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In Flight Ads On Tray Table

In Flight Ads On Tray table

In Flight Ads On Tray Table

New source of revenue to help US carriers offset rising costs

As if flying wer enot miserable enough. After being frisked at security, jockeying for overhead compartment space and squeezing into that remaining middle seat, passengers may now have to endure a string of in-flight advertisements.

As airlines continue to search for opportunities to offset rising fuel costs and other operating expenses, more are considering onboard advertisements as an option.

US Airways, which also offers advertisers spots on ticket jackets, cocktail napkins and even air-sickness bags, has, until recently, been one of the few airlines running tray-table advertisements. Such ancillary advertisements are worth about US$20 million (S$27 million) a year to US Airways, a spokesman said.

Now more airlines in the United States are joining in. AirTran Airways, a discount airline serving the eastern and central US, plans to roll out tray-table advertisements this autumn.


So far, it has been offering in-flight credit card applications (even rewarding flight attendants with commission) and carrying 17 different Coca Cola products with napkins and cups that promote those drinks.

Brand Connections, the New York marketing company that provides the laminated tray-table advertisements for US Airways, says it has been contacted by three carriers in the last month alone and has plans to supply tray- table advertisements to at least two more airlines by next year.

JetBlue Airways, another low-cost US carrier, has begun to leverage the TVs in its seatbacks for advertising partnerships, including one with The New York Times, which features videos of journalists upon takeoff.

The airline does not rule out the option of having tray-table advertisements in future. "Right now we don't see tray-table advertising as fitting the JetBlue brand," said a spokesman in an e-mail message.

"But in this environment, everything needs to be on the table for the future."

Low cost European carrier Ryanair plasters advertisements not just on closed tray tables, but also on the overhead luggage compartments.

However, US domestic airlines say that they do not want to overwhelm passengers with advertising blitzes. "We are very cautious about too much advertising," said a JetBlue spokesman. "We don't want to disrupt the experience."

Subtle or not, passengers are already acutely aware of the advertising creep. "When I flew on JetBlue last year, between New York and Las Vegas, their free seat-back TV programmes were loaded with advertisements," said Mr Robert Owen, a high school language teaher from Long Island, New York.

"Even the map charting the plane's progress was interrupted regularly to display an ad. Every snack they offered came individually wrapped, prominently displaying each item's respective brand."

Advertising firms recognise that bombarding passengers with advertisements may turn off potential customers. "You never want to upset a passenger," said Mr Brian Martin, chief executive of Brand Connections.


"It won't bode well for the brand or the venue that's housing that advertisement." The best onboard ads, he said, provide relevant information or fun diversions for passengers.

For example, a recent tray-table advertisement by Johnson & Johnson's Tylenol PM offered some simple exercises passengers could do in their seat(knee lifts, foot rolls, and so on) so they would not get stiff.

Another onboard advertisement, via Brand Connections, was presented in a board game format on the tray-table.

High altitude ads-posure

Some examples of in-flight advertising:

US Airways
  • Offers advertisers spots on ticket jackets, cocktail napkins, air-sickness bags (right) and tray tables.

  • Flight attendants earn a commission for each passenger who signs up for a credit card.
  • AirTran Airways

  • Offers in-flight credit card applications.

  • Carries 17 different Coca Cola products with napkins and cups that promote the drinks.

    JetBlue Airways

  • Runs ads on the TV screens of its seatbacks.

  • It has a deal with beauty brand Dove to hand out samples of its moisturiser.

    Ryanair

  • Plasters ads on closed tray tables, the overhead luggage compartments and on the partitions that divide a plane into different classes or sections.

  • Makes 30 second ad announcements as passengers board its planes.


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