Etihad Airways

On Sundays, local channel OMNI tends to show a lot of highly entertaining Bollywood movies.  I tune in from time to time because Bollywood flicks are about ten times as good as the average Hollywood movie, but on one-quarter of the budget. One of the commercials I used to see regularly on OMNI was this commercial for Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways.  The thing that really makes this commercial entertaining for me is that the airline is quite obviously at pains to show that it has beautiful multicultural crews.  Except where it comes to the flight deck.  The only pilot depicted (at 0:20) is an older, distinguished Caucasian gent.  The kind of guy you can imagine speaking with the voice of Sir Alec Guinness, who, after receiving taxi clearance from the ground controller, would turn to the copilot and say (with flawless diction) “Well, old chap, shall we take her out?”

Truth be told I don’t know how many Sir Alec Guinnesses are flying for the world’s airlines, but I would be willing to bet that, like most carriers, the majority of Etihad’s pilots are home-grown.  And that’s just dandy.  Surely there are at least a couple of Emirati pilots (or at the very least, actors) with loads of experience, silver hair, and movie star good looks. It’s too jarring a contrast to feature all these beautiful women and then a single solitary white guy.  It is as if the airline is saying subconsciously, “We’re multicultural! Except where it counts!  So don’t worry!”

I don’t think that’s the message you want to send to potential customers.

To be fair I like one of their newer commercials a little better. More focus on the service and tangibles, less on how pretty and multi-hued the cabin crew is.

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