Customers might not like them, but airlines sure do. In fact, airlines are on track to collect a record $42.6 billion in ancillary revenue, according to a new study.
That's a 17.9 percent increase compared to last year, according to carTrawler and IdeaWorks, which track ancillary fees for airlines around the world.
"On one level, I'm surprised by how quickly it (ancillary revenue) is growing," said Jay Sorensen, President of IdeaWorks "I am not surprised because there is an obvious financial need on behalf of the airline industry."
In recent years, carriers around the world, especially in the U.S. and Europe, have added or raised fees for everything from checking bags to printing out boarding passes. It has added to the bottom line of nearly every airline in the world.
(Read more: High fliers: The world's fastest-growing airlines)
"These fees have become, for many airlines, the difference between a profit and a loss, and that is not lost on airline executives all over the world," said Sorensen. "That is why I think we are going to see more and more activity in this direction."
Here is the breakdown of ancillary revenue using data from IdeaWorks and carTrawler for the last three years and this year's forecast:
- 2010: $22.6 billion
- 2011: $32.5 billion
- 2012: $36.1 billion
- 2013 (est): $42.6 billion
Airlines receive 60 percent of ancillary revenue from frequent-flier programs, 25 percent from baggage fees, 10 percent from onboard/seating services fees and 5 percent of fees from travel services, according to the study.
Frequent-flier miles, credit cards climbing
For years, airlines have realized the value of co-branded credit cards which allow them to further profit. In the last two or three years, airlines these credit-card and frequent-flier programs. Increasingly, airlines are selling additional miles to retailers, banks and other businesses, which use these frequent flier miles to attract customers.