United’s Super Bowl ad focuses on its no-change-fees policy as Washington casts scrutiny on airlines’ consumer practices.
United Airlines is back with a new ad for this year’s Super Bowl.
Last year, the carrier took jabs at Southwest Airlines for its massive number of holiday cancellations. This year, United is touting its lack of change fees.
The message: For those already thinking of next year’s Super Bowl, they can book with United now. They’ll always have the option to cancel without any fees.
United was one of the first airlines to get rid of change fees during the pandemic. United said more than 10 million customers have changed their flights without paying fees since 2020.
“We’re tapping into that optimism about next year for a lot of fans,” United’s chief communications officer Josh Earnest said on Monday. “We want to tap into that optimism by reminding fans that they can make plans for next year to support their team.”
The ad, which will be tailored to markets in Kansas City, Houston and Cleveland, features Kyle Chandler, most known for his role as Eric Taylor, the coach in “Friday Night Lights.” United said a more general version of the ad will air in Chicago, Denver, Baltimore, Orlando, Colorado Springs and Cincinnati.
Two-time Academy Award winner Chloé Zhao directed the ad, which features Chandler looking directly into a camera giving a pep talk.
“This is about believing. Believing so hard that you book your flight to next year’s big game before the season even starts,” Chandler says in the ad. “Because believing that hard can change everything.”
Airlines Face the Biden Administration
United’s emphasis on its no-change-fee policy comes as the Biden administration has renewed scrutiny on airlines’ consumer practices.
The carrier said travelers have saved $2 billion on change fees. The Biden administration has championed issues in the airline industry ranging from free family seating to removing “junk fees,” or many of the ancillary fees airlines have customers pay.
Biden’s administration launched an “Airline Customer Service Board” that tracks which airlines would compensate passengers for controllable cancellations or delays.
The Department of Transportation recently opened an investigation into airlines’ loyalty programs in an effort to determine whether airlines have intentionally devalued their frequent flier miles.
The Super Bowl (Taylor’s Version)
Along with American Airlines, United is leaning into the Super Bowl festivities with Taylor Swift-themed flight numbers. Swift, who is dating Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, has become a major fixture in the NFL. Even though she is currently in Tokyo for her Eras Tour, everyone is hoping she’ll make it to Las Vegas in time for the game.
United has flight UA 1989, a reference to her birth year and fifth studio album, departing from Kansas City to Las Vegas. It also added a flight number in reference to Kelce and Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes — UA 1587. UA 2287 is an homage to Swift’s song “22” and to Kelce’s jersey number.
The San Francisco 49ers also have special flight numbers for the game. United is flying UA 1995 — a reference to the last time the 49ers won the Super Bowl — from San Francisco to Las Vegas.