Here Are My Favorite Airline Ad Campaigns

Filed Under: Media, Videos

Yesterday I shared my take on the best airline boarding music to enjoy at home. Continuing with the theme of enjoying airline-related things at home, today I wanted to share some of my favorite airline ads that were produced in the past 20 years.

At a time where travel isn’t possible for most, I find these more enjoyable to watch than ever before. It’s hard to really rank these ads since they’re all so different, but here are some of my favorites (and then in the comments section below I’d like to hear which ads you guys like most):

Etihad’s “Flying Reimagined” campaign

Ahhh, remember the time when Etihad was super aspirational and not yet a complete basket case? Yes, it was a good few months. The below ad featuring Nicole Kidman is just so whimsical and fun to watch, and really was the start of Etihad (briefly) being an ultra-luxurious carrier.

American Airlines’ post 9/11 ad campaign

You’re probably surprised I’m including an American Airlines ad on this list, but their post 9/11 ad campaign was phenomenal, and the tagline rings true now more than ever before:

“We are an airline. But it’s become clear we are more.”

As the industry is once again at a turning point, it gives me a little bit of hope.

British Airways’ “To Fly, To Serve” campaign

One aspect of British Airways that I’ve long loved is their advertising. Of their ads, the below one that recounts the advancements in aviation is one of my favorites.

Also, while the below doesn’t really qualify as a traditional advertisement, British Airways’ “Visit Mum” campaign is one of the most touching five minute videos I’ve ever seen. If it doesn’t make you cry I question whether you’re human.

Singapore Airlines’ “The Lengths We Go” campaign

Singapore Airlines is such an iconic brand, and they’ve had so many memorable ad campaigns over the years. Perhaps my favorite is their “The Lengths We Go” campaign — the music, the imagery… wow!

Turkish Airlines’ “Widen Your World” campaign

Let’s be honest — Morgan Freeman could read the ingredients list of a Fiber One bar and I’d be into it. When you combine Turkish Airlines with Morgan Freeman, you get magic.

Emirates’ Jennifer Aniston campaign

As I’m grounded and not able to fly, there’s no product I think of more favorably right now than Emirates’ A380 first class. Emirates’ ad from a few years ago that stars Jennifer Aniston sums up what makes it so incredible.

Emirates’ recent “Do You Remember” ad was pretty great as well.

Bottom line

I think the above is a pretty good sampling of some of my favorite airline ads. From inspirational post-9/11 ads, to ads showcasing the wonder of aviation, to ads focused on specific aspects of airline products, there are quite a few to choose from.

What are your favorite airline ads? 

  1. Don’t know why but this post is more hear-lighted than the boarding music one.
    BTW I quite like the VN’s advertisement especially when they put the pho on tray table.
    And from the list above:Jennifer Aniston.

  2. Turns out I’m human.

    And so lucky, to live 6-minutes walk from my 92-year-old mother.

    Thanks Ben for putting these in the window this morning. Yes I’d seen them all before, but I wouldn’t have watched them today. So glad I did

  3. My favorite one is United Airlines “Its time to fly” campaign from the mid-2000s It actually made me want to fly with them a lot. Of course this is when they did care about their brand image.

  4. I LOVED the Jennifer Aniston one! I don’t know why people were outraged at it when it came out initially.

  5. I know WN isn’t quite your cup of tea but surprised to not see any of the “Wanna get away” ads here. They have to be some of the most creative in my mind. I feel that campaign along with what Southwest did with Bags Fly Free probably did more than any of these to move the needle on getting pax dollars.

  6. Ben, I absolutely love your #1 choice though to be fair, Etihad copied the idea from an old commercial of its rival Emirates where EK was going for the concept that “luxury travel should always be reinvented”:

    I also really like your #2 but I prefer the second part of it where AA stated that as an airline, they are “an engine that powers the free flow of people, ideas, and products”:

  7. So am I the only one here not influenced at all by these ad campaigns.

    Well maybe expect Morgan Freeman, since he is god right? And James Earl Jones since he is your father.

    Trip reports that was self paid showing long lines and ugly seats have way more influence than Nicole Kidman.

  8. Hard to believe that Lufthansa’s tongue in cheek football fan ad is not included here:

    Love it, from the horrified “we’re flying with the Germans??? , the (very realistic) vision of how it will be like, and then the even better reality. Of course, the average British fan does fly intercontinental business class, needless to say…

  9. British Airways “The Face” campaign from the late 1980’s. Everything about it is perfect.

  10. While I liked the Jennifer Aniston ad, it highlight just how narrow the first class suites are. She is tiny and barely had room to move. I feel claustrophobic every time I see the ad.

  11. Hi Ben! First time poster, long time reader (:

    My favorite airline ad would have to be the “Feels like home” campaign Qantas ran in 2017

    Especially in this pandemic, I’m from New Zealand but living in Spain, and had a trip planned home to see my parents after 3 years which was canceled. Really tugs at the heart strings

  12. As an Australian – I feel I should say the Qantas ‘Still Call Australia Home’ ads were my faves. And I really did like them – and would even come over all misty eyed whenever they played…sentimental fool that I am!

    But – as a kid – there was a campaign by Air New Zealand that used to play a lot in the cinemas here – it felt like it ran for years! – though as a teen, I probably was just seeing a lot of movies around the time the campaign was on.

    Basically it was Lainie Kazan walking along a beach and singing – intercut with lots of shots of planes and beautiful locations through the pacific. At the time it seemed so impossibly sophisticated and glamorous and I wanted to visit all the places they showed in the ad.

    It’s kind of a slick, big budget music video that was made around the time the MTV age was just dawning. And according to the reference I found online – the ad won awards – but wasn’t ever actually shown in New Zealand.

    Anyway – watching it again now – it no longer seems quite as technically dazzling and brilliant as I remember – and DC10s are no longer the new big thing! – but the dreamy longing of the song and all those wonderful images still makes me wanna get on the next plane to a pacific sunset somewhere…

    I hope this posts properly…

  13. Ben – this is a lot of fun and I enjoyed seeing your favorites and the comments. I’d be interested in some of the older US airline ads if you have any clips of those. Thanks for the great work you do.

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