Many airlines advertise their credit cards inflight and the reason why is simple: it works. Frequent flyers don’t like having inflight entertainment interrupted and don’t like the announcements on early morning or late night flights when they may be trying to rest, but the President of AAdvantage points out that most of her airline’s passengers fly at most once a year so it’s new for them.
The truth though is that there are a lot more opportunities for airlines to market credit cards, there are numerous customer touch points where buy up opportunities to generate ancillary fees are going under-exploited.
American Airlines has discovered one: their paper baggage tags now contain an ad for their Barclays-issued credit card.
Surely there are many more. US Airways used to sell advertising space on first class tray tables.
AirTran actually launched ads on the backs of the tray tables (so you saw the ads when the table was up). United experimented with tray table ads as well.
Currently American Airlines is installing smaller lavatories across its domestic fleet, taking a few inches away from customers who have to go in order to squeeze in an extra row of seats.
The problem is that today American Airlines isn’t generating any revenue from its lavatories so it’s no surprise they’re trying to limit lavatory footprint. Every so often when Ryanair has been out of the news for awhile the airlien’s founder will promote how cheap they are by speculating on a plan for pay toilets. Thirty years ago Alaska Airlines advertised that other airlines might consider such a move.
But there are other ways to generate revenue from lavatories, and align incentives so airlines will want customers to use the bathroom instead of charging a fee for them to do so. Why not advertise the credit card in the lavatory? Instead of taking away space, they could use extra space for advertising. The lav could pay for itself. Win-win.
In fact this is really just a new spin on an old idea, and frankly one that’s long overdue.