Top 10 Airline Advertisement Posters Of All Time

As times change, various technologies and ways to announce yourself to the world also change. The internet and social media, in particular, has completely shifted the way marketing teams have to work today. Because of the current pace of the world, marketing professionals have to have lightning fast reactions to the newest trends. While that has certainly produced some phenomenal advertisement campaigns, on the other hand, it certainly has taken away attention from print media.

And that is where nostalgia kicks in and we start to miss the “good old days”, where posters were as beautiful as ever. So, inspired by nostalgia we present to You the top airline posters that have caught our attention and never let go of it.

Ukraine International Airlines

Before we start the list, a quick shout-out to this unique piece of art. There are a lot of words that could describe this Ukraine International Airlines poster. However, if I had to pick one – I’d pick cheeky. The poster is damn cheeky. The artist was very brave to depict the Christ The Redeemer statue with the Statue Of Liberty sleeping together!

Interestingly enough, Ukraine International Airlines never commissioned this poster. Nor did they contact an agency or a designer to create it. The author, Aleksandr Bozhko created this piece of art to attract attention to his art. He also planned to enter Altai Fake Festival with his creation.

Ukraine International Airlines Poster. Author: Aleksandr Bozhko
Ukraine International Airlines Poster. Author: Aleksandr Bozhko.

But before he knew it, the poster found its way to the internet and then a whole lot of outrage followed. Aleksandr tried to play the part of Don Quixote and tilt at windmills and get the poster off the internet. As we can see above, unfortunately, he was defeated. But maybe for the best, as we can still enjoy the cheeky poster!

10. Royal Jordanian

The flag carrier of Jordan has certainly had its fun with the United States Presidential Election in 2016. Poking fun at Donald Trump and his proposed ban on Muslims entering the United States, if he became the president, the poster has a very clear message to Jordanians. Jump in, while the door is still open! The airline collaborated with Memac Ogilvy and created a poster with the headline “B(a)on Voyage!”.

Royal Jordanian Ban Voyage Poster. Author: Memac Ogilvy
Royal Jordanian Ban Voyage Poster. Author: Memac Ogilvy.

And the fun did not stop there. When the US government banned electronic devices bigger than mobile phones in 2017 on flights that arrive in the United States from ten airports in the Middle East, the Jordanian airline decided to poke the orange bear once again.

Royal Jordanian Electronics Ban Poster. Author: Memac Ogilvy
Royal Jordanian Electronics Ban Poster. Author: Memac Ogilvy.

9. Southwest

We‘ve all seen the crime movies or TV series about the daily lives of policemen. One of the negotiation tactics policemen use is good cop, bad cop“. One of them acts emphatically, tries to understand the criminal‘s motives and tries to support him. Meanwhile, the bad cop will humiliate the suspect with insults, aggressive shouting and wild accusations.

Anyhow, Southwest decided to use a bit of wordplay and create the personas “Good cop, Bag Cop”. The purpose of these personas is to advertise their policy of not charging fees for passengers’ bags. Together with a TV ad, Southwest put out some pretty cool looking posters:

Good Cop Bag Cop. Southwest Airlines Poster. Author: David Crawford
Good Cop Bag Cop. Southwest Airlines Poster. Author: David Crawford.
Good Cop Bag Cop. Southwest Airlines Poster. Author: David Crawford
Good Cop Bag Cop. Southwest Airlines Poster. Author: David Crawford.

8. BOAC – British Airways

Okay, these posters might not be some wonderful artwork that will soon follow. Nevertheless, they are here for their cultural impact. The de Havilland Comet and the Concorde aircraft were the first of its kind. Thus, the posters showcasing their introduction into service carried a lot of significance not only to the aviation industry.

BOAC Comet Jetliner Poster. Author: Unknown
BOAC Comet Jetliner Poster. Author: Unknown.
British Airways Concorde Poster. Author: Unkown.
British Airways Concorde Poster. Author: Unkown.

These jets impacted everyone – one opened the doors to air travel for a lot of people. Meanwhile, the other decreased flight times and showcased a Far Better Travel (pun intended). The Comet and the Concorde are arguably one of the most influential aircraft, together with the 747.

BOAC Far Better Travel Poster. Author: Abram Games
BOAC Far Better Travel Poster. Author: Abram Games.

7. KLM

“They’re becoming self-aware!!” And they did so before it was cool! KLM brought one of the most famous Dutch myths to life with these beautiful posters. Designed in 1933 and in 1956 by Jan Wijga and Leen Spierenburg respectively, the posters showcase the Dutch myth of The Flying Dutchman. The Flying Dutchman is a story how one ship could not reach the harbor during stormy weather. As a result of this, the ship was lost to the sea forever – it is condemned to sail in the sea forever.

And in these posters, fiction becomes fact.

KLM Poster. Author: Jan Wijga
KLM Poster. Author: Jan Wijga.
KLM The Flying Dutchman Poster. Author: Leen Spierenburg
KLM The Flying Dutchman Poster. Author: Leen Spierenburg.

6. Air France

Air France is the national flag carrier of France and a part of the Air France–KLM conglomerate. During the golden age of air travel, Air France collaborated with many artists to create their advertisement campaigns. Many brilliant posters followed.

However, one artist, in particular, stood out to us. Georges Mathieu, considered by many to be the father of European lyrical abstraction, collaborated with Air France in the 1960s. To showcase their destination map, Air France asked Georges to use his paintbrush. The result – stunning. See for yourself!

Air France USA Poster. Author: Georges Mathieu
Air France USA Poster. Author: Georges Mathieu.
Air France USSR Poster. Author Georges Mathieu
Air France USSR Poster. Author Georges Mathieu.

5. Swissair

Manfred Bingler created some stunning posters for the Swiss airline in the mid-late 1960s. The poster style is very minimalist. It has very little details, yet they deliver the message perfectly – the posters advertise Swissair’s destinations around the globe. From the Swiss Alps, South American trees (sorry, I’m not a florist!) to the skyscrapers of the USA, Swissair together with Manfred Bingler, created one of the simplest, yet striking posters of the time.

Swissair Swiss Alps Poster. Author: Manfred Binger
Swissair Swiss Alps Poster. Author: Manfred Binger.
Swissair South America. Author: Manfred Binger
Swissair South America. Author: Manfred Binger.
Swissair USA Poster. Author: Manfred Binger
Swissair USA Poster. Author: Manfred Binger.

4. Scandinavian Airlines System – SAS

To advertise their newly inaugurated routes in the 1950s, SAS hired Otto Nielsen to help the airline advertise their newest destinations and routes. Interestingly enough, Otto painted the beautiful paintings with oil paint, allowing him to showcase his unique and magnificent style of art. These posters are truly amazing to look at. The beautiful colors and the harmony between them create a truly stunning image.

SAS Africa Poster. Author: Otto Nielsen
SAS Africa Poster. Author: Otto Nielsen.
SAS North America Poster. Author: Otto Nielsen
SAS North America Poster. Author: Otto Nielsen.
SAS Near East. Author: Otto Nielsen
SAS Near East Poster. Author: Otto Nielsen.

3. Pan American Airways

If the Concorde and Comet carried a lot of weight culturally as aircraft, then PanAm has done the same. The airline was once the biggest air carrier in the world and everyone thought of it as being the unofficial flag carrier of the United States. Their “Clippers” were true cultural icons. Their posters? Certainly not lagging behind.

Aaron Fine designed these wonderful posters. In a fun, cartoonish style they showcase Europeans in their stereotypical clothes, situations and traditions. These quirky posters certainly remind us why everybody misses Pan Am’s presence in the sky.

PanAm London Poster. Author: Aaron Fine.
PanAm London Poster. Author: Aaron Fine.
PanAm Paris Poster. Author: Aaron Fine
PanAm Paris Poster. Author: Aaron Fine.
PanAm TransAtlantic Poster. Author: Aaron Fine
PanAm TransAtlantic Poster. Author: Aaron Fine.

2. United Airlines

In the 1950s, United teamed up with 2 different artists to create their advertisement posters. Joseph Binder and Stan Galli created some of the most beautiful modern airline posters at the time. However, we personally like Stan‘s work more (sorry!). His unique, cartoonish and positive way of showcasing destinations and the travelers that fly there has caught our attention. The bright colors and smiling people makes us want to go back in time and experience the period for ourselves.

United Airlines Poster Hawaii. Author: Stan Galli
United Airlines Poster Hawaii. Author: Stan Galli.
United Airlines Poster Hawaii. Author: Stan Galli
United Airlines Poster Hawaii. Author: Stan Galli.
United Airlines Poster California. Author: Stan Galli
United Airlines Poster California. Author: Stan Galli.

1. Trans World Airlines – TWA

Another American Icon, TWA, unfortunately, had to close its doors to travelers in 2001. On the bright side, the airline paired up with David Klein and created true cultural aviation icons. The bright colors and abstract style perfectly transfer the mood of the time regarding air travel. People saw it as an exciting, luxurious yet opportunistic way to discover the world.

David Klein’s posters had so much impact, that even his New York poster hangs on the wall in the world-famous MoMA – Museum of Modern Art in New York. And deservedly so, as you can just look at them for hours and pick out the miniature details that portray various TWA destinations around the world.

TWA Las Vegas Poster. Author: David Klein
TWA Las Vegas Poster. Author: David Klein
TWA New York Poster. Author: David Klein.
TWA New York Poster. Author: David Klein.

What are your favorite posters or advertisement campaigns from airlines? Have we missed any posters that are worthy to be on the list? If so, tell us in the comments!

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