Airlines using Swift-Kelce Super Bowl PR ploy as a distraction


The airline industry seems to think it can distract the people. It thinks that it can divert our attention away from that horrifying social media video of deployed oxygen masks on an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 because a portion of the jet detached and fell into the sky. My attention is still squarely on that incident. No marketing campaign with numbers that represent Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift will distract me.

Following the Kansas City Chiefs’ 17-10 AFC Championship victory against the Baltimore Ravens, American Airlines added a couple of flights between KC and Las Vegas — the site of Super Bowl LVIII. There will be a flight 1989 — the year of Swift’s birth and the title of the album she most recently rerecorded — headed from Kansas City International Airport to Harry Reid in Vegas. There will also be a return flight 87.

Not to be outdone, United Airlines is numbering some of their flights after the new Hollywood It couple. United has its own flight 1989 headed from Kansas City to Vegas. Its Xwitter handle posted that there is also a flight 2287 and a flight 1587 — the latter flight had better be celebrating the Patrick Mahomes-Kelce union and not a 2009 Swift song.

All of the hype surrounding the Kelce-Swift relationship does not bother me. They are public figures who are literally dating in public. She is in the luxury box at every game and even traveled to Buffalo in January. Swift could have waited until her boo was done in the locker room to congratulate him on an AFC Championship win, but instead she walked right out in the mass of people on the field with live television cameras and a stage present.

We are supposed to make a big deal of they’re dating. If not for stories like this, outlets like E! and TMZ might not have enough content to survive. The Swift-Kelce public romance is a compelling story. The NFL is the most successful product in the history of television and Kelce is one of few players recognizable out of uniform. Swift is the biggest pop star in the world. Eyeballs and clicks are gonna follow this pair.

What their relationship is not, is important to anyone except for the actual participants. Cute move, American and United Airlines, giving the two of them a Super Bowl shout out on some overpriced flights that pack people tighter than ground beef.

Those two titans of industry won’t distract me from the problems soaring above my head out of LAX every day. The airline industry is not being as thorough in inspecting its planes as it should be. Even large machines that hurl hundreds of people all over the world, 30,000 feet in the air, are still not immune from the quality being diminished by unbridled capitalism.

Per The Atlantic’s James Surowiecki, when Boeing acquired former aerospace company McDonnell Douglas in 1997, over time, the company became more concerned with its bottom line rather than the quality of its product. Here is an actual quote from Harry Stonecipher back when he was Boeing’s CEO in the aughts: “When people say I changed the culture of Boeing, that was the intent, so that it is run like a business rather than a great engineering firm.” He resigned after 15 months on the job when it was found out that he had an affair with an employee.

I’m on to you, airline industry. Feel free to play some pop culture games with the modern day Bennifer, but my eye is still on the ball. I’m not getting crossed over by those silly flight numbers. I’m focused on these $400-plus airfares that I am forced to pay when door plugs are falling off of planes in midair.


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