Airlines Combat High Fuel Prices with Ads on Boarding Passes

Dennis Faas's picture

Those hoping to do a little traveling this summer may be wondering why the price of airline tickets has increased so drastically. As you might expect, the price of fuel has impacted the entire airline industry resulting in less consumers and inflated costs. In an effort to generate extra revenue, five major airlines will soon place advertisements on boarding passes.

The five airlines (Delta, Northwest, U.S. Airways, United and Continental) have all signed contracts with Sojern, a small Omaha-based start-up company. The deal will allow e-boarding passes to be filled with target ads, coupons, and other recommendations. (Source:

All five airlines have purchased minority stakes in Sojern and promised to split the added revenue generated from these advertisements.

Sojern has guaranteed that the advertisements will accurately reflect the destination and length of stay for the traveler. Consumers even have the option of selecting which advertisements appear on their e-boarding passes, simply by visiting the desired airline website and selecting their preferred activities, accommodations, and cuisine.

Advertising on e-boarding passes is another vehicle agencies use to sell their products in the modern airport. Those wanting to catch a flight are bombarded with ads on everything from baggage carousel conveyor belts to the bins used at security checkpoints.

Many airlines have even allowed agencies to fill their airplanes with a slew of ads that can be found on tray tables, overhead compartments, and even air sickness bags.

While initial reports claim that these advertisements are being met with varying degrees of success, Sojern is sure that e-boarding pass advertising will be one of the most successful marketing tools used in the entire flight experience. That's because the company estimates roughly 40% of the 700 million flight check-ins a year are being conducted online. That translates to over 280 million new advertisement spots for agencies looking to reach a whole new audience. (Source:

While this may seem like a tremendous break for airlines and advertising agencies, there is one major catch: consumers still have the option of printing their e-boarding passes without the advertisements, which may end up being a popular choice for those looking to conserve ink.

Whether or not the advertisements end up reaching their target audience will depend on where users click before sending their airline tickets to the printer.

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