SAS hosts same-sex weddings in the air
Scandinavian Airlines this week became the first airline in the world to carry out both a gay and lesbian wedding in the air onboard the SK903 between Stockholm and New York.
The unique flight followed the airlines' hugely successful social media campaign Love is in the Air (flysas.com/love), where over 300 couples competed to be the first same-sex couple to marry in the air.
German couple Aleksandar Mijatovic and Shantu Bhattacherjee won the competition with an impressive 81,640 votes, which was achieved through effective social media campaigning all over the world. Aleks and Shantu thereby became the first same-sex couple to get married in the air, which took place 7,000 meters above Borlänge in Sweden, about 15 minutes into the flight. Minutes later, the Polish couple Ewa Tomaszewicz and Gosia Rawi?ska became the first lesbian couple to get wed in the air.
"We are extremely proud to be the first airline to host not only the world's first mid-air same-sex wedding, but both the first gay and first lesbian wedding. As the national airline of the world's three most progressive countries, which were the first to legalize same-sex marriages, we felt it was completely natural to also be the first with this," says Anders Lindström, PR Director, Scandinavian Airlines.
With this campaign, SAS became the first company in the world to launch a global LGBT campaign to the mainstream media and to overwhelming result. While over 450,000 unique visitors visited the site and 350,000 unique votes were cast, more than 120 million people worldwide heard or read about the campaign through the extensive social media and traditional media coverage that included Facebook, Twitter, online news, print news, TV, radio and bloggers. Within 65 minutes of the campaign's launch, two million Twitter fans had been reached by various tweets and over 100,000 of the visitors to the Love-site came directly from Facebook alone. This made it one of the year's most buzzed about social media campaigns.
"By having both a gay and a lesbian couple on our Love-flight today, we felt that this event truly reflected the LGBT community. Considering gay and lesbian travelers account for much more than 10% of the total revenue within the travel industry, it is a very important market for any travel company, and we felt we wanted to show our support to the LGBT community in a greater way than just traditional marketing, like so many other airlines do.
“With this campaign, people all over the world got involved, which we would never have been able to do with traditional marketing," says Anders Lindström.
The wedding took place onboard SK903 between Stockholm and New York on Monday 6th December, and was followed by a wedding reception in New York. The two couples both won three nights' accommodation at the W Hotel in New York, a VIP package to the Broadway hit La Cage Aux Folles, flights to Los Angeles, three nights at the luxurious Andaz West Hollywood and a unique honeymoon package from West Hollywood Marketing & Visitors Bureau. One of Sweden's leading jewelry designers, Efva Attling, donated the exclusive wedding rings to the couples, each with its unique touch, while Danish design firm Georg Jensen provided the couples with a wedding present.
Before the flight, one of SAS' lounges at Stockholm airport was transformed into a wedding lounge by Interflora. The florist, who also organized the flower arrangements onboard and the wedding bouquets, was one of the florists in charge of this year's other big wedding, that of Swedish Crown Princess Victoria and Daniel.
SAS also held a US-based version of the competition with VisitSweden, which was won by Thomas Landreth and Brett Kessler of North Carolina. Thomas and Brett will fly to Stockholm tomorrow, December 7, with the same crew that took care of Aleks, Shantu, Ewa and Gosia. Their unique wedding package includes a stay at the ICEHOTEL in northern Sweden, where they will have their commitment ceremony, followed by a honeymoon package in Stockholm, staying at Hotel Skeppsholmen.
All three couples were present at the wedding reception at Ramscale Studios in New York, organized by the wedding event planner and florist firm Geranium Lake Flowers.