What Were They Thinking?! Malaysia Airlines Launches a Things to Do Before You Die Contest


Malaysia Airlines launched an ill-timed bucket list contest this week. (Photo: Thinkstock)

There are better ways to rebrand an airline.

On the heels of two catastrophic disasters, Malaysia Airlines launched a contest called “My Ultimate Bucket List” this week.

Time magazine was the first to point out that the term “bucket list” is typically used to refer to a list of things someone should do before they die, making it a poor choice of words for an airline that recently lost all of the passengers on flights MH17 and MH370.

Related: The Rise of Tragedy Tourism

The contest also comes after the airline announced that it was cutting nearly 30% of its workforce as part of a restructuring plan to receive a bailout from the Malaysian government according to the New York Times.

The contest, open only to customers from Australia and New Zealand, asks entrants to submit 500 words on where they want to accomplish something on their bucket list. The prizes included a free economy class ticket to a destination in Malaysia and a free iPad.

Following a slew of  negative press, the airline has since pulled the promotion.

After past grisly tragedies, individual airlines have found ways to successfully rebrand.

Related: How to Combat Your Fear of Flying After the Malaysia Airlines Crash

After ValuJet Airlines Flight 592 crashed in 1996 into the Florida Everglades, killing 110 people, the company grounded its planes for months. In order to revamp its image with consumers, the company purchased a smaller airline called AirTran Airways and subsequently began using AirTran’s name to shake off the ValuJet stigma.

Maybe Malaysia Airlines should give their crisis manager a buzz.

Related: The Airline Industry’s Summer of Hell