Forget Credit Card Applications, Airline Hands Out Medicine Samples To Passengers Inflight

Since American Airlines introduced first checked bag fees in 2008, U.S. carriers have come up with creative ways to monetize everything from seat assignments to seat backs and tray tables. Whether they’re advertising to passengers in the inflight entertainment or passing out credit card applications, there’s little about the journey that isn’t monetized.

While America West and later US Airways had ads on their tray tables and AirTran put ads on the back of the tray tables so you’d see the ad facing you when the tray table was in the up position, U.S. carriers have nothing on their Indian counterparts.

Low cost carrier SpiceJet has teamed up with that country’s pharmaceutical industry to pitch medicinal supplements to passengers, offering free samples like at Costco hoping that one you try you’ll buy.

Fragrance and toiletry companies work deals with airlines for inclusion in their amenity kits, in lounges and on board hoping to hook consumers – the same way that they work with hotels. I use a shampoo at home that I first discovered at the Park Hyatt Tokyo (and I get the cost covered by my Amex Platinum’s Saks credit twice a year). Samples and branding work.

SpiceJet points to one way that U.S. airlines might find additional revenue. Although it turns out there are still unexploited opportunities to exploit the revenue potential of space in the cabin too.

(HT: @iflyplaces)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Fortunately, at American Airlines, to help prevent drug addiction and sedated flight attendants, this airline only distributes credit card applications and not drug samples of methaqualone, a sedative, and hypnotic medication. Previously sold under the brand name “Quaalude,” commercial production of methaqualone was halted in the mid-1980s due to widespread abuse, addictiveness, and zonked-out flight crews.

  2. In a United lounge in DEN they had these energy gummies that were obviously product samples.

  3. @Alan you said “Additional revenue? Like all of the pop-up ads on View From The Wing?” if you don’t like the pop-up ads, then go away and don’t click on this website or any websites with ads. Please stop complaining.

  4. SkyClubs gave out “Airborne” – the supplement invented “by a teacher”.

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