If you’ve waited years for the Star Wars franchise to come out with new films and you simply can’t fathom waiting another few weeks to see one on the big screen, you’re in luck: A wacky airline promotion has made it possible for diehard fans to view the latest film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, two days early.
The only catch? You’ll need to buy a plane ticket to Paris.
Let us explain: Air France is behind the promotion, which invites Star Wars fans to see the franchise’s latest film on December 16—two days prior to its official release date of December 18. The airline is offering early-edition movie tickets to passengers who are flying to Paris from New York City, Los Angeles, or San Francisco aboard flight AF083, AF065, AF011, or AF009 on December 15.
Those travelers who register for the promotion before December 10 will receive free tickets and a free ride aboard a dedicated shuttle after arriving at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris; the shuttle will transport jet-lagged travelers to a theater to view the film (which will be shown in English).
The “exclusive Flight & Cinema offer,” as the airline has dubbed it, is the result of a partnership between Air France and EuropaCorp CINEMAS. In keeping with EuropaCorp’s interest in providing high-tech film experiences, the movie will be shown on a 60-foot-wide screen boasting HD 3D technology and an immersive sound system that utilizes more than 40 surround sound speakers.
Other Airlines Cash-in on the Promotional Action
This is hardly the first time airlines have been involved in unusual promotions:
- In 1996, Air France signed an agreement with Pepsi to provide some PR for the soft drink company’s brand development. As part of the promotion, the airline secretly repainted a Concorde in Pepsi’s corporate colors, then formally unveiled the plane in London during a PR event for the launch of Pepsi’s new brand. The plane was used for a promotional tour of 10 European and Middle Eastern capitals.
- In 2000, British Airways sponsored the London Eye, but they had trouble erecting the wheel even after several attempts (with the press looking on). So the airline flew an airplane over London with a banner declaring “BA can’t get it up.” Thanks to the airline’s quick thinking, what was meant to be a serious promotion turned into a hilarious one.
- In 2007, Sir Richard Branson celebrated Virgin American’s inaugural flight from San Francisco to Las Vegas by jumping off the Palms Hotel Casino in Las Vegas (with a little help from a harness and cables).
- During the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, Russian airline Aeroflot painted one of its Boeing planes silver and red in order to promote Russia’s Olympic team. For three weeks, the plane shuttled Russian athletes, politicians, and dignitaries between Moscow and Beijing.
- In order to drum up excitement for American football (as if the NFL needed the help), US Airways painted an airplane in each of the airline’s major hubs with the colors and logos of those cities’ respective NFL teams.
- When Swiss International Airlines started daily flights between Zurich and San Francisco, the airline advertised the new flight option by painting an Airbus A340 with every San Francisco stereotype imaginable (flower power, anyone?).
While airlines have a long history of using flights and planes to advertise products, deals, or other promotions, Air France’s Star Wars deal might be one of the more absurd gimmicks to date. But hey, any excuse to take a trip to Paris is okay in our book.