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In a rare show of camaraderie, grounded Indian airlines, bitter rivals otherwise, took to Twitter on Friday to encourage people to stay at home through a light-hearted exchange.

With no clarity on how long the lockdown will continue, the struggling airlines indulged in witty banter, aimed at keeping their brands top of mind among travellers.

“The goal is not to sell tickets but just to humanize the brand so people are more emphatic and connected," said a senior airline official, requesting anonymity.

IndiGo initiated the conversation with a tweet poking at rival Vistara: “not flying higher these days we heard?" with the hashtag #StayingParkedStayingSafe.

The tweet resonated with people, collecting nearly a 1,000 retweets and 5, 000 likes.

Vistara responded by saying: “No IndiGo, these days being on-ground is a wonderful thing. Flying would not be the ‘smart’ choice, what say @goairlinesindia? #StayingParkedStayingSafeGo".

“It’s about just lifting spirits in these times," said an IndiGo spokesperson.

“This is a good cooperative and collaborative marketing example with a societal aspect to it. We rarely see such cases in point in India," the spokesperson said.

Keeping the conversation going, Go Air responded: “Staying home is the safe feeling. We can hardly wait till everyone takes to the skies, coz at the moment it’s not like now everyone can fly," and brought Air Asia into the conversation.

Air Asia said that “for now though, staying at home is the Red. hot. Spicy. thing to do!" referring to SpiceJet’s tagline on the same thread.

SpiceJet responded, tagging Delhi Airport’s Twitter handle, saying: “Been a while since this bird flew out of her cage. But we’re happy creating a safer tomorrow, today! Right Delhi Airport?"

To which Delhi Airport commented, “The Indian skies will be coloured with you soon but for now thanks for giving us a reason to smile! Together in the skies, and together on ground too!"

The Twitter thread also caught the attention of branding experts.

Marketing expert Jessie Paul took to Twitter to criticize the move calling it trite and scripted. “..Not sure what marketing objectives are being met with this", he said.

Independent digital business adviser Ashok Lalla said “it’s just a ‘stay home and be social Friday’ for aviation folks. Not everything needs to serve a business goal or a higher purpose".

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