Video: British Airways’ latest blockbuster TV advert shows off its 92-year history

BA has gone back to its roots to reconnect customers with its long-established brand and revived its classic "To Fly. To serve" motto.

BA’s latest campaign celebrates its colourful 92-year-old history and revives its core values: “To Fly. To Serve” – the company’s coat of arms.

British Airways has unveiled its biggest advertising campaign for more than a decade, digging into its archives with a nostalgic look back over its 92-year history in an effort to reconnect customers with its brand.

BA’s £20m brand campaign debuted on Facebook this morning with a 90-second TV ad serving as a history lesson on the airline’s heritage and the companies that combined to form British Airways.

BA said the campaign marks a ‘new chapter’

With a focus on establishing its corporate identity and the values associated with the brand, BA has dropped its tagline “The world’s favourite airline” in the campaign and revived a classic symbol of its identity: the motto “To Fly. To Serve”.


The slogan is featured on its coat of arms, which dates back to 1974, when BA was formed out of a merger between British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) and British European Airways (BEA).

BA said the campaign marks a ‘new chapter’ as the airline looks to restore its public image, months after resolving a long-running dispute with cabin crew over pay and working conditions.

The trailer- which will air for the first time on UK TV tonight (Channel 4) before being rolled out internationally – will complement print ads highlighting the skills of British Airways staff, including how they are trained to deliver babies.

British Airways said the campaign is part of a £5 billion investment on new products and services, including new planes, a revamped first-class section, better catering and improvements at London Gatwick Airport. The airline is expected to start taking delivery of its 12 A380s on order in 2013.

To learn more about British Airways’ heritage, click here.

Watch British Airways’ new TV advertising campaign:

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What you do you think of BA’s latest ad campaign? Please post your comments below.

What others have said

  1. Nice and all, shame that the sexism spoiled it for me. Whilst “young men” may have been correct at the very beginning to imply that all pilots are now men is a little off…

  2. As an aeronautical engineer and an international passenger for over 50 years the new ad like the previous captures my love of flying. Thanks BA.

  3. Absolutely fantastic and my favorite ad/commercial! It makes me nostalgic for flying and want to go back to London. I love how they show the history of BA from the beginning of time until now. Brilliant!

  4. Best TV ad I have seen in Years. Absolutely makes me nostalgic for all the great flights I have taken on BOAC over the years. I am American but my mother was British and we used to fly BOAC/BA to London. This advert is effective as designed; it makes me, an old customer, want to fly BA again when I visit the UK. I liked this ad enough to download it to my saved videos file on my computer. If there is an award for TV ads, this one gets my vote. It even makes me want to learn to Fly. Nicely done.

  5. I love it. Moves me to tears. Makes me want to fly to London. Reminds me of my 13 yr old grandson who has been enthralled with planes, helicopters, since infancy, and announced he wants to be a pilot. I told him to watch for this ad on TV, which he and his Mom do not do much of, so he found it U-Tube, and he thinks it’s really neat!

  6. This ad is pure visual and verbal poetry, powerfully speaking for British Air, but more powerly speaking for the human spirit. Congratulations! It is going to be concidered and ranked among the greatest of all times…it is unforgetably breath taking and perpetual inspiring…a supreme joy to behold!
    (Did I tell you I like it and and it rings my bell?) Good work & much thanks!

  7. Qantas did an ad like this a few years ago when they got the new A380′s – showed their roots as an airline originating in our north (Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services)to the present day, very emotionally appealing etc. Thing is with some of these airlines what happens in the air is not the case – some of the Asian airlines (Singapore etc) are seen to have it over BA and Qantas in service (not by me – I have never had bad service from BA or Q). Will it alter perceptions – who knows.

  8. Absolutely awesome commercial, brought a patriotic lump in my throat………what a great shame the reality of flying BA falls way short of any expectations the commercial conjures up!!!

  9. the accent your hearing is a british one he,s an actor from pirates of the carribean. britain has many different dialects and accents not just the posh one the queen speaks.Anyway,i think the ad is a good one it,s designed to stand out from the crowd and it does just that.

  10. Aeronuatical engineer still working at 76. Been flying 56 years from DC3 and up. I loved those golden years of flight. Your new video brings those years back to me and hopefully in the year. Last year I flew first class to Franfurt on AC – what classless service. Your ad gives me hope for the future.
    Love BA. Good Luck.

  11. Absolutely brilliant! I was a flight attendant for 30 years (bring back the VC-10′s!)and this ad actually brought tears to my eyes.

  12. The voiceover is Jack Davenport; definitely British. Famous for This Life, Coupling and Pirates of the Caribbean.

    I believe the “new slogan” is actually an old one. On the BA website it says it was on the tail fins of the early planes.

  13. Don’t think much of the Commercial – for one thing the passengers don’t want to hear about HISTORY of the airline PLUS why do it in a foreign voice – it’s Australian and not British. As for new equipment and such – sounds good but very expensive. The airline should also LOOK-AFTER its workers and not cause so much publicity by cabin crew going on strike etc. – NEGOTIATE RIGHT!!

  14. Not a bad advert at all !! Nostalgic yet forward thinking.

    Just wish our airline (Qantas) could come up with something like BA has.
    Lets face it QF .. “I still call Australia home” is well past its “Use-by date”

    To Fly, To Serve – Well done BA

  15. What a fabulous advert. An opportunity for BA to go back to their grass roots of traditional service, Britishness and absolute commitment to safety – a class of its own!

  16. BA is a great airline, that’s got lost in bad publicity. Finally, they are working on a stronger brand.. this advert works well. BA is making a comeback! I am very pleased to see our National Carrier working to win its customers back.

  17. Firstly this was a first class production!

    For me, it puts back ‘nostalgia’ into flying.

    For too long low cost airlnes took away the fun and excitement of air travel, when in fact it should be considered ‘amazing’ to be transported through the skies!

    Wouldn’t it be great if BA painted just a few of their aircraft in the old liveries? Though I love their current one.

  18. Fantastic ad!! Makes me proud to be British!! Also made me quite emotional as my eldest son flies 747′s for BA and my youngest son has just applied for a cadetship.

    • My son too flies for BA, it was one of the most proudest moments of my life when I saw him land his Airbus A320 at Manchester airport for the first time. The add said it all, and they are the best.

    • It’s no secret in airline circles that BA was forced to cease operating Concorde as Aerospatiale’s successor, Airbus – dominated by France – refused to guarantee future supplies of spares. If BA had continued with their SST service with gradual breakdowns/cancellations etc. Concorde and BA would have been ‘damaged’. It broke my ( BA ground staff ) and other staff’s hearts and we organised a mass staff apron welcome to the two final Concorde LHR arrivals, much to the dismay of our local manager!!!! The staff loved the aeroplane and marvelled at the daily response of the public when they saw this gorgeous machine.

  19. Lets hope the winds of change also make a port of call at cabin crew service, most of the time its appalling, bring back the want to fly with the national carrier and lets hope they all embrace the “To fly, To serve” promise.

    • Interesting you say that Simon, since I always find BA cabin crew to be pleasant and efficient. I do usually fly long-haul though, which may make a big difference. I hear short-haul is very hit or miss.

      • The cabin crew and their union have tried hard to tarnish the name of British Airways and bring it to it’s knees, but to no avail.I hope they are now embarrassed and ashamed of their actions.Our National carrier still leads and always will!!

    • It’s years since I even thought of flying BA. Consistantly poor cabin crew manners did it for me and I can’t see myself ever coming back. Sad really as I am a soft hearted patriotic sentimentalist in every other respect.

  20. Great ad. I agree with Kate that the slogan sounds like something for the airforce.

    Probably one of the best airlines in the world overall, considering their business class product is better than any other European or North America product, not to mention First Class!

    • Dont know what you are hearing but its not aussie , its a posh british accent on a deep tone , im briish and work for QF believe me thats not aussie ! :-)

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