Airlines Look to Advertisers to Subsidize Rising Costs

CNN Money reports that major airlines are now so desperate for cash-flow that they are willing to sell advertising space on almost every part of the in-flight experience, from tray tables to airsick bags.

The appeal to advertisers is, of course, the idea that there's no escaping their ads as you sit on your 3-hour flight across the country.

"It's a captive audience, literally - and sometimes involuntarily - for an extended period of time, so there are certainly opportunities to make contact [with potential consumers] in-flight," said Michael Derchin, an airline analyst for FTN Midwest Securities.

Future flyers can expect to see more ads popping up on tray tables, boarding passes, airsick bags and of course, during your in-flight entertainment in the form of commercials or sponsored "networks." Those who've flown on Delta since July 15 may have already notcied advertising for destination-specific venues on their boarding passes.

I can't imagine anyone would pay much for advertising on an airsick bag - the bags are rarely used, and when they are it isn't exactly a pleasant association for the company's products. Perhaps if they did this, it would be required that the bags be placed on your seat so you'd see them upon boarding, instead of buried in the seat pocket.

image via flickr.


elo said...

I'm actually surprised airlines haven't done this earlier--it seems like a no-brainer. And I for one would be happy to put up with more advertisements in exchange for a lower ticket cost.

Dr. Tantillo ('the marketing doctor') did a post on his branding blog ( http://blog.marketindoctor.tv) a while back on how airlines are losing site of their individual brands in their flurry of cost-cutting measures. It would make a lot of sense if, rather than selling ad space on airlines at random to the highest bidder, airlines would give some thought to what brands they could collaborate with over longer term, for potential mutual reinforcement. (ex. Jet Blue with eco-friendly brands.)

Link to Tanillo's full post: http://blog.marketingdoctor.tv/2008/06/23/airline-brand-troubles.aspx

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