The Best Airline Boarding Music?

The Best Airline Boarding Music?

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As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a sucker for good advertising in the travel industry. Any time I can associate a brand with an experience or emotion, it somehow strengthens the bond I have to it.

Along those lines, I’m a real sucker for good airline boarding music. Boarding music helps shape my overall first impression of an airline. At least for me, when I step foot on a plane, the first 10 minutes really shape my feelings towards the airline — how am I greeted at the door, how chaotic is the ground experience, how am I served my pre-departure beverage, what music is playing in the background, etc. 😉

The boarding music on Qantas the other day really surprised me, in both a positive and negative way (as I’ll share below). And it made me think of some of my other favorite airline boarding music.

The “big three” Gulf carriers do a hell of a job with boarding music.

Here’s Emirates’ track:

Here’s Etihad’s track:

And here’s Qatar’s track:

Emirates’ track is so upbeat, Etihad’s is soothing and great to work to (I listen to it just about every day), and Qatar’s is somehow mystically awesome… or something.

Then I also love ANA’s boarding music:

It’s probably the second classiest thing in the world (after Iggy Azalea).

And that brings us to Qantas.

I was initially really puzzled by the boarding music on my Qantas flight from Sydney to Los Angeles last week. It was mostly country music, which just seemed a bit off to me. After a few glasses of champagne, though, the music selection changed drastically. They played “Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap:

That seemed like an odd choice for boarding music, but it’s also a song I love. I liked the song before, though hadn’t downloaded it. Now I’ve downloaded it through iTunes, and every time I listen to it I smile and think back to the amazing trip I took with my dad.

What’s your favorite airline boarding music, and do you ever associate certain memories with it?

Conversations (60)
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  1. Dee Guest

    Has anyone listened to the Kenya airways theme song? really nice too. So many memories.

  2. Richard Guest

    I agree with Pete. For me, there are two favorites. Many years ago, I traveled to Asia quarterly for QBRs and customer/partner visits. My company strongly preferred United, so I came to associate Rhapsody in Blue with travel, and therefore with fun. NOTE: Back then, we flew business or first. As United's product has gotten worse (in my opinion) Rhapsody in Blue has lost some of it's charm fo rme.

    Now that I travel mostly...

    I agree with Pete. For me, there are two favorites. Many years ago, I traveled to Asia quarterly for QBRs and customer/partner visits. My company strongly preferred United, so I came to associate Rhapsody in Blue with travel, and therefore with fun. NOTE: Back then, we flew business or first. As United's product has gotten worse (in my opinion) Rhapsody in Blue has lost some of it's charm fo rme.

    Now that I travel mostly for pleasure, and go to Japan twice a year, I have started using ANA almost exclusively. And that means listening to Another Sky by Taro Hakase. Just listening to it online brings a smile to my face.

  3. William Guest

    Looking for a friend. What was the boarding music on Delta "SONG" flights. She loved the tune said it was jazz. I told her I could find out anything. Somebody make me look good. I love making people's days.

  4. Nathan Guest

    R Y, Rangana, I believe with the 2nd one (Qing Hua Ci (Blue & White Porcelain) by Jay Chou), this one is closer to what China Eastern uses: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KplHis6zRrE

  5. Nathan Guest

    also with the first one (named "Moonglow" by Bandari) is also used by China Eastern along side China Southern

  6. Nathan Guest

    R Y, I was legit about to comment both of those XDDDDDD (although the Qing Hua Ci (Blue & White Porcelain) by Jay Chou isn't really the exact one that China Eastern uses, but its the closest we have so far!)

  7. R Y Guest

    OK after some research, here is probably what you heard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iqX43c-y3k

  8. R Y Guest

    Never mind just realized that was for China Southern....

  9. R Y Guest

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-kh6wMtaik I believe this is the other one...

  10. Nathan Guest

    Rangana, Hi im also looking for it, is it the one in this vid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkZyZeixIKc&t=3m45s (when he boards at the timestamp)
    if yes, then im a lot closer to finding it, as that is just the instrumental version, and my dad has the song (non-instrumental version) downloaded and plays it in the car

  11. Rangana Guest

    Anybody know the second China Eastern Airline song other than Annie's Wonderland

  12. alex Guest

    The new Qatar airways boarding music is amazing and reminds me of so many Nice crews that let me on the flight deck and one that gave me a cake on my birthday

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqTHkm_APgs

  13. Alejandro Guest

    I want to know what music plays Tam airline on the flight from Sao Pablo to Madrid. Its a brasilean song but how can i find it?

  14. Christian Gottschalk Guest

    I do not understand why some airlines change the boarding music every month or so. To hear the well known music for years and years is like coming home. okay, lets be a little less pathetic, but it is a warm feeling if you come inside the cabin and hear the well known notes. And even if i did not use ANA often, this music is by far the most wonderful i heard - and i checked them all out in here if i do not know them :-)

  15. Rory Guest

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GUGxrzyqvA Depending on when you flew, the china eastern music is possibly "annie's wonderland" a track by bandari with a beautiful piano that is popular in many Chinese public places, including some of the trains.

  16. STeve Guest

    Can anyone help me find/ identify the boarding music china eastern plays...flight attendants were clueless and none of my reachouts thru social media or emails to the airline has been successful....one song is stuck in my head ive GOT to find it or i will go crazy!?

  17. Steve Guest

    I just finished two flight segments with china eastern airlines (love them) and I cnt get the boarding instrumental out of my head, absolutely beautiful and i want it!!!!! None of the attendants knew it and i cant find anything on utube or internet searches....anyone? I will try china eastern email but doubt any response!! Lol

  18. Bluepanda900 Guest

    Love Qatar night version!

  19. Petal Guest

    Do you have China Airlines?

  20. JMGutierrez Guest

    Have you listened to the latest Ethiopian Airlines boarding music lately? I was on a Dreamliner flight MNL-BK-AA route.
    If you know about Ethiopia and their amazing history and heritage, the music will give you shivers.
    I've been googling the music in spotify and itunes but to no avail :(
    Anybody knows the title and the artist?

  21. Paolo Diamond

    @Tiffany
    Dominico Modugno's song? and a great new version. That Alitalia campaign is great, BTW.

  22. Joanne Williams Guest

    I am looking for the 'boarding music' to Alitalia'.....Rome to Miami. Just absolutely beautiful. Can anyone help please?

    1. Tiffany OMAAT

      @ Joanne Williams -- Was it the same song from their new branding campaign? https://onemileatatime.com/alitalia-redesign/

  23. LANDY Guest

    Thanks for your sharing! AWESOME!

  24. Jack Guest

    check this out

    spotify:track:5BrJ89zgobv6ogNnljsong

  25. M Guest

    spotify:track:5BrJ89zgobv6ogNnljsong

  26. M Guest

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcdWm-M_PWc

  27. Bruce Guest

    The Emirates airways boarding music will always stay with me, reminding me of some of my greatest experiences in Dubai. The first time I flew business class, the first time I went to Africa, going up the Burj Khalifa...

  28. Alex Guest

    The Emirates boarding music sends shivers down my spine every time I hear it! I love it,Mir reminds me of some of the happiest times of my life, travelling away... Such a nice tune.

    At the end of November also, I travelled AirAsia and they played Carly Rae Jepsen and Ellie Goulding! Was a fun atmosphere to get on board to!

  29. Ahmed Guest

    Try turkish airlines boarding music.
    My god, it 36 minutes!!!!

  30. Mouhamed thiam Guest

    I don't comments, but I had to put Singapore airlines boarding songs. https://youtu.be/_JisgZtw0us
    Enjoy :)

  31. Bonnie Guest

    Eva Air boarding music has stayed with me since my childhood years... it's gorgeous
    Oh, I miss Taiwan...
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPTY_ScuRgU

  32. Jeff Guest

    My #1 go-to is EVA Air's. It's very calming enough that I actually used it in creating a pre-luncheon event at work and a few people complimented the selection (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPTY_ScuRgU). The link is from 2007 and I have never flown BR, so I can't vouch for if they are still using the song.

    Second in place is ANA (same to the one listed above). They also use the tune (I'm told the author is Hanase...

    My #1 go-to is EVA Air's. It's very calming enough that I actually used it in creating a pre-luncheon event at work and a few people complimented the selection (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPTY_ScuRgU). The link is from 2007 and I have never flown BR, so I can't vouch for if they are still using the song.

    Second in place is ANA (same to the one listed above). They also use the tune (I'm told the author is Hanase Taro) in their telephone hold music and I always charmed in listening to it even when I was on hold for long periods.

    Singapore Airlines is another. Emirates, Etihad, and BA I also like. As much contempt I have for United (bags lost and dirt-poor service), Rhapsody in Blue was one of my favorite tunes even before UA used it for their advertising (I thank the Fantasia 2000 IMAX presentation starring the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by James Levine).

  33. Matias Singers Guest

    On the other end of the spectrum:

    Stuck on the tarmac for 2 hours with AirAsia, with Taylor Swift turned up to full-volume on repeat – let's just say it wasn't the most pleasant experience.

    1. lucky OMAAT

      @ Matias Singers -- That sounds AMAZING to me!

  34. Mattias Guest

    On the evening Norwegian air flight from Oslo to Amsterdam they played "I'm like a bird" by Nelly Furtado

  35. Natalie Guest

    Emirates wins hands down for me. I fly mostly with Lufthansa, Thai and Emirates and the Emirates music is the one that gives me those excited travel feelings. Even when I played it right now from the blog I got all the "feelings"!! I love it. Great topic!

  36. Simon Member

    This is great remix of Hide and Seek by Tiesto

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOUUx3f555I

    1. lucky OMAAT

      @ Simon -- LOVE it, thanks!

  37. YEGPSP Guest

    No airline tops the boarding music AND videos played by Hawaiian Air! One is immediately 'transported' to the islands as soon as one steps aboard their aircraft. And as I am presently enjoying as I sit here in my 'Suite' at NRT awaiting our take-off enroute to LAX, the mellow jazz played by SQ is very pleasant indeed.

  38. Al Guest

    "It’s probably the second classiest thing in the world (after Iggy Azalea)."

    Oh Ben. You give away so much of yourself.

  39. Adrian Guest

    Pop Piano on AA has a special place in my heart.

  40. Jean | Holy Smithereens Guest

    I love this post! Emirate's boarding song sounds so upbeat and uplifting, gets you in a "I can fly AND conquer the world!" kind of feel.
    Etihad's- the beginning of it is like a spa background music but I like it more and more as it progressed (gets into a more uplifting beat but at the same time still mellow).
    Qantas always had songs from artists as boarding music BUT it's their On-Hold...

    I love this post! Emirate's boarding song sounds so upbeat and uplifting, gets you in a "I can fly AND conquer the world!" kind of feel.
    Etihad's- the beginning of it is like a spa background music but I like it more and more as it progressed (gets into a more uplifting beat but at the same time still mellow).
    Qantas always had songs from artists as boarding music BUT it's their On-Hold music that's really really good! I've been searching for that one for the longest time but couldn't find it. It's like a cross between the Emirates and Etihad one. I guess they put such an inspirational song as hold music so people don't realise how long they've been on hold! haha :)

  41. augias Guest

    Best: United Airlines -- they play classical music during boarding which is classy. Not just Rhapsody in Blue: on long international flights, they have a tracklist including Ponce's Estrellita, and other cheesy, sweet classical pieces.
    Worst boarding music? Delta, KLM, Lufthansa...

  42. Vinod J Guest

    In my mind, BA have the best boarding/cabin music with the Flower Duet aria

  43. John Guest

    I'm typically used to the whir of the airplane during boarding; because I usually fly United. #FWP I do find sentimental value in the Rhapsody in Blue that they play. I hear it and I instantaneously think of the tulip.

    But, if I had to say, I was on a Qantas flight from Sydney to Auckland in August, and they played "Royals" for boarding music. And now I associate it with the great trip I had to New Zealand.

  44. Euan Guest

    For me it is definitely British Airways... http://youtu.be/7UvEcfjJboE

  45. Yuri Torres Guest

    TAM has no music theme, instead, they always put some random bossa nova song, different from LAN (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVa6Wxnxm6w). Now with the brands merging to a single one until the end of 2014, I am curious to listen a possible new one, with the challenge to comtemple several South American rythms.

  46. pavel Guest

    i love AA's boarding music -- it makes me think of bearded session musicians playing faux world music meets enya shit in some early 90s recording studio

  47. Mark S. Guest

    @Joey — Delta's boarding music is selected by the airline and rotated each month. The track listing is available both in Sky magazine and on Delta.com:
    https://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US/traveling-with-us/in-flight-services/amenities-information/delta-studio/personal-audio-video/current-tunes.html

  48. Peter Guest

    They play music during boarding? ;-)

  49. Chris S. Guest

    The old LAN boarding music was really good (and my second-favorite behind Etihad): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bn9MM4dGe-g

    Of course I associate it with the phenomenal trip I took to Easter Island via the old Executive Club redemption rules, but I also really like the photos of obscure Andean cities that I've never head of but would love to visit.

  50. Dylan Member

    I'm a sucker for the CX and BA tunes, but I think it's more that I associate it with good flying experiences.

  51. [email protected] Member

    Speaking of airline advertising, WestJet has just released its sequel to last year's "Christmas Miracle" video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-BKX3G0BpQ

    This time they gave gifts to residents of the Dominican Republic.

  52. Joey Diamond

    For domestic flights, I enjoy listening to Delta's boarding music. I think it's from a flight attendant's ipod since it's always some pop/jazz music. I at first thought the radio was on but nope, it was just the boarding music.

    I flew EK so many times the past 5-6 years that the boarding music is ingrained in my head. Good times.

  53. Andrew Guest

    Definitely second the JAL music. They used to have Katherine McPhee do it (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-_r9VXwkP8) and then they switched to their own Japanese cover of it

  54. Planesandtrains Guest

    British airways utopia music.

  55. Bgriff Diamond

    JAL has a great march kind of song they played during boarding when I flew them a couple of years ago -- it made it feel like you were embarking on a grand adventure.

  56. Nick OMAAT

    I know it doesn't really count per se since it's mostly for announcements, but does it get any better, and does any other song give you the chills associated with the excitement of airline flying, than "Rhapsody in Blue"? United may be the WORST, but at least the new Continental team posing as UA recognized the inherent goodwill value in that one song people will forever associate with the friendly skies.

  57. Pete Guest

    Definitely Rhapsody in Blue on United. It's been a mainstay on international flights for ages, and when I hear it all I want to do is travel.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Dee Guest

Has anyone listened to the Kenya airways theme song? really nice too. So many memories.

0
Richard Guest

I agree with Pete. For me, there are two favorites. Many years ago, I traveled to Asia quarterly for QBRs and customer/partner visits. My company strongly preferred United, so I came to associate Rhapsody in Blue with travel, and therefore with fun. NOTE: Back then, we flew business or first. As United's product has gotten worse (in my opinion) Rhapsody in Blue has lost some of it's charm fo rme. Now that I travel mostly for pleasure, and go to Japan twice a year, I have started using ANA almost exclusively. And that means listening to Another Sky by Taro Hakase. Just listening to it online brings a smile to my face.

0
William Guest

Looking for a friend. What was the boarding music on Delta "SONG" flights. She loved the tune said it was jazz. I told her I could find out anything. Somebody make me look good. I love making people's days.

0
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