Skip to content
Back to all news

Take Flight Above the Competition: The Strategic Advantages of Airport Advertising

Wilkins Media

November 30, 2023 • 4 min. read

Marketers and advertisers are constantly seeking innovative ways to reach their target audience. One high-flying opportunity is airport advertising, a strategic approach that leverages the bustling environment of airports and travel on airplanes to capture the attention of a diverse and captive audience.  As travelers weave through terminals and onto their flights, they are exposed to a myriad of advertising formats, each designed to leave a lasting impression. 

Travel Patterns This Year

According to a recent OAAA/Harris Poll, holiday travel rates are expected to remain steady this year, with 60% of consumers planning to travel during the holiday season. What is seeing a big jump this year is traveling by plane as 59% of consumers are planning on traveling via plane, up from 48% in 2022. Outside of just the holiday travel season, business and leisure travel are both rebounding. According to a Clear Channel/Nielsen study, 87% of business frequent flyers plan to take 3+ business trips in the next 12 months. 83% of leisure frequent flyers plan to fly on their next trip with 90% saying they are planning to take a domestic trip in the next 12 months, 76% are taking a family vacation, and 61% are taking an international trip. 


Types of Airport Advertising

Exterior Airport Advertising

In a way, airport advertising starts far before arriving at the airport! On the roads leading up to airports, billboards line the highways and leave a lasting memory before taking the exit ramp. As consumers get closer to reaching the airport, you'll also start to notice airport shuttles and transit shelters which can also serve as out of home advertising space. Many airports also have impressive exterior options including wraps and spectaculars that can make a lasting impression for travelers and the drivers who may be dropping off family or friends at the airport.

Interior Airport Displays

The exterior is just the tip of the iceberg! Once in the airport, the options are endless. Many airports various advertising options such as: 

Security Signage- Many airports have ads on security partitions and security bins. It's a great way to engage with travelers as they wait in line, anxious and excited to get through security and off to their gates. Many brands that are available within the airport may choose to advertise here as a way to direct travelers to their store within the terminal. 

Farmers Fridge

Terminal and Concourse Signage- Signage can range in sizes and formats, but the impact is huge especially depending on placement within the terminal and the foot traffic of the airport. This may be in the format of static signage or digital which can range from large video walls to small kiosks to a full network of screens throughout the terminal. Static displays allow for extended exposure, as travelers encounter them multiple times during their journey through the airport and only one brand or message is present on each static unit.


Signage can be in common areas, food courts, and at the gates. There is no shortage of messaging all throughout the terminals and since many screens inside airport terminals contain vital flight information, consumers are primed to be on the lookout for them, making OOH in the terminal all the more likely to be seen.

Austin College 2

For advertisers looking to make a bold and unforgettable statement, airport wraps and spectaculars are the go-to options. Entire walls, pillars, or even escalators can be transformed into immersive brand experiences. This form of advertising creates a visual spectacle that not only captures attention but also reinforces brand identity in the minds of travelers. The scale and impact of airport wraps make them a powerful tool for creating a lasting brand impression.

Lounges- These exclusive lounges are where travelers seek refuge from the hustle and bustle. Airport lounge advertising provides brands with a unique opportunity to engage with an affluent audience. From digital screens to branded amenities, these spaces offer a relaxed setting for advertisers to create a memorable and positive association with their brand.

Wi-fi and Charging Stations- Once travelers are through security, many will then look to connect to Wi-fi to finish up some work or download some movies/TV before the flight. Advertisements appear within the Wifi connection process and often cannot be skipped.  Many travelers will also look to charge their phones or devices before heading onto the flight. Many airports now have charging stations or kiosks that are great ad placements and provide a valued service to travelers.   

Baggage Claim- This is a great way to reach flyers right before they have reached their destination or their home. This is often one of the last things the consumer experiences before leaving the airport and is a last chance for brands to make an impression. This is a great option for local cultural attractions or restaurants as it can impact the consumer's decision on where to spend their time and money during their trip. 

Detroit Institute of Arts 2

Effectiveness of Airport Advertising

A recent study by Clear Channel Outdoor and Nielsen reinforced how effective airport advertising can be. The study found that 83% of frequent flyers notice airport advertising and 49% acted after noticing the ad. 61% conducted an online search, 51% visited a website, 39% scanned a QR code, 37% researched a travel destination, and 30% downloaded an app. 

Airports connect brands to a captive audience with high dwell times in terminals, lounges, and in-flight. In fact, 75% of frequent flyers arrive 1+ hours prior to boarding their flight. These consumers are in travel mode and primed to try something new, making the timing perfect for new emerging brands to get their message out! 

Business travelers are also apt to notice airport advertising. 83% of business frequent flyers notice ads and 49% take action. Business frequent flyers are a sought after audience because of their role as decision makers and their significant purchasing power. 66% of business travelers are decision makers for their companies, making the airport a perfect place for B2B companies to advertise and reach their target audience. 

Leisure travelers are especially in vacation mode and are interested in ads that will contribute to the trip they are about to take or will help them plan the next one. 51% of leisure frequent flyers make travel reservations while they are in the airport. They also have a high likelihood of visiting certain locations after learning about them in the airport. For example, leisure frequent flyers had a 90% likelihood of visiting a restaurant advertised in the airport, 84% for a tourist attraction, 70% for a concert, 68% for a resort or hotel, 68% for a bar or casino, 64% for a winery or brewery, 53% for a sporting event, and 51% for a spa. The airport is clearly the perfect environment to catch travelers while they are in the headspace to think about their trip activities. 


In conclusion, airport advertising is a strategic and impactful way for brands to connect with their target audience. The airport environment offers: 

  • High Visibility and Exposure: Airports witness a constant flow of travelers, providing advertisers with unparalleled visibility and exposure to a diverse audience.

  • Captive Audience: Travelers spend considerable time waiting in queues, lounges, and transit areas, creating a captive audience that is receptive to advertising messages.

  • Premium Demographics: Airports attract a diverse range of demographics, including business travelers, affluent tourists, and decision-makers, making it an ideal platform for premium brand messaging.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Related Content

Engaging the Streets: The Strategic Advantages of Street Furniture

From bus benches to transit shelters and kiosks, discover the wide array of street furniture advertising and why brands should use it to reach their target audience.

Read More

Captivating Commuters: The Effectiveness of Subway and Train Advertising

Subways and trains help millions of commuters move around cities every day. From station dominations to train wraps and posters, explore the advertising options here.

Read More

Deck the Malls: Unwrapping the Power of Mall Advertising

'Tis the season to connect, captivate, and convert in the heart of bustling shopping malls. Dive into the variety of strategic advertising options to connect with shoppers.

Read More

How can we help you today?

Lean on Wilkins to help with one aspect of your media plan, or end-to-end.

Contact Us