Airline Retail Sales

Last week I was sitting with my wife in coach on a flight to Florida. As I was trying to read my copy of the National Enquirer cover article on Brad’s sixteenth remarriage proposal to Angelina, a flight attendant announced over the PA system, in great detail, the benefits of a new bank credit card the airline was promoting. Then, in order to book a ton of sales, she walked down the aisle with applications in hand, screeching out the same offer at every seat row. 

“Just think, five hundred free frequent flier miles that you can use for a portion of a future flight, free use of the overhead compartment for hats-only storage, and the heavily discounted new ten-dollar seat belt rental fee on all future flights. All this for the much sought-after Tin Card from the Bank of Wormwood, West Virginia.”

As I sat nearly sideways in my seat due to the most recent torture-the-passenger seating plan just rolled out by the airline, it dawned on me that this was now a frequent occurrence on flights. And then, I realized what was in store for everyone who took to the skies in the not-too-distant future.

With a captive audience, airlines will begin hawking all kinds of products and services nonstop from take-off to landing over the PA system and up and down the aisle in person. The list will certainly include highly popular items like Tupperware, timeshare condos, funeral expense insurance policies, gold, fruitcakes, nursing home contracts, tires, legal advice, and at-home laser tattoo removal systems, to name a few. Flight attendants will be handing out flyers, samples, and receipts as they make their rounds. Passengers will be able to pick up their purchases at the newly reconfigured Baggage/Retail Retrieval Pick-up Centers at the airport.

For those passengers who try to escape the sales barrage via their headphones and the in-flight entertainment system, movies will be interrupted every three minutes with video messaging.

Can you imagine the extra revenue the airlines will pick as they morph into unlimited retail sales? Amazon, watch out.

What am I going to do about it? I’m researching the Greyhound Bus Company system maps as my transportation back-up plan.