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AirCanada777X
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What are the advantages and disadvantages of airlines having flagship planes?

Thu Jul 12, 2018 3:39 pm

What is the point of a "flagship"? Wouldn't having a "flagship" only advertise one type of airplane? In many cases, you would be on another plane of the same airline, so do airlines have flagship aircraft to advertise certain airports where they are popular?
 
citationjet
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Re: What are the advantages and disadvantages of airlines having flagship planes?

Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:18 pm

What is your definition of a "flagship plane"? Are you talking about a unique paint scheme, a type of aircraft? Could you give some specific examples of flagship planes?
In the past, any time the term "flagship" is used with regards to an airline, there is always confusion and discussion as to the definition. Thanks
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ZaphodHarkonnen
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Re: What are the advantages and disadvantages of airlines having flagship planes?

Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:20 pm

Agree on needing a definition.

I would expect it's something like the largest/fanciest/most expensive/best equipped model in a fleet. As the common usage tends to describe that sort of thing.

These days I don't think airlines have 'flagships' anymore. As aircraft have become more common and the interiors more homogenous the 'flagship' component often comes down to service on certain ticket types. Stuff like 'book the cook' or in the past lie flat seats.

In the past flagships would have been like having 747s or the Concorde.
 
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PerfectGriffin
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Re: What are the advantages and disadvantages of airlines having flagship planes?

Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:30 pm

I believe flagship refers to the product on board being different/better than the rest of the fleet.
 
Obzerva
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Re: What are the advantages and disadvantages of airlines having flagship planes?

Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:46 pm

Having a flagship can be a bit of a double edged sword, it’s great if you’re in one of the markets that gets the flagship product, however if you don’t get it, then what are your thoughts on the airline? You always get the lesser product.

As boring as it is, product consistency of a really good product trumps having part of your fleet amazing, and the rest less so.

Having just flown SQ as an example, the cabin fit out on the A380 did look dated compared to the B777 from a flight a few hours earlier.
 
Theproudbird
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Re: What are the advantages and disadvantages of airlines having flagship planes?

Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:44 pm

It seems too Work real well for AA !
 
Flighty
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Re: What are the advantages and disadvantages of airlines having flagship planes?

Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:59 pm

It is rare that the public even understands airline/fleet identity. Some examples the public knows? BA 744, EK A380, B6 A320, WN 737. These brands have a known airplane that people are able to anticipate and desire.

Otherwise, the public doesn't understand what equipment they will get on a particular flight. They don't even understand premium configured versus leisure configured aircraft. Instead they look to the airline brand.

To spend money on non-optimal aircraft in the hopes of becoming iconic + entering public mindshare (and a revenue dividend), basically that is just foolhardy. It is better to work on the airline brand itself. Just make people trust they will have a good experience.
 
Armodeen
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Re: What are the advantages and disadvantages of airlines having flagship planes?

Thu Jul 12, 2018 6:21 pm

Etihad I feel are the shining example of having a flagship in the modern day. Their A380 product is phenomenal and created vast amounts of positive publicity for them and helps promote Etihad as a premium airline.

They have their problems, but branding/marketing is not among them IMHO.
 
OB1504
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Re: What are the advantages and disadvantages of airlines having flagship planes?

Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:03 pm

[quote="Theproudbird"]It seems too Work real well for AA ![/quote]

All of their long haul flights are branded as “International Flagship Service”, but they use 757s, 767s, 787s, A330s, and 777s so they’re not promoting one specific aircraft type.

Though I would posit that the 777-300ER would be most likely to be considered AA’s flagship aircraft given that it’s the biggest and the only four-class aircraft type in the fleet.

For a while, AA marketing materials tended to depict a 767, before switching to the 737 and 777-300ER with the advent of the new identity and the #GoingForGreat campaign.
 
Planesmart
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Re: What are the advantages and disadvantages of airlines having flagship planes?

Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:16 pm

Like most terms aeronautical, it's derived from shipping, naval and civilian, when generally the largest (or newest), was it's flagship.

Term doesn't work quite as well with aviation in 2018, where airlines operate multiples of models, and economic life is shortening.
 
fightforlove
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Re: What are the advantages and disadvantages of airlines having flagship planes?

Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:26 pm

Is a flagship airplane the highest capacity plane in your fleet, or the large-ish plane you have the most examples of? (Think SQ and their A380s vs 772ers). Or, is it your plane that you by far have the most examples of, even if it is smaller? (think AA and their MD-80 mega fleet in the 90s)
Last edited by fightforlove on Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
danj555
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Re: What are the advantages and disadvantages of airlines having flagship planes?

Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:27 pm

I mean you could be emirates where every plane is a flagship plane!
 
Cunard
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Re: What are the advantages and disadvantages of airlines having flagship planes?

Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:28 pm

Planesmart wrote:
Like most terms aeronautical, it's derived from shipping, naval and civilian, when generally the largest (or newest), was it's flagship.

Term doesn't work quite as well with aviation in 2018, where airlines operate multiples of models, and economic life is shortening.


Exactly

The Queen Mary 2 is the largest but not the newest of the CUNARD fleet but she is still the ''flagship'' :-)
 
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seabosdca
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Re: What are the advantages and disadvantages of airlines having flagship planes?

Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:39 pm

I think for the term to have meaning it has to denote 1) the largest in the fleet AND 2) a different customer experience at the high end. The A380 probably qualifies for most of the airlines that operate it, but especially those such as the ME3 that have an A380-specific international first class product.

By contrast, few airlines that fly the 77W as their largest aircraft differentiate it in any significant way from the rest of the fleet (AA being a notable exception).

Occasionally an airline will have its showcase product on an aircraft that's not the biggest in the fleet, usually because it's the newest or the most recently refurbished, or occasionally (as with SQ's former 345) because it flies a prestige service. I don't think "flagship" works well to describe that situation.
 
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litz
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Re: What are the advantages and disadvantages of airlines having flagship planes?

Fri Jul 13, 2018 1:31 am

One example of just exactly this, was Delta's Ship 102, the Spirit of Delta.

This was very much a flagship for the airline (being the 767 purchased by the employees), and carried not only a special Spirit livery its entire service life, but also carried a 1996 Olympics livery, Delta's 75th livery, and (as its curtain call), its original Widget livery.

Delta retired the airplane to its flight museum, where it's now not only an exhibit itself, but houses exhibits within.
 
moa999
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Re: What are the advantages and disadvantages of airlines having flagship planes?

Fri Jul 13, 2018 1:41 am

danj555 wrote:
I mean you could be emirates where every plane is a flagship plane!
Not really. Substantial difference in seating product.
J isn't all aisle access. you could argue EK is now behind
 
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LoganTheBogan
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Re: What are the advantages and disadvantages of airlines having flagship planes?

Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:16 am

Delta identifies their A350s as their flagship which is understandable. its the newest, fanciest thing in their fleet.
Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.
 
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caoimhin
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Re: What are the advantages and disadvantages of airlines having flagship planes?

Fri Jul 13, 2018 6:53 am

LoganTheBogan wrote:
Delta identifies their A350s as their flagship which is understandable. its the newest, fanciest thing in their fleet.


By “identifies”, are you saying DL actively promote it this way?
 
N415XJ
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Re: What are the advantages and disadvantages of airlines having flagship planes?

Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:53 am

caoimhin wrote:
LoganTheBogan wrote:
Delta identifies their A350s as their flagship which is understandable. its the newest, fanciest thing in their fleet.


By “identifies”, are you saying DL actively promote it this way?

Yep. Here's an A350 flight shown on their site just a few minutes ago

Image

Also, I think I recall seeing posters at DTW and other airports as well as press releases specifically referring to it as their 'flagship'.
 
oldannyboy
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Re: What are the advantages and disadvantages of airlines having flagship planes?

Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:00 am

Sadly this is no longer a time for airlines to have 'Flagship' aircraft, routes, or even cabin service concepts reserved for specific premium routes... I think standardization and consistency are the words now.
 
Max Q
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Re: What are the advantages and disadvantages of airlines having flagship planes?

Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:05 am

Flagship is always your largest aircraft


In another life I flew an SF340 for Republic Express and our radio call sign was ‘flagship’
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
 
moa999
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Re: What are the advantages and disadvantages of airlines having flagship planes?

Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:21 am

Max Q wrote:
Flagship is always your largest aircraft


Not necessarily.
While QFs A380 is its largest and only one with First.

The 787 gets the lion's share of press and adverts with the new PER-LHR route and better Business Class.

This may well change when the A380 gets upgraded from 2019, but for now the 787 is where the marketing focus is.

And i suspect the 747 will get some focus as it is farewelled from the QF fleet.
 
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LoganTheBogan
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Re: What are the advantages and disadvantages of airlines having flagship planes?

Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:04 pm

moa999 wrote:
Max Q wrote:
Flagship is always your largest aircraft


Not necessarily.
While QFs A380 is its largest and only one with First.

The 787 gets the lion's share of press and adverts with the new PER-LHR route and better Business Class.

This may well change when the A380 gets upgraded from 2019, but for now the 787 is where the marketing focus is.

And i suspect the 747 will get some focus as it is farewelled from the QF fleet.


Even when QF received their A380, they didn't shine as much light on it as they did with the 787. It could be my perspective playing a role here but Qantas seems to favor marketing their Boeing aircraft more than anything else.
Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.
 
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TVNWZ
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Re: What are the advantages and disadvantages of airlines having flagship planes?

Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:09 pm

Purely a made up Madison Avenue moniker to show an airline has a shining new toy.
 
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AirCanada777X
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Re: What are the advantages and disadvantages of airlines having flagship planes?

Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:36 pm

It seems the definition depends on the airline's thought of what a flagship is.

For some airlines it may be the aircraft on an important routes. For others it may be the largest plane in the fleet. Perhaps the most iconic aircraft in the fleet in other cases. Maybe it could just be the airlines "best" (favorite, economical, put on advertisements) aircraft.
 
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AirCanada777X
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Re: What are the advantages and disadvantages of airlines having flagship planes?

Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:44 pm

But wouldn't having a flagship just be advertising one aircraft?

For example, Delta. Would it be possible that people could think that the A350 is highly advanced and fancy, but that the other aircraft are just decent? I don't see how that helps, considering the passengers would likely be flying on another aircraft.
 
citationjet
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Re: What are the advantages and disadvantages of airlines having flagship planes?

Sun Jul 15, 2018 3:16 pm

Max Q wrote:
Flagship is always your largest aircraft


Then you believe that when both British and Air France flew Concorde, Concorde was not their flagship, but rather the 744 was?
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777PHX
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Re: What are the advantages and disadvantages of airlines having flagship planes?

Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:16 pm

LoganTheBogan wrote:
Even when QF received their A380, they didn't shine as much light on it as they did with the 787. It could be my perspective playing a role here but Qantas seems to favor marketing their Boeing aircraft more than anything else.


That's not my recollection. Qantas made a huge deal out of the A380 when they first received VH-OQA including using John Travolta here in the states. They also ran a promotion where they sold 380 RT seats for $380 to celebrate the new aircraft. I was lucky to get one. I paid particular attention to the hype because of that and got to fly on OQA in her first month of service. It's the only time I've seen ground crew snapping pictures as we taxied to the runway at LAX.
 
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DWC
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Re: What are the advantages and disadvantages of airlines having flagship planes?

Sun Jul 15, 2018 10:25 pm

citationjet wrote:
Max Q wrote:
Flagship is always your largest aircraft


Then you believe that when both British and Air France flew Concorde, Concorde was not their flagship, but rather the 744 was?

Correct, it is not just about size but essentially about AURA, BUZZ, PRESTIGE, or in one word, ICONIC.
And usually means not many frames within an airline fleet - with the exception of EK, an airline like none else.
Also means has something VERY distinctive, few qualify : Concode, 747, A380 ( and the Ekranoplans - they fly though were never "flown" commercially & technically are not airplanes as they are based on "ground effect", using another physics "philosophy" )

The latest 747 iterations always were Flagships, "the Queen of the Skies", even for BA & AF ( whose Concorde service was by & large limited to JKF, so could neither attract new passengers nor present the "product" to the public at large ). Some airlines like SQ even marketed the 743 & 744 as "Big Top" or "Big Boss", to differentiate service from other Jumbo carriers like say Iraqi Airways', UA's & others ;)

In reference to that, the A380 sometimes dubbed "the SuperJumbo" is deemed to be the flagship of ALL few carriers that ordered it, even Hi-Fly, because of its size, because of the eerie feel of space & silence compared to the 777 or 747.

In other fleets, the 777 & 787 may be called "flagship", but it is a misnomer : they are "back bone" frames, excellent at what they do but no afficionado would consider either a true flaghip, in no small part because every other airline has them. By that token, the A350 does not qualify either, it's current "aura" lies with the fact it is new & because there are not that many - yet.

So back to the OP question, a Flagship is a "marketing tool" to help "differenfiate" an airline from others. Gets free press.
Free Coverage & intended marketing ingrain brand & model in people's minds. Most 747 airlines scored well on that, same for the A380.
In fact, EK uses the A380 pretty much like Pan Am did the 747 : "their" flaship more than any other airlines'.
 
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AirCanada777X
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Re: What are the advantages and disadvantages of airlines having flagship planes?

Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:16 am

I understand what you are saying about iconic and unique aircraft in a fleet, but if a competitor has it, it looses it's individuality. Like, how in a few years, UAL will be getting A350s. DAL already has A350s. These are two airlines many people fly on, whether or not they like it, because they are so large. So wouldn't this cause the A350 to lose it's "aura" of being a "Delta Flagship", if UAL were to consider it it's flagship? Or is the fact that DAL considers the A350 its flagship actually decreasing the chance that UAL will also consider it the flagship, or even keep the order at all?
 
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flyingclrs727
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Re: What are the advantages and disadvantages of airlines having flagship planes?

Mon Jul 16, 2018 5:03 am

AirCanada777X wrote:
What is the point of a "flagship"? Wouldn't having a "flagship" only advertise one type of airplane? In many cases, you would be on another plane of the same airline, so do airlines have flagship aircraft to advertise certain airports where they are popular?


The problem with a flagship is that it implies service by other types of aircraft is of a lower level. I don't think it works in today's market. With point to point and point to hub routes on smaller planes like the 787-9, it is counter productive. If one is paying for a premium class ticket, the product should be consistent regardless of aircraft type. Regardless of whether BA flies a 744, 77W, 77E, 789, or 788 between LHR and AUS, all classes should get the same quality of service.

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