Top Ten Airlines Generated $35.2 Billion from Ancillary Revenue in 2018

Jul 24, 2019

CarTrawler-sponsored analysis shows ancillary revenue continues steady advance by every measure, and asks the question, can too much of a good thing be a bad thing?

Dublin, Ireland & Shorewood, Wisconsin, USA, 24 July 2019:  Every year IdeaWorksCompany searches for disclosures of financial results which qualify as ancillary revenue for airlines all over the globe.  Annual reports, investor presentations, financial press releases, and quotes attributed to senior executives all qualify as sources in the data collection process.

These results are contained in the new report, 2018 Top 10 Airline Ancillary Revenue Rankings.  Of the nearly 150 airlines reviewed, 70+ reveal figures related to ancillary revenue.  The following is a sampling of the 2018 financial year results found in the report:

  • Back in 2007 the top ten airlines, as rated by total ancillary revenue, generated $2.1 billion. Fast forward to 2018 and the top ten tally has leapt more than 16X.
  • The top “% of revenue” producer for Europe & Russia was Wizz Air at 41.1%, for the Americas was Viva Aerobus at 47.6%, for Asia & South Pacific, AirAsia at 29%; the Middle East/Africa region did not make the top 10 ranking.
  • The top performing US-based airlines as a group achieved revenue of more than $17.5 billion from frequent flyer programs, that’s an average of $25 per passenger.

Top “ancillary revenue per passenger,” mostly from a la carte activities, by global regions: $43.91 (Europe & Russia), Spirit $50.94 (Americas), and Virgin Australia $34.74 (Asia & South Pacific).  The Middle East/Africa region did not make the top 10 ranking.

By every measure, ancillary revenue continues when measured as total dollars, as a percent of revenue, and dollars per network passenger.  The big revenue generators are baggage, seat assignments, and credit cards associated with frequent flyer programs.  Ancillary revenue of $50 per passenger, or 50% of travel cost, are very likely the upper limits, unless airlines learn how to become better total retailers of travel and that includes hotel, sightseeing, and car hire.

Aileen McCormack, Chief Commercial Officer at CarTrawler.

To view results for the top ten airlines in three categories (overall ancillary revenue, as a percentage of company revenue, and on a per passenger basis), please visit or for the new 15-page report.

The results for all 70+ disclosing airlines will be released in September 2019 as the 12th annual CarTrawler Yearbook of Ancillary Revenue by IdeaWorksCompany (100+ pages). A companion release, scheduled for November 2019, will use these results to extrapolate total ancillary revenue generated by 180 airlines around the world.

Download the full report here