The gift has now turned into a full-blown direct marketing campaign, with United planning to reward premier fliers in all five of its "gateway" cities with similar compilations featuring city-specific musical selections.
A disc titled, "We Love LA" was produced and sent to about 100,000 Los Angeles premier fliers in July, timed to coincide with the opening of the renovated United hub terminal at Los Angeles International Airport. Still to come are compilations for New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
Another premium, "Celebrations," was sent to United's 1K fliers, those who log more than 100,000 air miles annually, timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the birth of George Gershwin, composer of "Rhapsody in Blue," United's longtime theme song.
"Music is a way of creating an emotional connection to our customers," said Ann Storbeck Peterson, manager of Mileage Plus Marketing for United Airlines.
It's also a way of subtly reinforcing brand loyalty to United, said music industry veteran Tena Clark, founder and president-CEO of Disc Marketing, Pasadena, Calif., which programs all in-flight music for United.
The music itself is about 30% of the marketing, Ms. Clark said. United's first CD, "Chicago, My Kind of Town," includes fold-out panels listing important dates for both the city and the airline.
Demand for the discs has been so great, Disc Marketing now offers them through