British Airways Surprises Man Taking First Flight After Brain Surgery

Filed Under: British Airways, Videos

British Airways does an incredible job with their marketing videos. For example, British Airways’ 2013 “Visit Mum” campaign made me cry.

In 2016 they had another ad targeting the Indian market, which was also great, but just couldn’t really compete with the 2013 ad, in my opinion.

However, lately British Airways has been running an ad campaign that they call “BA Magic.” Through this, they encourage people to write in sharing a trip they’d like to take for a special reason, and British Airways (sometimes) makes it happen in a very special way. In the past I’ve shared the videos of British Airways helping a man propose to his girlfriend inflight, as well as them helping an aunt get to Hong Kong for just 24 hours to surprise her nephew.

British Airways has just released their latest video in the BA Magic series, and it’s possibly my favorite one yet. In it they help a 47 year old man who suffered a brain injury in 2014 fly for the first time since his life changed:

Surprised by a British Airways ambassador at their home in Brentford, Joe and Liz were whisked off to Heathrow in a Rolls Royce Phantom and surprised with a montage of well-wishes from his family and friends who are supporting them as Joe rebuilds his life. As Joe had explained that when he was young his dream was to be a pilot, he was met by Captain Ben Collins for a tour of the flight deck, before being invited for a day at British Airways flight simulator with his sporting hero, Chris Froome.

Joe and Liz had previously lived in Australia, with Joe’s ultimate goal being to fly back to visit one day. On landing at Dublin the couple were surprised by the airline with a pair of complimentary Club World (business class) tickets to Sydney as an incentive for him to step from one of British Airways nearest destinations to the furthest.

A Rolls Royce ride to the airport, business class tickets to Australia, a ride in the British Airways flight simulator, and more? They really took care of them, and it was well deserved.

Here’s the video:

Do you like this BA Magic series, or do you find it to be too produced?

  1. It’s a wonderful idea, they’ll be getting a lot of good press with it. Does it look a bit over produced and scripted? Mmmmmh maybe. But I would be over the moon if it happened to me 🙂

  2. A bit of a tear jerker. From personal experience (my wife suffered the same ordeal as Joe, when she was in her early 30’s) every day, Liz and Joe will celebrate the small victories as he continues to recover. Pretty nice for them to be the focus of a BA advert that is not patronizing, but warm and human.

  3. Somehow I first got the impression that BA surprised him with bed bugs or something.. BA hasn’t been doing that well recently.

  4. @ Petri

    Hey – there’s a parade over here, too, if you want to come and p*** on it.

    Schmaltz isn’t my thing, but these BA films seem harmless enough, and your heart goes out to some of the people, too. If you have one, of course.

  5. My family and I have separately experienced the real BA treatment (London to BLR) !! The exact opposite of all these schmaltzy productions. Right from announcing change of gates at the last moment, being unhelpful to older passengers, they couldn’t care less about the Indians. Maybe all this sentimental wooing is because the Indian crowd has moved onto Etihad/Qatar/Emirates.

  6. @RR from a country that practices a caste system, discriminates people in the north east , has a history of treating women like dirt and criminalises same sex relationships

    And you move to the ME3 lol

    People in glass houses …

    Changing a gate was clearly discriminatory as it only affected Indian customers.

  7. @RR what a miserable response. Ultimately this video is not really about the company but the couple concerned. For a second, try and be pleased for Joe and his struggle and improvement rather than make cheap and tired comments about BA. Very mean spirited of you.

  8. Yes this is a polished production for image marketing, but doesn’t detract from how moving it is. To me this is really story of love, commitment, and struggle, and less about BA itself. Nicely done.

  9. A. Seems like overcompensation for a lackluster product. If they’d put some energy into their hard and soft products, perhaps they wouldn’t need these heart-string-tugging faux-sentimental ads.

    Don’t get me totally wrong; I absolutely appreciate how they’re helping (a very VERY limited few) people accomplish some very emotional things – but this is all just marketing. But let’s be absolutely honest about all of this: nobody at BA is truly concerned about these individuals. This is merely a marginally-publicized contest to see who can write the most moving/tear-jerking narrative so BA can spin it into a feel-good commercial. To assume otherwise is foolish.

  10. @AdamR Yes, it is marketing, and serves a commercial purpose. BA wouldn’t do it if it didn’t.

    But, having produced videos for campaigns like this for large corporate clients in the past (not for BA or any other airline), I can tell you that the idea that “nobody at BA is truly concerned about these individuals” is just patently false. They’re people, after all, and I bet it makes people proud to work there (regardless of other labor issues), and that the people involved in this campaign at every level likely care deeply about being able to provide these experiences to people, even if they can only do a few.

    People like helping other people, even if they work at big corporations. It makes them happy.

  11. @Icarus – So, if someone is from India, he/she shouldn’t complain about any sub-par treatment? How do you know if am okay with caste system and the other ills that you painted an entire country with? Which perfect society are you from? I’ll let you know when you can/cannot throw stones from your glass house.
    I specifically mentioned London to Bangalore flights where this occurred (on 2 separate instances). Over 90% of the passengers were Indians. So, yes, it predominantly affected Indians.

  12. @RR

    I think Icarus was laughing at you because your response to claims of discrimination by BA was to move to airlines from the ultra-discriminatory Middle East. Which does kind of suggest you don’t think things through…

  13. @TheNicePaul
    Your argument is: Because ME is ultra-discriminatory, the ME3 airlines are also the same. (Which does kind of suggest you don’t think things through…)
    If paying customers feel discriminated against, they won’t be going to the ME3 in droves.

  14. Thanks for posting this Lucky – no doubt some tears for me. How nice when people “treat” other people.

  15. RR – Oh I get it. Sod the people being heavily discriminated against in the Middle East – as long as you can get use from the Middle East without personally experiencing it everything is fine?

    (Also, I’d assume you’re getting these indifferent replies because no-one believes BA discriminates against Indians. That makes literally no sense whatsoever – they want Indian money just as much as anyone else’s…)

  16. @Callum
    Oh, then why are the EPL teams sporting Etihad/Emirates/Qatar airways? That’s strictly business, you say ?! Here are a few links of Britain dealing with Saudi/Qatar/Dubai:
    Oh the humanity !! Why don’t you continue riding your high horse till you get to Downing street and ask your govt why they are ‘Sodding’ the people being heavily discriminated against in the Middle East.

    If i follow your logic, as an Indian i have more reasons to boycott BA – remember the British occupation/ Bengal famine wilfully caused by Churchill?

  17. @RR
    “Your argument is: Because ME is ultra-discriminatory, the ME3 airlines are also the same. (Which does kind of suggest you don’t think things through…)
    If paying customers feel discriminated against, they won’t be going to the ME3 in droves.”

    Two thoughts: those ME3 airlines are 100% owned by their governments. The CEO of Qatar is actually a government minister. If you don’t think those airlines are just another branch of their respective ME governments, well…

    And your point about droves of customers surely also applies to BA? Why is it one of the most consistently profitable airlines in the world? Why does it have more North American gateways than *any* other European airline (in fact, more than almost any two other European airlines put together)? Why is it expanding its route network in India?

    We all have had miserable personal experiences (I never fly with the US3 for that reason). It doesn’t necessarily mean the entire organisation is systemically evil. Or that its competitors are universally angelic.

  18. Whilst I do take these adverts with a hefty dose of salt, in fairness, BA do a lot for disadvantaged/sick children and it’s creditable that they’ve chosen to help this man.

    However, I was not overly impressed by them helping the well-heeled woman visiting her equally well-heeled nephew. Day to day, service-wise they leave a lot to be desired because they’re awful.

    If I was able to give the airline one piece of advice it would be to look after their staff. Since privatisation, they have steadily eroded staff pay and benefits to the point that they have a seriously demoralised work force. Hence, the regular industrial action and the poor attitude of the staff serving customers.

    These adverts would be credible if they had a positive to staff which the staff could pass on to customers.

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