Analysistypically starts with product dimension as the service product is the heart ofa company’smarketingstrategy. Even if all other dimensions of the marketing mix were designed andexecuted inanexcellent manner, a company could not be successful with a poorly developedcore product(Lovelocket al.
, 2008). The core service that customers purchase when they book a flightis simplygettingfrom point A to B. The airline product further consists of aspects like safety,reliability in13terms ofpunctual departure and arrival, services provided prior to the flight which aremostlyexperiencedat the airport, in-flight services including food and beverages, In-FlightEntertainmentandCommunication (IFEC), convenience regarding the seat itself and the availableseat pitch,handlingbaggage, type of aircraft and equipment and the interaction with staff whichwill beanalyzed indetail in Section 3.2.5 . Kossmann (2006) also includes the brand which makessense asthereputation of an airline definitely depends on their brand image. Even thoughthe product ismany-faceted(Shaw, 2011) Wensveen (2007) argues that there is hardly space for productdifferentiation.
He points out that especially on short-haul flights airlines mostly providestandardizedproducts. Assuming that airline A and airline B provide the same service, forinstance alight-mealservice on a specific route, passengers are likely not to deduct a differencebetween thetwoproducts. As a consequence they may choose the carrier which offers mostflights at aconvenienttime.
Shaw (2011) mentions that in order to get a competitive advantage due todifferentiationairlines have to be innovative. He illustrates this fact by providing evidenceof twoairlineswhich are among the most successful companies at the moment: Emirates andSingaporeAirlines.Both companies are well known for their innovative services, especially forthose offered onboard oftheir Airbus 380 aircraft. It might be argued that double beds provided bySingapore Airlinesor spashowers made available by Emirates have nothing to do with the core services ofan airlineand arerather unnecessary. These services are not likely to be adapted by othercarriers and thecompaniesmanaged to obtain public awareness and to show their willingness to innovatetheirproducts.In this case, the new product features might not be a competitive advantage interms ofthe factthat customers prefer the two companies only because they actually find it asimportant tosleep indouble beds and take a shower during their flight.
However, customers mightconnect theseattributeswith the brand and see those companies as more innovative and attractive incomparisonto competitors.