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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Airlines sell ad space on boarding passes

As airline's continue to battle the pressure of rising fuel prices and the sagging economy, Delta's latest cost-cutting move may prove to be the beginning of  a new trend in travel marketing, or just another source of annoyance to customers.

It doesnt feature pricey-peanuts or baggage fees, instead, your boarding pass will also serve as ad space.

The change was implimented by Sojern Inc, out of Omaha, which also signed the deal with Continental, United and U.S. Airways.According to WSJ' s article Sojern claims the ads won't appear until the final step of the online booking process, where customers will have the option to click on a box which prevents the ads from being printed with the ticket.

Analysts and customers may view the move as desperate, but compared to other methods,such as Ryanair's technique of placing ads on overhead bins, it's only a subtle change. USA Today asked reader's for their opinion on the new ads, and judging from the mixed reaction,  it's hard to determine if this new method will utimately become a standard practice by every airline.

Personally, the airline industry's  overall approach reminds me of a scene from the 1994 film,Major League 2, when the Cleveland Indians' desperate owner plastered every square inch of the outfield wall with advertisements, prompting radio broadcaster Harry Doyle's (played by Bob Uecker) memorable quote:

"The outfield walls now look like the yellow pages. And any of you folks having trouble finding a good proctologist, might want to come down here and check out the area around the 375 foot sign."

The simple fact is, customers hate the extra fees when they're already shelling out hundreds of dollars just for the ticket. If airlines can find alternatives to boost revenues, rather than piling on the extra fees, they might discover the route back to success and customer satisifaction.

By Matt O'Hern at 08:34 AM | Comments (0)

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