Major US Airline Considers Selling Passenger Information to Advertisers: Report

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An ominous new report from the Wall Street Journal might have travelers reconsidering their holiday plans — particularly if they’re flying with United Airlines.

The report, which dropped on Thanksgiving Eve, highlighted two of the most prevalent problems of an increasingly digital age: Privacy and data.

The Journal reported that United is considering “using passenger data to sell targeted ads.”

From the outset of the report, the news outlet noted that United’s commodification of customer data is just the latest in “a growing number of companies trying to tap their troves of user data for advertising purposes.”

As to how this may look like to an outside observer, it doesn’t sound particularly aggressive or intrusive.

According to data viewed by the Journal, this data sale could manifest in the following way: “If [United] decides to leverage passenger information for advertising purposes, it might make it possible for an advertiser — such as an entertainment company — to recommend one of its movies to a passenger who United knows occasionally vacations near the company’s theme parks and recently redeemed miles for merchandise from that company.”

Other ways in which this data could be used could include seeing targeted ads on in-flight entertainment, or targeted ads when customers use the airline app to book tickets and check in.

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