Airlines' sales of onboard extras continue to grow

Despite lots of grousing by air travelers, the selling of onboard extras such as meals, entertainment and wireless Internet access has surged in the last few years, with sales of upgraded seats growing the fastest.

Fliers ages 18 to 34 are the airline industry’s best customers for onboard extras, which means the sales are likely to keep growing for years to come, according to travel research company PhoCusWright Inc.

“We are all captive, and we want access to the Internet and we want to be able to eat something more than peanuts and stale pretzels and we don’t have much choice,” said Douglas Quinby, one of the authors of the study, based on a survey of 2,500 leisure travelers from the U.S.

In 2010, only 28% of leisure travelers bought in-flight snacks and meals, but that rate grew to 40% in 2012, according to the study. The sale of in-flight movies and entertainment jumped from 15% in 2010 to 23% in 2012, the study found.

The number of travelers paying to upgrade their seats grew from 13% in 2010 to 23% in 2012, the study found.

Younger fliers are more likely to spend on the add-ons either because they are unfamiliar with the days when such extras were included in the cost of an airline ticket or because they are more accepting of the new fees than older travelers are, Quinby said.


TSA agents are slow but methodical, study finds

TSA moves to expand use of faster airport screening lines

TSA considers using 'randomizer' when screening travelers

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
  • Weapons at the airport: TSA finds 10 scary surprises
    Weapons at the airport: TSA finds 10 scary surprises

    No one -- not celebrities, toddlers or even seniors in wheelchairs -- is exempt from being frisked for hidden weapons by the Transportation Security Administration. Here are 10 weapons -- including a knife in an enchilada -- that the TSA has found hidden under clothes or in carry-on bags.

  • Regulators launch major crackdown on payday lenders
    Regulators launch major crackdown on payday lenders

    Federal regulators are launching a major crackdown on payday and other short-term, high-interest lenders by proposing tough new regulations to halt the cycle of debt that cripples some consumers.