Extensive Marketing Strategy of United Airlines – The World’s Third Largest Airline

Updated on: Sep 5, 2022
Marketing Strategy Of United Airlines - Featured Image

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My name is Aditya Shastri and I have written this case study with the help of my students from IIDE's online digital marketing courses in India.

Practical assignments, case studies & simulations from Business Review helped the students from this course present this analysis.

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Previously we looked into the enthralling SWOT Analysis of United Airlines, one of the world’s leading airlines in the United States. In this case study, we will analyse the marketing strategy of United Airlines.

With the purpose of “Connecting people and uniting the world”, United Airlines is serving millions of people all over the world, from its formation to the present day. This formation has made United Airlines the world’s third-largest airline. They are constantly focused on providing customers with digital tools so that they can have a smoother and faster travel experience. 

Identifying the growth of mobile bookings and introducing redesigned applications according to users’ feedback have helped United airlines grow a lot. So, any company needs to stay digital today. So, if you’re interested in keeping up with the latest developments, – check out Free Masterclasses on Digital Marketing 101 by the CEO and Founder of IIDE, Karan Shah.

Before starting with the marketing strategy of United Airlines, let’s look into the company’s history, products, and close competitors to get a better understanding.

Digital Marketing Academic Challenge 2024 - DMAC

About United Airlines

Marketing Strategy Of United Airlines - United Airlines Aeroplane

United Airlines is a leading American airline company headquartered in Chicago. It was set up in 1926 as Varney Air Lines but later the name changed to Boeing Air Transport. United Airlines is the third-largest airline in the world as it covers the largest number of destinations in the entire world. It provides air services for 1000 destinations in 170 countries and more than 700 aircraft are operated by it. It has a strong international route network and 10 international hubs of which George Bush International Airport is the largest hub. 

United Airlines is a combination of various airlines which include National Air Transport, Air Micronesia, Pacific Air Transport, Capital Airlines, Varney Air Lines, New York Air, Arizona Airways, Pan American, World Airways Challenger Airlines, etc. The logo “U” is used on its aircraft.


Quick Stats on United Airlines
CEO Scott KirbyScott Kirby
Area Served 325 destinations in 52 countries on 6 continents
Industry Airline Industry
Market Share/ Revenue 9.7%
Vision Connecting people. Uniting the world,
Tagline Fly the friendly skies


Marketing Strategy of United Airlines

Let’s take a look at United Airlines’ marketing plan! And how United Airlines executes its marketing initiatives.

Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning

Airlines have traditionally divided passengers into two distinct categories based on their trip purpose: business and leisure. Leisure travellers come to relax, have fun, and have a good time. Business tourists, on the other hand, travel to promote their company.

United Airlines Airlines is using a Single Segment Strategy. It is currently focusing on business class passengers. United Airlines is attempting to engage its target audience by emphasising that it provides everything that business travellers want. They accomplish this by placing advertisements in broadcast and other national media.

Sky miles, a renowned frequent flyer program offered by United Airlines Airlines, is a large and well-known reward program. Customers can earn miles by travelling with United Airlines or one of its affiliates, or by utilising partner firms such as credit cards, hotels, and auto rentals. The mileage credit may be used to book flights or join one of United Airlines’s Sky Clubs.

Marketing Campaigns

Marketing Strategy Of United Airlines - Campaign 1

United Airlines has a long history of a strong game memorable advertising campaign from which the campaign called ‘Good leads the way’ commercial air travel reached historic new heights during the pandemic.

The commercial is full of firsts, feats and feel-good things experienced by whoever got connected with the airlines! Because this is the story of an airline when Good Leads The Way.

Like this, there are numerous marketing campaigns and ad content that appeared on board United planes and in airport terminals, as well as on TV, billboards, streaming platforms, digital, social and “through unique, contextually relevant and unexpected spaces,” per the company.

Marketing Strategy Of United Airlines - Campaign 2

United’s original “Come Fly the Friendly Skies” commercials highlighted the modern age of air travel, and Continental’s “We really move our tail for you” advertisements set the standard for airline advertising. Continuing to reach new heights, United’s “It’s Time to Fly” campaign, launched in 2004, masterfully illustrated the way United served the travel needs of that time and demonstrated great new offerings like Economy Plus® seating. 

Marketing Strategy Of United Airlines - Campaign 3

Continental’s “Work Hard. Fly Right.” advertising, launched in 1998, demonstrated keen insights about business travel and spoke to customers in a witty and refreshing tone are some of the amazing ad campaigns conducted by United Airlines since its establishment.

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is critical when it comes to gathering the audience at large and no wonder a brand like United Airlines uses it to its full advantage.

United Airlines Airlines is optimising the use of social media by offering its services not only in the air but also through various social media platforms. United Airlines is on Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn, and Facebook, among other social media platforms.

Their Facebook handle has the most followers (1,482,276), followed by Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Youtube. Their Instagram and Twitter account each have over a million followers. The airline program @United AirlinesAssist was the first in the United States to use Twitter for customer service.

Hey, If you want your business to get success on social media platforms or have a curiosity about how marketing works on these channels, then you must check out the short-term SEM course offered by IIDE in which you will get everything you are looking for to know-how marketing works on social media.

SEO Strategies

Marketing Strategy of United Airlines - SEO insights by Ubersuggest for United Airlines’s website

Number of organic keywords – 1,565,737
Organic monthly traffic – 20,123,898

According to SEO rankings, a low number of keywords (under 500) is poor, a high number of keywords (over 1000) is excellent, and a higher number of keywords (10,000+) is exceptional. As can be seen, https://www.united.com/en/us has – 1,565,737 organic keywords, which is incredible. That means United Airlines’s digital marketing is acquiring enormous insight.

Also, the monthly traffic is approximately 20 million, which is again incredible. This demonstrates that United Airlines has a flawless SEO plan in place, as well as a willingness to work hard enough to maintain the brand flying in the Google organic SERP rankings.

Influencer Marketing

EMPLOYEE INFLUENCERS ON UNITED AIRLINES – United is turning to savvy employees to bolster its image across social media platforms, enlisting flight attendants and baggage handlers to post pictures and commentary.

Attendants and employees were seen posting some beautiful shots on social media platforms. Encouraging employees to be social media influencers. That itself builds external and internal brand loyalty. 

Ecommerce Strategies

You may book a United Airlines flight online by going to the official website and selecting ‘book.’ Then input the destination and arrival airports, as well as the kind of travel (one-way, round, or multi-city), departure date, and passenger number. 

Options such as refundable fares, which reimburse a portion of your fare in the event of cancellation, ‘shop with miles’ which allows you to buy your flight using points earned, and ‘my dates are flexible’ which finds you the cheapest deals, may be used to narrow down your search.

You may also save money by booking your United Airlines travel via Yatra.com, Makemytrip, goibibo etc. and many more online flight booking apps.

Mobile Apps

Marketing Strategy of United Airlines - Mobile App

The “United Airlines App,” United Airlines’ mobile platform, was created with the consumer in mind to improve the travel experience at every stage. Customers can use it as a travel companion, finding, booking, and comparing flights, paying with digital wallets, checking in, receiving live notifications, and even tracking their baggage. 

Most significantly, the platform is built for flexibility and responsiveness: owing to a hybrid strategy of cross-platform and native development, United Airlines can swiftly adapt to market changes and introduce new features.

Content Marketing Strategies

United Airlines’ social media accounts, which include Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, LinkedIn and Instagram, all feature regular updates and are operated on a daily basis.

On Youtube, they regularly upload videos related to different United Airlines job previews, promoting various ad campaigns and advertising several collaborations which they have.

United Airlines has created a separate website to update us with all the news in the form of online articles.

This ends with an elaborative marketing strategy of United Airlines. Let us conclude our learning below from the marketing strategy of United Airlines.

Digital Marketing Academic Challenge 2024 - DMAC

Conclusion – What’s Unique in United Airlines’s Marketing?

Digital platforms and social media are prominent firms’ most popular promotional methods in the airline business. United Airlines Airlines’ website and app are the primary marketing and promotional outlets. Social media, on the other hand, is one of the most popular platforms for promoting, publicising, and exchanging information with passengers and followers all over the world.

Digital marketing is crucial since it links a company with its clients when they are online and is effective across all sectors. It links businesses with ideal consumers through SEO and PPC on Google, social media marketing, and email marketing. If you would like to learn more and develop skills, check out IIDE’s 4-Month Digital Marketing Course to learn more.

Alternatively, you can enrol in one of our free online masterclasses led by IIDE’s CEO, Karan Shah, to gain insight into the field of digital marketing. 

We hope this blog on the marketing strategy of United Airlines has given you a good insight into the company’s marketing strategies.

If you like such in-depth analysis of companies just like the marketing strategy of United Airlines check out our IIDE Knowledge portal for more fascinating case studies.

Thank you for taking the time to read the marketing strategy of United Airlines, and do share your thoughts on this case study marketing strategy of United Airlines in the comments section below.

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Aditya Shastri

Lead Trainer & Head of Learning & Development at IIDE

Leads the Learning & Development segment at IIDE. He is a Content Marketing Expert and has trained 6000+ students and working professionals on various topics of Digital Marketing. He has been a guest speaker at prominent colleges in India including IIMs......[Read full bio]


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