Spain is fighting back. The public prosecution office in the popular holiday destination of Malaga is preparing a case against several airlines that operate to and from the city, including easyJet, Jet2, Flybe and Ryanair, according to a report in the English language newspaper Sur. The report, cited by Britain’s Telegraph newspaper, claims that action is being prepared against airlines that impose fees to check in luggage, as well as those that charge passengers to issue a boarding card. Between 15 and 20 airlines are likely to be affected, according to the paper.
The case refers to the Air Navigation Law of 1960, which states that airlines must carry a passenger’s luggage, together with the passenger, as part of the price of the flight ticket.
Airline ancillary revenue, deriving from such practices, is soaring worldwide. While it does not fly to Spain, Qantas generated more ancillary revenue per passenger last year – USD50.82 – than any other airline. But Qantas made the money largely through its frequent flyer program, not through dodgy practices like charging to issue a boarding card.
A study by Amadeus GDS in conjunction with IdeaWorks, a company that studies brand development and ancillary revenue, found that the world’s airlines made a record USD22.6 billion from ancillary fees last year.
Ancillary revenue is the money that airlines rake in for services other than just flying passengers from one point to another.
US carrier Spirit came second in the ancillary-revenue-per-passenger stakes, hitting USD41.75, quite a long way behind Qantas. The study concluded that the Qantas frequent-flier program generated “an amazing amount” of revenue per passenger, largely through credit card affiliations.
Low-cost carriers – or carriers desperately trying to cut costs – are the most likely to charge for the extras that usually come free. Charging for every extra tends to lower the ‘core price’ of carriage, which in turn lifts fare rankings on the websites of online travel agents that list fares in order of price.
Written by : Peter Needham