Sandra Eichner & The World's Greatest Flyers

Flying is an experience that holds frustration for a great many people. Most of this is due to communication and expectations. In her work for American Airlines, writer Sandra Eichner wanted to delve into this concept headfirst and hopefully alleviate some of the stress as well as bring a certain benevolent attitude towards the world’s largest airline with the biggest fleet and highest revenue of any airline company in the world.

AA is the preference of a large percentage of the public that chooses to fly and their loyalty program, AAdvantage, is ranked as one of the very best, proving that American Airlines values their customers and wants them to know this. Finding the perfect words for this message was the main focus of Sandra Eichner's work, which ranged from the brand campaign itself across new route launches to the AAdvantage program itself. Air travel has become so common in the last few decades that many have forgotten how its prevalence has changed our view of travel since the days of trains and busses. In the most polite and yet revealing of manners, Sandra wanted to remind the public that the ability to climb aboard and be anywhere in the world in a matter of hours is still a magical ability, regardless of the choices you make in regard to budget.

It’s easy for our attitudes to rise and find a homeostasis, causing us to forget how amazing certain benefits of living in the modern world can be. Sandra notes that the American Airlines project was intimidating for her to be involved in as it was such a huge campaign. That moderate concern soon gave way to awe as she sat at her desk marveling in the imagery before her. She recalls, “I felt like I was traveling the world myself at my desk. The stunning aerial images from around the globe with the American Airlines logo majestically passing above them, that almost made me feel like I was flying myself. Those images are very memorable. Also, with every new route launch I immersed myself in the destinations. For example, I feel like I know New Zealand a lot better even though I haven't been there yet. The collaboration was also amazing. Working with Scott Pridgen and the great Dave Swartz on the design side and developing the AAdvantage Elite Kit together was fantastic.” The very nature of a writer is to use their creativity to transport us to an emotional place that we may not physically be immersed within. Being immersed in the grandeur of flying, Sandra was reminded that there are so many things which occur in our lives which we have no control over. This led her to the thought “It's more about attitude than altitude.” This ever so polite way of reminding us that it is truly an incredible occurrence when you consider what modern air travel offers, it’s hard to grumble about a flight delay or crowded lines. It seems very Zen for an ad perspective but thinking positively can actually reshape your experience.

All this is not to say that Eichner’s work was simply focused on good thoughts. One part of her role was writing the copy for the re-designed AAdvantage welcome kits and website. There were two vital parts of her work on this. First, she needed to develop a distinct, premium tone for each of the five frequent flyer tiers that's reflective of its respective status. This can sometimes be a matter of fine nuances. AA wants to show ALL of its customers respect in both name and compensation, calling them "The World's Greatest Flyers". But of course, the more they fly the greater, savvier and valuable they get. It’s not a “one size fits all” situation and Sandra needed to subtly work out these variations. The loyal customers who enroll in AAdvantage fall into a variety of categories: AAdvantage Gold, AAdvantage Platinum, AAdvantage Platinum Pro and AAdvantage Executive Platinum, and an invitation-only program called Concierge Key for the most loyal and special among them, and the benefits of a Platinum Pro member differ from a Platinum member, etc. In reference to the previously mentioned paramount sense of communication, Sandra was key in communicating these differences to AAdvantage members and potential members through the luxurious booklets included in each Elite Kits as well as the program's website.

Scott Pridgen, designer at CP+B confirms this writer’s immense contributions to this project stating, “When we were tasked with the re-design of the AAdvantage elite program, the bar was very high. The American Airlines brand had just been re-launched and we all wanted to do our best to capture the spirit of the campaign in every piece of the AAdvantage work, making it stand out among loyalty programs in every aspect. Just as the design had to reflect the quality, luxury, and customer service that awaits the World's Greatest Flyers, so did the copy. Sandra had the difficult task of perfectly bringing to life what makes each of the five tiers unique while simultaneously presenting how they all share a common dedication to the flyers and the special status all AAdvantage members have. It took an extraordinary writer to create a distinct tone for each tier all the while infusing the writing with the voice and attitude of the brand campaign. Sandra not only did a stellar job on that, thanks to her skillful writing, but was also able to strike the perfect balance between creating a desire in flyers to reach the next tier with even more desirable benefits. During all of this, it was vital members understood that they had already reached a special status no matter how much higher they could go. That’s quite a balancing act and Sandra performed it masterfully!”

Communication, experience, and perception are all pillars of living a harmonious life…no matter what your situations. As a frequent flyer herself for business, Sandra Eichner understands the intermittent challenges of air travel. Being a part of this world on a regular basis has helped her to see that a flight delay or any type of inconvenience is just that, a momentary inconvenience. It’s all part of a shared experience. As Sandra likes to say, “You never fly alone.”