Three ways air ticket re-design can increase brand value

Virgin America boarding pass

A Virgin America boarding pass

In a recent blog post, Cam Beck at mentioned that he had attended a workshop by Stephen Anderson and Travis Isaacs on effectively organizing information. The result of that class was an airline ticket redesign Cam and friends did, as shown below. Cam went on to suggest in his article that once unnecessary information has been removed, there enough space for a special offer for the passenger too! Personally, I feel the both the re-designs below are an immense improvement from the existing ticket designs. So how can these better designed tickets help increase brand affinity?

Original airline ticket

Original airline ticket

Re-designed air ticket

Ticket 1: Re-designed air ticket

Re-designed ticket with offer

Ticket 2: Re-designed ticket with offer

Three ways air ticket re-design can increase brand value

We all recognize that an air ticket is one of the few ways that an airline brand physically interacts with the customer. So what’re some ways airlines can leverage on this?

  1. The power of surprise: Can you imagine what a pleasant surprise it will be for the hapless traveler when he sees an easy-on-the-eyes and different looking ticket? Not only will it be a stark departure from traditional ways of getting someone’s attention, it will surely be etched in the memory of the customer as being out of the ordinary. This association will surely help brand recall – and he’s bound to tell other about it.
  2. Increased brand affinity: Surely, airlines can find an inch or two on the re-designed ticket to stamp their logo. If the ticket fits nicely in a pocket or wallet, it is likely to remain there for a long time (people tend to be lazy and forgetful about these things). That means that whenever people take it out, they’ll recall their “pleasant surprise” and the hopefully pleasant flight experience that followed. What better than this for increasing brand affinity?
  3. Win-win situation: As Cam suggested in his design, a portion of the ticket can be used to present an offer to the passenger. This can be anything from a free upgrade, a free meal coupon (since some airlines now even charge for water!), or an offer from a partner, like a 10% discount at the Apple store. Businesses would probably jump at this opportunity too, given the long “shelf-time” of a ticket. A perfect win-win situation. Customers are happy, and airlines cultivate an additional revenue source.

Surely a simple ticket re-design cannot solve all of an airline’s problems. But small steps can certainly be taken to make the passenger happier.

What do you think? Do you think this will work? Or is it over-optimistic?
What happens when e-tickets and e-boarding passes is all that exists and there are no boarding passes to be printed out?
How can airlines still use this as a means to increase brand affinity?

Let’s discuss…

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Showing 4 comments
  • Puneet Aggarwal

    Nice Branding Effort by AA.
    Shashank, how in your opinion should the airlines use Web 2.0 or Twitter to connect with their customers? – Puneet

  • Shashank Nigam

    Puneet, I think you meant Virgin America. It’s Virgin America that has designed small, cute tickets. The two other ticket images I’ve shown are sample images – and aren’t in use by American Airlines (AA). And personally, I feel AA doesn’t do a very good job with their branding, with their “we know why you fly” campaign.

    As for Web 2.0, I’m a strong proponent of airlines using the latest technology to get closer to the customer and build their brand further. I’ve written extensively on the topic, and I’m sure you’d find some articles interesting here:

  • Jared Farnum

    I am the designer of “Ticket 1”. Cam designed “Ticket 2”. The original design was actually not a boarding pass. The printout we were given at Dallas Refresh appeared to be a printout from a webpage. Some liberties and assumptions were made before the re-designs. Regardless, good design should be one that is easy to read and follow. I agree that the Virgin America's design still just doesn't display information clearly.

    My blog post (not given credit here) was about my thought process and experience of the re-design.

    Jared Farnum

    • Shashank Nigam

      Jared – thanks for highlighting your original post. I was actually
      looking for it and couldn't find it. Great to see the original thought
      process behind the design!

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