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5 inspiring airline videos that remind us why travel matters

April 28, 2020
7 min read
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Coronavirus will forever change how we relate to travel. While the world is on pause, some of us are dreaming of far-off destinations after the pandemic ends. Others simply want life to get back to something close to normal.

Travel is at a standstill, but airlines are still operating to get essential people and supplies where they need to be.

Visit TPG’s guide to all coronavirus news and updates.

As the barrage of refund requests from canceled flights begins to slow, carriers have been paying more attention to things that affect their brand -- like loyalty programs and marketing campaigns.

On the marketing front, several airline campaign videos remind us why flying matters now -- and how we should look forward to a future in the air again.

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American Airlines: You Are Why We Fly

Although the vast majority of people are staying home, there are still reasons why an airline needs to operate. Lifesaving equipment and supplies need to be transported. Medical professionals need to tend to the sick. This is American's message.

The 40-second spot, which is running on American's channels on Facebook, Twitter, email and airport monitors, reminds us that flying isn't just about getting from Point A to Point B. It's also about how embedded travel is in the world and how reliant we are on airlines to stay connected, especially now.

The scenes are stitched together primarily from user-generated smartphone footage and paint the picture of American flying for you, the viewer.

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LATAM: Further, Together

LATAM's brand video hits on themes similar to American's campaign: While the world is still, airlines need to keep going. LATAM's message is one of solidarity between airline and passenger.

Star Alliance: Home Together

While the world yearns to be seen, Star Alliance's message is for us to stay at home for the greater good.

“As the leading global alliance of airlines, we are of course seeking a return to some normality to be able to fulfill the desire of people to travel freely again. But we also stand with government and business leaders, as well as healthcare providers around the world in doing whatever necessary to stay safe at this time,” said Richard Carret, Director Marketing & Communications of Star Alliance.

The video is a production by Utah-based fiftyfilms, in partnership with the United Nations.

Emirates: Do You Remember

In this 60-second clip, Emirates paints a hopeful picture of a future where the current crisis is a distant memory. Most of the clips are stock footage sprinkled with branded Emirates aircraft and cabin crew.

The video is a reminder of the connections we're missing and the shift we've all had to make in our lives. However, the narrator says, the day will come when "Emirates will fly back to the skies and fly you better than ever before."

Related: 7 ways coronavirus could forever change the way we travel

Turkish Airlines: Throw Forward Thursday

Perhaps the video that looks ahead the most is Turkish Airlines' "Throw Forward Thursday" video. Famous attractions and cities are showcased with the notion that one day, we will return.


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Like many previous campaigns by Turkish, this one doesn't talk about the airline. The video relies on associating the airline with the many destinations mentioned.

Related: Vaccines, treatments, PPE and staying local -- 4 scenarios that might make travel possible

Airline marketing during coronavirus

Airlines are some of the hardest-hit companies during this crisis. With planes grounded and an entire industry teetering on the edge, marketing budgets have been completely slashed or drastically reduced.

However, if you have been checking your inbox at all, you know that many companies -- for better or worse -- are still emailing coronavirus updates as "Hey, we're still here" reminders. Airlines are no exception.

For those in the travel industry, constrained marketing budgets are now focused on what brands stand for and how to look ahead to a brighter, healthier future.

To that end, United Airlines even donated its 214 out-of-home ad spaces in London -- spaces on billboards, bus stops, stadium screens, etc. worth $100,000 -- to UNICEF. Marketing to get passengers on board planes doesn't make sense right now, so why not give it to a charitable organization still at work?

Related: Guide to coronavirus airline changes and cancelations

Bottom line

All of the airline videos have a common theme: trust. Brand marketing is about linking a brand's values and identity to your own. Airlines are explaining why they're flying now and giving a glimpse into a more hopeful future. In the coming months, consumers will also have to trust whether it's safe to fly again.

Many corporate campaigns of "we're all in this together" may look the same, but the airline industry has a more distinct message. It is not only about looking ahead to a rosier future for customers, but also for hundreds of thousands of employees. The campaigns are a morale booster and a symbol of strength and survival.


Featured image by AA parked planes at various locations including Tulsa and Pittsburgh. Photos courtesy American Airlines.