Name: Arnaud Michelin
Position title: Regional Manager for Australia, New Zealand & New Caledonia
Company name: Finnair
When and why did you join the industry?
I joined the industry in 2007. I started as a sales agent at Air France KLM at the Asia Pacific Sales and Service Centre.
What do you like most about your job?
I like the diversity of stakeholders I deal with, on a daily basis.
I like the fast-paced environment of the airline industry.
Mostly, I like to look at my sales figures and see it’s going well!
What’s one of the biggest achievements of your career so far?
I have had many achievements in my brief career in the airline industry. One of them is when I launched Social Media Servicing back when I was at Air France.
Another one is the success of the Outbound Sales Team I used to manage at Norwegian Cruise Line. We started from scratch and we reached for the stars!
My biggest achievement at Finnair is to be leading a team of passionate professionals who live and breathe Finnair. I’m so proud of them.
What’s the best advice ever given to you and who gave it?
Julien Rinaldi – ex-captain of the French National Rugby League team – used to say to me “Hard work always pays off!” He is totally right: hard work, properly channeled is the key to success.
Who do you admire and see as a role model in the industry?
I have a lot of respect and admiration for Karen Christensen at Crystal Cruises. She has such a long career and is respected in the entire industry. I hope that one day I can achieve as much as she has throughout her career.
What can people expect from your company and what sets it apart from the rest?
As an offline carrier, we can fly anyone from anywhere in Australia because we have strong partnership with some airlines locally. We offer very flexible routings via Asia or via the US, which gives us a very competitive advantage with our fares. We fly a brand-new generation of A350s with brand new cabins that feature Finnish design and style.
What destinations are on your travel bucket list?
Easter Island. I have always been fascinated by this small island in the middle of nowhere.
What’s a memorable travel experience you’ve had (good or bad)?
For my 40th birthday, I wanted to see Machu Picchu. Thanks to the kindness of the personnel who run the park, I have actually managed to see the sunset over Machu Picchu at the exact time I was born 40 years prior. The best memory ever!
What are three things you always take with you when travelling?
An iPhone charger, a chap stick and a pen.
Name someone famous you’d like to travel with and a destination you’d like to go with them.
I would like to do a cooking discovery tour with Kylie Kwong in Turkey. I find that chefs have a natural ability to be open to the world around them through food more easily than anyone else.
What direction do you see the industry heading in over the next five to ten years?
I imagine the next few years to be more digital than today, whether it is with new technology for you to book your flights, new smart gates to board your plane, WiFi access onboard, new ancillary products to tailor make your holiday… Whatever it is, I’m looking forward to being part of it.
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