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Virgin Atlantic-Valentine's Heart

VIRGIN ATLANTIC - VALENTINES HEART

In the earlier easyJet article, we made the point that while lots of airlines try out Valentines stunts or campaigns, not that many manage to get cut through in a very crowded space where everyone is vying for attention.

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easyJet succeeded through its poetry campaign by rolling out something different and eye catching. For different reasons, so did Virgin Atlantic, when one of its aircraft “drew” a heart off the coast of Cornwall in the UK.

VIRGIN ATLANTIC LOVE SUITES

Recently Virgin Atlantic took delivery of four A330-200 aircraft, which are actually planes from the now bankrupt Air Berlin.

Getting four second hand planes shouldn’t really make news outside the specialist aviation press, but Virgin Atlantic succeeded into turning into a media event.

That’s because Virgin announced that the aircraft, which were given names like ‘Strawberry Fields’ and ‘Daydream Believer’

would have so-called ‘Love Suites’ in its Upper Class cabin.

The press lapped it up. Love seats! Trust that cheeky Sir Richard Branson to come up with something like that!

Or as Metro put it, “it’s almost like Virgin Atlantic want people to have sex on their planes.”

In fact, as the Points Guy pointed out, the truth was a little less racy. The socalled Love Suite is actually just the old ‘honeymoon’ style centre seats already installed by Air Berlin.

VALENTINES TEST FLIGHT

On Valentine’s Day, one of the ex Air Berlin A330s was taken on a test flight across South and South West England. The aircraft (called ‘Honky Tonk woman’ then ended up ‘drawing’ a heart shape in the Irish Sea, in an operation which had been planned days earlier.

The drawing was of course the flight path, with the heart ending up being 60 miles long. The flight crew only had two hours to draw the heart, and they were aware that they were being watched and tracked by AV Geeks on website and app Flight Radar 24 - which was of course the point, plane enthusiasts on social media are likely to share something like this.

The result was extensive media coverage, with Google news registering over 4800 articles worldwide.

This is not the first time an aircraft has drawn a shape with its flight path. At Christmas, Airbus had an A380 eventually destined for Emirates ‘draw’ a Christmas tree over Europe, while in August, Boeing had one of its 787s draw a plane shape over the USA.

OTHER AIRLINE VALENTINE’S PROMOTIONS

Other airlines also ran Valentine’s promotions but for the most part they took the form of sales or more basic promotions.

For example, Emirates gave everyone flying out of Dubai heart shaped chocolates., while Alaska Airlines posted a blog post about two flight attendants who had met in training and were now getting married.

Delta meanwhile used Valentine’s Day to, just like every year “give a big hug” to its 80,000 staff through its annual bonus / profit share programme, which for most employees will see them get the equivalent of more than 10% of their gross annual pay.

KEY TAKE-AWAY

The airlines we’ve profiled have got it right when it comes to something crowded like Valentine’s Day. Either keep it simple and do something that passengers will appreciate (like a chocolate give-away by Emirates) or run a sale (like Cebu Pacific).

Or, think big and cut through the noise, which is what Virgin Atlantic managed to do. Virgin did so without spending a huge amount on promotions or advertising. The A330 that ‘drew’ the heart was due to make a test flight anyway, all the airline did was sort out the logistics and divert it slightly over the Irish Sea.