New SAS Ad Captures The Most Beautiful Part Of Travel

Filed Under: Media, SAS

I love airports largely because they’re the best places in the world for people watching, in my opinion. You have people going from just about everywhere to just about everywhere, for just about every reason. Some people travel for happy reasons, some people for sad reasons. Everyone has a story, and to me the way that airports capture that is endlessly fascinating.

Probably my favorite thing about airports is when you enter the arrivals hall and see hundreds of people standing there to greet loved ones (okay, the exception is in places where you’re swarmed by people wanting to offer you taxi rides, when I find this all less enjoyable).

I can’t help but have a massive smile on my face every time I witness this, and can’t help but wonder what each person’s story is. How long has it been since they last saw the person they’re waiting for? Or are they meeting for the first time? I have so many questions.

Anyway, last week SAS launched a new ad campaign that might just be one of my favorite airline ads ever. It’s called “The Arrivals.” As the name suggests, it captures that magical moment when people greet loved ones in the arrivals hall of an airport.

Here’s the video:

Really there’s very little commentary needed since I think the expressions you see here transcend all languages. However, the way this is done makes it even more impactful, in my opinion.

The EVP of Sales & Marketing for SAS had the following to say about the ad:

“We at SAS, together with our travelers, bring a lot back with us from our journeys. We bring home inspiration and courage, perspective and love. Travel changes us, and when it changes us, we change the world. With our new campaign ‘The Arrivals’ we want to show that travelers return richer.”

The ad was filmed over the course of a week at Copenhagen Airport. They used both a cast and real chance encounters at the arrivals hall to capture those moments. I’m sort of bummed that some of these encounters weren’t genuine, but I guess given the logistics involved, that’s not too surprising.

I can’t write about an emotional ad campaign without linking back to my single favorite emotional airline ad ever, which is British Airways’ “Visit Mum” campaign from 2013:

What do you make of the new SAS ad campaign?

  1. They should have captured the face of people who just traveled in SAS Plus class in european flights. Lol.

  2. … or the faces of the millions of SAS eurobonus members who just got their points devalued by roughly 20% with no notice what so ever (SAS raised the price for Star Alliance point redeptions by 18-20% for all destinations AND raised non-refundable fees, over night, with no notice), or the millions and millions of SAS Go (economy class) travellers, who realised that you earn roughly zero points for even transatlantic flights now that SAS has lowered points earned by 96%! I’m a SAS Diamond member (black card) and I’m trying to figure out a way to once and for all leave the mess that SAS has become. People on the Nordic loyalty sites are raging about the massive devaluation of the Eurobonus program this fall.

  3. @Alex

    The people with flags actually look less staged to me, in that they appear to be real travelers whose family were given the flags to welcome their loved ones home. So they may have known they were being filmed, but for example the attractive couples, woman in wheelchair, adopted Syrian(?) baby look entirely fabricated. It’s a very powerful ad though, so who really cares if it’s real? Way better than those Chevy commercials with “real people.”

  4. @Lukas… you should see that Avianca Brasil (O6) frequen flyer program called “Amigo” (which means Friend) has done. From on day to the next prices jumped 400%. Not joking at all.

  5. seeing people at the arrivals hall or departure hall crying and hugging always makes me tear up. i love airports!

  6. The reuniting with family members and the life changing events depicted are heartwarming however, is this arrivals pavilion really representative of actual air travel today? I’ll be sure to be more attentive next time I pass through an arrivals area but as a road warrior, I quickly exit searching for the taxi stand outside noticing only my fellow business travelers and hoardes of vacationers but missing these touching sequences.

    As for the ad campaign itself, I found it long and repetitive. Shorten it, add better music and less talk and I think it would have more impact. If the goal is to make us forget all the hassles and unpleasantness of today’s air travel, they did a good job, just feel they could have executed the theme a bit better.

  7. “We at SAS, together with our travelers, bring a lot back with us from our journeys. We bring home inspiration and courage, perspective and love. Travel changes us, and when it changes us, we change the world. With our new campaign ‘The Arrivals’ we want to show that travelers return richer.”

    I like this quote and want share a recent experience in Osaka. I was in a taxi with my 12 YO. The taxi driver asked (quite innocently), “Do you like your President?”. I answered (quite honestly), “Not really”. He asked, “I ask everyone in my cab if they like the President, and everyone answers, ‘No'”. He wanted to know, why then is he your President? My response was as above, “The people in your taxi are traveling outside the US and it gives them perspective, so you are getting a minor subset of the American People”. So, I agree with SAS…as travelers we return richer (an more aware of the world around us)…..

  8. @sdfamily well said, point well taken. My perspective has evolved from that to this: the same group that hates our president the most are also people who don’t leave the country, much like his strongest supporters. But those of us who travel know that no countries are laughing at us, at least not in the last couple of years. And we see through scare tactics.

    We’ve seen a lot and know the US is an unusually comfortable and diverse place. I think the most well-traveled are simply less likely to see “crazy” things as being that crazy. Sure, there are risks everywhere, but I’ve been to countries where dead bodies are burned in the street and being gay is a death sentence. We are desensitized, for better or worse.

  9. I understand hawking credit cards on this blog, but shilling for airlines by reposting their ads and passing it off as “content?” Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?

  10. Beautiful ad. This is what travelling is about – I too look around and wonder about what peoples stories are… Airports are such a true crossroads in so many ways, you see so many emotions and vulnerability on display, its often a such a genuine snapshot of humanity…

  11. Critically, I didn’t think much of it. The concept was decent, but the execution was poor. As a poster above said, it was a bit long. Also the narrator didn’t have any gravitas, which made it weak.

  12. I love this, it’s a beautiful sentiment and a sympathetic snapshot of what makes travel so special, and why we come home too. Lucky, you have probably seen the Welcome Back flashmob advert which T-Mobile filmed at LHR T5 but if not, it’s along the same theme and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it! Search “T-Mobile Welcome Back” on YouTube – it never fails to make me smile.

  13. Nice advertisement but this ad isn’t a reason to fly SAS; nor does the ad truly speak to anything meaningful about SAS’s corporate and customer-facing culture as encountered by SAS passengers in the SAS planes or at SAS-served airports.

    SAS is cutting back on its airline loyalty program customers with what they earn when flying SAS and also just nailed them with a zero-notice devaluation of the redemption charts for award flights. Also, SAS is trying to ramp up checked bag fees by cutting the included checked baggage allowance on more fares and hiking up the cabin baggage weight limit monitoring. This speaks more to SAS’s corporate and customer-facing culture than this advertisement about what travel in general means.

    The majority of the times when I do arrive at Copenhagen (CPH) by air, there are some people holding Danish (or, less commonly, Swedish) flags. It’s a cultural thing in Denmark with some families to have someone waiting with Danish flags when a relative or someone else close (or soon to be close) is returning to or arriving in Denmark. I also sometimes see the flag thing going on at Stockholm-ARN airport and at Oslo-OSL airport, but it’s less common at Arlanda and even Oslo than at CPH.

  14. The sentiment at the core of the ad is one that I can relate to returning each December to spend a month with my parents following 11 months of traversing the globe and flying over 500,000 miles and more. Nothing like coming home to my parents.

  15. @Mattt – I get your sentiment, but this is unfortunately just wrong:
    But those of us who travel know that no countries are laughing at us, at least not in the last couple of years.
    Since 2017, the US has become a laughing stock for people all over the world, especially from Europe. It’s sad, yes, but it is true – the US simply isn’t taken as seriously as it was pre-2017.

  16. @Alex

    You just don’t get it — it’s a tradition in Denmark to greet people at the airport with the Danish flag. You’ll see it every time you go to the airport. So no, not staged at all.

  17. @Lukas

    people need to stop feeling so entitled to these loyalty programs. SAS and the airlines are a business, and are 100% allowed to changed their programs to reflect the times (like more incentive to travel during a down economy with a better program and vice versa). Honestly, the world would be a better place if there were no airline loyalty programs and everyone just bought tickets based on market price point. You’d see denser configurations, less people flying just for fun, and less flights (which would have great environmental impacts). It’s almost ridiculous how entitled people feel to these perks.

  18. …. thanks again @archer528 for the corporate apologist line in defense of airlines making things worse for airline passengers/customers in the main.


  19. By all means, hug, kiss, laugh, cry, wave the flag of your choice.

    Just don’t do it in the middle of the path of exiting passengers!!!

    It drives me nuts!

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