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September 19, 2007


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That is just not right! As if traveling weren't bad enough these days, to be interupted for a "word from the sponsor" is unforgiveable. As if we haven't paid enough for the ticket in the first place.


Hi David.....I know the feeling. I remember flying to Hong Kong and the flight attendants were tapping my shoulder every 15-20 minutes as i was dozing off to try and get sleep to see "if i needed any thing" and now you are telling us that they are in the Network Marketing business on these flights? Blogging might be a really good antidote for this "extra service" they are providing. What will happen when you get some information marketer giving them $500 for each sale? then it will get really interesting.

Michael Roach

Well said, David.

Wow... That's something else. It's annoying practices like these that give marketing a bad name.

David Koopmans

The problem for us who believe interruption marketing is on its last legs, is that this kind of promotion might just work. Now. It might just give them tangible, immediate return on investment.

As long as a marketing manager can do the sums on this she is doing what is (mostly) expected of her as far as most companies are concerned.

So how do we put numbers on the negative impact on the brand image?
And does it outweigh the financial benefit they gain?

Adelino de Almeida

$50 does not seem like a big incentive, are there minimum quotas that the attendants have to meet or some other negative consequences from not going through the litany of benefits? That should explain their thoroughness.
US Airways is hands down the worst airline I've ever flown with, our family trip from Dallas to Portugal last year was like a scene from Dante enacted by Mr Bean.

Vitor Souza

Credit Cards and Duty Free promos in international flights are extremely annoying.
I agree with your point that which kind of marketing initiative is that. Customer profiling would tell the company the majority of their customers are business travelers, and all we want is a trip where we can rest to arrive at the business location rested.


David, how annoying for you! I wonder if marketers/advertisers are caught in a place now where they simply don't know how to market to people anymore that not only works (and is not invasive or annoying), but also allows them to profit. With the boom of free web pages like YouTube, how do companies keep providing free services while also staying afloat and making money. Are airlines now forced to give their flight attendants incentives to help them sell and advertise? Bad move on their part, but perhaps the airline and others are simply at a loss on how to reach people now.

Gustavo Arizpe

I believe this and other so called "below the line" interruptions are only symptoms that traditional marketing isn't working anymore, so they try desperate "creative" tactics. They should know better and read your book.


I don't think this is the first time they've disrupted passengers' flights. I used to fly US Air very frequently during my early consulting days. Flying so often quickly led to nice perks, including frequent upgrades to first class. But when first class was all sold, my trip back in coach usually included the following scenario: flight attendants would walk through the aisles with list in hand to single out all of the Chairman Preferred passengers and personally thank them (in front of the fellow passengers). I imagined someone in their Retention Marketing group came up with this brilliant idea, which always made me kind of uncomfortable...I often pretended to be asleep to avoid the situation. I think it was pulled within the first 6 months, as the plan to recognize its frequent fliers seemed to irritate them more.

I'm reading your latest book right now and really enjoying it too, David.


Everyone seems to complain about flying these days.

Well, its your own fault. YOU wanted cheap fares and now you are getting what you pay for.

Remember when planes ran on time? Full meals served? Flight Crews were friendly and happy to help you?

Those days are gone. Cheap fares means you get WalMart service instead of Nordstrom service. You get airports that are scheduled beyond capacity.

Cheap...you asked for it.

I say, return to a regulated environment and get the Civil Aeronautics Board back to work.

David Meerman Scott


YOU does not mean me.

I lived in Asia for ten years and traveled several times a month all over the region via the best airlines in the world - Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Qantas. The tickets were very expensive (my airfare budget was USD #100,000 per year).

THe problem here in the US is that only option to the crap the airlines put us through is private jets and those are way more than commerical.

You does not mean me.


Donald Church

Funny you should mention the credit card promo midway thru the flight. My wife and I went ahead and filled two of them out and mailed them in. We figured, hey, a couple free flights...it's worth filling out an application. Oh contrare! They did approve the credit cards for my wife & myself, but they said that our credit score wasn't high enough to qualify for the free flight! Huh? I just qualified and closed on a $100,000 mortgage, and I was good enough for them to approve credit cards, yet I did not qualify for the free flight promo? Seems to me like a bait-n-switch tactic. Needless to say, I will be sending the credit cards back to them with a nice letter stating why I understand why they and the rest of the airline industry is doing so poorly. If this is how they treat their passengers by scamming them....SHAME ON THEM AND THE REST OF THE AIRLINES! (by the way, "the rest of the airlines" does not include Southwest. They are wonderful. They do things unlike anyone in the industry and have been successfull at it for a long time. It was unfortunate that I had no choice to take US Air for my particular flight. US Air can kiss my grits

Pat Taylor

You think your experience was bad...I was grabbed by a person working a kiosk in the Phiadelphia airport. US Airways was "giving away" free flights to anywhere in the US "just for being a loyal customer". They swiped my drivers license, then asked me for my SS# because "this offer is only open to US citizens, & your SS# proves you are a citizen." Several weeks later I receive a credit card that I was never told about, followed by a bill for $79.00 for "membership fee." I called & complained (a real trick getting through the electronic gate keeper) & was told my card would be cancelled & the fee waived. Well, guess what! I receive a confirmation letter that the account was closed, but the "fee" remains! I will never fly US Airways again, and might need to get a lawyer to get this fixed. What they did was certainly unethical, and probably illegal also. I might have believed I was the victim of an overzealous and corrupt sales person had it not been for the promise of the fee removal that was also not done. Apparently, US Airways feels it must scam people in order to stay afloat. I'm sure I'm not the only idiot who fell for their phony promise. (I'll bet you weren't told about the "membership fee" either, but at least they let you know it was a credit card application.) I'm looking for anyone else who got suckered in to this charade. I think it's time for a class action lawsuit! I also intend to notify all my local TV stations (who are network affiliates) & see if any of them might be interested in carrying this story.

Asia Flights

Too many U.S. carriers neglect the idea of customer service and focus on the monetary incentives for their own employees; whereas, Asia carriers seem to focus on customer service.

Asia airlines are the way to go.

gayle foshee

Re: Pat Taylor, I too was accosted by the guys at the kiosk in Philly. I was promised a round trip flight anywhere that US Air travels. I've called US air and mentioned the word "Fraud"...
Well, according to them, Just because it is a US Air Credit Card doesn't make them responsible, I need to contact the bank that issued it. THE ONLY..REPEAT ONLY... REASON THAT I DID THIS WAS FOR THE FREE FLIGHT! Face it... the cost of a flight is expensive so it would pay to apply for the credit card.

Flight attendant

This is very annoying. But I was confused if this true to the fact that they will not bargain their reputation just for $50. This is unbelievable. Or you are just too sleepy that you have read differently.

perth airport long term parking

I think the best solution for this is to notify those in the higher ups so they will be reprimanded for their actions. I think the airlines are focusing too much on the monetary benefits over customer service.

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