Brûlé Airways: The Management

"Basically You're Asking Me Why I'm No Longer the CEO of Dell"

Continuing in our series on TB´s airline, we have reached the management. Crucial, in harsh aviation times like these. In some positions there are clear stand out candidates, but an airline of this caliber requires titles that are yet to be defined. Recruiting will therefore be a challenge. We set five of the more obvious titles in our top management, with some essential criteria for success:

1. CLO – Chief Lounge Officer. We looking for someone with the hospitality of Adrian at the George V in Paris, but with experience from modern retail and property development. A tricky one.

2. CAO – Chief Apparel Officer. What could be more important in an airline cabin that what the crew are wearing? We can’t think of anything. So we would be looking at someone from Asiana, obviously.

3. CMC – Chief Maître de Cabine. No point improving perfection, so the legacy from Swiss should live on. The regular six languages and concierge knowledge of the normal top 50 cities will do.

4. CISO – Chief Inflight Service Officer.
This one is easiest, by far. We’ll just get Terence, the butler from the Grand Hyatt in Hong Kong, straight away.

5. CTO – Chief Timetable Officer.
If you take your airline seriously, you take your timetables seriously. And as often as we’ve had to experience downloaded and badly designed PDF:s, instead of gripping on to a sturdy and finely printed dito – we feel that this is an issue that needs its own manager. Probably a German.

With a management like that, it would take more than a global economic depression to keep Brûlé Airways on the tarmac.

How to travel

Business class

  • “Never check your luggage; 99 per cent of the time I don’t check in bags regardless of how long I’m travelling for.”
  • “I sleep as much as possible when I travel.”
  • “If it’s a long-haul, 80 per cent of the time I go for a run or do something active once I land.”
  • “I try to eat in moderation when I fly.”
  • “I usually try for a window seat, as far forward on the plane as I can get. I think if you do it properly – i.e. first or business class – there’s nothing traumatic about flying 250 days of the year.”

Tyler Brûlé, Blue Wings, 2009

Dispatching an intern

TGV Gare de l’Est

Imagine this scenario: you’re in transit between Basel and Paris, en route to Tokyo (Haneda, of course). You realise that you’ve left your wallet at the hotel. The concierge phoned the limo service but it was too late – you were already stretching out in the Business Premier Class of the TGV. I think we can all relate to the situation. But how would you solve it? Tyler presents his solution in the FT:

The plan involved having our Swiss colleague take the wallet to Zurich where he would be met by our new intern Jonathan, who was dispatched from London to deliver the wallet to Paris. While some very high winds almost delayed his flight’s approach to Zurich, Jonathan eventually made it to the small cocktail party we were hosting on Rue Royale with enough time to knock back a glass of champagne before we had to leave.

I’m kicking myself because I didn’t think of that.