Departing passengers in waiting lounge with luggage
Should you get advertising with your retrieved luggage? (Photo: iStockphoto.com)

A traveler convinced he was delayed because of unwanted advertising placed on his luggage has ranted about it online, causing a debate in the online travel community.

Delta Air Lines has attached the following tag to travelers’ luggage to advertise the fact that folks can check their bags for free if they get the Delta Gold Rewards Amex.

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A poster named bjohnsonmn found the tag on his luggage and wrote this on flyertalk.com : “My bag dropped about 40 minutes after my flight arrived. I think I’ve figured out why! They took the time to tag EVERY bag with an advertisement for AMEX. Not just the regular bags, but also the Sky Priority bags that obviously were not paid checked bags.”

He has written to the airline to protest.

David Parker Brown from airlinereporter.com reached out to Delta after reading all the grumbling incited by bjohnsonmn’s post (see “Delta Pisses Off Seattle Customers” on hackmytrip.com and “Should Airlines Be Allowed to Attach Advertising Onto Your Baggage?” on flyertalk.com). The marketing campaign is only targeting folks who fly Delta to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle. Delta reports it has hired people specifically to do the tagging, therefore the campaign is not causing delays, reports Brown in his piece “Is Delta Angering Passengers in Seattle Over Bag Tags?

Even if the advertising is not causing delays, should an airline be able to attach advertising to your property without your permission? It’s a hot topic on travel websites and social media right now.

Twitter user Peter Stevenson went so far as to call the baggage advertising “vandalism.”

Brian Cohen, a flyertalk.com contributer, writes, “You want to advertise on my belongings? Pay me for it. Discount my airfare. Throw in some frequent travel loyalty program miles or points. Give me some incentive to potentially gain from what you want to do.”

But not everyone disagrees with the tactic.

Flyertalk.com poster AbuAK writes: “If they can find a way to do it without delays – I’m fine by it. Means additional revenue for airlines that hopefully mean they won’t cut other services.”

What do you think?