What Is That Smell? Airlines and their Unique Aromas

by Daniel Nikulin
Air Canada airline lounge

With so many outside factors around to disrupt our travel experience, airlines have been taking a closer look at areas they can control to help relax their passengers. After plying us with liquor and soft music  in their pre-departure lounges, comforting us with amenity kits complete with blankets and sleep masks when we board, dazzling our taste buds with flavour-packed in-flight dining (well, that is the intent) and entertaining us with movies n’ such, there isn’t much left to do, right?

Mood lightingWrong.

If you’ve been following along, airlines have been focusing on our senses. They’ve got sound, sight, touch and taste down and now it’s time to tackle the last frontier, smell. Airlines have recently been going the way of the celebrity and creating unique scents specific to their brand as an extra measure to chill us out and perhaps even remember them.

Delta’s offering is called ‘Calm’, and is sprayed throughout their cabins and infused into their hot towels given out in the front of the plane. What started out as a way of keeping their lavatories smelling fresh and presentable has turned into something bigger and Delta is not alone in their strategy.

Vintage_Atomizer_Perfume_BottleUnited Airlines’ subtle scent, ‘Landing’, is used in their airport lounges with the hope that the orange peel, sandalwood, ceder and leather concoction will eventually become a pleasant association with the brand and indirectly result in more bookings. Continental Airlines and Air Canada’s low-cost brand, rouge, each have theirs and Alaska Airlines are currently working towards one.

European airlines are also in the mix, with Turkish Airlines already smelling pretty and plans for Spain’s Iberia to follow suit. Surprisingly, style-heavy Air France and Alitalia have yet to get on board.

Another surprise is that some airlines have been in the scent game for a long time. Take Singapore Airlines, for example. They have been at it for almost 30 years and have not only pioneered the movement but have perfected it to the point that some of their frequent flyers, when blindfolded, can detect the unique smell of the airline and that’s the goal.

Airline Lounge 2

On the flip side, Australia’s flagship carrier, Qantas, has been there, done that and have moved on, currently opting for the smell of fresh, hot food in their lounges instead of a contrived fragrance – not a bad idea at all.

Personally, what would relax me more than anything would be a flight that was on time and hosted by a pleasant and efficient crew that was able to crack a smile. But once the airline gets those basics down, I suppose a good smelling flight would impress.



You may also like