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Come Fly -- And Buy -- With Us


A number of U-S airlines are in financial trouble. Four are bankrupt but still flying.

So, airlines are turning to in-flight sales pitches to raise money. On a recent Alaska Airlines flight to Washington, D.C., for instance, a flight attendant made a cabin announcement asking everyone to consider signing up for the Bank of America credit card.

Where could this lead?

"BING!"

"Uh, this is Captain Bigley from the flight deck. Welcome aboard Cash-Strapped Airlines flight 241. And speaking of 2-for-1, a reminder that you can stay 2 nights at Happy Inn Motels across America for the price of 1. Our destination is Denver, where the folks at Out-go Rent-a-Car are waiting to serve you. So sit back in your seats by Ferndale Furniture of Fresno, order a couple of Frosty-Up Sodas, and enjoy your flight. When we reach our cruising altitude of 30,000 feet, the flight attendants will be by, selling Cash-Strapped Airlines' Scratch-off Lottery tickets."

"BING!"

"And good morning from your cabin crew. I'm Debbie, your sales manager. You'll notice we're all wearing fashions by Franco Bistelli, on sale this week only. We'll be passing through the cabin with coupons good for 2 free drinks at Freddy's Lounge in Denver. And if you need some extra cash, check out the sales tent in Coach. Friendly loan officers from First Second Bank -- "where we take your money with a smile" -- will be on hand to assist you. Now buckle up -- and check under your seats, where 10 lucky passengers will find vouchers good for 20% off your next purchase of perfumes by Pierre of Paris."

On-board movie channels are already peppered with commercials. And there's talk of painting advertisements on passenger tray tables. Can entire airplanes, plastered with beer posters, be far behind?

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