Airlines collect $36 billion in fees in 2012

A la carte ancillary revenues become major income source

Passengers are paying more additional fees than ever – to check in a bag, board early, sit in a preferred seat, have a few more centimetres of legroom or get other tempting little perks. A new report says that airlines around the world will earn more than $36 billion in these ancillary revenues this year.
The Amadeus Worldwide Estimate of Ancillary Revenues adds that this is an 11.3% increase from last year, although that’s much less than the 44% jump from 2010 to 2011.
Nevertheless, the rise this year shows “the significant commercial potential for airlines”, says Holger Taubmann, Amadeus’ senior vice president for distribution. But passengers appear to be less happy, especially in the USA.
Although LCCs such as Spirit, AirAsia and easyJet are already “fee-dependent”, the report says that just six US airlines (Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian, United, US Airways) will earn $12.4 billion from such fees this year – almost 35% of the global total.
[pictured: Check-in at LAX T6; courtesy Alaska Airlines]