No Fees to Change a Flight: United Airlines Inspires Football Fans to Believe in Next Season

Airline has saved customers more than $2 billion since eliminating change fees in 2020 and will debut new series of ads this Sunday starring Emmy-award winning actor Kyle Chandler
United becomes first big game advertiser to create six different commercials written to speak directly to local football fans

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CHICAGO — United Airlines has saved customers more than $2 billion since becoming the first legacy airline to permanently eliminate change fees more than three years ago, and today released a series of new commercials starring Emmy-award winning actor Kyle Chandler that will air this Sunday and promote the benefits of the policy change. In the ads, Chandler speaks directly to football fans in five different markets and encourages them to believe in their team and book a United flight to next year's game in New Orleans, without worrying about change fees.

No Fees to Change a Flight: United Airlines Inspires Football Fans to Believe in Next Season
Kyle Chandler stars in United Airlines advertising campaign.

The campaign – “Believing Changes Everything” – is the first time a big game advertiser has created this many different commercials that were written specifically for local markets. The market-specific ads will target Chiefs fans in Kansas City, Browns fans in Cleveland and Texans fans in Houston on broadcast TV and Bears fans in Chicago and Broncos fans in Denver on social media. A general market film will also air on TV in Chicago, Denver, Baltimore, Orlando, Colorado Springs and Cincinnati. Each of the local commercials speaks directly to the emotions fans in these cities may be feeling on Sunday and culminates by encouraging them to dream big about their team's chances next season.  

“This is about believing. Believing so hard that you book your flight to next year's big game before the season even starts,” says Chandler. “Because believing that hard can change everything.”

More than 10 million United customers have changed their flight without paying change fees since the airline's policy went into effect in 2020. Since that time:

  • 3.6 million people switched the time of day of their flight;
  • 1.8 million people extended their trip altogether;
  • 1.5 million people chose to fly to or from a different airport;
  • 300,000 people changed from a domestic flight to an international one, or vice-versa;
  • And the number of people who changed their flights themselves in United's industry-leading app has doubled.

“This simple policy change has had a dramatic impact on our customers and the overall experience of flying United,” said Linda Jojo, United's Chief Customer Officer. “You can book with confidence knowing that even if your – or your teams' – plans change, United has your back.”

United has a long and storied history with professional football and currently has relationships with eight teams, some dating back more than 50 years. United is the official airline for the San Francisco 49ers and the official commercial airline of the Kansas City Chiefs and is flying both teams to and from this weekend's game in Las Vegas. The airline also regularly adds extra flights to make it easier for fans to watch their favorite teams play on the road and this year will fly its largest big game schedule yet with 43 new direct flights, including special flight number UA 1989 and UA 1587 from Kansas City and UA 1995 and UA 1845 from San Francisco.

“Everyone tuning into the game isn't feeling the same way, in fact, the majority of fans are watching someone else's team play. This presented a unique creative opportunity to make an ad that speaks directly to the cities and fanbases who are already looking ahead to next season. By producing market-specific commercials, we can avoid the sport cliches that are all-too-common this time of year and demonstrate that United is standing with fans of the local team who are already excited about next season,” said Maggie Schmerin, United's Chief Advertising Officer.

The “Believing Changes Everything” films were directed by two-time Oscar winner Chloé Zhao and produced in partnership with United's creative agency of record, 72andSunny.

Fans who want to preview the spots ahead of Sunday's game can watch them now on United's YouTube channel.




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