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Three Airline Brand Partnerships

Brandon Pike | March 1, 2022 at 8:30 AM

Prepare For Take-Off 

I have a question for all the avid flyers out there…what are your favorite amenities when traveling? For those of us in brand marketing, the partnerships within branded snacks, airline lounges, and more draw curiosity and excitement as we can see these activations come to life – worldwide I might add!  

For certain brands, airlines offer the perfect medium to promote and advertise their product(s) to a wide array of people. World travelers make up just about every different type of person there can be. Even though brands have their target markets, partnering with an airline allows these companies to continue to advertise to their core demographic, while also exploring different types of markets. In this blog, Hollywood Branded discusses three brand partnerships within the airline industry.

Airline Partnerships Hollywood Branded


#1: United Airlines & Saks Fifth Avenue 

Back in 2016, United Airlines announced a major fleet retro-fit with an updated long-haul, the international business class product known as POLARIS. The new seats offer all-aisle access to the traveler and are designed as “suites” which offer the utmost privacy and comfort for those business class flyers.

In addition to those perks above, The Points Guy stated that “United spent a good deal of time researching what business-class travelers want, and the carrier found that a good night’s sleep was the top priority. To that end, POLARIS cabins will feature lie-flat seats with up to 6’6 of bed space.”

Now, what do you need for a good night's sleep on a plane? Well, a comfortable seat is a given. But, how about a custom duvet cover? Or even top-of-the-line pillows? Don’t fret, because United teamed up with Saks Fifth Avenue to create a partnership that is “first of its kind and seriously elevates your in-flight comfort custom luxury bedding. That’s right: duvets, day blankets, a large & small pillow, and a mattress cushion upon request.”

But that is not all! United and Saks Fifth Avenue extended the partnership even further beyond the in-flight experience. In 2017, in an effort to promote the new POLARIS seat as well as the partnership with Saks, United had a large takeover of the flagship Saks store in New York City.

This incredible cross-promotion covered 14-windows and showcased different replicas of the POLARIS cabin with Saks Fifth Avenue branded bedding. Mark Briggs, EVP of Creative at Saks Fifth Avenue said, "We designed these windows to give passersby the feeling that they are actually walking through the luxurious United Polaris cabin. The attention to detail throughout the installation is impressive, from the real United Polaris seats and Saks bedding to the United flight attendant uniforms and Saks signature fashion."

United Airlines Polaris Saks

Source: Google Images


#2: American Airlines & Shinola 

We are going to jet over to another US-based airline, American Airlines, to talk about a brand partnership that launched back in 2021. In the height of COVID-19, American Airlines announced that they have re-designed and would implement a new amenity kit for their long-haul flights. This kit is offered to those traveling in First, Business, and the Premium Economy class.

American Airlines teamed up with Shinola, a luxury goods retailer, to create the perfect amenity case for passengers. Inside the Shinola bag, travelers will be able to find an eye mask, earplugs, dental kit, mouthwash, pen, socks, Chapstick, and hand lotion – all the travel essentials!  

Through this partnership, Shinola is able to showcase the quality of their product which raises the interest of potential buyers. This is also an incredible brand awareness play for Shinola as they get in front of both domestic and international customers on a daily basis.  

Beyond the aircraft, Shinola also created a unique desk clock. This rare piece of manufacturing was made from retired American Airlines MD-80 aircraft. Only 1,000 clocks were made.

American Airlines Shinola Partnership

Source: Google Images 


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#3: Alaska Airlines & Boxed Water Is Better 

Now, this is cool… Alaska Airlines is the U.S. airline industry’s first carrier to totally (100%) eliminate single-use plastics from their service. How? Well, the airline has partnered with Boxed Water Is Better to nix out plastic water containers. Boxed Water’s bottles are 92% plant-based. With this switch, and switching from plastic cups to paper for in-flight service, Alaska Airlines is saving around 1.8 million pounds of single-use plastics over a 365-day period.

Diana Birkett, VP of Public Affairs and Sustainability for Alaska Airlines said, “As a West Coast-based airline, we fly to some of the most beautiful places on earth. Protecting these habitats is critical for our collective future, and reducing plastic waste is a key step. We're proud to partner with Boxed Water on our most impactful plastic-reduction initiative yet, on a continued journey to minimize inflight waste." 

With this change, Alaska will remove 22 million plastic cups and 32 million plastic bottles per year from all flights.

Through this partnership, Boxed Water Is Better will build credibility and brand awareness. But the more unique attribute is that Boxed Water Is Better has become part of Alaska Airlines’ story. Boxed Water is helping Alaska Airlines become better, more efficient, and more eco-friendly. Alaska Airlines saw a need, and Boxed Water Is Better was there to fill that!

Alaska Airlines Boxed Water

Source: Google Images

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Final Approach 

The three brand partnerships mentioned above are just a few of the ones that are active today across the airline industry. Airlines need brands to help provide the best customer care and service for their customers. With that being said, there are numerous ways for your brand to partner with airlines to not only help them but also better position yourself as a top player in your brand category. Have questions? Reach out! We can take your brand to an altitude higher than ever before!

Want to learn more about how your brand can benefit from unique partnerships? Check out other blogs written by our team:

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Topics: International Partnerships, Strategic Partnerships, Case Study, brand exposure

Brandon Pike

Written by Brandon Pike