CarTrawler and IdeaWorks have released the full findings from the annual ancillary revenue research with Sabre, Travelport and Amadeus included into the conversation along with 66 global airlines.
The so-called GDSs, who would much rather be called travel technology providers to show that they are about more than just distribution, have been upping their game in terms of bringing airline ancillaries into their distribution platforms. IdeaWorks has been producing a report every year since 2007 and in the early days of ancillaries, selling bags, priority boarding, assigned seats and many of the core ancillary products was very much the preserve of the airline dotcoms, not the indirect channel.
The three tech giants were included in the report for the first time last year.
The report is based around the 66 global airlines which refer to ancillary revenue in their 2016 financial statements and it is these figures upon which the previously announced top ten rankings were based. While the rankings are based on financials, the study also looks at other sources such as press releases, investor presentations and exec interviews.
Today's version describes in detail the ancillary performance of each of the 66 airlines. Each section includes a reference to which ancillary - or a la carte - products from which GDS are available for all the carriers, with IdeaWorks referencing the GDSs own websites or specifically requested information for its findings. It notes differences between not only how the three define and categorise ancillary/a la carte but also how each airline accounts for revenues generated from its branded fare or fare family products.
Even with the caveats, the inclusion of GDS a la carte data gives a fresh perspective on the ancillary revenue gold rush. UK-based Jet2.com comes fifth when ranked by ancillary revenue per passenger - $42.46 - and only works with Travelport through which it sells baggage, meals, seats and sports equipment.
Lufthansa Group incurred the wrath of the GDSs and some other stakeholders in 2015 when it imposed a surcharge on all bookings made through the GDS. IdeaWorks shows that Lufthansa is still selling a la carte fares through all three GDSs, suggesting that the charge hasn't impacted relationships as much as feared.
The European airlines covered in the study which are not making any a la carte fares available in any of the GDS are: Aer Lingus, Air Greenland, Eurowings, Virgin Atlantic and Wizz Air.
US carriers lead the top ten rankings across most metrics. Spirit, Allegiant and Frontier generated the highest ancillary revenue per passenger from all airlines at $49.48, $48.93 and $48.60 respectively. Spirit and Frontier limit what they sell via GDSs to one product - bags - via one GDS - Sabre. Allegiant is one of the carriers in the Americas which sells no a la carte via the GDSs, along with Alaska Air, Virgin America, Azul, Gol, Hawaiin, Southwest, Sun County and Volaris.
In Asia and the South Pacific, many of the carriers included in the list do not work with GDSs, so perhaps more interesting is who works with whom (or who doesn't). So Air Asia Group and Air Asia X work with Amadeus and Travelport on baggage, meals, paid seats, sports equipment works but not Sabre. Sabre is the only GDS which works with China Southern but only on bags, while it is also has an exclusivity of sorts with Korean Air by facilitating the booking of unaccompanied minors.
Travelport is the only one working with India's IndiGo but the only one not working with Garuda in Indonesia.
The study also looks at a few Middle East and African carriers, and the picture here is that airlines either work with no GDSs or all three. The only exception is Qatar, which sells a la carte only through Amadeus.
Click here to access the 110-page report.
Photo by Gus Ruballo on Unsplash