The Two Most Powerful Airline Advertisements Ever

Advertising drives pretty much everything in the travel industry – whether it’s frequent flyer programs, new credit cards, the latest “enhancement,” or perhaps new product offerings. It’s airline advertising that drives a lot of what we do in this hobby.

I wanted to look at what I believe to be the two most powerful advertisement series produced by airlines (though, there are multiple ads in each series). Interestingly, they happen to come from two oneworld airlines.

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American Airlines

After 9/11, there was a reluctance to fly. One of American’s planes had been lost in the terror attacks that September, and across all of the aviation industry, there was some re-building to do to gain the public’s trust – not really on account of the airline, but rather of flying as a whole, though naturally, airlines took the brunt of the impact.

American produced two ads called “Way of Life.” It’s a powerful two part advertisement highlighting the reasons to fly American in a post 9/11 world, and combined patriotic and aviation related themes to come to a final point that flying American is an “American thing to do.”

Here’s part 1:

Here’s Part 2:

British Airways

Now, let’s take a look at British Airways ads who pioneered the flat bed seat across the Atlantic. With frequent departures from JFK and other US cities to London Heathrow, they made their point as the “clear choice” to fly across the pond. Further, they branded their aircraft to all have flat bed seats, and were one of the first airlines in the industry to do so. Taking off on the achievement, it was a right worth bragging about, and they did so in several powerful ads.

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In this first ad, there’s subtle hints at the simple pleasures of flying Club World, their Business Class product. It’s this that set BA apart from many other airlines.

In this 2003, BA really hits it home how you can go to sleep in New York, and wake up refreshed in London. “The only true flat beds in Business Class” set BA apart from other airlines who were still advertising recliner or semi-flat beds.

Using no voices, BA capitalizes on their theme song, the Flower Duet, to capture the spirit of flying British Airways. Again, a very powerful ad with just the use of music.

What do you think of my airline picks for the most powerful advertisements? 

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  1. Dani says

    I like the British Airways ads, but I think you should include Qantas’ “I Still Call Australia Home” ads. I get chills just watching them.

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