AirTran Airways eyes seatback ads as novel way to boost revenue

It seems airlines will stoop to anything in their pursuit of saving or making money. Long gone are the days of free food on bargain flights. Be prepared to pay to check even one bag. As if those skinflint ideas weren't enough, AirTran Airways (AAI) is placing ads on the backs of tray tables where travelers can't help but see them during takeoff and landing, as yet another way to haul in more revenue.

As annoying, however, is that the discount carrier is actually "pleased to be able to offer exclusive deals and other promotions to our customers through this unique medium," said Tad Hutcheson, AirTran vice president of marketing and sales, in announcing the program Wednesday. The ads will appear in all 138 of the company's Boeing (BA) jets.