COVID-19 is crushing the airline industry. And the news cycle never fails to remind us of this. Every day, we hear about how airlines are racking up enormous losses, selling off fleet, firing workers and missing targets.
No doubt, it's a tough situation. But at the same time, I feel that airline brands are letting themselves be crushed by the narratives peddled by financial analysts and journalists.They could be doing more to change the conversation and remind us of the marvel that is human-powered flight: something that has captured imaginations and been an aspiration for thousands of years.
And so, I started curating a Flying Board on INSPO - my AI Inspiration Partner - in the hope that it sparks some fresh thinking.
Here are some of my notes from the Board:
🐉 I was pumped when INSPO surfaced lyrics from DragonForce's hit song Through the Fire and the Flames - I was a fan as a teenager! They also inspired some thoughts for the airline industry: it may be on fire and in flames but it will fly again and be free... for it's just too damn important. The human quest is depending on it.
🛩️ Humanity has an age-old fascination with flying. And a virus isn't going to cut through thousands of years of dreaming. Yes there is a consumer demand shock but our innate desire for the skies is immune to present circumstances and is not going away anytime soon.
🌌 Crazy idea: airline brands team up with meditation platforms to pursue astral travel. The body can't physically move much due to quarantines, but the mind is free to roam... inwards, outwards, in this plane or perhaps on another... (Seeing astral as an association with plane triggered this.)
🦅 Flying is the ultimate metaphor for freedom often symbolised by an eagle and other glorious birds. It's much bigger than air-travel... It's a call of the soul. How cool would it be if British Airways reminded us of this?
🗺️ Flying is a means to adventure, cultural discovery and exploration. These are what airline brands are selling, not flight tickets. "Cities in a click", a poster series which offered travellers useful insights to key travel destinations, tapped into this idea.
🌳 Why not acknowledge the positive environmental impact thanks to fewer polluting planes in the air? And how about using the time to rethink their fundamental technology to make them more eco-friendly? Some might call these questions naive, but the world has always relied on starry-eyed dreamers for positive change!
😨 There's still a view that planes are metal boxes hurled across the skies. It's worth acknowledging that flying is a nerve-wracking and terrifying experience for many people. Could airline designers treat this moment of quiet as a chance to redesign and refresh the flying experience? They could take inspiration from how Doug Dietz redesigned his MRI machines to make them seem friendlier to children.
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