SAS’s odd inflight promotion of Ryanair

This morning I was on a Scandinavian Airline (SAS) flight. The crew made their usual spiel right after take off, reviewing the flight plan...

30 Sep 2009 2143 Views

This morning I was on a Scandinavian Airline (SAS) flight. The crew made their usual spiel right after take off, reviewing the flight plan, weather en route, etc.. Then the announcement took a strange twist when the purser said he would like to address the recent advertising campaign by Ryanair, the low-budget Irish airline. He then recited a prepared statement. To paraphrase: “As you may have heard, Ryanair has claimed to be the most punctual airline in Europe. This is not true. SAS is the most punctual airline in Europe. Ryanair is number 30.”

 

SASVsRyanair

 

That’s a first for me and I think it is a dumb tactic on SAS’s part. It wasn’t convincing, just defensive. Further, I’d bet a lot of people on that flight were unaware that Ryanair claims to be Europe’s most punctual airline. It was news to me. It seems odd that the media channel through which the message was delivered to me was SAS. And although I find it hard to believe Ryanair is punctual, I’m not 100% confident in SAS’s statistical interpretation either.

 

The bigger question is when an SAS flight is delayed, what do the flight crew say? “We apologize for the delay today, it was due to late incoming aircraft. While we’re on the subject …”

When David taunts Goliath, it only helps David’s cause for the giant to flinch. I’m not saying that SAS should ignore Ryanair’s claims, but there is a time and a place for everything. Ryanair’s claims should be countered in a way that reinforces SAS’s leadership position, not one that undermines it.

Say what you will about Ryanair’s CEO, Michael O’Leary, he knows how to work the media and his much larger competitors. Airline advertising has been a lot more interesting, and frank, since this Irish upstart joined the conversation. Watch this clip to hear another of his assertions.

 

I’d like to hear SAS’s inflight retort this claim.

 

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Sean Duffy | @brandranter
Speaker, consultant & founder of Duffy Agency, the flipped digital agency that provides accelerated growth to aspiring international brands.