In 2011, the global airline industry is estimated to have generated $32.5 billion in revenue from sources other than airfare—a 43.8% jump over the year before. What’s that about? It’s no secret that the business of air travel isn’t what it used to be, what with volatile fuel prices, rising airport fees and endless labour disputes. Taking a page from the we’d-make-you-pay-for-the-toilet-if-we-could ethos of Europe’s budget airlines, major carriers alike having begun exploiting new revenue sources—everything from early boarding to upgraded meal offerings. (The top source of ancillary revenue is still frequent-flier points, which carriers sell to credit card companies.) So raise that complimentary cocktail—after all, you paid for it—and toast the new golden age of travel.
(Source: IdeaWorksCompany/Amadeus; Interactive by Matt Lundy)