Ai Editorial: Airlines must stay in touch, bank on the magic of communication

20th April, 2020

Ai Editorial: Airlines can’t ignore the significance of being in touch at this juncture. A visual depicting benevolence or a message sent in advance regarding the cancellation policy (be it for offering a voucher or facilitating a refund) can go a long way in soothing the concerns of a passenger, writes Ai’s Ritesh Gupta


Being safe, healthy, social distancing, work from home…all of this and more continues to engulf our lives today.

In this context, certain travel brands are managing to strike a chord by exhibiting empathy and compassion. Be it for an ad or any other creative campaign, or regular operational messaging, airlines need to keep the conversation going.

Drifting away from selling

Rather than taking no initiative to be in touch or not opting to run any ad campaign, the likes of S7, Kuoni and are reaching out to travelers. Drifting away from unrealistic communication or ads ones that revolved around a dream holiday or indulging in an extravagant experience, certain travel brands are doing great in terms of being with their audience.

  • is encouraging consumers to stay at home. Their ad features Captain Obvious using hand sanitizer.
  • S7’s new initiative is also about staying at home. “Confirm that you are staying at home by pressing “I’m at home” button on this page and receive 100 miles from S7 Priority — you may need them for your future travels,” states the airline.
  • Acknowledging that fresh travel stories cannot be crafted, certain brands are encouraging travelers to share travel memories on social media channels, for instance, #TogetherInTravel and #kuonimoments.

In case a travel company intends to work any communication or campaign around the latest developments, then as GetYourGuide asserts, guidance of governments is being followed carefully.

Tao Tao, GetYourGuide’s COO recently mentioned: “At this time, there are no ways to message around COVID-19, or to carry on with business-as-usual in spite of it. The only appropriate response from tourism businesses is to acknowledge the situation head-on, be clear and direct about the actions they are taking to ensure safety, and to uphold commitments to customers and partners.”

Operational messaging

Equally important is being proactive when comes to be in touch.

As a specialist, 15below asserts that travel companies can't afford to stop communicating during the COVID-19 crisis. “…the airlines that are going to be in the best position when the crisis ends are those continuing to maintain communications with passengers, despite a significant number of aircraft being grounded,” asserts Nicholas Key CEO, 15below.

In its short guide, 15below has listed few key aspects to focus on:

  • It is imperative to communicate with all the affected customers quickly, clearly and reliably. The company highlights the significance of managing a huge volume of cancellation notifications and related messaging daily. Is there any way an airline can encourage a passenger to opt for a voucher instead of a refund? How to automate such crucial piece interaction for millions of affected passengers with a minimal input?   
  • How to restore confidence and inspire at the same time?
  • Using an apt communications platform for greater customer satisfaction.  

Travelport also recently came up with a guide for airlines with the objective of helping airlines to capitalize on the prowess of mobile as communication channel. Travelport focused on how airlines can identify opportunities that would require little or no development. Referring to the functionality built into the iOS and Android operating systems, it mentioned the same offers travel brands a distinctive avenue to pass on information about COVID-19 to their travelers using Wallet passes.

These are valuable tips for airlines. They can’t ignore the significance of being in touch. A visual depicting benevolence or a message sent in advance regarding the cancellation policy (be it for offering a voucher or facilitating a refund) can go a long way in soothing the concerns of a passenger who is currently unsure about many things. It is worth being in touch with consumers at the time of crisis, and letting them know you care!