THIS Is Qatar Airways’ “Historic Announcement?!?”

Filed Under: Media, Qatar

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how Qatar Airways was hosting a media event in New York today, December 9, 2015. Now, Qatar Airways is perhaps the world’s least modest airline, but their CEO, Akbar Al Baker, claimed that the event would:

  • “Usher in a historic moment in American aviation”
  • Have a “pivotal announcement”

Yesterday Qatar Airways flew an A350 from Doha to New York for the event, which Al Baker was on. Qatar Airways uploaded a video of the special flight, which was the first time a commercial A350 flew to the US:

When an airline announces that they’ll “usher in a historic moment in American aviation,” you should reasonably expect that they’re announcing something interesting. I had speculated about the possibility of A380 service to the US, a joint venture with a US airline, or maybe even a stake in a US airline. A380 service wouldn’t have been a “historic announcement,” while the other two would at least have been interesting.

Well, the Qatar Airways press conference is taking place this morning at the Peninsula Hotel New York. What is Qatar Airways announcing? A new brand campaign. The new campaign has the tagline “Going Places Together,” which replaces the current “World’s 5-Star Airline” slogan. I’m sort of shocked to see Qatar Airways dropping the “World’s 5-Star Airline” tag, since they use it about a dozen times during their announcements on any given flight.



Here’s part of the Qatar Airways press release:

Qatar Airways today launched its new global brand campaign and tagline – Going Places Together – at a press conference in New York, USA. This is a new and fresh direction for the airline, which has developed a messaging strategy to reflect its evolution as a brand and its role as a leader in the airline industry.

The Going Places Together campaign plays on the theme of achieving great things together whether for work, for family or for adventure, and encourages passengers to take journeys that will help them achieve their dreams and ambitions.

“Today’s brand launch highlights a new era in our airline’s journey,” said Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker. “Whilst it’s true that we are taking more people on more aircraft to more destinations as we continue to grow, we also recognise that travel itself has changed; it has become a process of enrichment, of self-discovery, of life-changing moments and fulfilling ambitions. We hope that our new campaign will inspire more people to embark on their own personal journey, exploring new places and opportunities, together with their friends, family or colleagues.”

Salam Al Shawa, Qatar Airways Senior Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Communications added, “Our new Going Places Together campaign captures the essence of our brand, which is all about inclusiveness and bringing people together for a better future. It also reflects our aims for the future, the ambition we have for our airline is the same ambition our passengers have for their own lives. We intend to achieve great things, and we want to be part of your journey as well.”

At the heart of the campaign is the concept of the airline connecting people both physically and emotionally with any of the 153 places on its global network on board one of its 173 state-of-the-art aircraft. The theme of connectivity extends to the warm welcome every passenger receives when they board a Qatar Airways flight from the friendly and helpful cabin crew who are hand-picked for their natural ability to make personal connections with every passenger they meet.

Here’s their first TV ad with the new “Going Places Together” slogan:

Where do we even begin with this?!

  • Not that we expect any less, but how rude on the part of Qatar Airways to lure media with an invitation to an event that “ushers in a historic moment in American aviation,” only to reveal their new ad campaign
  • It’s sort of hilarious that they’re unveiling their new ad campaign in New York rather than Doha; then again, I guess it’s pretty telling that the ad is all about places you should visit, but the only thing it suggests you do in Doha is connect 😉
  • There’s still something a bit ironic about an ad campaign based around inclusiveness and the airline’s mission of creating a better future when the country is built on slave labor, their cabin crew have curfews, and until recently weren’t allowed to get married or pregnant; I suppose since they are in the process of lifting that policy, they are working towards a brighter future (stretch, I know!)

And that completely ignores the fact that this campaign is so lame, predictable, corporate, and unrelatable.


I actually think this ad campaign is significantly less interesting than the one they had in the past, about “The Art Of Flight Redefined:”

Bottom line

I expect ridiculousness from Qatar Airways, but this is ridiculous even by their standards. Suggesting that a new ad campaign for a foreign carrier (or any carrier, for that matter) is a “historic moment in American aviation” is an insult to anyone who has been waiting for this announcement.

This. Is. Lame.

  1. Since you’re the biggest Qatar fanboy, Ben, you could probably tell the rest of us how many people were likely anticipating this announcement. 😉

  2. I agree. I was thinking about 20 different possibilities of what it might be and this was not one of them. Reminds me about a boy that cried wolf. Next time will no one will listen.

  3. Lucky,

    we all kinda knew something like this would happen and disappoint us all, didn’t we?
    Classic QR bs…

  4. Lucky, have you heard anything new about Qatars new super business class? That would be “historic” 🙂

  5. Having flown QR in J quite a bit, they are terribly overrated and full of hyperbole. The lameness of this news is not surprising; the airline is all hyperbole and smoke/mirrors.

  6. One quick glance at news articles and QR’s website suggests that their historic announcement is not their ad-campaign, but the fact that they are the first airline to fly the A350 to the US (the NYC flight), even ahead of the planned flight to PHL. I agree it sounds ridiculous and is laughable, but thats what I believe the announcement was about.

  7. Well, they blew their credibility with this one. It’s like the boy who cried wolf – when they actually have a historical announcement, the press will ignore it unless they provide embargoed details about the content.

  8. If you’re talking about the QR Marketing person, that guy is still employed. QR leadership lives to be delusional, especially his unexcellency.

    If you’re talking about the PR firm that managed this event, those are the guys that need to be concerned. I’m sure if the media gets something from them on their desk again, they’ll scrutinize it more than normal.

  9. In the flight video at 0:35 it looks like the camera caught a pax masturbating and he quickly stopped.

  10. One would think a more formal though unnecessary use of “An Historic” would be preferred to the less formal and more typical “A Historic” in such “An Historic Moment” 🙂

  11. “but how rude”

    Why, its almost as rude as using clickbait headlines for articles (not this one, but still)…

    “There’s still something a bit ironic about an ad campaign based around inclusiveness and the airline’s mission of creating a better future when the country is built on slave labor”

    You could say the same thing about Etihad and Emirates using Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Aniston for their ads, selling an aspirational form of luxury travel most of the slave labor in the UAE will never experience, but you won’t. I guess it’s more fun and cool to instatweet a glass of Krug or Dom from their first class cabins than it is from Qatar’s….

    As for working conditions…while they are better at Etihad and Emirates than they are Qatar, they aren’t that great either.

  12. Yet you fell for it. What they wanted was media coverage. You have it to them. If you thought it was lame you shouldn’t have posted on it. Instead you have them free (?) advertising. That. Is. Lame.

  13. “There’s still something a bit ironic about an ad campaign based around inclusiveness and the airline’s mission of creating a better future when the country is built on slave labor, their cabin crew have curfews, and until recently weren’t allowed to get married or pregnant”

    Why the high moral standards all of a sudden? You’ve been promoting the sh*t out of Qatar, Etihad and Emirates for several years now and human rights have never been a concern for you before. Certainly you know that as a gay man, you are illegal in Qatar. Who you are as a human is illegal, and yet you fly to Doha just so you can experience exclusive service in the Qatar first class lounge. There are people who avoid gulf airlines at all costs for these very reasons, but you have no issue with it, in fact you use your blog to promote these airlines more than any other. Everyone gets to make their own moral decisions, your actions demonstrate that you made yours a long time ago on this issue.

  14. I was one of the media invited on this … on a week’s notice they wanted to fly me from Sydney to New York (via Qatar) …. likely three days on a plane alone round trip for this not counting the time on the ground. That’s a long time out of the office to justify, even for a big story. I declined and figured there was hyperbole involved in the claims given past ones, but this blows me away in just how much of a non-story it would have been!!!

  15. @Another Steve Scathing but true. It is odd to see someone chastise an airline for their lack of ethics, then turn around and promote plus contribute to that very same airlines bottom line. You don’t get to implicitly support unethical businesses and take the moral high road.

  16. @Another Steve – A point well made. I suppose this is why lucky needs an infusion of new readers/visitors every now and then, such as from CNN, as those of us who have been following his blog long enough can show him up for his hypocrisy.

  17. Waste of gas on their part. . .

    I had assumed it was about the new business class sleeper seats.

  18. Yet all of you complaining like @Another Steve will continue to read the blog so u don’t miss out on any deals. Who’s the hypocrite now??

  19. @aviators99 OMG you are SO right – puerile that I just laughed at that so hard when I saw it, but you just made my day with that observation!

  20. Woah! Ben? Are you doing voiceovers in ads for Qatar now? Or is that just someone with a similar voice?

  21. @RJ – of all the websites I visit frequently or people I follow on social media , I can’t think of one whose opinions or actions are 100% aligned with mine. If everyone who disagreed with one thing Ben posted had to avoid the site for eternity in order to maintain their integrity he would have no readers, very little income, and he’d need to find a job. Don’t let differing opinions scare you, it’s actually quite healthy to use your mind and think for yourself.

  22. I have never seen so much LAME sorry a$$ marketing over hype in my life. There is nothing here. Even the flight video was lame. Barely showed the inside of the plane. The ad could be for just about any airline with a marketing department slick enough to fool the bosses. The “images” they provide for the media I guess were just as lame.

    So sorry. They are making Delta look good.

  23. Be careful, don’t criticise them too much. Otherwise you’re going to take more and more time to get through security every time you connect in Doha…

  24. Don’t know what everyone’s complaining about. Obviously AAB’s historic announcement was that impressive and overwhelming that even Richard Anderson (among others) was completely stunned and is still helplessly searching for an appropriate reaction. Or did I miss anything?

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