Following this morning's announcement that Southwest Airlines will acquire AirTran, the two carriers begin the complex process of combining together: which aircraft to take, which cities to keep, and which ad campaigns to stuff in the closet and hope people forget about.
OK, that last one may not be on the list but it is the funniest. Before Southwest and AirTran got hitched they were competitors and earlier this year waged a video ad campaign war.
First Southwest showed its ramp workers flashing passengers on a blurred-out AirTran aircraft their chests, which depicted the message "bags fly free", hitting out how Southwest doesn't charge for checked luggage, unlike AirTran.
AirTran responded with a "skip the stampede"-themed ad showing passengers in cow suits waiting in a blurred-out Southwest gate area and then rushing on to the plane during boarding. It was a jibe at Southwest's no-assigned-seats policy, more colloquially known (or disdained depending on your view) as the "cattle class call" when all passengers attempt to board their aircraft.
Long live airline marketing. You will be missed, AirTran and Southwest adversaries.
Hat tip to Flightglobal colleague Dan Webb.