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Airline boarding passes to contain ads

Air travelers get bombarded with advertising in airport terminals, on ticket jackets, even on tray tables at their seats. Now comes a new pitch: ads on your boarding pass.

A startup called Sojern, based in Omaha, Neb., announced a partnership Monday with five major airlines to put destination-specific advertising on the boarding passes that millions of customers receive when they check in online.

Delta Air Lines was scheduled to launch ads Monday night for travelers to Las Vegas, then roll them out for other U.S. destinations by Wednesday. United Airlines, Continental Airlines, US Airways and Northwest Airlines will follow "over the coming months," said Sojern CEO Gordon Whitten.

"This will be useful information for their journey on something they already have," said Duane Woerth, a senior vice president and former president of the Air Line Pilots Association.

When customers check in on an airline Web site, they will see beneath the standard boarding pass a list of "destination highlights" for each day of their stay, ads for businesses and links to local restaurants, clubs and other attractions. They can print boarding passes with or without the ads.

Sojern will sell advertising and split revenue with the carriers. Whitten and airline officials would not say how much the ads should generate. But as many as 30-million Northwest customers a year will see the ads, said Al Lenza, vice president for distribution and e-commerce for the airline. "This will be responsible for many millions of dollars for each airline," he said.

Steve Huettel can be reached at huettel@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3384.

Airline boarding passes to contain ads 07/15/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 15, 2008 12:06am]
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