KLM Surprises Passengers with Personal Messages from Friends, Family on their Headrests

The airline collaborated with Amsterdam Airport Schiphol for the heart-warming Cover Greetings campaign

Taking a plane can be emotional, either you are leaving loved ones behind or travelling to be with people you haven’t seen in too long. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines understands how hard it is to be away from the ones you love, so it teamed up with DDB & Tribal Amsterdam, FHV BBDO and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to invite people to leave a handwritten message on the headrest of the seat of a friend or family member.

Having said their goodbyes at the departure gate, passengers on a recent KLM flight were amazed to board the plane and find that their headrests were adorned with messages from their loved ones. The airline had secretly asked friends and family to write and draw pictures for the passengers in felt tip pen, and just before the flight, an attendant had placed each of these on the correct seat of the aircraft.


KLM filmed the passengers’ delight at finding their personalized headrests on board. There was a particularly touching one from the grandparents of a young woman; they drew a picture of an orange alongside their message because they peeled an orange for every night of her visit. “She loves that,” the grandpa explained. There were lots of others saying “I’ll miss you” with pictures of hearts, good luck wishes and drawings by young relatives.


This is the latest in a series of initiatives that show KLM understands travelling is an emotional journey as well as a physical one. For example, the airline’s Wannagives service lets friends and family of passengers send gifts and personal notes which the crew surprise them with during the flight. On Christmas, people can send free gifts to passengers and, on Valentine’s Day, secret admirers can ask the cabin crew to give free chocolate to their heart’s desire. Last year the airline invited flyers to print personalised travel maps with crowdsourced tips from friends, and the brand even has a special Lost and Found team at Amsterdam Airport dedicated to reuniting people with their missing items.


The Cover Greetings campaign is a very simple and effective way of brightening passengers’ days and helping them to feel less sad about leaving loved ones behind. It shows that even though we live in an age of ubiquitous screens and smartphones, there will always be something touching about a heartfelt, handwritten message.


Cover Greetings