This article was first published in the summer of 2019 as part of a 100 part series on the history of British Airways and its predecessor airlines, Imperial Airways, BOAC and BEA. You can browse the full series of 100 stories in numerical order, by theme or by decade.
“The Key To Europe”
“BOAC Takes Good Care Of You”
“Europe’s Number One”
“Fly The Flag”
“We’ll Take More Care Of You”
“We Never Forget You Have A Choice”
“Upgrade to BA”
Of all the advertising slogans used by BA and its predecessor airlines, none has been more memorable than “The World’s Favourite Airline”.
Based on the simple fact that BA carried more international passengers than any other airline, it was adopted by the airline 1983.
You can certainly describe it as an audacious move. By BA’s own admission at the time, it was more of a statement of intent than anything else.
It clearly rankled BA’s competitors. “The world’s favourite airline. They must be on a different planet.” sniffed Virgin Atlantic in a 1989 advertisement.
Many repeatedly complained unsuccessfully to advertising and broadcasting regulators about its use. It was also frequently mocked by rivals. In its early years, easyJet initially branded itself as “The web’s favourite airline”.
BA officially withdrew its use of the slogan in 2001 after Lufthansa gained the title of “The world’s favourite”. Whether based on the objective measure of passenger numbers, or the subjective views of passengers, the era of “The world’s favourite” is not coming back.