San Francisco International Airport Takes On “The Other Airport”

Most people never give a second though to an airport as a business, airports are seen as a building or series of buildings that planes come & go from. In reality airports are businesses and competition can be brutal for passengers dollars and airline revenue fees.

Airports need to advertise themselves, differentiate themselves and create a brand for themselves. Airports run ad campaigns, but few people pay attention.  Ask travelers why the prefer to transit through Seoul’s Incheon International Airport rather than Tokyo’s Narita International Airport or Frankfurt Main Airport rather than London’s Heathrow Airport and most passengers answers will have a common subtle answer … the passenger and brand experience.  Passengers may not use those words, but make no mistake; it’s the experience than lures passengers in when they have choices to go elsewhere.

Recently the battle for international transit passengers has increased between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and San Francisco International Airport (SFO).  In this battle for passenger revenue and increased airline capacity attraction San Francisco International Airport has created an interesting ad campaign entitled “I Wanna Go Through SFO

Now personally, for me, I Wanna Go Through SFO.  Over the past 5 years I have spent a more than a month of my life walking through, sitting in, sleeping in, SFO. In that same time period I have avoided LAX nearly every opportunity I get.

Its great seeing airports becoming proactive and engaging, its great seeing a city get behind its airport (the I Wanna Go Through SFO video features San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom) … and it is great seeing airports fighting for the passengers rather than sitting back and assuming they have a customer base.

Some other airports, aside from SFO,  that have fantastic branding and loyal passengers include Hong Kong International Airport (HKG): Harrisburg International Airport (MDT); Singapore Changi International Airport (SIN); Akron Canton Airport (CAK); Incheon International Airport (ICN); Richmond International Airport (RIC) and Schiphol – Amsterdam Airport (AMS)

Click the image below to launch the I Wanna Go Through SFO video

Happy Flying!



  1. As a New Zealander, our primary entry points into the US are LAX and SFO – in recent years I’ve almost exclusively chosen to come in via SFO, it is a much better airport experience than LAX! I too try to avoid LAX at every opportunity.

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