Delta Fixes Screw-up

There have been several instances of airlines charging outrageous amounts to military members for checked baggage. One such instance happened in June 2011.
Several soldiers were returning home after being deployed to Afghanistan and more than the usual amount of bags with them. When soldiers are travelling they must not only carry their personal items but also their equipment. Not only were the soldiers checking extra bags, but their bags were overweight. The soldiers were informed that they would have to pay $200 for their extra baggage. Once the soldiers got through security and onto the airplane they began to record their experience.
Delta instantly began change their rules concerning military personnel and their bags.
“Facing a barrage of criticism for charging soldiers returning from Afghanistan $200 each for a fourth checked bag on a flight from Baltimore to Atlanta, Delta Air Lines on Wednesday changed its policies about military baggage.
It will allow U.S. military members traveling on orders in economy class to check four bags without charge. Military members flying business or first class may check up to five bags free. The airline also expanded the size and weight of each bag to up to 70 pounds, more than the usual allowed 50 pounds, Delta announced Wednesday.
The move came after soldiers posted a YouTube video upon being charged the fee as they were en route home after deployment. The video was posted Tuesday and was viewed almost 200,000 times before it was removed by the person who put it up. By Wednesday afternoon, a Facebook page called Boycott Delta for Soldiers had sprung up, and the airline was backpedaling and apologizing to the soldiers.” – Delta Airlines PR Gaffe Over Military Baggage, Doug Mataconis
I think Delta handled this problem very well. They realized that they made a mistake and remedied the problem to prevent future problems.

Public Relations and the Hudson River Landing

On January 15, 2009 Captain Sullenberger landed an Airbus 320 in the Hudson River. The aircraft had ingested birds into the engines soon after takeoff losing both engines. The airplane was landing safely with only minor injuries to passengers.

In this day and age journalists are being replaced by onlookers with smartphones and social media accounts. According to Mark Hannah and MediaShift, when Captain Sullenberger landing in the Hudson, the story wasn’t broke by jou

All 155 people aboard Flight 1549 survived the crash landing in the Hudson River. Photo: Janis Krum / TwitPic

rnalists or news anchors but by a curious bystander. Janis Krums was on a nearby ferry and managed to take a picture of the landing with his iphone. He then uploaded it his twitter, and was interviewed by MSNBC before US Airways was able to issue an official response. There was even a Wikipedia account within 90 minutes of the landing, also beating an official statement from US Airways.

Many times the media isn’t the first to report a story. PR professionals now have to play more catch up and cleanup than ever before.

I believe that with the way social media has changed the world of reporting that US Airways couldn’t have done anything differently. They handled the incident in a very professional way, eventually getting in front of the social media reporting. The only thing I would have done differently was maybe create a twitter or facebook group to update everyone, instead of telling them to go to the US Airways website. People want to get all of their information in the same place and not go hunting for it.

Kellie Pickler Goes Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness

According to the American Cancer Society half of men and one third of women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes. I don’t know a single person that hasn’t been touched by cancer in one form or another. It is a horrible disease that takes those we love long before we are ready to give them up. I lost my father to colon cancer when I was in high school. It was just 2 weeks after I started flying. I still remember all of his friends telling me how proud he was and how much he would brag about me when I wasn’t around. My grandmother is currently battling pancreatic cancer. Each day she is with us is a day to be eternally grateful for.

Kellie Pickler on tour with the USO

In a time when it seems that celebrities are only in the news when they do something illegal or otherwise socially unacceptable it is great to hear about celebrities that use their fame and “name branding” to raise awareness for great causes. One such celebrity Kellie Pickler (country music artist).

Kellie originally shaved her head for her friend,  that is currently battling breast cancer. The music artist’s hair has since grown out long enough for her to carry it one step further and die it pink for breast cancer awareness. Pickler has also partnered with Tru Promotion to create a Iphone Case to raise breast cancer awareness.

This October 30 Kellie will also perform on a pink set at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville for a show titles “Women Rock for a Cure”.

At a time when it seems media only concentrates on the less than savory things that celebrities do it is nice to see that one celebrity is not buying into Hollywood’s version of “celebrity”. Here is one famous person that is using their name for a good cause. I only wish that other celebrity could learn from people like Kellie to promote other social hotspots.

Components of an effective Press Release

When I first read the email from my professor saying my blog post topic this week is “press releases that work” I immediately thought “what’s a press release?” Now that is not saying that I don’t have any idea what a press release is (I watch plenty of Criminal Minds, JJ is the press release queen) but I can’t say that I knew what would make a press release effective. The first thing I needed to find out was what is the definition of press release.

According to Dictionary.com:

press release: noun – a statement prepared and distributed to the press by a public relations firm, governmental agency, etc.

After deciding on a definition of a press release I had to find out what normally goes into writing a press release.

According to Hudson Horizons press releases follow a similar format so that people all over the world can read and understand it. A press release should have the following…

  • Title / Headline – the title should give a precise idea of what is within the press release and also be able to be searched on a search engine.
  • Sub-Title / Sub-Header – subtitles allow you to use more keywords to describe the press release.
  • Introduction / Lead – most important part of any report. Gives a quick summary of what is going to be discussed.
  • Body / Content – build upon what was summarized in the introduction
  • Company Bio – give a small overview of the company that the press release is for.
  • Ending – traditionally this is ###
  • Contact Information – who and how is the media or the public supposed to contact for more information.

PRWeb gives readers a few pointers on what to avoid when writing a press release.

Example of Press Release: Original Series Star Trek Stars to Appear at TrekFest XXV in Riverside, Iowa (June 26-27, 2009)

Press releases are a way for entities to control the flow of information to their public. As I mentioned earlier JJ on Criminal Minds gives press releases to the public informing them about whatever criminal they are hunting. For the team it is very important to control the information the public is receiving because often times the criminals are also watching what they report. To write an effective press release you must first understand who your public is and what information you want them to have.

 

 

NIFA Region 8 2012 SafeCon Competition

This last week was the 2012 NIFA (National Intercollegiate Flying Association) Region 8 Flight Team Competition. It was hosted by our very own ISU Flying Sycamores and held at Terre Haute International Airport. SAFECON is week long competition for schools with a flight team to get together and show their skills in various ground and flight events. This was my 3rd year competing (2nd as Section Leader).

For the past 3 years I have competed in S.C.A.N (Simulated Comprehensive Aircraft Navigation) and Computer Accuracy. For Computer Accuracy (C.A.) the contestants are only allowed to use a manual CR-3 or E6-B. If you know what a slide rule is, picture a circular one and that is what a CR-3 and E6-B are. In this ground event we figure a lot of performance and conversion problems. S.C.A.N. is best described as planning a long cross country and figuring all aspects of performance (fuel burn, climb, cruise, and weight and balance) and being familiar with the regulations that pertain to that flight.

Last year, marked the first year I competed as a Section Leader (I teach C.A. and S.C.A.N.) I was supposed to compete in the Flight Navigation Event (NAV). For this event students are given half of an hour to plan 5 checkpoints, planning for fuel burn and time. Then the students flight their plotted course trying to hit all checkpoints and get back to the airport as close to their estimated time and fuel burn. However, last year at MTSU (Middle Tennessee State University) there was a big hail storm and all airplanes were grounded cancelling all flying events. Essentially all of the contestants had a 5 day vacation in Tennessee :).

This year I was Section Leader again,  competing in S.C.A.N., C.A., NAV, Preflight, Power on and Power off landings, and Message Drop. There were only 2 events I did not compete in this year, Aircraft Recognition and Flight Simulator. It was a really fun week but I forgot to take pictures during the competition because we were hustling so quickly to get the airplanes on the ground and pulled into place for the next heat. It was also really windy on the ramp the first few days and rainy the last day of message drop.

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Friday was the day scheduled for Message drop (airplanes fly 200 ft above the ground and drop a balsam wood container into a barrel). The day started out cold with a threat of rain. Purdue was flying Cirrus’s this year in the competition but in order to drop a message out of the airplane you have to either open the wind or the door. Cirruses do not have windows, and it constitutes an emergency for the door to open inflight.  Because of this SIU (Southern Illinois University) and MTSU took the Purdue dropmasters up in their airplanes so that they could at least compete. A MTSU and Purdue team actually took second place.

Saturday was the last event, the award banquet. Every year ISU either takes last or second to last. Since I plan on being a graduate assistant next year I can compete one more year. Part of that plan is to be captain and increase the amount of study time we have a week. The other schools that we compete against are funded by their universities and practice 4+ hours a day. ISU is not funded and my section practice 2 hours a week. I want to increase the amount of fundraisers we do so that we can fund more flight practices I believe with the team I had competing with me this year we will have a force to reckon with next year.

Falling Numbers! How to retain members in a student organization.

As the president of a the Iota Rho chapter of Alpha Eta Rho on ISU’s campus I am dealing with the issue of retention. AHP is a professional fraternity for Aviation professionals. We normally have decent pledge classes but then the newly initiated members do not come back. How do we fix this? This week I have done research on how to retain members in a student organization and also developed what I feel is a good plan to start retaining our new pledges.

Oxnard College has published a paper titled “101 Ways to Recruit & Retain Student Organization Members”. This paper gives a lot of good pointers that I have taken to heart when planning how to get our numbers up. There is a reoccurring theme in most of the tips. Stay positive and happy, avoid monotony and have fun. That is one thing I am working on as President. This semester AHP has had several fun event evenings, including campus tag and bowling. We have also gone camping at the ISU Field Campus and visited a haunted house.

EHow also has a topic related article titled “How to keep Members in an Organization Interested“. This article has many recommendations that AHP has adopted this semester. The first tip is to reward your members for their hard work. AHP has accomplished this through gift certificates for Imperial Lanes for buy one get one free bowling games. We also make sure our meetings are no more than an hour (often times slightly longer than a half hour). This keeps our members informed without boring them. We also try to stay on topic through out the meetings so that people are not getting frustrated with the discussion.

It is very important for Alpha Eta Rho: Iota Rho chapter to get our retention rates up. We have also scheduled a visit to a brother chapter Theta at Western Michigan. We want our members to understand that they are part of something bigger. Alpha Eta Rho can help with networking and camaraderie for all of our students.

Iota Rho chapter is going to continue planning fun events and work on networking and building lasting friendships, this semester. Next semester our focus is going to be networking and professionalism. Next spring we will be attending the National AHP Conference and we will need to have our student members ready to mingle and network with their counterparts at other schools.

What does reasearch for PR have to do with Aviation?

Rarely in life does the answer to our questions fall right into our laps. We have to hunt for the answers, many times spending a very long time looking for the key piece of information that we need. This is true in everything we do, from buying a new pet, to interviewing for a job, and in the PR world it means researching to find the best answer to help our clients market themselves or their product.

In his paper,  “Research in Public Relations A review of the use of evaluation and formative research” Jim Macnamara quotes Dr. Walter Lindenmann’s, of Ketchum Public Relations, study done in 1988. Dr. Lindenmann stated that “most public relations research was casual and informal, rather than scientific and precise” and that “most public relations research today is done by individuals trained in public relations rather than by individuals trained as researchers” The reason that PR professionals tend to perform informal research could be because many times the research is for the purpose of finding out what their public wants and giving it to them.

Take for example the Aviation PR firm 8020 Communications, all it took was reading the first few customer reviews to find out how important research is to this company. 8020 is able to find out what the public wants from a company and give it to them in creative ways. Their ability to conduct research and interpret it is what contributes to their success.

When conducted properly, research is an invaluable tool. After identifying the public you wish to target, research allows you to tailor your approach in reaching them. No group is the same and neither should the campaign to inform them about your client be. If one was to stop and actually think about the definition of public relations (or the lack thereof), you would soon realize that everything involves PR in one form or fashion. That being said the importance of conducting research to know your audience and know what to do to reach them cannot be stressed enough.