News & Research

The latest from IdeaWorksCompany.

Listed below are the most recent posts to the website.  Click on any item (in blue font) to access our latest reports, press releases, and news items.  Or use the menu to the right to browse the library of reports, articles featuring IdeaWorksCompany research, and archive of press releases.
Jul 20

July 20, 2016 – Report

2015 Top 10 Ancillary Revenue Rankings
Every year since 2008, IdeaWorksCompany searches for disclosures of financial results which qualify as ancillary revenue for airlines all over the globe. Annual reports, investor presentations, financial press releases, and quotes attributed to senior executives all qualify as sources in the data collection process. Of the 135 airlines reviewed, 67 were found to reveal financial results related to ancillary revenue.  From this list, total airline revenue and ridership data were collected to determine the top ten airlines in overall ancillary revenue, as a percentage of company revenue, and on a per passenger basis.

Jul 20

July 20, 2016 – Press Release

Top Ancillary Revenue Rates Reach $52 per Passenger and $6 Billion per Airline
IdeaWorksCompany published the first ancillary revenue review of top-performing airlines back in 2008. The top ten airlines generated $8.4 billion that year. Fast forward to 2015 and the top ten tally has leapt to nearly $26 billion. Now, this group is a billion-dollar club with annual ancillary revenue ranging from just over $1 billion to $6.2 billion − which is #1 carrier United’s total. Top performer per passenger is Spirit, at $51.80 per customer; Spirit also tops the list for revenue share, at 43 percent of total sales.

Jun 24

June 24, 2016

Analysis: Is the golden era of frequent-flyer benefits over?
Buying Business Travel
Social media comment from travellers who opt for the lowest fares and get the least rewards has, predictably, been highly critical; those with elite status who pay higher fares and get the best rewards, less so.  But as the global airlines have shown with their egregious pursuit of ancillary fees, they’re very much focused on increasing revenues. Total ancillary fees levied by the world’s airlines last year reached a record US$59.2 billion according to the consultancy IdeaWorks, with US airlines alone accounting for a third of this revenue stream.

May 13

May 13, 2016

American and United Ready No-Frills Fares to Take on Discounters
Bloomberg
Stung by competition from ultra-discount carriers, American Airlines Group Inc. and United Continental Holdings Inc. are striking back with cheap, no-frills tickets of their own.  The strategy carries risks for the legacy airlines. American, United and Delta dominate the U.S. and have alliances with global carriers, advantages that would seem to negate the need to compete for the most price-conscious customer, said Jay Sorensen, a former Midwest Airlines executive who is now president of airline consultant IdeaWorksCompany.

May 11

May 11, 2016 – Press Release

Southwest and airberlin Top Reward Rankings but Turkish Airlines and Air China Rise High
The 7th annual Switchfly Reward Seat Availability Survey also finds JetBlue has best reward payback among major North American carriers.  Value-oriented airlines dominate the top tiers of the 7th annual Switchfly Reward Seat Availability Survey.  Two global carriers made significant improvements to their rankings. Turkish Airlines had the 4th best reward seat availability for 2016, which is much improved from its 15th place ranking in 2015. Likewise, Air China showed big improvement by moving to the 10th slot from 18th place in 2015.
You may download and use this JPG image:
Switchfly Reward Seat Availability Survey Infographic

May 11

May 11, 2016

The Best and Worst Frequent-Flier Rewards Programs for 2016
Wall Street Journal
For the third year in a row, free seats open for booking increased in the Switchfly Reward Seat Availability Survey, a comprehensive look at success at redeeming miles or points at the basic “saver” level. The survey found two seats available at the lowest mileage level on 77% of the booking queries made this year, up from 74% last year and 72% in 2014.  “Overall, I think the consumer is being better served than the year before,” says Jay Sorensen, president of IdeaWorks, the consulting firm that conducted the study.

May 11

May 11, 2016

Redeeming Frequent Flier Miles Is Getting Much Easier
Fortune Magazine
According to the Switchfly Reward Seat Availability Survey, which was released on Wednesday in conjunction with consumer-focused IdeaWorks, airlines will be offering their frequent fliers more reward seats. The survey looked at 7,000 flights, both domestic and international between June and October, and found that there were reward seats available on 76.6% of them. That’s the highest it’s been in the seven years that this survey has been conducted.  “I would say it is getting easier, especially if you live outside the United States,” IdeaWorks president Jay Sorensen told CNBC.

May 11

May 11, 2016

For frequent fliers, using miles is getting easier
CNBC
Frequent fliers will have an easier time using their rewards while booking travel plans for the summer and fall, thanks to more flights offering open reward seats.  According to the latest Switchfly Reward Seat Availability Survey, released in conjunction with IdeaWorks on Wednesday, of more than 7,000 domestic and international flights that are scheduled from June through October, 76.6 percent offer reward seats.

Mar 29

March 29, 2016

Budget Fliers Should Love Airline Fees
Wall Street Journal
In 2014 airlines generated $38 billion in ancillary revenue, according to a study by IdeaWorks. That money keeps base fares low. And airline profits are far from outrageous. The average net margin for all scheduled U.S. carriers was 4.4% in 2014. Even in the first three quarters of 2015, after oil prices had plummeted, the average net margin was only 14%.