Perhaps you read about plans by the Chinese carrier Spring Airlines to start selling cars onboard its planes. Bloomberg quotes an airline spokesman saying, “Our passengers can have time during their flight to study details of the models available.” In other words, there’s no audience like a captive one as other airlines have long since discovered.
Spirit: Advertising Innovator
Florida-based Spirit has long led the way for onboard sales through advertising, which means using every available space on their planes from overhead bins to tray tables (US Airways also once sold space on tray tables).
Ads on Barf Bags
Spirit has gone even further though; it once sold alcoholic drinks via logos adorning flight attendant aprons (much to the cabin crews’ dismay). It’s unclear if the carrier is still offering advertising space on the inside of its lavatory doors (they used to!) but it does sell the space on its “air sick” amenity – better known as the barf bag (“You’ll spark conversation,” says Spirit’s come-on to advertisers). FareCompare has so far been unable to identity any firm brave enough to slap its logo these bags, but we contacted Spirit for more information and we will update if we learn more.
Swimsuit Models on Planes
Several airlines have advertised sports teams with plane wraps featuring football insignia – usually as part of a promotion declaring themselves the “official airline” for various teams, and AirTran once came in for some criticism (and cheers) for featuring a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model on one of its 737s – stiletto heels and all.
Airport Ads Fizzle
The small Oregon airport in Rogue Valley once toyed with the idea of selling ads on its control tower, but apparently the negative reaction shut down that idea – though they have since come up with another potential money-maker: a replica of the White House Oval Office which can be rented out for meetings.