Eco-Warriors Unite

OK this is not the most earth shattering insight you'll read today. I'll keep it short, though.

I'm going on an overnight business trip to Kansas City. Lovely city; I've been there many times before. Great people, great restaurants. Unfortunately, like 99% - plus of business travelers (who is that 1%, anyway?) I catch an early flight, get to a meeting, eat a sandwich in a conference room, go to dinner, crash. Repeat the next day in reverse, racing out the door to catch a 4 o'clock. Not much time to take in the sights.

So why, when I print a boarding pass online, do I get two full pages of very colorful tourist highlights that would do the Chamber of Commerce proud? And there is no way to just print the boarding pass?

Now all us travel pros probably understand that there is a revenue model (a few bucks) for my airline (why single out any one carrier, they all do the same thing). But I still don't know why I have to print the whole thing.

The first thing I do is tear off the second sheet. I know its non-refundable. Then I stare at the colorful ad sheets in my hand, with about $4 worth of ink on a couple of nice sheets of (recycled) paper. No time for a bike tour. Where should I eat? I know! I'll eat where the client takes me!

What really kills me is that if I do staple all this together and hand the whole mess to the gate agent tomorrow, he or she is only going to tear off the actual boarding pass with bar code and hand me back the ads. They don't want them either.

I'd really like the option to just print the boarding pass. You could still charge the advertisers just for making me look at the promos before I print it. Over the course of a year, I'm sure the U.S. airline industry would save enough trees to re-plan the North Slope, and enough toner to fill Lake Michigan.

Not likely, though. I guess I'll just have to wait until my airline lets me check in with a PDA.