Nowadays, buying an airline ticket has a lot in common with a trip to the grocery store, or the purchase of a new car.
Like the pint of ice cream that wasn't on your shopping list—or the heated seats the car salesman convinced you that you needed—modern day extras on airfares can really add up.
"Shoppers don't know the total cost of all the things they put in their grocery carts till they check out," said Jay Sorensen, president of research firm IdeaWorks and the author of a new report that breaks down how airlines are reaping a windfall from extras. "And most people don't just buy the base model of a car. They start with the base model and then start adding on features."
After going up and down the figurative aisles on travel sites, flyers have a similar experience to a car dealership or grocery store, Sorensen added. "That's how air travel is now priced," he explained.
In 2007 the top ten airlines (ranked by total ancillary revenue), was $2.1 billion, according to an IdeaWorks report. Yet in 2016, the top ten ancillary revenue-earning airlines alone took in more than $28 billion from "beyond tickets"—sales of everything from baggage fees, commissions on care rentals and vacation packages to frequent flyer points and products sold in 'bundles.'