Did KLM’s 2015 April Fools’ prank go too far?

When it comes to April Fools’ hoaxes, no other airline can compete with KLM. Remember the video of a beagle running through Schiphol to find the owners of items left behind (2014)? Or “Meet & Seat“, a social seating service that supposedly allowed passengers to choose their seatmates based on their social media profiles (2012)?

This year, the world’s oldest still operating airline pranked thousands of customers by sending them an email saying that their upcoming flight had been cancelled. No reason was given in these messages.

You might think that the passengers then called KLM only to be told “April fools! We got you good, didn’t we?” and everybody would have had a laugh. In the days before social media and viral content, this might have been sufficient. But in order to surpass the success of last year’s lost & found beagle video (which is approaching 20.000.000 views) and to guarantee that enough buzz would be created, KLM took things to the next level. Step 1: To make sure passengers had to resort to social media to get in touch, nobody in the call center picked up the phone. Step 2: Contacting KLM through Facebook was only possible by making a public post to the page.

This meant that the passengers’ hilarious stories could be enjoyed and shared by everyone. Here’s one of my favorites:
KLM April Fools Prank 1

Forcing passengers to make public posts had another brilliant effect: Since people were posting under their own name and often mentioned their booking codes, this meant anybody could use these credentials to change a few things through KLM’s “My Trip” service. Travelling to Martinique on your honeymoon? Let’s put your spouse in seat 11A and you in 57F. Flying to Buenos Aires? You’ll certainly appreciate a fine Indian vegetarian meal. Do you require a stroller? No? You have one now. Crowdpranking at its finest.

KLM Prank 2

Once again, KLM has demonstrated an unparalleled mastery of social media. I can’t even imagine what they’ll come up with next year. Support exclusively through Tinder, but only if you’re DTF? I’m certainly looking forward to it.

Saving Luxembourg

Things are not running smoothly in Luxembourg at the moment. Here’s what happened in the past few weeks alone:

  • Banking secrecy is history as Luxembourg has finally agreed to automatically exchange account information with authorities in other countries.
  • A landfill landslide buried some trees and an entire road, which is bad enough for such a small country, but to make matters worse the construction sector is having a hard time finding alternative sites to dispose of soil and rubble.
  • Despite ongoing criticism, the tram project is still going ahead.

It might still be too early to say that Luxembourg’s new government is failing, but it sure looks like it could use a hand. Some citizens are already trying to help, like the two engineers who presented the latest alternative to the tram a few weeks ago. It’s a cable car and yes, its five huge pylons would probably destroy the city, too, but at least these people are trying to solve one of Luxembourg’s major problems instead of just complaining.

It would certainly be easy to make fun of this idea. I mean, is there any mode of transportation that hasn’t been suggested yet? Since nobody liked my Lux-MRT, how about artificial canals and gondolas? However, now’s not the time to be silly. So I recently spent a few minutes thinking about these issues and can now happily announce that I’ve solved them.

To understand how Luxembourg can be saved, let’s take a trip to Rio. Have a look at the cable car to Sugarloaf Mountain:
Cable car Sugarloaf Mountain

Notice how it doesn’t need pylons because of the height difference between sea level and the top of the mountain? Of course, the situation in Luxembourg is quite different and it won’t really be possible to build such an impressive monolith on Kirchberg plateau. We could, however, use all the construction waste that has nowhere to go to elevate the station at Kirchberg far above the level of the train station. This would greatly reduce the number of pylons required for the cable car.

“But what about all the buildings on Kirchberg? What about the banks? Won’t they be buried under a giant mountain of rubble?” Well yes, but here’s the thing: with banking secrecy gone, we won’t really be needing them anymore. Whatever remains of the financial sector can certainly be relocated back to Boulevard Royal.

“But who would want to use the cable car then?” Tourists, of course, just like in Rio. They’ll all want to visit Luxembourg to see the world’s largest man-made mountain. Austria abolished banking secrecy, too, but at least they still have the Alps. It’s only fair that we divert some of their tourists to Luxembourg.  Just think of all the Dutch people! You can almost hear them packing their caravans already.

There you go, I just solved all of Luxembourg’s recent problems in one fell swoop. Come back again next week to find out how we can save the European Union.

Amazon: Neuausrichtung auf Konserven

Nach einer ersten Stellungnahme zur Verbannung bestimmter Kunden hat sich Amazon nun gegenüber Analysten zur weiteren Geschäftsstrategie geäußert. Demnach will sich der weltweit größte Online-Händler in Deutschland wieder verstärkt auf seine Kernkompetenzen konzentrieren. Gerüchte, Amazon wolle nur noch Bücher selbst verkaufen und ansonsten Drittanbietern das Feld überlassen, entsprächen allerdings nicht der Wahrheit. Vielmehr sehe man im Lebensmittelbereich große Wachstumschancen und möchte besonders das Angebot an Konserven stark ausbauen. Die Kunden sollen weiterhin mit einer freiwilligen 30tägigen Rückgabegarantie überzeugt werden. Innerhalb dieser Zeit könnten die Konservendosen zuhause in Ruhe von außen betrachtet werden.

Von der Neuausrichtung erhofft sich Amazon deutliche Kostensenkungen. Missbräuchliche Retouren möchte man in Zukunft automatisch anhand des Gewichts identifizieren. Auch beim Verpackungsmaterial soll gespart werden: dieses sei überflüssig, die robusten Dosen ließen sich problemlos einzeln ohne Umverpackung versenden. Die Kunden wären mittlerweile daran gewöhnt, eine Bestellung in zahlreichen Einzelpaketen zu erhalten.