How an airline name affects its economic performance

Please be aware, for the purpose of this article, I will be writing solely about commercial airlines in the United States, but the same ideology works with airlines throughout the world!

So, the answer to this question might seem obvious, but think to yourself, “What is an airline?” The first thing that comes to mind is probably the logistics behind the airline: aircrafts, the workers, managers, pilots, flight attendants, senior managers, maybe even the CEO. And if you are thinking along the lines of this, that’s fine! That just means that your knowledge level of airlines is just above average. But let me tell you one thing:
You’re wrong.

Why are you wrong?

Well, I just exaggerated. You’re not wrong, but for the purpose of this article, you are. This article will talk about the advertising of the airline and specifically, what name an airline has.

So let’s take this conversation out of airlines for a minute. Let’s take two computer superpowers: Microsoft and Apple, and let’s analyze how they started out. Apple was known as a company that was making top-of-the-line products for the middle-class man. Their products worked for relatively extended periods of time when compared to the first Microsoft PCs. Microsoft PCs were not as reliable and didn’t have the same capabilities as the Apple Macintosh. Fast forward some 25 years and everything has changed. The technology behind what powers our computers, the user interface of the computers. If there’s anything that is in common between the computers nowadays and the computers back then is they are still called “PCs”. In terms of product quality (and this is my educated opinion based on benchmarks and performance tests I’ve conducted), Apple and Microsoft manufactured PCs are basically equal. They both have stellar graphics, high-end processing units, and they are both very well known.

Now, let me draw you back towards a statistic. Out of every hundred people that are here on the forums, sixty-two of them probably have a Mac. Only fifteen of those people will have a Microsoft computer. That’s facts, not some made up stuff.

Why is this true?

Well, there is only one answer for this. Welcome to the lovely and persuasive art of advertising, an art understood by very few. I’m going to try my best to explain advertising extremely basically. Advertising extends beyond the scope of what consumers see. It extends to competitors, other important players in different industries, and much more than that. It’s all about making your product sound amazing compared to the alternative. However, the product has to be great at one point in time in order for the advertisement to work. The biggest method of advertisement is the powerful word of mouth. If one person buys a good, Apple computer and it works for years on end, that person is more likely to tell their friend to buy an Apple computer over a person who got a decent, Microsoft computer that has been advertised worse than the competition.

This machine dominance has carried on to modern day computers. Among consumers, Apple is known as a company that makes amazing computers in relativity to Microsoft, even though the quality of the computers and bench-markings are about the same or even Microsoft’s being better. This is the power of advertisement.

Wait, hold your horses Arjun. Why are you even talking about this?

Well, it’s the same idea that powers airlines! In the US (and this is true among business people), Delta is known as an amazing airline for a few reasons. The first is that it is reliable and on time, which is important to many people. Time is of the essence. The second is passenger comfort, as “back in the days”, Delta was by far, the most comfortable airline there was (well maybe not by far, I have to admit Continental was nice). The combination of these two made Delta an extremely popular choice for millions in the United States, and Delta’s business started to boom (forget the 2005 bankruptcy, that occured for different reasons I’m not going to get into).

Like before, let’s fast forward four scores and two years. No, let’s actually fast forward only three decades. We are now post-merger with Northwest airlines, the merger that ultimately put Delta out of bankruptcy and back into it’s money-making days. By this time, there were new domestic airlines within the US that were entering the airline industry, but weren’t succeeding as much. Why, you may ask? The answer is actually quite simple and I’m sure you can guess it now.

The answer to that question lies in advertisement. I’m sure you’re sick of me by now, but just keep reading for another minute. Remember what I talked about just two paragraphs ago, about Delta being known as an amazing airline because of comfort and being on-time? Well, let me show you some facts now. On the comfort side, the minimum amount of legroom you will get in Delta is 30 inches, while Virgin America, Alaska Airlines, and Southwest offer 32 inches. As far as being on time, Alaska and Virgin America offered almost 90% on-time or early percentage on their flights, whereas Delta offered only 84%.

So, as I have indicated before, advertising is the name of the game, no matter what industry you are in. Having a solid company name is always the best and desirable starting position for a company, however. If you did end up enjoying this, please leave a like and any comments you may have for me, and I’ll try my best to respond. Thanks!


This is all mine. Just wrote it all.


Well written topic! This will be very helpful to the community!


Thank you so much Matt! I really do hope that people read what I wrote, even though it’s definitely heavy in content.

So the better choice if one is choosing comfort would be Virgin America, Alaska or Southwest.

And in terms of advertisement, I honestly think that SWA takes this one home. There are countless days that I wish I work for Southwest, and I wish I would eventually because they have this unique connection to its customers that no other airlines has.


Absolutely, the point of this thread isn’t to change people’s opinion, but rather enlighten them on why their opinion is that.

Amazing article. I liked the fact that you wrote this. Good to see a difference from the other 903472842 topics in #real-world-aviation.

Just out of curiosity, was this inspiried by Half as Interesting’s latest video?

1 Like

Actually, no. It was inspired by me seeing “Delta’s retaliation to Boeing”. I thought about all the economic benefits that Boeing gave them (that wasn’t in the article) and then I related it to the Delta bankruptcy. I then thought of this.

I was flying from EGKK to VIDP to visit my parents and also I was bored so I wrote it.

Those are some interesting aspects, thanks for sharing @Arjun_Dayal .

1 Like

Yeah of course! Here, we always focus on the airplanes and pilots behind it, and this talks about advertising and money.

1 Like

This statement is not true

There lies the deception. Swiss Air is one of the most underrated airlines.

Just my opinion. Hope you understand.

This topic was automatically closed 90 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.