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A Delta Airbus A321 rockets out of Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

How Airline Marketing And Advertising Has Changed

The ongoing Covid-19 complication remains a significant disturbance to the airline industry, forcing several notable airlines to alter and modify their operations to adapt and overcome the disruption. The airlines are poised to constantly monitor and respond to the fluctuations in passenger travel demand while adjusting flight schedules, frequencies and inaugurating new routes within route networks, in the process. For most, it is a clear opportunity to capture as much of the remaining passenger market as possible and attempt to encourage passengers to return to the skies while observing other ongoing trends, after a lengthy period of low passenger travel demand. As a result, because of the quickly evolving and dynamic nature of the airline industry, several carriers have adopted diverse marketing and advertising strategies to convey to the passengers.

Regardless of the current trends ranging from climate change and sustainability to safety and cleanliness practices enacted during COVID-19,  airlines create marketing tactics and advertisements for more than just routinely promote the airline’s business and simply inform the public of the airline’s significant presence. During the notable “Golden Age of Travel”, several major carriers of the era focused on promoting the luxury of air travel and the enhanced level of relaxation and leisure upon arrival. Nevertheless, the marketing has shifted and evolved into a method of expressing concern and empathy for ongoing societal issues, which gives the airline the opportunity to express its commitment and brand image, while instilling confidence in the passengers to travel.

Airlines’ Dedication And Promise

Several notable carriers such as Delta, American, Southwest, Alaska and JetBlue have embraced newer and different marketing techniques to represent the company’s brand and image, through social media. While the marketing and ads follow the usual process of engaging and targeting the passengers, the messages that are creatively conveyed stand for the carrier’s vow to tackle a prominent issue.

For instance, in the airline industry – usually recognized as harmful to the environment and a major source of air pollution – Delta recently unveiled its marketing project in a video, which is an expansion of its carbon-neutral pledge. This advert included a powerful and dramatic soundtrack, an assertive tone and a variety of footage from nature such as the forests, beaches and mountains.

“Being the brand that connects the world means we also have a meaningful opportunity and responsibility to protect that world,” Molly Battin, Senior Vice President, Marketing Communications, said. “No one should feel torn between experiencing the joy of travel and being a good steward of the earth. In fact, we believe seeing more of the world encourages caring more for the world.”

Meanwhile, cleanliness and safety continue to be major focuses that the carriers express to the passengers during this dilemma. They have created partnerships to complete COVID-19 testing for passengers who are eager to travel and cleanliness affiliations to sanitize the aircraft. As a result, these promises have played a huge role in restoring confidence in the passengers.

Clearly, airline marketing and advertisements are changing step-by-step as air travel becomes different than it once was and how it was viewed prior to this era. Safety, empathy, and awareness are now the forefront of how airlines attract their passengers and encourage them to return to the skies. Ultimately, the carriers have shifted towards being aware of the bigger picture, gaining new perspectives and focusing more on the passengers’ experience en-route.


  • Benjamin Pham

    Benjamin has had a love for aviation since a young age, growing up in Tampa with a strong interest in airplane models and playing with them. When he moved to the Washington, D.C. area, Benjamin took part in aviation photography for a couple of years at Gravelly Point and Dulles Airport, before dedicating planespotting to only when he traveled to the other airports. He is an avid, world traveler, having been able to reach 32 countries, yearning to explore and understand more cultures soon. Currently, Benjamin is an Air Transporation Management student at Arizona State University. He hopes to enter the airline industry to improve the passenger experience and loyalty programs while keeping up to how technology is being integrated into airports.

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