to India instead of Kingfisher I felt like I was cheating on a partner.

What I like the most about Kingfisher is how they make me feel special when I fly with them. Another reason I love to fly them is their social media engagement. I became a loyal Kingfisher customer because of how they engaged with me on social media the first time I flew with them and have been connected to me since then.

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Seattle Ahoy on the Emirates Inaugural March 9, 2012

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Airlines, Aviation, Travel, UAE.
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So I lost control of my #avgeek senses and flew off to Seattle for a weekend on the inaugural Emirates flight out of Dubai.

I’ve always wanted to go to Seattle, visit Boeing and the Future of Flight Museum, catch up with #avgeek friends in the Puget Sound and most importantly, get on an inaugural flight and experience a water cannon salute. So I HAD to be on the inaugural EK229 on 1 March 2012 and tick off a couple of items on the bucket list.

Seattle is an amazing place and I don’t say that just because it is the home of Boeing. I will be back soon with more stories on Seattle but till then, enjoy these 2 videos!

Click here to read a travelogue of my trip featured on ArabianSupplyChain.com. 

Are you really doing social media? February 17, 2012

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Conversations, Digital, Marketing, Social Media.
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Blogging. Microblogging. Social Networking. Location-based services. Social Bookmarking. Social Media Optimization. Gamification. Social Media Analytics. Social Communities. Content Strategy. Content Curation. ROI. Social Business. Brand Monitoring. Influencer Outreach. Sentiment Analysis. Buzz Monitoring. Share of Voice. User-Generated Content. Crowdsourcing. Viral Marketing. Engagement. Storytelling. It goes on.

Sometimes, it’s good to take a step back from all that and ask a simple question: why do people use social media?

Social media helps PEOPLE connect and build relationships with other PEOPLE*.

Are your social media efforts doing the same? If not, you are not doing social media.

*Or brands who can be human. 

Pic credit: Flickr

What every brand can learn from Finnair’s social media content strategy January 31, 2012

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Advertising, Airlines, Aviation, Branding, India, Marketing, Social Media.
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I’m a huge fan of Finnair’s content strategy on social media. Suddenly, content strategy sounds like a buzzword. So for the sake of simplicity, I’d say unique and creative ways of connecting with travelers and creating buzz.

If I could create a manifesto for them, it would be something like:

At Finnair, let us create engaging content by -

  1. Focusing on passion points that people already love
  2. Being relevant and topical
  3. Being emotionally appealing
  4. Owning the experience at all touch points
  5. Ensuring attention to detail
  6. Having fun while creating the experience

It’s not easy bringing all these elephants into one room, but if and when you do, you have created magic.

It started in September 2011 with the Angry Birds flight from Helsinki to Singapore featuring the first ever Angry Birds Asian Challenge (sponsored by Samsung and Roxio). They branded and owned the experience like no other, from a creative and execution point of view. The entire plane, airport, crew and in-flight experience screamed Angry Birds. They got the passengers to play an in-flight Angry Birds challenge. Even served Angry Birds cupcakes when they landed in Singapore.

Check out these delightful snaps from the Angry Birds flight at Travelerfolio.

And then they did it again in January 2012 with the Bollywood dance video on a flight to New Delhi to celebrate India’s Republic Day. The video has nearly 3.5 million video views as of today and tons of positive PR. They spotted an opportunity at the unique intersection that Indian airlines or other international airlines majorly serving India missed – India’s love affair with Bollywood and patriotic feelings inspired by the Republic Day. And the fact that Indians would warmly appreciate the gesture by a ‘foreign airline’.

The secret here to create engaging content is to have an open slate, tell an interesting story and not be restricted by the canvas of your industry. Think about who you are targeting, what captures their interest most and be creative about it while having fun. The views will take off and the buzz will happen.

My secrets to air travel on a budget June 10, 2011

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Airlines, Aviation, Social Media, Travel, UAE.
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I’m a budget conscious traveler who takes a lot of pride in unearthing the best travel deals. I’m usually the guy my friends come up to because I always lead them to the best travel deals in the market. What’s my secret sauce?

Today, there are a plethora of online resources available that help you unearth great bargains no matter where you are flying to. These tools are my lifeline.

In today’s post, I’m going to put out some of my secrets as well as some cool tips that can help you discover great deals when it comes to flights. Fasten your seat belts, folks!

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