Social good is on a lot of people’s minds these days. With a turbulent economic climate and more social awareness, nonprofits, charities and businesses have been scaling their presence to give more, and have been doing so with unique models.
Over the past year, businesses in particular have been unprecedented in their initiatives ranging from pay-what-you-can schemes to giving free rides to volunteer events. The trend of spreading good is rightfully taking root in the global business community, and more and more airlines have been catching on with their own unique initiatives.
Airpoints, surprises and free wifi
Dutch carrier KLM has been widely recognized in the industry as a highly innovative carrier – a reputation that can also be applied to their involvement in kindness-based campaigns. In late 2010, KLM’s incredibly well-received KLM Surprise initiative, rewarded small gifts to random passengers who left an ‘@KLM’ tweet or checked in at the airline’s Schiphol Airport FourSquare locations. With New Zealand being the world’s first country to designate a national ‘Random Acts of Kindness Day’, it should come as no surprise that Air New Zealand has also been at the forefront of offering kindness to fliers. In addition to its long running gift-granting @AirNZFairy Twitter account, Air New Zealand earlier this year launched a similar campaign as KLM’s at Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch airports.
Recognizing and rewarding kindness made its way to South Africa this year in the form of Kindness Month. Mango, one of the country’s low cost carriers, and a subsidiary of South African Airways, commemorated its fifth birthday by implementing a new initiative to reward acts of kindness across the country. During ‘Kindness Month’, which started on 15 November and lasts until 15 December, 2011, Mango will be celebrating acts of kindness between South Africans “through hearing how South Africans helped one another.” Says Mango’s CEO Nico Bezuidenhout, “We want to hear about personal experiences, about individuals who have made a difference; small but significant acts that has impacted someone’s day, week or life. It could be a shop assistant who went out of their way for a customer, a friend in need, someone who gives you a lift when in challenging circumstances. Anything. In the lead up to the December holiday season, we need to share kindness in even larger measures.”
To be a part of Kindness Month, anyone can nominate anyone for any act of kindness in South Africa with a tweet, Facebook post, email, or by filling out a formon Mango’s site. Mango mentioned that they’ll be rewarding verified acts of kindness with “various token gestures,” such as flight tickets. Mango will also encourage its own staff to perform at least 200 minutes of kindness and community service annually.
Kindness isn’t the first initiative Mango has brought to the South African market. To making air travel more accessible to South Africans, Mango retails flight tickets through local supermarkets, and accepts retail account cards as payment online. In February 2012, Mango will be South Africa’s first low-cost airline to offer in-flight wifi (provided by Row44), with pricing expected to be between R50 (USD6, EUR4.50) and R100 per flight.