Extras, including baggage charges, booking fees and sales of in-flight food and drink, accounted for up to 38.7 per cent of airlines' total revenue last year, new research has shown.
And Jetstar was among the biggest earners, pulling more than 20 per cent of revenue from extras.
A report into "ancillary" revenue at 63 major airlines found US-based Spirit Airlines, which charges passengers up to $US100 for a cabin bag, is the carrier most reliant on extras, but Ryanair isn't too far behind.
Just under a quarter of the Irish airline's revenue (24.6 per cent) derives from sources other than the cost of a ticket, amounting to a total of $US1.9bn ($A2.7bn) or $US21.04 per passenger. Only four of the airlines surveyed in the report are more dependent on extras: Spirit (with 38.7 per cent of its receipts coming from ancillary sources), Wizz Air (33.7 per cent), Allegiant, another US carrier, (32.4 per cent) and Jet2.com (28.5 per cent).
Following Ryanair on the list is Singapore-based Tigerair (21.8 per cent - no separate figure was given for Tigerair's Australian operations), Jetstar (20.8 per cent), Flybe (20.7 per cent), Mexican carrier Volaris (19.5 per cent) and easyJet (18.8 per cent).
By contrast, just 1.9 per cent of British Airways's revenue is from extras. Qantas on the other hand, took 12.1 per cent of revenue from ancillary charges, a large amount for a full service airline. Virgin Australia made 5.2 per cent of revenue from extras.
For United, the world's largest airline, the figure is 15.1 per cent, amounting to $US5.8bn – or $US42.46 per passenger.
The 63 airlines included in the study raked in a total of $US38.1bn from extras last year – up 20.9 per cent from $US31.5bn in 2013. The figure was just $US2.45bn when the annual survey was launched in 2007.
Despite Ryanair's recent efforts to win over passengers by reducing baggage fees, it is actually more reliant on extras now than it was two years ago, when 21.8 per cent of its revenue was from sources other than the airfare.
How reliant are airlines on "extras"?
(Airline/Ancillary revenue as a % of total revenue)
Wizz Air 33.7%
AirAsia X 20%
AirAsia Group 18.5%
Azul + 12.8%
The Telegraph, London
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