The California Bucket List: Your daily guide to the best adventures and experiences in the Golden State

Airlines to begin selling ads on boarding passes

From the Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- Luggage? Got it. Boarding pass? Check. Ads on boarding pass to help beleaguered airline industry pay for expensive fuel? Check.

Several major airlines will begin displaying ads on boarding passes for customers who check in from home. Customers can print the boarding passes without ads if they want.

Sojern Inc., which is selling the ads, said Delta Air Lines Inc. would begin using the ads on Tuesday for flights to Las Vegas and on all other domestic destinations soon afterward. AMR Corp.'s American Airlines, Northwest Airlines, US Airways Group Inc., Continental Airlines Inc. and UAL Corp.'s United Airlines have signed up and will begin using the ads in the months ahead, Sojern said.

The airlines own a minority stake in Sojern and will split revenue from the ads. None of the parties would say how much they expect to make. But Al Lenza, the vice president of distribution and e-commerce at Northwest Airlines Corp., said 40 percent of his airline's check-ins happen at its Web site, adding up to as many as 30 million customers a year.

"I think this is going to be responsible for many millions of dollars for each airline," he said.

The boarding-pass ads are only the latest effort by airlines to raise cash to help offset soaring fuel costs. Many have already cut jobs, reduced capacity and hiked fees on customers, including charging for a second checked bag.

Travelers who check in from a home computer will see their boarding pass along with information for their destination including weather, restaurants, and attractions in the city to which they're flying. Sojern said it will limit the boarding pass to one printed page, the same as current ad-free boarding passes.

The company will not tailor the ads to individual customers yet, but it may do that in the future, said Gordon Whitten, the company's founder and chief executive. He said Sojern has been in contact with other airlines about selling the boarding pass ads.

The airlines said they have worked to make sure they do not annoy customers with the ads. Josh Weiss, managing director for Delta's Web site and self-service, said that is why they included the option to not print the ads and made sure the boarding pass will load quickly on customers' computers.

Sojern's board includes Jeffrey Katz, former CEO of travel booking Web site Orbitz Inc., who is also a Northwest director.

Copyright © 2018, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World