Spirit: Now With Mind-Numbing In-Cabin Advertising

Kick open the exit doors and release the inflatable slides, Spirit is outfitting their entire fleet with cabin-saturating ads. Billed as Spirit’s “latest innovation,” the ads will litter “seat backs, window shades, overhead bins, tray tables, drink carts, napkins, cups, menus (what menus?) boarding passes, trash bags, soap dispensers,” and probably even barf bags.

Spirit suckered the Bahamas, supposedly the epitome of relaxation, not annoyance, to serve as the airline’s first spam advertiser. More will follow.

Spirit’s press release asks: Where else can you find 100 percent saturation with a targeted captive audience that will be actively engaged by your ad for an average of three hours?

Spirit is right. Saturation does have an effect. A profoundly negative effect. After starting at the same taunting ad for three hours, we’d want to stab every ad exec and airline official with a Hurricane-sharpened palm tree. But we’re vindictive and have “anger issues.” Who would you stab?

Spirit Airlines Launches Mile High Media (Press Release) [Spirit via Jaunted]


Edit Your Comment

  1. nicemarmot617 says:

    You know I’ve actually found them to be an okay airline when I’ve flown them. But this may be pushing the potential annoyance too far. I don’t really want to sit there staring at the same ad for three hours.

  2. reflection717 says:

    Reminds me of the show “The Loop” about a fictional airline. The main character screwed up and let Stride gum have full reign and advertise anywhere they wanted. The gate agents even had to say “Have a Stride flight”

    Good to see the folks at Spirit watched that episode too!


    • snobum says:

      @reflection717: I saw that episode too and it was the first thing I thought of.

      I think what bothers me about this is it’s 18″ from your face and nothing you can do about. I’ll just look to the right… nope, there it is again. Left? There it is. Maybe if I get a drink it will calm me down…. it’s on the napkin and the cup!

      I don’t mind advertising but it shouldnt be that you HAVE to look at it throughout a 4 hour flight. Maybe it should be the length of the jetway or even the overhead bins wouldnt be that bad – not everything in the plane.

  3. I had my worst flying experience ever flying on Spirit airlines. I will never fly them again and refused the free flight voucher I was offered as compensation. I have no desire to ever board a Spirit airplane again.

  4. Eldritch says:

    I get annoyed staring at the ads that cover the walls of the subway cars in New York City. I doubt I could tolerate it for three or more hours in an airplane.

    Also, isn’t it kind of more anger inducing if you’re on a plane full of ads for the Bahamas, and yet you’re actually on a business trip to Detroit?

  5. Fly Girl says:

    I hate United’s in-flight advertising– that damn song over and over and over again. Those animated clips about all of their destinations. *ACK!* Makes me want to jump out of the plane.

    A bit ago I flew Singapore Air to Tokyo. I was in coach, of course. Everything else about their service was top of the line– they’re awesome.

    …However, when you use their in-flight entertainment system, it constantly cuts to commercials about just how flippin’ awesome First Class is. Instead of having the desired affect (making me want to buy First Class tickets next time) it just made me want to punch the people sitting in First Class and to firebomb Singapore Air for rubbing my brokeness (and discomfort) in my face.

    “Oh, really? Lay-flat beds and silk robes and fancy-schmancy cuisine and a personal flight attendant? Huh. That’s nice, especially since I’m eating a dry sandwich and I’ll have this annoying fat man’s elbow in my side for the next fourteen hours. Please, tell me one more time just how great it is up there, up there at the front of the plane…”

    First Class is something that you do or you don’t. It’s not a little “splurge.” It’s the difference between a $1,000 ticket and a $20,000 ticket. I don’t think that anyone sitting in coach just didn’t know how great First Class was… They’re all in coach ’cause they HAVE to be in coach, so running ads throughout the entire flight about how flippin’ wonderful First Class is doesn’t do anything but remind all of the people in coach about how much money they don’t have…


  6. Robobot says:

    Is it bad that advertising like this just doesn’t effect me anymore? Not only does it not sway to buy a product, but is doesn’t even annoy. Ads are plastered all over everything. It’s hard not to become immune.

    … Except when Metro keeps outdated advertisements for events that ended three weeks ago in the trains. That’s beyond annoying. Nothing like making the cars even more depressing.

  7. AnxiousDemographic says:

    At some point prolific advertisement is going to become a safety issue. How is someone to find the emergency chute or exit row amid the visual clutter of adverts?

    I have long wondered why there are not already prominent cases of lawsuits caused by distracting billboards littering our highways’ skylines.

    Does not each of our rights have a corresponding responsibility? Doesn’t the right of freedom of speech need the temperance of a responsibility to not pollute the environment, thinking, and awareness of the hapless recipients of said speech?

  8. HRHKingFridayXX says:

    Weel great, they’re advertising a trip to a location that people who have to fly spirit clearly can’t afford. Nice job.

    I’d bring an eye cover, if I had to fly with them.

  9. Mr.Purple says:

    I understand the annoyance to some, but are ads really a problem? I wouldn’t like to be staring at an ad for 3 hours, but its not that annoying. If they started to push things on me, like salesmen I would be annoyed, but as long as it is passive, I am fine.

    I kinda like looking at the ads, when in going from place to place, it gives me something to stare at when I have nothing else to do. Plus, there many different ads… I guess I am weird.

  10. mbz32190 says:

    Hey, Spirit has some of the cheapest prices around (sometimes you can get fares for 10-20 bucks if you follow their deals)…I’ll gladly put up with ads for that price.

    • Nofsdad says:

      @mbz32190: I’m certainly not much of a flier but I agree with you 100%. If ads help keep the fares down, suck it up and go with it. I can’t believe this many people are incapable of ignoring signs for three hours.

  11. gliscameria says:

    Idiocracy strikes again…

    When do the maxim and playboy ads roll out? I’m sure they’d be a big hit on commuter flights. =)

  12. johnnya2 says:

    Jeez you would think they were blaring the ads with loud music and television monitors. Don’t care at all about ads inside airplanes, and if it is not successful it wont permeate or last very long. How many cars have an emblem of the company that produced the car and the dealer who sold it. Nobody cares or notices anymore. If it means they can afford to train their staff and pilots while providing reasonably priced flights I wouldn’t care if they put Roseanne Barr doing a stripper pole on the plane

  13. Overheal says:

    Looks like the value of Sharpie stock went up 2 points: vandalism strikes again :D

  14. deadspork says:

    This is a great idea, and may even help other airlines to reduce fees. If I could fly an airline, not pay for checked baggage fees, have an in-flight meal on the house, I’d be 100% ok with having ads all over the cabin.
    It’s just empty space anyway. I mean, I don’t want ads EVERYWHERE I look on a daily basis, but c’mon… You’re stuck on a boring plane either way. Most people bring other distractions. I’m more than happy to let big business help shoulder the burden of increased fees and costs associated with the airlines.

  15. Quatre707 says:

    There needs to be special glasses you can buy that have AdBlock Plus for real life.

  16. nybiker says:

    I don’t think these types of ads are going to reduce fees. Look at naming rights and sponsorships of events. Did those tickets get any cheaper? No, the players and performers get rich. We get socked with higher ticket prices.

    The NYC subway cars have ads in them. They aren’t so bad since you have to sorta look up to see most of ’em. The ones on the sides you might see (but in rush hour with so many sardines in the can you’ll be lucky to see the window, let alone an ad on the side of the car). Of course, recently there was a tennis tournament in NYC and the wonderful, oh so wonderful, money happy folks at American Express had their logos on the OUTSIDE of the #7 train (it goes to the Willets Point-Shea Stadium stop). Like we didn’t already know about them. Good thing I signed up with them years ago, because their ads wouldn’t convince me these days to sign up.

  17. k4ffy says:

    airlines are hemorrhaging money these days between the cost of fuel and market conditions. airlines are canceling flights because they can’t afford fuel (Alitalia).
    if they raise ticket prices, charge for checked bags, or sell snacks, people complain. well, they have to make revenue from somewhere. its a business afterall, not a charity.
    let them plaster ads all over the cabins if it’ll keep fares relatively low. if you’re prefer to pay a higher fare in order to fly ad-free, choose a different carrier or fly business class. it’s unlikely that advertising will make it into first and business class cabins.

  18. rinse says:

    I have another great idea for them! All of their staff, from pilots to flight attendants, should be outfitted with NASCAR-style sponsorship-covered uniforms. Awesome.

  19. PinkBox says:

    I spend most of my time staring out of the window on flights or reading for it to really bother me, but I can see where it could really annoy some people.

    That said, if it helps them gain some much needed money, I say go for it. I’d rather that than having to pay the difference myself.

  20. jgonzz says:

    I have never flown on Spirit but when I fly out of NYC, the check in line is so long i was amazed. I don’t think i would want to start my travel day with a 2hr wait in line at the check-in counter.

  21. chrisjames says:

    Right, because the constant backslide towards subway car atmosphere is going to do wonders for airlines.

  22. s25843 says:

    I’ve been flying Spirit roundtrip, including taxes between Boston and Florida for $39 roundtrip, and I even just flew them to Myrtle Beach for $22.50 roundtrip.

    The ads will probally be very annoying, but, for $22 bucks roundtrip, i’ll put up with it.

  23. yikz says:

    One word: Sharpie!

  24. TheSpatulaOfLove says:

    Sane people still fly? I thought the TSA put an end to that..

  25. Coles_Law says:

    I’m surprised McDonalds or Starbucks wasn’t first in line for this. The odds of an impulse buy as a result of these ads are far greater than a purchase that requires planning. I figured the companies with locations in your typical airport concourse would have done this. The Bahamas seem an odd choice of first advertiser. When you get on a plane, your destination is pretty much set-no amount of advertising is going to change the fact you’re flying into upstate New York in January.

    Or will it? New TSA threat-ads make people hijack planes!

  26. EricLecarde says:

    I can’t help but feel this is a double edged sword. On the one hand, if it means Airfare pricing, baggage fees, airline fees, and just general screw you over fees go down or away I wouldn’t mind looking at the advert.

    But if they don’t go down and become a potential safety hazard, then I feel that would be useless and I’d pay more to be on a plane with no adverts.

    But for some reason, I don’t see that coming to fruition. And I get the feeling that more and more airlines are going to have advertisements like this.

    Is it really that bad of a thing?

    • nybiker says:

      @EricLecarde: “And I get the feeling that more and more airlines are going to have advertisements like this.

      Is it really that bad of a thing?”

      Well, yes it is. We might as well let cell phones be used on the planes what with all the distractions there will be. I always liked the idea that my eyes weren’t bombarded with ads the way the are down on the ground. Every piece of information on tv comes with a ‘proud sponsor’. I’d like to be able to stare at the proverbial four walls and not have anything looking back at me. There’s already way too much advertising going on and it all just turns me off to the products/services being shilled.

      • johnnya2 says:

        Can all those of you who say you don’t buy base don advertising please shut the hell up. The point is for you not to realize you buy because of the advertising. have you eaten at McDonald’s, gone to Target, bought a car, drank a beer. Do you think you made the decision based on “gut instinct”?
        The Bahamas seems like a logical choice for an audience who travels (they are on a plane so it is obvious), Spirit also tends to cater to the leisure travel market more than business travelers (Bahamas seems like a leisure destination to me).
        If you live in any size town it likely has multiple choices for everything you buy, but if you do not drive past it or hear about it someway you forget about it. Even the greatest word of mouth only lasts as long as you remember it. If I were on a plane to Florida with Spirit and saw the Bahamas, I may say, you know what, I wonder how much it costs to go to the Bahamas. If I am thinking I want to go to the Caribbean, but I am not sure where, and then I see an ad for the Bahamas, I may research it a bit more at a web site or travel magazine.
        If you don’t think advertising works, then I have a bridge for sale that links an island with Brooklyn.

        • nybiker says:

          @johnnya2: We don’t mind advertising. It’s the onslaught / bombardment that bothers us. For me, the problem of naming rights for places and events (e.g., stadiums, college bowl games, concert tours) is another despicable practice. An ad in a magazine is one thing; having to read that “Mets won last night at Citi Field” makes me wonder how much the writer got paid for putting the company’s name in the story? Now, did the writer get paid? In all honesty, no. But I see the ad not a stadium name.

  27. I have to take the devil’s advocate view here and say that if you’re flying Spirit, then you probably know this is a super economy airline. I think Spirit is well within the context of their own product, so to to speak, to litter the plane with advertising.

    That isn’t to say I’d fly Spirit. They always seem to me like an airline run out of someone’s apartment or something.

  28. unpolloloco says:

    Personally, I’d prefer free flights where I’m barraged by salesmen than having to pay current prices.

  29. Onouris says:

    Jesus where’s the real life AdBlock.

  30. ShariC says:

    This is what happens on trains in Japan, especially the Yamanote loop which has video screens showing ads in addition to print ads all over the place.

    If it improves service or decreases costs (hopefully both), I don’t have a problem with it. It can just be ignored.

  31. Fitwit says:

    Sprint will probably put ‘Verizon’ on the barf bags.

  32. shufflemoomin says:

    Why is this really such a bad thing? It’s not forced upon anyone, you choose what to look at. Just because you read an ad, doesn’t mean you have to buy anything. It doesn’t cost you anything, it’s not really an inconvience and it helps the airlines survive. No one complains about being forced fed ads during sports, do they? You can’t look around the stadium or at some playing surfaces without seeing ads. The Superbowl? Hello? That’s not about sport, that’s about business and revenue. It’s the society we live in and the world would be a happier place if people just accepted the way things are and made peace with it. You’ll never change this, you’ll only give yourself an ulcer and high blood pressure complaining about it.

  33. Dansc29625 says:

    It seems tastefully done in the photograph. I wouldn’t want to stare at a hamburger for 3 hours, but a scene from the Bahamas wouldn’t be too bad.

  34. AgentTuttle says:

    They’re going to find that people like me who hate invasive advertising can make their plane look like a NY subway.

  35. xamarshahx says:

    Everyone keeps bashing Spirit, but they are a low cost a la carte airlines, I flew to Ft. Laderdale for $35 roundtrip twice, I don’t mind paying 15 for my bag and seeing an ad on a seat if my rates are going to be so cheap.

  36. Maulleigh says:

    I’d watch 10 hours of advertising instead of paying the $500 plus dollars it now costs to fly to SF and back.

    I’d watch 36 hours of advertising to fly to Singapore and back for free.

    • AgentTuttle says:

      @Maulleigh: You’re kind of a sell-out. Eventually, they are going to raise their prices to the industry standard, then guess what, the ads will still be there. Then other airlines will jump on the band wagon for the extra money with no change in price or services. It’s a slippery slope of greed.

      It’s a sad day when EVERYTHING needs to be an ad. I’ve seen ads on those concrete parking stops and the previously painted lines. I remember when the grocery divider was a hunk of rubber and there was no TV there to pump shit into your brain. I say ENOUGH! Turns out a large percentage of billboards in SF and LA are illegal and they get away with it. You try advertising something illegally and see if they let it go, it’s bullshit.

      I pay more to see a film at the Arclight to NOT see commercials before the film AND the ushers watch for a while to make sure the sound and picture are perfect. And since there is a war on and all, other theaters advertise for the National Guard and make it look so cooooool. You’d think they were going to open a recruiting station in the friggin lobby.

  37. SuperSnackTime says:

    Generic Consumer Logic Toward Airline X: They’re gouging us with gas fees, baggage fees, increased ticket costs, less service… they’ze the evil suxorz!

    Airline X: We can at least subsidize SOME of these increased costs by advertising all over the place.

    Consumer: NOES! You’re just gonna keep all the profits [side note: airlines are profitable?] from the ads and just keep screwing us! I would GLADLY pay more to not have more ads!

    Airline X: Fair enough, we hear you, no more ads, but ticket prices will go up a few bucks, but you said you’re cool with that.

    Consumer: …

    Consumer : … oh sorry, didn’t hear you, I was busy bidding for the cheapest possible ticket via Priceline.com after you RAISED YOUR FRICKING PRICES AGAIN.

  38. Skipweasel says:

    For ten bucks they’ll sell you an eyeshade.

  39. bmoredlj says:

    One of their web promos shows a woman in a bikini from behind (and from the hips down), knee deep in the sea, and the copy “We believe in offshore drilling.” Classy, depending on how you interpret that.

  40. zibby says:

    Those bags are for barf? Uh oh, I’ve been using them as toilets for years…

  41. mike says:

    Fry: “Sure, we had commercials on TV, and the radio, and in movies, and on the sides of buses, and buildings, and taxi cabs, and billboards and written across the sky…but never in our dreams, no siree!”

  42. Pop Socket says:

    Frederik Pohl predicting this level of ubiquitous advertising on planes back in the 50s in The Space Merchants where when you look out the windows, they go opaque until you watch a commercial. I’m sure they’re working on that technology right now.

  43. HogwartsAlum says:

    I haven’t flown in a while, but when I do, I always have a music player and a book or magazine. As soon as it’s humanly possible, the headphones go on and my face goes in the reading material. I doubt I’d even notice an ad. Flying coach is like riding the bus and I DON’T want to engage my fellow passengers. Barring use of my player or reading, I sleep.

    As for naming stadiums and ads contained herein, our ice rink has had ads all over the boards since day one. When I’m in a skating lesson,I don’t even notice them anymore. And, due to the city building the rink and then not bothering to promote or market it, they just sold naming rights to the local cable company to keep it open. When people asked me how I felt about it, I told them I didn’t care what the frack they called it, as long as it didn’t close.

  44. Haltingpoint says:

    Simple solution (at least for the seat back tray that you have to stare at the whole time): Bring a white piece of paper and some tape. Affix paper to back of tray. No more ad. Although I wonder if they’d throw you off the plane for this…