In the fight over Denver International Airport, size apparently does matter. First Southwest Airlines claimed to be the “most-flown” airline in Denver, Now United Airlines says it is the top carrier in Denver. Both ads were not wrong, though one has some fine print the other does not.
United Airlines + Southwest Airlines Both Claim They Bigger In Denver In Dueling Ads
If you fly through Denver, you will notice a new ad campaign from United Airlines that highlights that it is the most-flown airline in Denver. You will notice this on bigger banners displayed throughout the airport:
And in your TSA security checkpoint bins, which will have this message:
The “fine print” is quite clear:
This is our legal disclaimer. Yes, we know it’s ginormous, but we aren’t trying to hide anything in the fine print. Based on U.S. DOT O&D Summary reports and ASQP reporting for 2022, United has carried more passengers into and out of Denver, with more on-time arrivals, than any other airline.
But we need more context to understand this ad.
If your IP address is in the Colorado area, you might see an ad like this:
And if traveling through Denver, Southwest Airlines has its own ads up:
In the battle of advertising jabs to assert themselves as DEN’s hometown airline, Southwest ads have been going up saying they’re the most flown airline in DEN. pic.twitter.com/Ru7EyiwCMN
— 🇺🇦 JonNYC 🇺🇦 (@xJonNYC) April 10, 2023
So who is right?
Note the fine print on the Southwest ad:
Based on U.S. DOT Summary Reports, for each year from 2011 through 2021, in total for such year, Southwest has carried more Passengers into/out of Denver than any other airline.
Southwest has never made the claim that is has carried more passengers out of Denver than United. THat would be farcical considering what an important connecting hub DEN is for United. But Southwest is claiming that is carries more local passengers than United. And that was apparently true…at least until 2022.
But beyond the meltdown last December, United continues to grow in Denver and I expect United to continue to outpace Southwest in Denver.
Finally, I love this exchange. Competition is great for consumers and Southwest and United both growing in Denver keep the other accountable to keep fares in check. That’s something we should celebrate.
United Airlines and Southwest Airlines make similar claims in dueling ads in Denver. The Southwest ad, while technically correct, is misleading. Since 2022, United carries more local traffic and a lot more connecting traffic in Denver. But the most important takeaway is that both carriers continue to invest and compete in Denver, which is good news for both local and connecting passengers.