Delta’s In-Flight Credit Card Offer: Convenient or Spam?

During my recent vacation I noticed another opportunity to be intentional with your finances.  We were midway through our Delta flight headed out of the country; I was beginning to doze off when the flight attendants started hawking credit cards over the intercom.  They made an announcement about Delta SkyMiles cards: the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, and the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card.  Then they preceded to walk the isles with forms to sign up for their rewards program and the cards.

I have nothing against credit card advertising (I use it here on the site…even in this post).  However, you're not forced to sit in front of your computer monitor with your browser pointed at PT Money for 4 hours.  In my opinion, what Delta did was cross the line a bit.

I chatted with one of the attendants (who was very nice, by the way) about the credit card offers.  She said they'd been doing them in-flight for about a year.  She told me she wasn't as comfortable pushing the credit card offer (their cards come with a $95 annual fee) as she was the reward program.  Other attendants were openly pushing the cards.  One even checked back with me prior to me finishing my conversation with the other attendant just to be sure I didn't want a card.

I'll also point out that the flight was headed to a third-world Country and I did notice several people taking forms. I wonder how many of these people got on the flight with the intention of getting a card?

According to pseudomarketing, US Airways is doing similar in-flight advertising.  The Washington Post says Alaska Airlines is doing it too.

My question to youIs this type of advertising appropriate? Have you ever encountered advertising (beside the SPAM in your email box) that you were forced to deal with?

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Last Edited: May 29, 2018 @ 10:23 pm
About Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a former practicing CPA, blogger, podcaster, husband, and father of three. PT is also the founder and CEO of FinCon, the conference and community dedicated to helping other financial influencers and brands. He created this website back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money, hold himself accountable, and to meet others passionate about moving toward financial independence.

PT uses Personal Capital to keep track of his financial life. This free software allows him to review his net worth regularly, analyze his investments, and make decisions about his financial future.

PT keeps a portion of his emergency fund in Betterment, the automatic investing tool that makes investing super simple. Betterment focuses on what matters most: savings rate, time in the market, investing costs, and taxes. PT recommends this service to anyone looking to get started investing for themselves.

All the content on this blog is original and created or edited by PT.


  1. I like it when they do it. maybe i can get a credit card. maybe i won’t. what if i have one already. do they still do it???

  2. I guess it’s just another way the airlines are trying to fight the high costs of fuel. They get ad revenue and it’s seen as a benefit to the attendants (who get a commission).

  3. Pete @ says:

    sounds shady to me. I don’t think I’d like having credit cards hawked to me like that when I have no choice to leave.

  4. DoneToZen says:

    Sounds like spam to me. Though mentioning the credit card still feels like crossing the line, I would have been fine with it. But it sounds like they were being too pushy.

  5. I agree that if they had simply mentioned the offer that it would have been ok, but they were too pushy about it. Rude.

  6. BeThisWay says:

    I understand what you’re saying, but it wouldn’t bother me at all if they offered it once during the flight. If they really pushed it, well, I always think that’s inappropriate.

    That would be a perfect time to pull out my book. Or turn on my ipod, if I had one.

  7. Jimmy @ MoneyRemix says:

    Personally, I don’t feel it’s appropriate at all. You probably paid a pretty penny for your flight – shouldn’t that exempt you from being subjected to such blatant advertisements?

    Where do we draw the line? I wonder if they tried to nickel and dime the passengers in first class as well…