Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Return of the pop-up

This past Sunday night I flew out to San Francisco on USAirways for a couple days of business meetings. My plane arrived in SFO at 2:15 am EST.

At 1:30 AM EST the entire plane was treated to an in-flight pop-up ad. The air crew got on the PA system and announced that the USAirways Bank of America credit card was a great deal and if you signed up on the plane you’d get another 500 miles in addition to the 25,000 for signing up. Personnel are walking through the isles with applications.

This woke me up along with a few other people. Why this was necessary at that time of night for all of those who were operating on an EST time zone I’ll never know.

Maybe response rates are higher for people who are jarred out of REM sleep.

Maybe in-flight pop-ups work.

Maybe the crew are sadists and want everyone to adhere to their schedule.

Maybe USAirways is taking a cue from the movie theaters with their advertisements.

Maybe USAirways has thresholds of how many sign-ups are needed for a higher payout from BOA and pop-ups are the most effective way to close the gap.

Either way I will never sign-up for that card.

If you are going to make an announcement make sure it has to do with my safety or something else important. Maybe dedicate a channel on the sound system to a pilot and crew talk radio with content of what are we passing now, how higher are we, etc. Don’t make an announcement unless we are about to crash.

I feel this parallels the interactive world; a long time ago there were no frequency caps on pop-ups. Then came consumer backlash and the pop-ups were reduced through smart publisher and advertiser requirements on user experience. . Further reduction was brought about by pop-up blockers.

I guess the Bose sound cancellation headphones are the closest thing to a in-flight pop-up blocker.

Would love to hear anybody else’s experience with in-flight pop-ups.

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