Tuesday, July 15, 2008

new frontier in small space: boarding-pass ads

Airlines that charge whopping amounts for amenities fliers once took for granted--meals, legroom, checked luggage, headphones--are now selling advertisers space on your boarding pass.

According to today's Wall Street Journal:
Delta Air Lines Inc. passengers checking in online for Las Vegas Tuesday will notice something new on their boarding passes: lots of ads...The move is just the latest attempt by cash-strapped airlines to generate more revenue -- this time by charging advertisers for fliers' eyeballs.


Anonymous said...

it would be nice if they would use the new profit from selling advertising space, resulted in better service or lower fares. Otherwise it is just greed.

george tannenbaum said...

Introducing Incremental Air.

Here's how it works, you pay just $69 for any seat on any plane to anywhere in the world. One seat, one flat fee.*

*$69 fee applicable to all flight except flights during blackout periods. Blackout periods include all days you want to fly. To fly on black out days, there is an additional $10 blackout fee. Jetway fees of $8/ticket apply. $2 check-in fees apply. $9 ticket-scanning-fee applicable on days of the week that end in Y or start with a consonant. Flight attendant service fee of $11 applies. $2 armrest fees apply. In the event of the loss of cabin pressure, a $25 oxygen-mask usage fee will be imposed. $7 security fee applies. $4 rest-room usage and upkeep fee valid. $1 carpet depreciation fee applies. $18 window fee or $17 aisle fee applicable on all flights over one minute. On all flights $22 center-seat fees apply. $42 banal announcements from the flight deck fees are active effective March 1, 2001. $9 lighting fees for cabin light apply. $22 aircraft lighting fees apply. $19 fuel-hike surcharge fees where applicable. Fees applicable in entire solar system. $75 additional fee fee applicable on all additional fees. $6 Public address announcement fee. $8 recline fee. $25 airport usage fee, applicable in the continental US and outside the continental US. $55 border crossing fee. 3 magic beans fee fie fo fum fee. $4 tire inflation fee. $7 air fee. $8 mechanics' retirement fund fee. $72 pigs at the trough fee. $12 award-winning inflight magazine fees apply. $6 pillow and blanket removal fees apply. $27 seatbelt fees applicable to passengers with seats. $3 tray table usage fees apply. Other fees, taxes, surcharges, penalties and sundry charges will be applied without further notification and at an additional $25 additional unspecified fee fee.

Anonymous said...

While I agree with many that it is nearly impossible to figure out why an airline charges a specific fare it is not unusual to have to pay for individual add on items. The US airlines have done a poor job of educating the public on their pricing structure. Sure, in the past we received free seat selection, food and drinks. But the same was true years ago when I bought my first car, I didn’t have to check for the included floor mats, good tires and radio. Now those and many other features are add ons or special packages that included things of potential value, I am free to choose. Do I want electric windows (at a cost), floor mats, air conditioning, and leather seats? It’s not all included at a higher price because I only want to pay for those items I value. Same goes for the airlines; I can now buy a ticket and get from point A to B. I don’t care where I sit or if I get a free drink. I don’t want to pay a higher price for my ticket so everyone can load on a free bag or three. I travel light and would rather just pay as I use a service.

Specifically around blackout dates for cheap tickets - take a look at basic supply and demand concepts. They play out in every other market so why not for airlines.

Finally, go back and look at all the other things you spend money on and look at their fee structure - Full vs. Self service gas stations, Ticketmaster, sporting events (high cost to sit closer than the nose bleed seats).

No real difference except the airlines are late in the game for pulling out the extras or value items. Buy a ticket - you will still get to travel. Want some convenience? Pay more. Get over it.

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

@Jane--or arrivals that even approximate ETA's. Did you see that piece in the NYTimes yesterday about the new portable pup tents being hawked to people camped out in airports due to delays?

@geo--no doubt, alas, the wave of the future. (It's a post, thanks.)

@anonymous--Thanks for weighing in from the other side of the table. Interesting theory that airlines are slower than other merchandisers to the add-on fees game. But, is this really true? Seems to me airlines always been pretty savvy at charging for extras: fees have long been in place for wider seats & better service (first class vs. cattle), for drinks, for earphones, for changes to tickets. But now consumers are overwhelmed by an avalanche of new fees which probably wouldn't be causing such a backlash if fees didn't coincide with downturn in quality of service. It's as if automakers suddenly started charging for steering wheels and windshield wipers on new cars with ignitions so unreliable, you couldn't depend on them to back out of your driveway.

Joker said...

@geo: 3 magic beans fee fie fo fum fee....... fucking beautiful.

@jane: also agree that service sucks as much as the new fees.

@anon: What sucks the most about all these fees is that they reflect our current social situation where everything costs more and sucks twice as much. For instance, I don't understand why I have to pay more for anything if it's half as good as it used to be. Air travel especially has gotten drastically worse with every passing trimester. And prices keep going up.