2010 was not a good year for air travelers in Europe, ratcheting up anxiety around the hassles of flying. As if unprecedented snowfall and an ash cloud from an unpronounceable Icelandic volcano didn’t cause enough disruption, British Airways had to contend with a series of cabin crew strikes, grounding the majority of its fleet and infuriating customers. This all in the context of BA’s ad campaign attacking the experience travelers get on low-cost airlines!
With more strikes proposed in the coming months, it doesn’t appear 2011 will be much better for BA, a point that low-cost airline easyJet is only too happy to point out in its latest campaign. With easyJet looking to move away from price-focused messaging, a print ad positions the airline as low risk rather than low cost, ending with the line “Why risk BA? Make a date with us.” The ad depicts four calendar pages, each marked as a potential travel opportunity—half-term, Easter, the royal wedding and bank holidays—all of which potentially coincide with a new wave of BA strikes. The campaign taps into the concerns of consumers whose travel plans have all too often been thrown into turmoil.
Perhaps the shoddy image of cheap airlines in the U.K., spoofed in the BBC’s recent mockumentary Come Fly With Me, is about to change for good. However, whilst offering a differentiator from other low-cost airlines makes sense for easyJet, the challenge will be sustaining a customer experience that reflects the messaging … and hoping their staff doesn’t go on strike!
Photo Credit: Dan Holder