Actress Jennifer Aniston is tweaking U.S. airlines for their international flight service in a new commercial for Emirates airlines, which is embroiled in a standoff with domestic carriers over flight subsidy allegations.
The commercial features Aniston having a dream about flying on a domestic carrier that does not offer showers or bar service in their first class cabins.
"Emirates planes have showers and they have bars," Aniston says in the 60-second clip.
"This isn't an Emirates plane," a flight attendant for the unidentified domestic carrier responds.
Aniston later wakes up and tells a bartender on an Emirates flight about her experience flying on a domestic carrier in her dream.
"It was such a nightmare," she says. "I was on a plane and it was nothing like this."
The commercial comes as Emirates is involved in a standoff with U.S. airlines that has roiled the nation's aviation industry.
Major U.S. airlines like Delta, United and American, known as the Big Three, have alleged that Middle Eastern competitors like Emirates and Qatar and Etihad airways are receiving payments that violate the spirit of the Open Skies agreements between the U.S. and the governments of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, which own the Gulf airlines.
They are pushing the Obama administration to launch a review of the claims with the Middle Eastern governments, which would involve a delicate set of negotiations that critics have said would upset other areas of foreign relations.
The Middle Eastern carriers have denied violating the Open Skies agreements, and they have argued that U.S. airlines have historically received subsidies from the federal government at times of distress, such as the period after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Unions that represent major U.S. airline workers like the Air Line Pilots Association, International, meanwhile, have formed campaigns to pressure the Obama administration to question the Persian Gulf carrier subsidies.
Travel industry and consumer groups, meanwhile, have largely sided with the Persian Gulf carriers in the Open Skies agreement, accusing the airlines of trying to reduce competition for international flights.
Aniston's appearance in the Emirates commercials comes after another actress, Nicole Kidman, was criticized for appearing in an advertisement for Etihad Airways.
The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) said Etihad and other Persian Gulf-based airlines like Emirates “are well-known in our industry for their discriminatory labor practices and deplorable treatment of female employees.”
Etihad and the other Gulf carriers have denied the allegations of their mistreatment of female employees, calling the charges a red herring tossed out by U.S. airlines as they seek to prevent competition for international passengers.