Travel news Airlines report profits from charging fees like wifi

Delta flatbed in business class.

Major U.S. Airlines Report Second Quarter Profit
The largest U.S. airlines reported a 6% profit margin in the second quarter, according to the latest figures from the Department of Transportation, up from 5.3% a year earlier. These nine airlines carried 80% of U.S. airlines& passengers.

Helping them hit those numbers: baggage fees. The nine airlines—Southwest Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, American Airlines, US Airways, ExpressJet, JetBlue, Skywest and Alaska Airlines--collected a total of $931 million in baggage fees and another $661 million in change fees. Fees from other services that airlines charge you for—seat assignments, premium seating, entertainment and other services--are not included in these figures. (Source: DOT press release).

Consumers Want to Comparison Shop Airline Fees
Consumers want to be able to comparison shop the fees airlines charge for luggage, seat assignments and other services or amenities, many of which were once included in the price of an airline ticket.

94% of travelers who recently booked travel online said that "all airline fee information should be available to travel agents and online travel websites," according to the market research firm Harris Interactive.

The DOT requires airlines to display those fees on their own website, but the only way to comparison shop is to go from one website to another, although some online travel agencies and airfare comparison sites carry listings of the fees each airline charges for these services.

Harris said that 31% of travelers who booked travel on an online site agreed with the statement that they "paid for fees that were not fully disclosed when I initially purchased my ticket for my flight this summer."

The DOT is looking at a rule making to address this matter. However, three major airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways, are close to making their premium seats available in GDSs, an indicator that comparison-shopping for these fees is on the horizon. (Source: Interactive Travel Services Association, industry interviews).

Airlines Keep Adapting to Changing Environment
Airlines are getting faster at adapting to geo-political and economic trends that continually buffet them—specifically high oil prices and a lingering recession.

A recent DOT Inspector General report said that airlines are adapting by charging fees for services once included in the price of a ticket or designing new products and charging for them.

They&re also cutting back on flights to keep flights fuller. And they&re undergoing rapid consolidation—five airlines now serve the bulk of the U.S. market, down from ten five years ago.

Some of this means good news for consumers, according to the IG report: fewer delays and cancellations. But there&s also bad news: less service at some hub airports and on routes of 500 miles or less. However, the report praised airlines& ability to adapt, since aviation plays an essential role in the economy. (Source: IG report).

31% of Domestic Flights Offer Wifi
31% of domestic flights in the U.S. offer wifi, according to the website Routehappy, a flight search site with a strong focus on the kind of experience airlines offer.

Delta Airlines leads the pack, offering wifi to nearly half of that customer base, or 16% of all domestic flights in the U.S.

The next closest is Southwest, whose wifi equipped flights account for 5% of domestic flights. American Airlines and AirTran Airways& wifi equipped flights account for 3% each and Alaska Airlines& service accounts for 2%.

Virgin America, US Airways, Frontier Airlines and United Airlines& flights with Wifi represent 1% of domestic flights each. AirTran and Virgin America have wifi on 100% of their flights, Delta on 65%, Alaska on 45% and Southwest on 37%. JetBlue Airways will add wifi early next year. (Source: Routehappy)

Speed Up Airport Screening, Mix Business with Pleasure

Amelia Island Boardroom

Loews Partners With DHS to Speed Airport Screening
Loews Hotels & Resorts is partnering with the Department of Homeland Security to help promote DHS’s Global Entry program, whose members skip the U.S. Customs line when entering the country and go through a kiosk. Loews will cover the $100 application fee for Global Entry for platinum members of its YouFirst loyalty program.

The DHS is recruiting other travel companies for similar partnerships. To qualify for Global Entry, travelers must do an in-person interview with Customs and Border Protection, undergo a background check and submit their fingerprints. Global Entry members automatically qualify for the Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck program, whose members can go through a separate and faster security line and separate screening machines when boarding domestic flights.

They don’t have to remove their shoes or take their laptops out of their bags. Airlines can recommend some members of their frequent flyer programs for PreCheck; the drawback to this is that you can only go through PreCheck when flying that airline. If you belong to one airline frequent flyer program but are flying another airline, it’s back into line for you. (Source, Loews press releases, DHS interviews).

Mixing Business With Pleasure
Over half of U.S business travelers 52% have invited family along on business trips, according to research by the Wyndham Hotel Group.

Americans come in second to the Chinese 67% of them have brought a family member along. Least likely to bring along a family member: British travelers, who do so just 33% of the time. U.S. and Canadian travelers see these trips as a way to explore a new destination, according to the study, while Chinese view it as a way to enjoy higher-end hotels. (Source: Wyndham press release).

Spotlight On…
    Travel Taxes

Inhospitality taxes can increase the taxes visitors pay by 57% over the general sales tax, according to the Global Business Travel Association Foundation’s fifth annual study of car, hotel and meal taxes.

These taxes often fund local projects unrelated to tourism and business travel, according to the study, which rates the top 50 travel markets in two ways. The first is total tax burden—combining general sales tax and discriminatory travel taxes. The second is the discriminatory tax burden, looking only at discriminatory travel taxes.

  • Least burdensome in total taxes: Fort Lauderdale at $22.50 per day’
  • Most burdensome in total taxes: Chicago at $40 per day
  • Lowest discriminatory travel tax: Burbank, Calif., at $1.81 per day
  • Most burdensome discriminatory travel tax: Portland, Ore., at $22.45 per day
  • “Overly burdensome taxes on visitors can often do more harm than good , especially when those taxes unfairly target visitors,” said Joseph Bates, vice president of research for the Foundation. (Source: GBTA).

Airline merger International air traffic and Handhelds in the air

Delta Airlines

American Merger Talks Heat Up
US Airways, which has is pursuing a reluctant American Airlines, has signed a nondisclosure agreement with American’s parent company, AMR, according to a memo US Airways’ CEO Doug Parker sent to employees.

The two airlines have agreed to exchange confidential information to work in good faith on evaluating a potential combination. Parker said that the NDA means only that the airlines have agreed to talk about the possibility of merging. AMR’s CEO Tom Horton initially resisted the idea of a merger.

AMR has also signed an NDA with British Airways, Alaska Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Jet Blue Airways and Virgin America. (Source: press reports).

International Air Traffic Continues to Grow at a Slower Pace
Global air traffic grew 3.4% in July 2012 over a year earlier, down from a growth rate of 6.3% in June and 6.5% for the first half of the year, according to the International Air Traffic Association.

It blamed the slowdown on a recent fall in business confidence in many economies. Airlines are responding to slower growth by holding capacity, which means planes are flying full—and profitably. Traffic is growing, but at a slower pace, said Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO. And he said that, combined with rising fuel prices, means a tough second half of the year. (Source: IATA press release).

FAA to Study Use of Handhelds on Planes
The Federal Aviation Administration FAA has created a committee to study the use of portable electronic devices on planes. Right now, the FAA leaves the decision of how passengers can use handhelds in flight up to airlines.

The FAA committee will be made up of representatives of aircraft manufacturers, mobile technology providers, airlines, including flight attendants and pilots, as well as airline passenger organizations. Passengers are increasingly interested in staying connected while in flight. This is an effort to learn if there are ways for more electronic devices to be used without interfering with the radio frequencies pilots use.

The group will look at a variety of issues, including how to test for safety. The group is not looking at whether or not to allow cell phone use while in flight. (Source: FAA press release).

Delta to Reduce Mileage Rewards for Some Unpublished Fares
Delta Air Lines is reducing mileage passengers can earn when they buy certain unpublished fares. These include group fares, consolidator fares, tour or group package fares and student fares.

Travelers flying using negotiated corporate, governments and sports fares will continue to get full mileage credit. Other airlines also limit or provide no mileage awards for some unpublished fares. (Source: news reports).

TSA Expands Pre Program to Phoenix Sky Harbor
The Transportation Security Administration has introduced its Pre program at the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, with US Airways as its partner.

Participants who are from certain airline frequent flyer programs or who participate in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Trusted Traveler program provide biometric information about themselves and qualify for expedited screening.

The Pre is now available in 22 airports with partner carriers US Airways, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. (Source: TSA press release).

Airlines news wifi aviation bio fuels & performance

Atlanta Arport Clock tower

Airlines’ On-time Performance is Best in Two Years
U.S. airlines reported their best on time performance in two years in April, according to the Department of Transportation’s latest figures.

Just over 86% of flights arrived within 15 minutes of their scheduled arrival time, the best since November 2009. And, airlines are getting better at keeping track of your bags. April’s mishandled baggage report was down to 2.63 reports per 1,000 passengers from 3.3 in April 2011 and 3.09 in March 2012. Airlines also reported no tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights or more than four hours on international flights. (Source: DOT press release).

U.S. Air Passenger Traffic Up Slightly
The number of passengers U.S. airlines carry continues to increase, according to the latest statistics from the Department of Transportation.

The first three months of 2012 continued the growth trend of 2011, when system and domestic load factors hit an all-time high. U.S. airlines carried 2.8% more passengers in the first quarter of 2012 than in the first quarter of 2011. That meant that overall, passenger numbers were up 1.4%. The March 2012 passenger total was 3.6% above March 2010. Delta Air Lines carried the most total passengers.

Southwest Airlines carried more domestic passengers. United Airlines, which merged with Continental Airlines, carried the most international passengers. (Source: DOT press release).

U.S. Air Capacity Dips
Airlines might be carrying more passengers, but they’re flying fewer seats as U.S. carriers continue to trim capacity. In March, domestic capacity decreased by .6%t and capacity system wide was down .3%.

This is an ongoing trend; in late June both Delta Air Liens and United Airlines reduced their total seats by about 1 percent, anticipating slackening demand after Labor Day. (Source: DOT press release, news reports).

Delta to Offer In-flight WiFi on Its International Fleet
Delta Air Lines, the airline that has more planes equipped with WiFi than any other domestically, said that it will start offering in in-flight Internet service on its long-haul international fleet in early 2013.

Once it completes installing WiFi on all of its international aircraft in 2015, it will have more than 1,000 planes with WiFi. Lufthansa now offers WiFi on some transatlantic flights; Virgin Atlantic is introducing it later this year. (Source: Delta, Lufthansa press releases, news reports).

Aviation Continues to Work on Bio fuel Development
KLM flew the longest commercial bio fuel flight ever to the Rio+20 sustainable development conference in Rio de Janeiro late last month. It’s part of an ongoing aviation industry effort to develop use of bio fuel.

Lufthansa just wound up a six-month trial in which it used a 50-50 blend of bio fuel and regular fuel on its planes. Air New Zealand has flown bio fuel test flights and is working on developing bio fuel production in New Zealand.

British Airways said it plans to use a fuel derived from waste by 2015, while Virgin Atlantic said it will use fuel derived from waste gases by 2014, cutting its carbon footprint by 50 percent.

European carriers, bio fuel producers and the EU commission last year signed a pact to produce 2 million tons of bio fuel by 2020. In the U.S.A., United Airlines, Boeing, Honeywell’s UOP, the Chicago Department of Aviation and the Clean Energy Trust have formed the Midwest Aviation Sustainable Bio fuels initiative. Its goal: to promote bio fuel development in a 12-state region. (Source: press releases)

Travel News: Airline Outlook Seats and Phone service

Delta Airlines

Passenger Numbers Up Internationally
Despite the gloomy financial outlook, more people are flying, according to the International Air Transport Association’s latest figures. Passenger demand rose globally 6.1% in April over April 2011, which is higher than the 20 year average.

Load factors are up, too, since airlines especially U.S. carriers are managing capacity so well. International travel was up the most 7.4 percent. North American carriers saw only a slight increase 1.6 percent, down from a 5.3% increase in March. European air carriers saw a 5.9% growth in passenger demand, which was down from 8.7% in March. The Asia-Pacific region and Middle East Also saw strong growth. (Source: IATA.)

Airline Profits Tighten
Airlines are getting better at managing capacity and demand, but it’s still tight financially for them. The nation’s ten biggest airlines reported a 1.5% profit margin for the fourth quarter, down 3.2% from a year earlier, according to the Department of Transportation.

Large airlines as a group have reported an operating profit margin in each in the last three quarters. American Airlines, which is the last airline to restructure under bankruptcy, reported a loss, as did United Airlines, which is in the process of merging with Continental Airlines. (Source: DOT)

Paying More for Seats
It could get tougher to avoid getting stuck in that middle seat without paying an extra fee. Some airlines charge you for the ability to pick your own seat. But some of the larger carriers are increasing the number of seats that they’re holding for premium fliers.

This means that on some airlines, you can pay for a seat for more legroom, but you can also pay to get a window or aisle seat or a seat closer to the front of the plane. Airlines are also introducing a new economy class, one that is a little cheaper but gives you even less flexibility when it comes to changing our flight or choosing seats.

Delta Air Lines is doing this on some routes where it competes with the ultra low-cost carrier Spirit Air. (Source: News reports).

Mixed Response to Inflight Phone Service
A survey by flight comparison site Skyscanner finds that most airline passengers oppose in-flight phone calls, with 86 percent saying it would be annoying.

The survey results followed reports that Virgin Atlantic will offer inflight phone service on A330s flying between New York and London. The service is pricey--$1.60 per minute—and it will only work with certain tpes of phones. No talking on take-off, landing or within 250 miles of the U.S. So much for one of the last sanctuaries from being forced to listen to others’ cell phone conversations. (Source: Skyscanner)

More Long-Haul Service Offered From Washington Reagan
You’ll soon be able to fly transcontinental flights from Washington Reagan International Airport thanks to legislation that authorized new beyond-perimeter slot exemptions allowing some carriers to fly beyond what had been a 1,250-mile route limit out of Washington Reagan.

  • Alaska Airlines will fly to Portland, Ore.
  • JetBlue Airways to San Juan, P.R.
  • Southwest Airlines to Austin, Texas,
  • Virgin America to San Francisco.

(Source: DOT)

Atlanta Airport International Terminal Tutorial

Opening day is May 16. For more information, please visit The Website.

Have questions about the International Terminal? We’ll have no fear! This is the basic orientation video produced by the Airport to train hundreds of airport, airline, federal and concessions employees about the general use and operation of the Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal.

Atlanta Airport International Terminal

Atlanta Airport

Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta Airport is opening a new front door to the world! The International Terminal will welcome millions of world travelers for decades to come when it opens in spring 2012.

The international terminal and its new concourse will connect with Concourse E to create a 40 gate international air travel complex. This cutting-edge facility will be the new global gateway through which travelers from throughout the world will connect with more than 150 U.S. cities.

For those traveling from the United States, the international terminal will be the gateway to nearly 80 destinations in more than 50 countries.

  • The international terminal will open in spring 2012. A date for the opening will be set and announced in early 2012.
  • The international terminal eliminates the baggage recheck. Atlanta bound passengers will go through customs inspection, collect checked baggage and leave the international terminal.
  • The international terminal has an entrance separate from the domestic terminal. The international terminal entrance is accessible from Interstate 75 at Exit 239.
  • If your airline cannot check you in at the domestic terminal, you can take a complimentary shuttle service to the international terminal. Shuttles are available at the ground transportation center at the west end of the domestic terminal.
  • All carriers operating international routes at Hartsfield-Jackson will use the new facility.
  • Arriving international passengers will exit to the lower-level roadway at the international terminal. Roadway signs will direct motorists to the arrivals level.
  • Passengers traveling outside the United States should check in at the international terminal. Passengers whose ultimate destination is outside the United States but whose flight out of Atlanta is bound for a domestic airport should check in at the domestic terminal.


  • 1.2 million-square-foot terminal and concourse facility
  • 12 gates on a new concourse, known as Concourse F
  • Separate levels for arrivals and departures
  • Eight security checkpoint lanes for international departing passengers
  • Five security recheck lanes for domestic connecting passengers
  • New U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility
  • Two parking structures with more than 3,500 parking spaces

For Business Travelers

  • The international terminal is accessible from Interstate 75, Exit 239.
  • Passengers traveling on nonstop international flights from Atlanta will check in at the international terminal. Passengers traveling abroad via another U.S. city will check in at the domestic terminal.
  • Atlanta-bound international passengers who arrive on Concourse E or the new Concourse F will pick up luggage at the international terminal´s baggage claim area.
  • A shuttle service will connect the international terminal with the domestic terminal, domestic parking facilities and MARTA train service to downtown. Another shuttle will provide direct service between the international terminal and the rental car center.

Pre Programs Performance and Oil Prices

Rising Oil Prices Hurt Airlines’ Financial Outlook
International Air Transport Association is downgrading its outlook for the aviation industry by half a billion dollars this year because of high fuel prices.

Business class on Delta Ailines.

It estimates that the world´s airlines will see a global profit of $3 billion this year for a .5 % margin, a $500 million downgrade from its December forecast. That´s due to the increase in expected oil prices to $115 per barrel instead of the $99 per barrel originally forecast.

The outlook would be more dire if the Eurozone crisis worsened. An improving U.S. economy also is helping. Capacity is expected to grow by 3.2%, while demand is expected to grow by 3.6%. Both passenger load factors and aircraft utilization are back to pre-recession levels. Political tensions in the Gulf could make oil go higher; that could push airlines into the red. (Source: IATA press release).

Airline On-Time Performance Improves
Airline on-time performance was much better in January, the latest figures available, than it had been a year earlier, going up to an on-time arrival rate of 83.7% from 76.3% in January 2011. It was the best January for on time performance in 18 years, according to the Department of Transportation.

Cancellations were down, too, with airlines cancelling just 1.5% of flights, down from 3.9% in January 2011. And, airlines reported no tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic or international flights. (DOT press release).

TSA Expands Pre Program to More Than 20 Airports
The Transportation Security Administration expects to have its Pre✓ program in place at many of the nation´s major airports by the end of the year. It expects to have it operating in more than 20 airports by June.

Right now the expedited screening program for passengers who provide information about themselves in advance is in place at nearly a dozen airports. Airports that should have it in place by June include Boston Logan, New York LaGuardia, Newark Liberty, Orlando, Portland International and Seattle-Tacoma.

Participating airlines are Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines and US Airways.

Participants go through a separate security lane and some times do not have to remove shoes, coats and sweaters or take a laptop out of its bag. This is part of a risk-based security programs; program participants are not guaranteed expedited screening.

The TSA still conducts random and unpredictable security checks. The TSA is adding other risk-based security procedures, including expanded behavior detection techniques and modified screening procedures for those 75 years old or older. (TSA press release).

Four Airlines Change Terminals at LAX as Airport Updrades
Four airlines have or are about to change terminals at Los Angeles International this month as part of the airport’s capital improvement program.

Spirit Airlines, Great Lakes and Alaska Airlines have already moved terminals; later this month, AirTran Airways will also move to a different terminal. Spirit and Great Lakes have moved from Terminal 6 to Terminals 3 and 7 respectively. Alaska is now in Terminal 6, which has expanded lobby space, check-in kiosks, bag-check stations and a new baggage community screening system. (LAX press release).

Airlines news releases Earnings, Fees & Taxes are up

Premium Travel Starting to Trend Downward
Business traveler You might be seeing more room in the front of the plane, premium travel is trending downward, according to the International Air Transport Association’s latest figures.

The numbers in business and first class ticked up slightly .06% in November, the latest figures available. But that´s down from earlier highs at the beginning of the year. And given the slowdown in the growth of world trade and the resulting fall in business confidence, two factors that are reliable leading indicators for first and business class travel, those numbers are not going to be any better.

Economy class, on the other hand, is doing better. Just as premium travel started sliding, economy travel began growing. Compared to the start of 2011, economy traffic has grown by 3.8%, while premium traffic contracted 0.1%. (Source: IATA report)

Airfares Might Be Up, But Their Increases Still Lag Inflation
Average domestic airfares rose to $361 in the third quarter of 2011, up 6.2% from the average fare of $340 in the third quarter of 2010, according to the latest figures from the Department of Transportation. But fares are still a good deal. Airfares in the third quarter of 2011 increased 7.1% from the third quarter of 2000, not adjusted for inflation, compared to an overall increase in consumer prices of 30.6 percent during that period. In the 16 years since 1995, when the DOT began tracking fares, airfares rose 25.5% compared to a 48.1% inflation rate. The average inflation-adjusted third-quarter 2011 fare in 1995 dollars was $244 compared to $288 in 1995 and $297 in 2000. (Source: DOT)

Spirit Airlines Campaigns against New Consumer Protection Rules
Not everyone’s happy about the new Department of Transportation consumer protection rules that went into effect late last month. Spirit Airlines has launched major attacks on two of the new rules. The first is against the rule that requires airlines to display the price of the fare including taxes and fees. Spirit says that the DOT is making airlines hide those taxes and fees.

The DOT denies that, saying airlines are free to say that a fare is $399 and that that price includes $21.80 in taxes and fees—as some airlines do already. In a second attack Spirit has now tacked on a $2 fee because of the rule that requires airlines to give customers 24 hours to change their minds on an otherwise nonrefundable fare. (This rule does not apply if the ticket is booked within a week of the flight’s departure).

Legacy carriers have offered this option for a decade. Spirit says this rule means airline inventory will be held by people who don´t really intend to buy a flight, keeping other flyers from booking those seats. That means the airline has to spread its costs over fewer customers, thus raising prices for all customers, rationalizes Ben Baldanza, president and CEO of Spirit. Some industry observers believe the no-refund policy actually has a chilling effect and keeps consumers from booking tickets because of the all or nothing nature of such transactions. (Source: Spirit press release, industry interviews)

Airlines Lobby Government to Back Development of Commercially Viable Bio-Fuel
With fuel expenses increasing more than 30% for most airlines in the fourth quarter, it’s no surprise the industry is lobbying for the development of a commercially viable bio fuel.

Airlines 4 America, which represents major U.S. airlines and Boeing, have made a series of recommendations to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to speed the development of bio-fuel. These include using grants to jumpstart development and reauthorizing the 2008 Farm Bill, which included more than $100 million to invest in researching and developing bio-fuel. (Source A4A press release)

News Airline taxes Baggage fees and Security

TSA Tries Using Pre Screening to Make Security Process Faster
Sick of airport security screening process? You´re not alone.

Delta Airlines kiosk check in at the Atlanta Airport.

The aviation industry recognizes that and is trying a variety of short term and long term changes that are designed to make airport security faster and more pleasant. One short-term initiative is the Transportation Security Administration´s PreCheck experiment at four U.S. airports.

Airline customers volunteer information about themselves in the hopes that it will speed their trip through security. Eligible travelers go through a lane with expedited screening. Passengers participating in the program are certain frequent flyers from American Airlines and Delta Air Lines’ frequent flyer programs as well as participants in the Customs and Border Protection Trusted Traveler programs.

The TSA is testing PreCheck at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County, Dallas/Fort Worth International and Miami International airports. (Source: TSA press release).

Airlines, Consumer Groups Lobby Against New Taxes
Airlines, pilot, flight attendant and other airline unions and consumer groups are fighting proposed tax increases on airlines and their passengers, saying the new taxes will cost jobs.

The first tax would add a $100 departure fee to all flights. The second would double the existing passenger security tax to $5 per one-way trip in 2012, and triple the taxes to $7.50 by 2017. It is currently $2.50 per flight segment per one-way trip, maxing out at $5.

The coalition says that nearly 120 members of the House of Representatives have told congressional leaders that the $100 departure tax would cost airlines $1 billion a year. The coalition has launched a website, (Source: Air Transport Association press release).

Airline CFOs and Cargo Heads Glum About the Next Year
A monthly survey of airline CFOs and cargo heads, which has been a fairly accurate economic predictor, finds that their expectations for profitability for the next 12 months is down significantly.

It’s down more for cargo, in particular; airlines are seeing sharp drops in this area. However, even though confidence has fallen to levels seen in the first half of 2009, airlines say they are continuing to hire new employees. (Source: International Air Transport Association October Airline Business Confidence Survey).

Airlines Take in $1.5 Billion in Baggage Fees and Reservation Change Fees
Airlines collected $1.5 billion in baggage fees and change fees in the second quarter, according to the Department of Transportation. Airlines took in $887 million in baggage fees and $612 million from reservation change fees. Delta Air Lines topped the list, collecting $392,000 in fees, followed by American Airlines, $249,936 and United Airlines, $164,767. So far, the DOT tracks only baggage and change fees, but it has proposed requiring airlines to report a total of 16 different fees.

Separately, travel technology company Amadeus estimates that airline ancillary revenue will total $32.5 billion worldwide in 2011. It projects that ancillary revenues for major U.S. airlines will increase to $12.5 billion this year from $6.7 billion last year. That is 38 percent of the global total and represents seven airlines: Alaska, American, Continental, Delta, Hawaiian and U.S. Airways.

Amadeus partnered with Ideaworks, a consulting company, on the projections. Ideaworks believes the majority of ancillary revenue for US major airlines comes from selling frequent flier miles. Baggage fees account for 20%.

The rest comes from a la carte items such as selling food and beverages wifi, early boarding and other benefits.  US-based airlines have readily adapted to an a la carte world, but they also benefit from consumers who are keen to get frequent flier miles. (Source: DOT, Amadeus press releases).