Ads now invading boarding passes


It is no surprise that airlines are looking for ways to increase revenue, and selling advertising space is one of the ways they are doing that these days. You can buy an infomercial on the in-flight entertainment system, ad space on the tray table or even a special card included in the meal advertising your credit card or on US Air just have the flight attendants hawking the cards in aisle. Today the six legacy airlines in the USA announced that they have all partnered with a company to add advertising to boarding passes that are printed at home.

I’m interested to see how the TSA reacts to ads invading the boarding passes, but that doesn’t really worry me so much as the comments by the airline executives do. Apparently they are all convinced that their passengers are actually desperate for more advertising in their lives, when just about any other person you ask would say that advertising is in an overloaded state and that it is increasingly more difficult to actually get through to a customer. Here are some choice quotes:

“With nearly 40% of our customers using nwa.com to check-in, Northwest is pleased to extend customized offers and deals tailored to customers depending on their destination and other characteristics,” said Al Lenza, VP, Distribution and E-commerce. “We are excited to work with Sojern on this multi-airline venture.”

“At US Airways we are always seeking solutions that provide both unique customer benefits as well as new revenue opportunities,” said Travis Christ, US Airways’ Vice President, Sales and Marketing. “Sojern has found the right formula and we’re looking forward to adding another great feature to usairways.com.”

“This agreement is consistent with the work that we are doing to offer our customers a more customized travel experience, and we look forward to this exciting opportunity with Sojern,” said Dennis Cary, senior vice president, Marketing, United Airlines.

“Continental is pleased to be working with Sojern to provide valuable content and offers to our customers via our online boarding passes. This relationship will provide our customers with a new product they will appreciate and value, and will generate ancillary revenue for Continental,” said Mark Bergsrud, Continental’s senior vice president marketing programs and distribution. “The Sojern team has a great deal of expertise in the advertising space and is the right partner for our industry-leading online check-in products.”

This might actually drive me away from printing my boarding pass at home. Then again, I don’t have a printer at home so I guess that isn’t really a big deal for me. I just do the online check-in and then print the BP at the airport, where I am guessing the targeted ads will be a bit slower to come through based on the smaller paper size. At least this revenue enhancement attempt doesn’t involve a ridiculous fee of some sort, so that is good.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and .
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