Study shows is even more reliant on ‘extras’ such as baggage charges and credit card fees than its low-cost rival.

When it comes to raising cash through sources other than the price of your ticket, Ryanair is generally considered the torchbearer among Europe’s low-cost airlines.

But, according to new statistics published this month, it is in fact that rules the roost when it comes to ‘extras’.

The report, by the consultancy IdeaWorks Company, examined ‘ancillary’ revenue – baggage charges, credit card fees, car hire commission, sales of in-flight food and drink and so forth – at 53 major airlines during 2012.

It revealed that such extras account for 26.5 per cent of’s total earnings, the third highest percentage of all carriers in the study, compared with just 21.8 per cent for Ryanair.

EasyJet – with 19.5 per cent – and Flybe – with 17.7 per cent – also made the top 10.

The undoubted world leader, however, is Spirit Airlines, based in Florida.

As well as the usual charges for cabin baggage and credit card use, it also charges passengers up to $100 to carry hand luggage (when paid at the airport; the price is $40 when booked online). Ancillary sources account for 38.5 per cent of Spirit Airlines total revenue. Allegiant, another US carrier which charges for hand luggage, came third in the study.

Top 10 ‘ancillary’ earners

Airline Ancillary revenue as a % of total revenue (2012)
Spirit 38.5
Allegiant 29.9 26.5
Ryanair 21.8
Tigerair 20.8
easyJet 19.5
Air Asia X 18.7
Jetstar 18.6
AirAsia Group 18.2
Flybe 17.7

Ryanair vs

Hold luggage (per flight) £15-45 for 15-20kg From £8 for 22kg
Excess baggage £20 per kg £12 per kg
Sports/musical equipment £50 £25
Hand luggage free, 55x40x20, 10kg free, 56x45x25, 10kg
Excess hand luggage £60 Hold luggage fee applies
Admin fee £7 admin + £7 check-in (both per person per flight) £6 per person per flight (online); or £10 at airport
Credit card fee 2% 3% (minimum £5)
Reserved seating (per flight) £10 £6.50-£15
Name change fee (per person, per flight) £110 name change; £30-60 flight change £35
Infant fee £30 £20
Cancellation fee (per person, per flight) All flights non-refundable, £17 per person admin fee to claim back tax All flights non-refundable
Other £70 per person boarding card re-issue fee

Read more

Ten outrageous airline charges

We look at some of the most expensive charges currently being imposed by carriers.

The complete guide to airline charges
We compare charges for items including checked luggage, sporting equipment, credit card use, and seat reservations, at 12 major airlines.