about Airline Slogans and Taglines
Sometimes embarrassing and sometimes
The visual logo part of
an airline's branding is usually distinctive, but the
written slogan they optionally add can be anything but
Part 2 of a series on
Airline Slogans - please
also visit the other pages linked on the right.
We'll never know how it is that
airlines (and not just airlines - many other companies too)
spend so much resource on developing such ridiculous slogans.
But we can at least see the
results of their best efforts, spread over the next three pages
and 560+ examples of slogans from 200+ different airlines,
spanning 80+ years of slogan making.
Slogans with Unintentional
Sometimes airlines come out
with slogans that, when viewed through the clarity of 20:20
hindsight, are ironic, usually in a sad sort of way.
Of particular note are the
somewhat desperate sounding slogans offered by airlines who are
in their death throes - such slogans proudly announce the
solidity and reliability of the airline, sometimes being
released mere months before the airline's final closure and
There are also slogans that
seem to be ambiguous in meaning. Does "Expect More" mean
you'll be pleased or disappointed? How does one feel when
one's flight is an hour late and the airline's slogan is "The
How about the airline with
the slogan "Trust us to fly" - a standard seeming slogan,
perhaps, but when you consider the airline is in the bottom
ranking safety category by its home country government and is
banned from flying to/from the EU, it seems that your trust may
be somewhat misplaced.
Some airlines have little
awareness or care for their past history when it comes to slogan
For example, Braniff had a
slogan "World's Fastest Airline" in 1930, and then "Save Time by
Braniff" in 1941. It had a similar time saving theme in
1950 "Save Time - Save Money Fly Braniff". It followed
this in 1959 with a similar slogan, "World's Fastest Jetliner".
But in 1965, it came out
with an opposite slogan "We don't get you there any faster, it
just seems that way".
Slogans that Drive a Campaign
Often a slogan is a tag line
or 'after thought' but sometimes it is the driving force of an
entire marketing campaign.
A recent example of a slogan
that was designed not only to drive an entire campaign but also
to make best use of the modern concepts of 'viral' videos
distributed through YouTube and elsewhere would be the very
successful Air New Zealand "Our fares have nothing to hide"
campaign (compared to discount carriers with lots of obscured
extra costs to be added to the base advertised fares), featuring
staff who were naked except for body paint (even their CEO) in a
series of advertisements and a related safety video (called
"Bare Essentials"). The campaign had exceeded 6.5 million
views on YouTube in the first two months since its launch.
Some slogans are utterly
meaningless, and some have a possible dim and distant glimmer of
For example, "Reaching for
New Heights" might make sense for an airline after
reorganization, and has some sort of tie-in to the concept of
altitude and therefore flying, but basically it remains almost meaningless.
The most regularly quoted
example of a meaningless airline slogan (does
that mean the slogan writer has actually out-smarted us all?) is
probably "Emotionally Yours".
When is a 'Slogan' Not a
What is the trigger point
that makes a line of an advertisement into a formal slogan?
When does something rise up and dignify recognition as a slogan
in one of its various forms (eg catch phrase, strap line beneath
logo, or whatever)?
Making this value judgment
is difficult. Sometimes slogans are short-lived because
they relate to specific events, but they are still touted as a
slogan during their short life. But sometimes you'll see a
single phrase appear in just one or two places, and then never
again - is that too a slogan and worthy of being reported?
We've tried to use some good
sense in what we do and don't include, but quite likely we've
included some phrases that are too trivial, and omitted some
which are/were more important than they appear when looked at in
isolation, years or decades later.
The Life of a Slogan
It is interesting to see how
some slogans live for decades while others come and go in a
single season or less.
The duration of a slogan's
public presence is perhaps an empirical measure of the airline's
own satisfaction with the slogan (although it could also be
argued that some airlines are simply too uninterested to freshen
up slogans that are desperately in need of change.
Some airlines do not appear
to have any slogans at all. While these airlines are often
from countries that are not considered to be 'marketing savvy',
even western airlines from, eg, US, UK and Australia seem to go
through periods of intense slogan use alternating with an
What is this telling us?
Surely slogans are either a good thing or a bad thing? If
they are good, why not use them all the time. If they are
bad, why use them at all?
The Best Slogans
We hesitate to select the
best of these 500+ slogans. The 'best' slogan is the one
you remember, along with the name of the airline that authored
the slogan, and one that gives you a
Perhaps the best known
slogan may be 'Fly the Friendly Skies' - a long running campaign
by United Airlines from 1966 - 1997. If you've heard of
it, that is a plus for the slogan, if you can tie it to United
Airlines, that is a plus for the airline, and if it makes you nod
approvingly, then it wins the jackpot.
But the double-edged nature
of this slogan is that all too often these days it is referred
to sarcastically or negatively, because we all know that flying
these days is anything but friendly, and many of us also
perceive United Airlines and its front-line staff to be less
friendly than average (in an industry where friendliness is very
scarce to start with).
What do you think - does
United now rue the day it first launched this slogan?
The Accuracy of the Slogans
We've compiled this list of
slogans as a result of searching through the internet and
exercising as much quality control as we can, but identifying
definitive slogans is very much a series of shades of grey
rather than black and white - indeed, we've seen airlines
themselves with multiple similar versions of the same slogan -
are these a planned formal evolution of the 'official' slogan,
or a series of mistaken variations on the official theme?
When does a slogan start or
How much of a sentence,
clause, or phrase is the key part of the slogan, and how much is
not so relevant? For example, the slogan often remembered
as 'Something Special in the Air' comes from a more complete
sentence 'Silver bird, take me where there's something special
in the air', and we've seen the slogan cited in full, or as the
intermediate form 'take me where there's something special in
the air' as well as in its five word essential form.
Wherever possible, we've
tried to show as much of the complete context of the slogan as
we can, and indicate by brackets which is the key part.
Very rarely we've actually
sighted a slogan ourselves, and then can accurately copy it in
terms of its capitalization and punctuation. But even in
such cases as that, ambiguities arise - if a slogan is shown in
all upper case, should we now show it as all upper case or
should we use a mix of upper and lower case, and, if the latter
(our preference) was it the original intent to capitalize every
word or just the starts of sentences and proper nouns?
Additionally, if a slogan is
broken into two lines when printed, was it the intent of the
slogan writer to have it in two lines, or is this merely a
layout/typographical coincidence? Should we show it as two
lines, or as two sentences, or as one sentence with a comma?
Should there be a period at
the end of the slogan?
So, even if we have sighted
the slogan ourselves, it is difficult to accurately render it on
Relying on imperfect sources
And, of course, if we're
accepting someone else's recollection or written memory, there
is plenty of opportunity for error.
Two people might offer two
versions of a slogan - is this a case of one person being
mistaken (and which person?), or is it a case of a slogan which
appeared in two forms?
Sometimes it is interesting
to see how slogans get confused and altered, but in the
interests of accuracy, we're trying to restrict ourselves to the
correct versions only!
The bottom line - what can you
The bottom line is that few
of these slogans can be considered as definitive. If
you're looking for a resource to settle a large bet with a
friend, the only slogans you can be certain of here are the ones
that have a formal attribution to them (eg a 'sighted' or
Can You Help Us?
Sure, this is already
probably the largest collection of airline slogans, anywhere.
But it barely touches the surface of all the slogans that have
ever been released, for all airlines that have ever flown (or
even not flown!).
Furthermore, the information
we do have is often incomplete and may sometimes be
If you can help us more
accurately identify the slogans we have, or if you have new
slogans to add to the collection, please
let us know. It is helpful if you tell us the slogan
itself, the airline it related to, and also as much else such as
when the slogan was in use, and how it was used, and any
background to why the slogan was chosen, or why it was
superseded, and anything else to add to the context of each
Part 2 of a series on
Airline Slogans - please
also visit the other pages linked at the top
right of this article.
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21 Aug 2009, last update
28 Nov 2012
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