Airlines Pull, Review Ads Following Tragedy

NEW YORK — Many of America’s major airlines, already reeling from the effects of Sept. 11, have decided to postpone or review ad campaigns specifically designed to rebuild consumer confidence in air travel.

Analysts said that these temporary suspensions generally follow a crash, such as Monday’s tragic event with American Airlines Flt. 587. But American is taking extra precautions to be particularly sensitive in light of Sept. 11, when one of its planes was hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center’s North Tower and another was flown into the Pentagon.

American, which launched ‘The Great American Get-Together’ several weeks ago, said it has pulled its ads as executives review the content of its campaign, which focuses on relationships among friends and family. It originally was scheduled to run through Dec. 15.

United Airlines, which also had two planes involved in the Sept. 11 attack, is suspending all advertising for at least a week, including its ‘We Are United’ TV campaign, which began airing in mid-October featuring impromptu interviews with United employees. United also is reviewing the content of a campaign tied into the 2002 Winter Olympics slated to launch on Dec. 1, in which consumers will be asked to nominate Olympian heroes from their communities.

Delta Air Lines also is suspending ads, including its ‘Person to Person’ campaign, which launched last week beckoning people to get together for the holidays. Those ads might resume by the weekend, according to Delta. For the airlines, travel during Thanksgiving week and Christmas is regarded as the heaviest of the year. But industry execs and observers are still uncertain as to what will happen this year.