Live long and prosper, or so the Vulcans say. Starting Monday, Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN) begins airing ads that reunite the actors who played Captain Kirk and his Vulcan sidekick, Mr. Spock. And if there's any company that's been trying desperately to live long and not only prosper, but profit, Priceline's one of them.

The "name-your-own-price" company is a dot-com survivor, having had quite a mission to explore strange new worlds -- not least of which was the universe of penny stockdom. Back in November, Rick Munarriz discussed the outlook for Priceline, highlighting the welcome diversification of its product offerings.

Many of you probably recall the last Priceline move of this nature was the ad campaign featuring William Shatner. Those ads made their debut six years ago, when the dot-com bubble was still inflating like some strange, low-budget space nemesis of a '60s sci-fi show, consisting of a Hefty bag and a lot of hot air.

The ad intends to remind customers that Priceline represents choice -- a joke based on the two camps of fans who follow the actors (anybody recall Episode 34, "Time Amok," when Kirk and Spock fought to the death?). Last time around, Priceline showcased Shatner's singing skills; Nimoy's dabbled with a singing career himself. Wonder if the spot could include his covers of "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins" or "Proud Mary"?

Priceline's offbeat commercials should do well in differentiating the company from the competition for online travel dollars. Well-known contenders in the space include Orbitz (NASDAQ:ORBZ), InterActiveCorp's (NASDAQ:IACI) Expedia, Sabre's (NYSE:TSG) Travelocity, and Cendant's (NYSE:CD) CheapTickets.com.

Funny gets attention, and Priceline's had retro, pop culture quirkiness down in its past spots. With the economic climate improving, online travel companies are ramping up ad spending to grab travelers fast. Whether investors will be pleased with the results of this campaign after Priceline reduced its fourth-quarter guidance in November, remains to be seen.

In the meantime, I, for one, am glad we can have fun again. While Priceline's ad campaign may say, "Baby, we're back," considering the nagging reminders of times gone by, let's not have too much fun yet. If Scotty shows up in a future Priceline commercial, and all three of them sing a cover of Iggy Pop's "The Passenger," I might get a little concerned.

Intergalactic space travel is still a far-out concept, so check out the Fool's terrestrial Travel Center. Or share tips with other Fools on the Cheap Air Fares discussion board.

Alyce Lomax likes science fiction a lot, but, no, she did not know "Episode 34" off the top of her head (uh, thanks, Dave). She welcomes your feedback via e-mail.