Airport ads for airlines

15Jan09

In my experience, Chicago’s Midway airport is one of the best airports in the US. It’s big enough to have lots of flights (mainly on Southwest), but small enough that you don’t have to ride some hokey people-mover to get to your gate. And getting back and forth from downtown is a cinch, thanks to the Orange Line service that does the trip in about 30 minutes.

If there’s any downside to Midway, it’s the lack of international flights, or at least direct ones. Even to relatively close destinations in Canada, almost all the flights involve a stopover or plane change. For whatever reason, the much larger and more obnoxious O’Hare airport has the international market cornered.

So, when I learned that a regional airline plans to start direct flights to places like Toronto, I was surprised. I don’t go to Canada very often, but it’s great to know there will soon be direct flights there from Midway. How did I find out about the service? Through some roundabout series of blog articles and recommendations — not exactly a high-volume way to reach target customers.

For a small or regional carrier, the primary challenge is to get the word out there. You need to show potential travelers that your flights are cheaper or more convenient than the other guys. If you’re on a limited budget, the logical place to focus this effort is at the airport itself. The target customers are already there, so take advantage of billboard-style signage in the terminal, sponsorships, and any other ways to get your pitch in front of travelers. When you have the opportunity to address an audience that is pre-qualified for your offer, the interest level and resulting revenues should be quite substantial.



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