Sept. 9, 2021

Don Bunkenburg: Taking the Lufthansa Group in Japan to new heights

Don Bunkenburg: Taking the Lufthansa Group in Japan to new heights
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We all miss traveling, and this episode I get to speak with long-time, airline professional, Don Bunkenburg.  Don is the Senior Director in Japan for the Lufthansa Group. Which includes Swiss Airlines, Austrian Airlines, and Germany's Lufthansa. We talk about how Lufthansa competes in the Japan market renowned for its level of service and hospitality, the "No risk culture" similarities between Germany and Japan,  how each airline in the group tailors their service offering to reflect the culture of each country, the steps required to actually fill up an airplane day after day, how Lufthansa changed from a process driven service delivery to a personalized service offering to earn the only European airline ranking of "5 Star" airline, and why the definition of "On Time Departure" is a little more important in Japan than some "other" countries. Other topics of discussion:

  • How Don, an American, deciding to take a Summer job to improve his German, led to a 30 years plus career working for Germany's largest airline
  • Do Airline rankings really matter and how this relates to customer service investments
  • What is "Swissness"
  • The unique service differentiation between Austrian, Swiss, and Lufthansa
  • His regret regarding a different, missed opportunity in the aviation industry
  • How the special relationship shared with ANA gives Lufthansa a big advantage
  • The biggest challenge of working in Japan
  • Safety 1st vs. Service 1st. Do Western airlines and Asian Airlines perceive this differently
  • Lufthansa's response to the COVID Pandemic
  • Why Brazilians make up a significant % of travelers between Japan and Germany
  • The Free Unsolicited Business Idea

More Now and Zen Japan episodes:

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Japan Adventures via Camper Van = Dream Drive:

  • Use the code word "ZEN" to receive discounts