On ABC World News Saturday, there was a bizarre example of the media’s hate/hate relationship with one of the nation’s largest air carriers, US Airways.
The story was about delays at airports, and a graphic of the average delays at America’s busiest airports was shown.
The graphic was designed to look like an airport terminal, and a screen reminiscent of takeoffs and arrivals. But look more closely at the names on three of the bottom screens.
For some reason, in this story about massive delays, ABC News chose to single out US Airways – in a story that wasn’t even about US Airways!
There are two possible reasons for this: One is a horribly misguided ad buy on the part of the airline, which I tend to doubt. Sure, they may have said, “yes, we’ll gladly pay for your animation if you put our name on it,” without asking what the context of the story was.
Now, if that is true, someone really needs to be fired.
Because the takeaway from this animation is that US Airways is consistently late in taking off at three of the nation’s major airports. The fact of the matter is US Airways was #1 in on time performance in 2008, and is predicted to keep this title in 2009.
Since the story was about the average delays for all airlines, people seeing this might think US Airways itself has this level of delay times.
Also, the three airports mentioned are the busiest in the nation – and all three have been in need of additional runways for some time. The reason these three airports have such lengthy delays is that not enough planes can take off – regardless of carrier.
And this all came after the story about an attempt this week to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight bound for Detroit. So people not paying too much attention came away with air flight terrorism, lengthy delays, US Airways.
If this didn’t happen because someone at US Airways was using up their annual media spend and didn’t watch where it was used, this story shows a strange bias against the airline that I don’t frankly understand. This is something their public relations department should definitely get on top of.