According to a recent report released by IdeaWorksCompany, in partnership with Amadeus, the ancillary revenue reported by 50 airlines grew to US$22.6 billion in 2011 – up 66 per cent from 2009.
Ancillary revenue is generated by airlines charging passengers for baggage, seat selection, early boarding, storage bin space, priority security screening, etc. Some even charge for itineraries to be sent to passenger's mobile phones.
The top 10 “Total Ancillary Revenue” generators are:
United Continental - US$5,171,000,000
Delta - US$2,534,000,000
American - US$2,113,000,000
Qantas Airways - US$1,418,285,709
Southwest - US$1,180,000,000
easyJet - US$1,105,741,611
Ryanair - US$1,100,869,561
US Airways - US$1,086,000,000
TAM Airlines - US$667,473,195
Alaska Air Group - US$610,000,000
As a group, these 10 airlines delivered revenue close to US$16 billion, which amounts to approximately 75 per cent of the total results for 2011.
Per passenger totals for United Continental are US$36.47; US$50.82 for Qantas Airways; and US$24.61 for Alaska Air Group. Per passenger data for the other airlines in the top 10 list is unavailable.
TRAVELHotNews.com reached out to Jay Sorensen, president, IdeaWorksCompany, to find out where Canadian airlines stood in terms of ancillary revenue. He said that while none of Canadian airline made the top ten lists, the full study will be out in the next few weeks, and will include results from all 50 airlines.
Ancillary revenue was once a focus for low fare airlines, but is now a priority for all. According to the report, the largest ancillary revenues are generated by major airlines.
IdeaWorksCompany also revealed some ideas that airlines come up with in order to rack up their ancillary revenues. For example:
- KLM allows passengers to pre-order upgraded meals on intercontinental flights from Amsterdam
- AirAsia offers passengers fast track security, lounge access, early boarding and a ride to the plane in an electric cart
- Vueling will hold the middle seat empty, board passengers early, and provide them with a drink and a snack
- Qantas sells its Q Bag Tag as a permanent baggage tag with wireless RFID technology that links to a traveller’s booking, and allows easy self-checking on flights within Australia
- United offers a MileagePlus Explorer Visa that provides a free checked bag, two annual airport lounge passes, early boarding, and bonus miles