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.
Can @flyspicejet explain why an entire plane full of passengers — incl kids- are being handed Lupin Pharma's drugs?
— Vidya (@VidyaKrishnan) March 23, 2022
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.