American Marketer


Wheels Up goes, stays pink for breast cancer awareness

September 23, 2015

Wheels Up aircraft Wheels Up aircraft


Private aviation brand Wheels Up has plans to unveil its 45th aircraft, a pink Beechcraft King Air 350i, to raise awareness for breast cancer.

The plane will be shown to Wheels Up members in October, dubbed Breast Cancer Awareness Month, at a private event hosted in cooperation with Dr. Elisa Port and the Dubin Breast Center of the Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. The plane represents more than a brief promotion for Wheels Up and will help establish the brand as a socially conscious alternative to fractional jet ownership companies.

As of Oct. 1, members will be able to pick an amount of their choice to make a donation to the Dubin Breast Center or schedule a donation per revenue hour flown on the Pink Plane until Sept. 30, 2016. In addition, a portion of every Wheels Up membership cost purchased in October will be donated.

Wheels Up Pink Plane

Wheels Up Pink Plane

The Pink Plane and donations are part of the company's #WheelsUpGoesPink campaign. Unlike many breast cancer awareness campaigns, Wheels Up’s initiative will last more than a month and the pink plane will stay in the fleet indefinitely, a constant symbol of breast cancer awareness.

“All of us at Wheels Up are committed to making a difference in the fight against breast cancer," said Kenny Dichter, co-founder and CEO of Wheels Up, New York, in a statement. "Our Pink Plane will serve as a symbol to create conversation and to fund the invaluable work of Dr. Elisa Port and the entire team at the Dubin Breast Center.


#WheelsUpGoesPink photo

“Just the way Wheels Up has transformed private aviation, our goal is to create an innovative way to inspire and support breast cancer awareness, screening, research and, ultimately, find a cure,” he added.

The Pink Plane is only the latest way that Wheels Up, a membership-based aviator, markets itself as an alternative to fractional jet ownership brands. It does not require a long-term commitment or significant upfront cost, while annual dues are significantly smaller than many fractional jet brands.

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Wheels Up app

The lower cost, as well as the strong, ongoing commitment to social causes appeals to millennials and HENRYs who care more about a brand’s values. Wheels Up also has a fully integrated mobile application, another way of appealing to aspirational and younger consumers.

Additionally, the #WheelsUpGoesPink hashtag may make the brand more visible to users of social media, a demographic that skews young.

Flying high
Other private aviation companies are attempting to standout from competition through more traditional means, such as improved service.

Fractional jet ownership company Flexjet, for example, is taking aerial travel to new heights with the launch of Red Label.

Among the innovations of Red Label, which Flexjet is calling “the future of fractional,” is single-aircraft flight crews. The launch, which coincides with the brand’s 20th anniversary, symbolizes a continued dedication to innovation and excellence in fractional jet ownership (see story).

Luxury brands in other fields are also showing off their true colors with support of breast cancer patients.

The Peninsula Hotels is also looking to raise awareness about breast cancer through a new initiative that will remind its consumers to think pink.

Peninsula's “The Art of Pink” will bring specially commissioned pink-inspired artwork by internationally acclaimed artists to Peninsula hotels throughout the world this October in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Through the initiative, Peninsula will bring attention to the fight to end cancer and reaffirm the brand’s commitment to this cause (see story).

Final Take

Forrest Cardamenis, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York