Fewer Amenities When You Fly… But Instead You'll Get A Lot More Ads!

from the can't-wait! dept

Have you flown lately? It’s becoming less and less enjoyable by the day, it seems. Many airlines are dumping features, adding fees and making sure customer service is about as frustrating as possible. On top of all that, it appears that airlines are so focused on cost cutting that they’re looking to do whatever possible to shave the slightest bit of weight from each flight (fewer passengers would be one suggestion) including one airline that discovered removing seatback magazines saved thousands of dollars by making the airplane lighter (yes, seriously).

So, what do you have to look forward to on flights these days? Well, advertisements! There’s a new startup that is promising to put contextual ads everywhere from your boarding pass to the check-in terminals and (we’re sure) to the seatbacks in front of you on the plane. Now, of course, this idea isn’t entirely new. Over in Europe discount airlines have been offering up cheap fares while making it up with all sorts of other fees and services. But, then again, no one’s talking about cheap fares in the US either. In the meantime, if they’re looking for ideas, I still think the flying casino may be the best idea yet. Get people to simply gamble away their money while flying across the country. However, until that comes to pass, expect worse service, fewer amenities, more fees… and tons of advertising.

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Comments on “Fewer Amenities When You Fly… But Instead You'll Get A Lot More Ads!”

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ddavidch says:

Ads in flight

Just noticed recently the full coverage ads on all of the tray tables when placed in the down postion.
Was surprised there were not also ads shown on the back in the upright and locked position.

Also had TSA take my daughter’s new snow globe as it contained liquid. Not worth even starting the rant on the uselessness of TSA and the blantant inconsistencies between airports that render the whole system worthless.

Hitesh Patel says:

Ads in Flight

This is still better option than government owned airlines. I can’t even imagine what the flight journey would be if airline business was to be bailed by government.

Also, Americans will have to change their mindset and adopt aircraft as a vehicle that takes from point A to point B.

There was another news about airlines not filling up full tank fuel because weight of fuel itself is troublesome.

Known Coward says:


I agree on the TSA making the flying experience a lot less comfortable. Two security inspections in international airports and a third security inspection by the airline. Empty pockets, take off belt and shoes, remove expensive laptop (600,000 stolen at airports last year) and believe it makes you any safer. It does not. It is a feel good solution by TSA, airports and airlines that they are doing something. A determined terrorist can still get something past security as has been proven many times. Profile the group causing most of the terrorism. Oh, apologies, politically incorrect.

Jim says:

What percent of costs...

Every time I fly I can’t help but wonder what percent of an airline’s cost come from government regulation. The cost of “security”, the cost of FAA oversight, the cost associated with minimum manning. I’m sure there are others government fees I’m not even aware of.

Why not let airlines handle such things themselves? FAA oversight is suspect anyway, and I think we can all agree that TSA is a giant waste of time and money. No wonder airlines are failing – the have to deal with expensive government regulation.

Now, I’m not saying that I think that security and maintenance are unnecessary. They certainly are. I think that private industry can probably do it better (or just as well) for less. And if they fail to maintain or secure their assets – let the market decide that they should go under.

Craig says:

Techdirt hypocrisy

Why bash the airlines for taking on ad revenue? Look at this blog! Ads everywhere! I even get an ad in my RSS feed. Every baseball, football, basketball, hockey game in town in plastered with ads.

If anything, I would laugh at the airlines for taking so long to jump on board with this.

How can you criticize them when you do it yourself?

bubba says:

Re: Techdirt hypocrisy

Why bash the airlines for taking on ad revenue? Look at this blog! Ads everywhere! I even get an ad in my RSS feed. Every baseball, football, basketball, hockey game in town in plastered with ads.

If anything, I would laugh at the airlines for taking so long to jump on board with this.

How can you criticize them when you do it yourself?

Cause this page is free Mr. Craig.

TheTraveler says:

Re: Re: Re: Techdirt hypocrisy

You people forget that ad’s only affect those who let it! I read every form on here today, read through the posts, and have read days before, and you know what? I couldn’t tell you one add on this site. Because I do not let them bother me. If I want something then I am going to buy it, if I don’t want it, I don’t buy it. I was driving to the super market to get some stuff for dinner and a commercial came on that was relatively funny, I turned to my girlfriend afterwards to discuss the humor in it, and was disappointed when she said that she didn’t even hear it.
The Fact that you are paying for a flight to where ever is not that you’re paying for the flight itself; you are paying for the fuel to get there, the staff that give you your soda, the pilots flying the tin can, that’s what you are paying for. I am grateful that the airline is taking action on attempting to lower prices when they are faced with uncontrollable situation such as 9/11, the TSA, and raising Gas Prices.
If you let the ad’s bother you then you’re trying to fit in like a retarded mule at a petting zoo, trying to eat a pacifier that a baby dropped into the goat poop.
~ The Traveler

Craig says:

Re: Re: Techdirt hypocrisy

Well, I agree with you on that to the extent that I don’t have to pay a fee to TechDirt to access their feed, but I DO have to buy a computer and software and internet access. I have paid to get onto the internet, and in order for TechDirt’s business model to work, it needs to generate direct revenue, in the form of ads. That said, TechDirt also chides many older business model users (the music industry for example) into evolving.

So, the airline industry evolves, and uses a “captive audience model” to serve advertising.

That is exactly what TechDirt does as well.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Techdirt hypocrisy

You’re not captive; you can leave at any moment. And paying the ISP and for a computer is far from paying for Techdirt’s servers and bandwidth. That is more like complaining that I have to pay for a cab ride to the airport, get real. If I’m paying a few hundred bucks to fly then I shouldn’t have to put up with shit service and being treated like criminal. King George is working over time to turn America into China. What the airlines need to do is get those top company officers to take some paycuts.

DanC says:

Re: Re: Re: Techdirt hypocrisy

I have paid to get onto the internet, and in order for TechDirt’s business model to work, it needs to generate direct revenue, in the form of ads. That said, TechDirt also chides many older business model users (the music industry for example) into evolving.

Why do people continue to make this uninformed accusation? Techdirt does not rely on advertising as its revenue source.

GeneralEmergency (profile) says:

I have stopped flying too.

I’m just plain tired of being treated like a criminal by the TSA.

I have Sleep Apnea. I have to travel with my CPAP machine. This is highly personal medical equipment that I would rather keep under wraps because it’s MY medical condition and it’s nobody elses business.

I actually got yelled at by one of these rude TSA son-of-a-bitches last time I flew out of Seatac because I apparently didn’t get the TSA memo that I was supposed to take it out it’s carry bag and expose it –and my medical condition– to full public view.

Screw you TSA. And your damn mothers too.

Army Vet says:

Re: I have stopped flying too.

6 months ago, I had a stomach operation and needed to fly. The staples were setting off the metal detector, and they pulled me aside and waved their magic wand and it beeped over the incision. Already without a shirt on, these jerks asked me if they could touch the Gauze and medical tape covering my wound.

“Yeah, sure you can. But only if I can shove that wand up your ass and touch your tonsils.” was my response.

People around me clapped. Really now… Touch my wound? What the hell do you think I got there? The TSA are morons.

Anonymous Coward says:

As a person who works in the aircraft part business, I can tell you first hand that it’s over regulation that’s make’s flying so expensive.

An example:
Toilet paper roll holder: $600.00 requiring an airworthiness approval tag and full traceability (Yes the same thing you have holding your TP in your bathroom).

No smoking in lavatory labels: $65.00- $300.00 needing airworthiness approval tags.

I mean seriously! I am not exaggerating.

Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) says:


If you want to talk about waste. Why does a ticket for a direct flight from Point A to B cost three to four times as a one or two layover flight between the same two points with the two layover options in completely different directions? I know they want to fill flights but say I want to fly from Des Moines to Phoenix (SW direction ~1200mi). I can get a direct flight for $950 or fly to Minneapolis(NW) then Dallas/Ft.Worth(S) then to Phoenix(W) for $300(~2000mi). It would be cheaper to book a flight to L.A. with a layover in Phoenix and just “miss” your leg to L.A. That would only cost you $350. Think of all the extra cost; extra fuel, extra personnel in multiple airports, extra personnel to move my luggage from plane to plane, the list goes on. They want to charge you more for convenience but I think we are the ones giving them the convenience. Now they want to add advertising and charge us for a bag. I bet prices keep going up.

BRADLEY STEWART (profile) says:


High fares, lousey service, All the Airline Company’s are losing money hand over fist. Maybe its time all the CEO’s of these company’s should just get together and hold a news conference together. On a specific date we are flying all our planes out to the desert and just parking them. If this doesn’t get all our elected Windbags in Wahington to do something productive I really don’t know what will.

Steve R. (profile) says:

Marketing as a Drug Additction

Some companies, when you call, have ads while you are waiting to talk to a customer service representative. I wonder if the “waiting” period is real or contrived so that you are forced hear the advertising??

I have had to wait for my credit slip at the gas-pump while a small tiny add scrolls across the screen. Again, am I being forced to “wait” so that I have to see more advertising??

While watching TV, I have noticed advertising sneaking into the corners of the regular programing. So advertising, on TV is no longer restricted to “official” breaks but is now being slipped into the regular programing.

Sensory overload means that we become insensitive to this advertising. Unfortunately to the marketers (like a drug addict who becomes insensitive to their fix) the only solution is even greater herculean marketing efforts even if they are ineffective or aggravate the consumer.

FT says:

Ridiculous Fees

We had an issue with Priceline where their system booked a flight with departure from NE to MI, then one hour later from MI to NE on the same day. It was cheaper to buy a different one-way ticket for MI to NE on another day, than fix the current ticket. Then, NW wanted to charge us $100 to change the round-trip fare to one-way so the luggage would arrive in MI and not return to NE. All they would have had to do was cancel the MI to NE portion of the ticket, but to do that, they wanted to rape us for $100!

robert says:

While were bashing the TSA....

They really do SUCK. Useless waste of tax dollars getting the sheep ready for a more sever police state.

Remind them that they are being good Nazis… You’ll get detained for interfering with their duties.

Oh, and as always, adds suck too…

Thanks TSA (Totally Stupid A-holes) and “our” Govt, for ruining travel for all.

John (profile) says:

I have no problems with ads, but...

… make sure the prices of the tickets drop.

Last year, I flew on RyanAir into London. There were ads everywhere… but then again, RyanAir charged me 0.10 Euro. Yes, you read that right- 1/10 of a Euro!
Of course, the actual cost was about 25 Euros after all the government and security fees, but 25 Euros is still cheap.

So, if US airlines want to place ads everywhere, that’s great, but they MUST, I repeat MUST lower their prices. I would gladly accept tons of ads if I could fly from Washington to Los Angeles for $50. But I will NOT accept ads if they charge try to charge $400 or $500 or more.

On the other hand, what ever happened to the idea of an “all-frills” airline who would charge you the full price of a ticket, but then give you a real meal, all kinds of magazines, no ads, and friendly service? Would US travelers pay more for better service? Or are we stuck with the no-frills, all-ad-supported airlines because we’re all “cattle” taking “air busses”?

another mike says:

I like to fly

I actually like flying. Between work and personal time, I’m in the air about every four months. My secret? I book through the company’s travel agent. They take good care of me; the only thing the airlines can do to me now is jerk me around at the checkpoints. Last time I flew, my flight was canned. The agent called me within five minutes and already had me rebooked on the next flight out. And since I was going to miss the hop, they rebooked my connection too. Go with a good travel agent, the only way to fly!
On pricing, if you’re not charging enough to stay in business, raise or fold. You really can’t sell at a loss and expect to make it up on volume. I really like the per pound pricing idea. One dollar, three, ten, whatever it takes per pound to fly me and my stuff in reasonable comfort from A to B. Have people estimate when they book (through their agent) and weigh in at the counter. You even get to add a bad guesser surcharge.
On advertising, my usual airports only have ads for the local university and the restaurants and businesses that paid for the new terminal. I like those ads so I don’t mind about them, they’re cool.

Twinrova says:

Tick tock tick tock....

“But Instead You’ll Get A Lot More Ads!”
Don’t you mean content?

After all, this shouldn’t bug the very person who said content and ads are one in the same.

Enjoy your content, Mike, especially if you’re on the plane that took the magazines off the flight.

The airline industry is doing what any other industry does when facing such issues: It survives by doing whatever it takes.

Dropping features, employees, and other non-essential overhead is usually mandatory, not obligatory. Bringing in advertisements keeps THEIR costs down, but never the consumers (otherwise, we’d be flying for free).

None of this information should be shocking to any reader, who usually bitches they’re paying $4+/gal for gas.(I wouldn’t be too surprised if people start asking advertisers for money to place stickers on their personal vehicles.)

Since you posted this blog, Mike, maybe, just maybe, you can start seeing my stand on how there IS a difference between content and advertising.

Especially since you, as the consumer, are on the LOSING END of the advertising scheme by paying MORE for services which should be FREE.

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