In-flight advertising is advertising that targets potential consumers aboard an airline. It includes commercials during in-flight entertainment programming, advertisements in in-flight magazines or on Boarding Passes, ads on seatback tray tables and overhead storage bins, and sales pitches by flight attendants. Ads can be tailored to the traveler's destination, or several of the airlines destinations, promoting local restaurants, hotels, businesses and shopping.
After a long period of slow growth, the volume of traveler-targeted ads is set to positively explode as airlines look to advertising to pump up their bottom lines.
In the latest move, a lot of airlines have signed up with companies like Sojern or Ink to have ads published on the boarding passes online customers print on their home computers. The latest one is Cebu Pacific.
According to surveys by QMedia and Triad Consulting Group:
- 85% of long-distance travellers recalled some type of inflight advertising or promotional material. The figures were higher for business class and high frequency passengers.
- 86% of customers are flying in a positive mood, and are hence more likely to be receptive to advertising messages.
- On flights of over an hour, 9 out of 10 airline passengers used their tray for 15 minutes or more. In short flights of an hour or less, the figure stood at 82%
- 92% of airline passengers were still able to recall advertising messages a few hours after arrival.
Boarding passes advertising
Boarding pass advertising relies on the use of targeted advertising technologies. When the passenger checks on-line he has the possibility to click on the various ads and suggestions suggested on the boarding pass. When travelers print their boarding passes, the ads will automatically be printed, too. Fliers can, however, click a box to prevent the ads from being printed.
In-flight advertising has come under fire for being too intrusive, as it has expanded "to offset rising fuel costs and other operating expenses." A 2005 article in the Washington Post called passengers "captive customers," accusing airlines of being "aggressive pitchmen for a range of products to passengers at 30,000 feet." Moreover, targeted advertising used on boarding passes has been cited as a breach of privacy.
- Higgins, Michelle (July 6, 2008). "A Plane? More Like a Flying Magazine". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-29.
- Prior, Anna (2008-07-15). "Delta Launches Online Boarding-Pass Ads". The Wall Street Journal.
- Gilbertson, Dawn (2010-03-29). "US Airways puts ads on boarding passes". USA Today.
- Sweney, Mark (2009-08-14). "British Airways to run ads on boarding passes". The Guardian (London).
- Alexander, Keith L. (June 7, 2005). "Cash-Strapped Airlines Try In-Flight Advertising". Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-07-29.