By Shubhodeep Pal

Through the ages, travel has been an inseparable element of romance. Delve into novels; watch movies; listen to songs — and you’ll often come across elements such as journeys, separations, bridging distances, farewells and so on. It is not uncommon for movies to have a dramatic airport scene; in fact, some love stories demand it. It is not surprising, therefore, that every year airlines pull some marketing punches on February 14. 

(On a side-note, I must say I feel nostalgic for the days when an enthusiastic lover could break through barricades and rush like a madman to meet an estranged partner — today, such amorous enthusiasm would sadly be mistaken for terrorist intent.)

While there is no denying the fact that Valentine’s Day is about love, love, and love alone, what remains to be seen is how well thought out a certain initiative is, and what purpose it serves. After all, in a playing field where everyone is toying with the theme of love, how can a brand stand out? After going through a number of V-Day initiatives, we identified five airline Valentine’s Day initiatives that stood out by tackling the love theme differently.

1. Love for tradition and identity: TAP Portugal

TAP Portugal showcased a great way to build brand affinity. It projected a part of its identity that nobody else can own or copy — and added to that a nice emotional touch that resonated with the larger audience. It was a unique way to celebrate love and garner goodwill, while offering a personal touch.

airline valentine's day tap portugal

2. Love for the customer — Southwest Airlines

It should be obvious that this is one love story airlines need to especially focus on — given the increasing power customers now have due to the amplifying power of social media to air grievances. Southwest smartly shows how to LUV customers back, while demonstrating their commitment to customer service.

Running With Honor

Love isn't always about a box of chocolates. Sometimes, love is about doing things that show you care, even for a complete stranger. #ValentinesDay #LoveTakesFlight

Posted by Southwest Airlines on Sunday, February 14, 2016

 

3. Love for employees — Virgin Atlantic

By showcasing employees who fell in love while working at the airline, Virgin Atlantic not only brought real love stories to the fore that had a connection to the brand, but also ensured that it promoted its staff culture and made employees feel special to be part of the airline. By extension, it touched an emotional chord with its customers as well, especially through the hashtag #loveintheair.

Happy Valentine's Day! Where did you meet your loved one? #loveintheair

Posted by Virgin Atlantic on Sunday, February 14, 2016

 

4. Love for thinking differently — JetBlue

JetBlue is renowned for thinking differently about marketing. (Remember “if you wouldn’t take it on the ground, don’t take it in the air?”). As Boston faced its coldest Valentine’s Day this year, JetBlue placed a personal advertisement in newspapers directing customers to an exclusive microsite where it ran a Vday Pays to Plan contest giving out round trip tickets. By enabling love stories instead of sharing them, JetBlue ensured that it tackled V-Day from a completely different perspective. 

 

jetblue singleblueairline airline valentine's day simpliflying5. Love for young customers — WOW Air

While most airlines focused on mature love stories, Icelandic low-cost carrier directly appealed to the younger generation with its fun Valentine’s Day initiatives. Already known for its Tinder and Snapchat exploits, WOW Air invited customers to flirt with the airline and earn some love from the airline. (It also shared a Snapchat video of an inflight proposal.) By keeping a sharp focus on its target demographic, WOW Air ensured that it maintains brand consistency while leveraging the opportunity offered by V-Day to attract young customers.

Voting has ended at 10 pm GMTWinners officially announced tomorrowAdd "wow-air" to become our friend on Snapchat

Posted by WOW air on Sunday, February 14, 2016

 

Which were your favourite airline initiatives on Valentine’s Day? Tell us in the comments below or tweet to us @simpliflying.

Shubhodeep Pal

Shubhodeep Pal

Vice President, Products and Operations at SimpliFlying
Shubhodeep Pal is the Vice President, Products and Operations at SimpliFlying. He has been leading Research, Product Development, Marketing and Business Development since December 2010 from the headquarters in Singapore. He has spoken at airline conferences and delivered training workshops for senior aviation executives. He has also appeared on television interviews and been quoted in publications such as the Wall Street Journal. His writings have appeared extensively on SimpliFlying and respected industry outlets such as Airlinetrends, Tnooz, Airport World, Low Cost and Regional Airline Business Magazine and Loyalty360. In a previous role, he also conducted a workshop on social media at the Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore. He speaks three languages fluently, and is also a published poet and amateur film critic. He can be reached at shubhodeep@simpliflying.com.
Shubhodeep Pal
Shubhodeep Pal

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  • Reagan Costa

    Interesting topic. I LUV it;) The truth is I have experienced this first hand. I have just started lessons at http://www.flyhaa.com/airplane/courses/ in Oregon. My wife as of two months ago is finishing school 3 States away. We are both so excited for our futures individually yet together. When we have gotten together we have so much to talk about and absence makes the heart grow fonder. Luv for the Luv of flying. Thanks for the article.

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