It’s no secret that businesses have to evolve to meet new market challenges. The airline industry is no exception. Oil spikes, 9/11, security scares and industry consolidation have forced massive changes in how airlines do business. For the customer though, the experience usually just becomes crappier. Leg room shrinks, service takes a back seat to profit and the one-time promise of free bags (even free carry-on bags) is nearly extinct. We’ve searched the internets to find the Top 3 ironic airline commercials. You’ll soon realize that airlines flip flop on their policies nearly as often as politicians.
1.) JetBlue touts free baggage
Just this week JetBlue announced that they will join the rest of the airline industry (Southwest being the lone holdout) and begin charging for checked luggage. They also announced that they would shrink legroom and add up to 15 more seats per airplane. While it’s not unexpected, it’s ironic that they attempted to differentiate themselves in a 2011 commerical by mocking other airlines as actors said they ‘felt cheated’ by bag fees. Oh, have times changed.
2.) AirTran mocks the Southwest ‘Cattle Call’
Back in 2010, AirTran and Southwest were engaged in a David vs Goliath battle to win over customers on the always competitive east coast routes. Southwest had made great inroads into territory that was typically the domain of discount carrier AirTran Airways. In an attempt to differentiate themselves, AirTran began a series of commercials aimed squarely at Southwest Airlines. They mocked the Southwest Airlines open boarding policy. Ironically, Southwest and AirTran announced a merger less than six months later. In just a few weeks from now, AirTran will disappear from the skies forever along with their much touted assigned seating and business class. The ‘cattle call’ remains.
3.) American removes seats to make passengers happy
Back in 1999, American Airlines was rolling in the dough. In an effort to make their product even better, they begin removing seats to make the cabin more comfortable for passengers. It was called “More Room Throughout Coach.” The concept was a failure. American couldn’t make money with that policy. Passengers weren’t willing to pay enough of a premium for the extra space. A couple of years later, American reversed its policy and added seats. Some jokingly called it ‘Less Room Throughout Coach”. American also started charging for checked bags, took away free food (even on long flights to Hawaii), added massive ticket change fees and cut salaries for workers. None of it worked. American eventually filed for bankruptcy in 2011 and later merged with US Airways. While some amenities have returned for high paying customers, coach passengers are about to get even more cramped as American announced that they will add even more seats to their main cabin by early next year.