Ads, ads, ads, now on your boarding pass


Ads on the baggage carousel. Ads on the fold-down seatback trays. Ads on the ticket jackets (where they still have them). Now, ads on the boarding pass you print at home you check in on line. That’s the premise of Sojern, a venture that launches today on Delta flights at Las Vegas and spreads over the next weeks onto other cities on its system as well as on American, Continental, Northwest, United and US Airways. The ads are for restaurants, shows, clubs, golf courses, and other venues in the flyer’s destination city. Gordon Whitten, Sojern’s founder and chief executive, said he saw passengers walking through the airport with boarding passes full of white space, or as he put it, “empty billboards.”  A former Intuit executive, Whitten says that as many as 40% of check-ins are on line for about 280 million annual boarding passes.


Former ALPA chief Duane Woerth, now a Sojern executive, said, “It saves people the time of having to sit down at the computer and go to Google and print out a lot of things.”  Delta’s Josh Weiss said that a passenger can still print boarding passes without the ads; he was not worried that they would be intrusive.

At Northwest Airlines, 40% of the airline’s check-ins are done at its Web site, adding up to as many as 30 million customers a year, says Al Lenza, the vice president of distribution and e-commerce.“I think this is going to be responsible for many millions of dollars for each airline,” he said. “We don’t have to invest any cash. We get equity in Sojern and we get a significant revenue share,” Lenza adds.

About $20 million in venture capital backs the Omaha-based Sojern, which earns commissions on the ads it sells and shares the revenue with the airlines. Officials would not reveal details of the revenue split. 


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6 Responses to Ads, ads, ads, now on your boarding pass

  1. Nicolas July 16, 2008 at 4:26 am #


    What the hell is going on?!?!

    Advertiwements everywhere, seatback, boarding pass, bagage carousel, soon I guess there will be ads on the hand luggage compartments (like in city buses), and probably inside the lavatory compartment (like at my university, for instance)…

    It is getting insane.

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