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Flying is cheaper than ever before thanks to budget airlines – but what are the hidden costs? Air France has launched an advert highlighting the pitfalls of ultra-low-cost flying, while reminding people its economy services are fully inclusive. We discover the insights behind how Air France positions itself as an upfront, quality alternative at a time where people are price-conscious about air travel.

According to Dominique Wood, Air France's executive vice-president of brand and communication, ‘Take a Chance or Fly Air France’ is designed to “remind our clients and our future clients that there is another way to travel, even in economy, where everything is included.” The advert mocks the high additional costs of entertainment, food and drink on its rock-bottom priced European and Atlantic competitors, quipping that people would need to bring a 50-foot-long reel of Sudoku, instant meal patches and champagne gummy sweets to try to recreate the superior amenities the French airline offers in all of its economy class packages.

“At Air France, we believe that each flight should be a pleasant precursor to your travels,” says Stephane Ormand, vice president & general manager at Air France USA. “Low-cost carrier fares can be deceptive because they charge substantial fees for basic services at every step along the journey. At the end of the day, the cost of an Air France economy ticket, with all its included luxuries, is competitive.” As part of the campaign, the airline is also holding an event at The Grove in Los Angeles, featuring a vending machine that will dispense the aforementioned three products. And hidden among them are three golden tickets for free flights to Paris.

Air France is highlighting that low prices aren’t everything
Air France | YouTube (2018) ©

Low-cost airlines are in a race to the bottom, with people’s ability to research cheap tickets made simple with services such as Skyscanner and Jack's Flight Club. However, travellers still carry high expectations of low-cost airlines – especially as people start to consider the journey to be just as important as the destination. For example, Ryanair may be Europe’s most popular airline, but it also came last in a 2017 Which? survey for passenger satisfaction.

While other airlines focus on cutting costs, Air France is attempting to strike a balance between service and competitive pricing – and highlighting the included benefits draws attention to the value it offers. “As airlines have unbundled their product, they almost don't want to remind you of what it's like to fly them. What Air France is doing is a smart marketing move, but it's also a brave marketing move,” says Henry Harteveldt, founder of Atmosphere Research Group.


26 Mar 18
2 min read

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