United Airlines has saved customers more than US$2 billion (AU$3b) since becoming the first legacy airline to permanently eliminate change fees more than three years ago, and today released a series of new commercials starring actor Kyle Chandler that will air this Sunday and promote the benefits of the policy change.
In the ads, Chandler speaks directly to football fans in five different markets and encourages them to believe in their team and book a United flight to next year’s game in New Orleans without worrying about change fees.
The campaign – “Believing Changes Everything” – is the first time a big game advertiser has created this many different commercials that were written specifically for local markets. The market-specific ads will target Chiefs fans in Kansas City, Browns fans in Cleveland and Texans fans in Houston on broadcast TV and Bears fans in Chicago and Broncos fans in Denver on social media. A general market film will also air on TV in Chicago, Denver, Baltimore, Orlando, Colorado Springs and Cincinnati. Each of the local commercials speaks directly to the emotions fans in these cities may be feeling on Sunday and culminates by encouraging them to dream big about their team’s chances next season.
“This is about believing. Believing so hard that you book your flight to next year’s big game before the season even starts,” said Chandler. “Because believing that hard can change everything”.
More than 10 million United customers have changed their flights without paying change fees since the airline’s policy went into effect in 2020.
“This simple policy change has had a dramatic impact on our customers and the overall experience of flying United,” said Linda Jojo, United’s Chief Customer Officer. “You can book with confidence knowing that even if your – or your teams’ – plans change, United has your back.”
United has a long and storied history with professional football and currently has relationships with eight teams, some dating back more than 50 years. United is the official airline for the San Francisco 49ers and the official commercial airline of the Kansas City Chiefs and is flying both teams to and from this weekend’s game in Las Vegas. The airline also regularly adds extra flights to make it easier for fans to watch their favourite teams play on the road, and this year will fly its largest big game schedule yet with 43 new direct flights, including special flight numbers UA 1989 and UA 1587 from Kansas City and UA 1995 and UA 1845 from San Francisco.
“Everyone tuning into the game isn’t feeling the same way; in fact, the majority of fans are watching someone else’s team play. This presented a unique creative opportunity to make an ad that speaks directly to the cities and fanbases who are already looking ahead to next season. By producing market-specific commercials, we can avoid the sports cliches that are all-too-common this time of year and demonstrate that United is standing with fans of the local team who are already excited about next season,” said Maggie Schmerin, United’s Chief Advertising Officer.
The “Believing Changes Everything” films were directed by two-time Oscar winner Chloé Zhao and produced in partnership with United’s creative agency of record, 72andSunny.