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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Crewtags.aero hardware.

Over the Queen's Jubliee weekend, the Crewtags.aero hit a bit of a technology speed bump. The systems we use to print are entirely dependent on the Windows platform. Our primary machine used to print from suffered a complete mainboard meltdown (some might say it was overworked, others might argue it was a little old!) So without our primary Windows computer to print from, that halted production. Our design machine (a 27" iMac) was unaffected and design work could still continue, but was unable to talk to the printers. Our aim has always been to run all the systems from the far-more-reliable Mac environment, so a replacement printer-connected machine with the capabilities of running Mac OS and Windows simultaneously was investigated. The decision was made to bring all our systems to Mac and a new MacBook Air chosen to run the printers. With the printers still relying on Windows, a large amount of time was spent setting up the Air to work with Windows in a Boot Camp environment. Strangely, Windows runs better on a Mac than it does on a PC - a testament to Mac hardware! The acquisition of the new hardware and the work involved in future proofing the hardware and software set up meant we had to halt production for a few days and the orders stacked up. The IT monkeys worked their little tails off to get us back up and running as quick as possible. Crewtags.aero is back and more future proof than ever!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

SITA - Annual Baggage Report

Every year, SITA produces an industry report for airlines regarding trends in the worldwide handling of baggage.
The report makes for interesting reading. Through statistical analysis and facts from airline handlers and claims departments, it highlights areas within the industry where baggage handling continues to be problematic.

Transfer bags are the No.1 problem area for mishandled baggage. Over 50% of all mishandled luggage is due to transfer errors. Of course, there are a variety of reasons why a transfer bag may not make it to the correct aircraft on time, but when it does happen it's a cause of great frustration to the passenger and of course costly to the airline.

If you imagine how many stages of handling an average suitcase may go through to get from one aircraft to another on a standard airport transfer. There are many areas where something can go awry. Misidentified luggage accounts for only a very small proportion of those bags, but when looking at the staggering number of bags involved, we see that nearly 800,000 bags per year are misidentified.

That's where Crewtags.aero steps in. Proper luggage tags on all your bags will help reduce your luggage being misidentified. A handler can make a quick cross check to see if the names match with the airline tags and can quickly identify if they don't.

Nearly 650,000 bags per year end up classified as "lost/stolen". If you don't have proper, sturdy identification on your bags, yours could end up part of that statistic. If official airline labelling comes off your luggage, without any additional form of ID, it could be consigned to the many thousands of bags which have their contents auctioned off when the prescribed "lost property" time period has elapsed.

Buying your luggage tags from Crewtags.aero will greatly reduce the risk of your bags becoming part of these statistics.

The full report from SITA can be found here: http://comms.sita.aero/BaggageReport2012_BaggageReport-LP-0512.html

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The new Crewtags.aero Website

As the developer of Crewtags.aero, setting about writing a completely new website, from scratch may seem straight forward to a lot of people.
You add some graphics here, some special effects there and hey presto - a new website.

Well, there's a little more to it than that, and here's why:

Google is your best friend, or your worst enemy. Spending time working with people who know Google will tell you that it is a very fickle and stubborn entity. You can be surprised by it and also very annoyed by it.
Just three days after the first Crewtags.aero site in October 2011 was launched, we we're amazed to see immediate hits on our best selling British Airways "To Fly. To Serve." tag. And why was that? Quite simply, the Google engine had indexed our tag image as No2 from the search term "to fly to serve". It was there in all it's glory at the top of the Google Images page.

"Great!" we thought. But over time, more websites start to fight for that position, the index changes and things can start to slip.
What can be done about that? Well, primarily, Google is a content fiend. It loves new content to feed on. To help build a Google rank, new content from a site is a must. Secondly, it loves linking. The more people who link to the site, the better. By creating new tags, new news stories, building a social following on Twitter and Facebook and generally feeding the content monster, will put you in a good position as Google (over time) starts to understand the quality of content coming from a site.

So how does this affect what is needed from a new website?
Well, we have certain rankings within the Google UK search engine that we want to keep. Our customers search for all kinds of keywords (they are staying secret ;o) which are key to driving potential customers to our site. If we went ahead and built a new website from scratch, ditching all the old content and completely rebuilding from new - guess what - Google will look at it, chew it a bit, and spit it back out. Completely changing the structure, format and fundamental key words within a new site could (potentially) seriously affect the Google rankings. The hard work getting the old site to where it is within certain ranks might be lost. Not good business sense.

So really, whilst the site is visually very different (we'll come back to that), the structure has had to follow it's existing pattern, to keep the search engines happy. For the eagle-eyed, things like viewing a tag description uses the page "tags.php?id=123" - why? There's lots of links that exist in forums, posts, Facebook etc that link directly to these pages. If, for example, we changed the URL name to "crewtags.php?id=123" all of those existing links (which all help Google rankings) would now be broken, Google gets angry with broken content and sacrifices your index.

Visitor flow within the website is generally quite short. On average, it only takes 4 pages to find, personalise and checkout with your preferred tags. Our customers like "easy". And with a short visitor-flow, it saves a lot of hassle.
The new site has completely rebuilt part of that flow to make it even easier to find what your looking for. You may now notice the left column has tag categories. Simple - go directly what you're looking for. The top menu has simplified looking for your airline, by breaking it down alphabetically saves having a long menu system. We've also introduced our own custom search feature which can take you directly to related tags, and the home page offers a selection of random tags which might catch your eye.

Hidden and subtle little visual niceties help reinforce the brand. Did you notice the left-column menus are all the exact shape of a Crewtag? The radius corners of each page element are all the same as a tag. The colour scheme is also much more easy on the eye - out with the baby-blue and in with Web 2.0 colouring. Even the colour of the body text is the same navy blue that is used by a huge number of airlines around the world on their aircraft and company literature.

We'll cover a few more features in future blog posts, but this will at least give you an idea of where the inspiration came from. There's a lot more in the pipeline which will make its way onto the site. But for now, enjoy the new site!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lufthansa have landed at Crewtags.aero

As the national flag carrier of Germany, Lufthansa deserves it's own crewtag.

Featuring the logo which has stood the test of time since 1918, the encircled stylized crane was originally created by Otto Firle as part of the first German national airline: Deutsche Luft-Reederei (DLR). Deutsche Luft Hansa adopted the logo as part of their fleet design in 1926 - where it continued to fly in this form until the post-war, reinvented Lufthansa as we know and love today. In 1956 they sought to keep continuity with their long-standing heritage and chose to continue with the crane logo.

It remains to this day, one of the most recognisable airline logos.

You can get your own personalised Lufthansa baggage tag at the Crewtags.aero website

The 200th Facebook "Like" Competition

After the success of our first little competition (the 100th Facebook "Like" wins 2 free Crewtags), we've decided to run it again for the "200th" Like!

It's quite simple really, if you like Crewtags.aero and want to continue to get news, features, fresh tag designs and competitions, simply "like" our Facebook page for your chance to WIN 2 FREE Crewtags of your choice.

The last competition winner was Lane from Tyne and Wear - her tags are winging their way to her as we speak. Well done Lane!

Monday, February 27, 2012

British Airways - Advert 2012: The Race

British Airways have always been innovative and smart with their approach to advertising.
You find me one person who can't listen to Delibes' Flower Duet from Lakmé and doesn't think British Airways advert! (well, anyone over the age of 20 at least...)

Their new advert has all the hallmarks of great advertising. Fun, peril, excitement (and for aviation enthusiasts) aeroplanes! Typically patriotic, the advert features a baggage race between the UK, USA, Japan, South Africa and Brazil. Of course, the Brits come out as victors.

But I can't help but notice that not one of the bags has a Crewtag on! They would stand a much better chance of reaching the correct destination being properly identified by a personalised baggage label.

Why not add a British Airways personalised baggage tag to your bag? Find our BA selection here:
British Airways Crewtags

Crewtags rough handling demonstration

We decided to provide a demonstration of the ability of a standard Crewtags.aero product to withstand rough handling. This is an extreme situation which your tags should never find themselves in, nonetheless it clearly shows a hold suitcase (10kg test load) is held whilst extraordinary forces are applied. 

No modifications were made to the tag, it is identical to products sold through Crewtags.aero