The billions of dollars in extra fees charged by US airlines have long been a thorn in the side of air travelers. And yet, fliers have clearly been willing to pay.
That money-making strategy has more room to run. Beyond checked bags and cushier seats, a recent survey by real-time flight tracker app FlightView of 2,300 commercial airline passengers (37% business, 63% leisure) in the US found that 50% of fliers would be willing to be charged extra for some in-flight and on ground services. Top among those services was WiFi with streaming capability (64%), real-time tracking of luggage (53%), in-seat charging stations for electronics (50%), on-board texting (31%) and early deplaning privileges (22%).
Young travelers (aged 18 to 32) are far more willing to pay for such services: 75% said they would pay for on-the-ground amenities, while 60% were willing to pay for extra services in-flight, compared to 60% for on-the-ground amenities and 50% for in-flight extras among all survey respondents.
A FlightView spokesperson tells Quartz these options reflect the airline industry’s migration to a more “choice-focused model,” one that will continue to boost the profits of once beleaguered airlines.
Another study cited by Forbes found that a majority of Americans hate airline fees. The difference in the extras in FlightView’s survey is their novelty, whereas checked bags and seat assignments are services passengers once received for free.
Luckily, some of these new amenities are coming soon at no extra charge. For instance, Virgin America has announced it will start testing a higher-speed internet that can handle Netflix streaming onboard, while other airlines are upgrading to a faster Gogo internet connection.