More advertising coming to airport lounges


It used to be that the airport lounge was where passengers went to escape the fray of the terminal. They offered up snacks and drinks and maybe a quiet corner to take a call or a TV to watch sports/news/whatever. Today their role is shifting as the free benefits continue to be reduced. And, if one company has its way, there will also be another revenue source for the lounges: massive advertising panels. The good news about the displays is that they are absolutely beautiful. I got to see some of the 84″ 4K LG screens at the Delta SkyClub in JFK T4 and the picture quality is absolutely spectacular. The bad news is that, while they’re currently being used to share news or pretty pictures the goal is to eventually have them showing sponsored content and advertising, coordinated with the ads you’ll see on the in-flight screens or via ad placements on in-flight internet services such as gogo.

An 84" display RMG hopes to use to show ads in the Delta SkyClubs in the near future
An 84″ display RMG hopes to use to show ads in the Delta SkyClubs in the near future

I got to speak with RMG, the company putting the screens in at SkyClubs, and I have to say that I can appreciate their position. The segmented market that they have access to in the lounges is one which many advertisers would want to target. And it isn’t the first time things like this have happened. Delta had the Nike putting greens in some clubs, too, while Chase has had credit card applications out at United Clubs in the past. And it seems that customers have been willing to take it thus far. We’ll see if they continue to tolerate it going forward.

Also, check out the original report I wrote about the new screens for APEX; it goes in to a lot more detail about the technology behind the displays and how RMG is hoping to use them.

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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, and LinkedIn.

6 Comments

  1. I have no problem with these arrangements, as long as they are tasteful. If they help to hold down the dues, all the better.

  2. Completely ridiculous. I cannot stand TVs blaring away in what should be a peaceful, relaxed space and having advertising will make it doubly bad. It’s bad enough having ads for Jeff Smisek pop up 2′ from my face on the plane, but being subjected to that in the lounge will make it even worse.

    The extremely poor amenities of US lounges make them only really worthwhile when they are free, but making them worse still may well mean I choose a different sanctuary in the airport (the Chapel perhaps).

  3. So they find a new revenue source, yet manage to gut the drink selection. No thanks…

    This is where United shines. The premium wine program and its minimal markup policy is another example.

  4. United already has those monitors in place, although they are more like electronic billboards than actual TV ads.

  5. Nike putting greens are an actual amenity. If Nike is willing to provide a putting green in exchange for being able to brand it as their own, then travelers still win since you have an option you previously didn’t. TV’s blaring advertising is disruptive and another matter entirely IMO. It’s taking away options.

    Hope this doesn’t pan out!

    1. These displays don’t have sound, at least not yet, and I actually don’t expect that to change. It is more just a matter of there being huge billboards in the clubs. I get that access in the US is generally cheaper than in other countries so the amenities are limited but combining that with ever increasing costs and intrusion will eventually piss off the customers. We just have to figure out where that tipping point is, and we haven’t yet.

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