Anatomy of Allegiant’s Ancillary Revenue

We’ve talked a lot about how much money Allegiant is able to make on ancillary revenue, but for those who haven’t flown the airline, I thought I’d give you some insight into how they pull this off.

My cousin and aunt flew from Oakland to Eugene last week, and my cousin sent me a copy of his itinerary with the fare breakdown. The basic airfare was $156 for two, but by the time they were finished, it came out to $387.40. Here’s the breakdown.

Allegiant Ancillary Revenue

The government taxes and fees are standard, of course, so they should have expected to pay $196.40 on most airlines. But here’s where things start piling up.

  • Prepaid Bags – Each of them brought one bag and they paid for it in advance. That’s $15 per bag each way for a total of $60.
  • Seat Selection Fee – You can just get assigned a seat at the airport, but if you want to reserve one in advance, you’ll pay $13 each way per person.
  • Priority Boarding – You will have your seat assigned by the time you board, so for $5 each way, you simply get to hop on early and claim your bin space.
  • Convenience Fee – You’ll pay $14 per person to book online or via the phone. The only way to avoid this fee is if you buy your ticket at the airport. I’m not sure why it came out to $27 instead of $28 here.
  • Trip Flex – For $15 per person, you can have unlimited name changes until the day before departure. If you don’t purchase this option, it will cost $50 per name change at a later date. This is unique to Allegiant since nobody else will let you change names at all.

As you can see, this adds up quickly. My cousin noted:

I think that a few of the fees we didn’t necessarily have to pay (eg – priority boarding, and checking bags if we had carried on).

I wondered about that and looked at the booking process myself. They do not make it easy to opt out of some of these fees, in particular the priority boarding and seat selection fees. The checkboxes come pre-checked, and if you click the small link to uncheck them, it pops something up suggesting that you really shouldn’t do that. So you really do have to pay close attention when booking on this airline to make sure you’re not paying more than you bargained for.

And this isn’t even all the money they can extract from you. This doesn’t include the cost of food and drink on the plane. They also ran a raffle onboard that I’m sure nets them some cash as well. It also doesn’t include the money they can make from hotel and car rental bookings. Even with all these fees, I think my cousin sums it up quite well.

I think that the price may have still added up to less than a regular United flight out of SFO.

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23 Comments on "Anatomy of Allegiant’s Ancillary Revenue"

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Dan
Guest

I don’t have any objection to the ala-carte theory of pricing in principle. In fact, as former NW elite, (who doesn’t get priority seating and boarding anymore) the idea of paying a few $$$ for an exit row and early boarding to guarantee my overhead bin space sits well with me. What bugs the @#$@ is when they start unbundling fees that are unavoidable — such as the “convenience fee” for booking your ticket on the web.

Dan
Guest

And I recognize that you can avoid that fee by purchasing your ticket at the airport… but come on, who’s going to do that? Does Allegiant have ticketing staff available at the airport 7 days per week, or only at days and times the flights are departing?

KP
Guest
Our family has flown on Allegiant twice this year so far. The $5 fee is a complete and total rip off since they never announce *any* priority boarding, simply saying if you need extra assistance you can board early. And, no, Allegiant’s counters are not manned 24/7, only on the days they fly and with limited hours–so that makes them a zoo if you were to go in person to make your reservation, plus you’d have to pay for parking at the airport. The seat selection fee is variable, depending where on the plane you want to sit and what… Read more »
David SF eastbay
Member
Your family still got a gooo deal as just checking now a UA SFO-EUR-SFO with a 21 day advance purchase and a saturday night stay would be $403.20 inc tax/surcharges per person. DAN the Allegiant website does show ticket counter operation times for major cities. An example if you are in Los Angeles and it’s a Tuesday you can only ticket at the airport between 5am and 10am. So if the ticket had to be purchased Tuesday you may have to purchase online and pay the fee. Which could be worth it compared to fighting the mess getting to/from LAX,… Read more »
baproden
Member

Right down to the raffle this is a Ryanair clone in the USA. I will have to go try them one day and do a comparison trip report :-) Do they have any advertising in the cabins of their aircraft?

jaybru
Member
I’m sure the airline’s response to all this is: “That’s what our customers want.” Oh? Says who? Aren’t there about 122 different “convenience” fees airlines could charge if they really wanted to? But, what are these people thinking? Maybe they think they’re a phone company. My land-line phone bill (Verizon), which typically is less than $40 a month, in the “Breakdown of Charges,” has 4 line items for “Voice Services,” and 9 line items under “Taxes, Fees, & Other Charges.” But, the majority, if not all of the latter line items are federal or state required, not service-provided or “convenience”… Read more »
D. Capitated
Guest
On one hand, I see the complaints about a lot of these things, and man, I sympathize on some level. Does it suck that we don’t get a meal on a plane anymore without paying for it? Sure it does. Do I think its unfortunate that baggage fees have come and stayed with us? Yup. However, I honestly no longer see that what Allegiant does is some how independent of the major carriers. They’ll copy what steps here that they haven’t already in due time. In essence, I’ve seen or felt no actual difference flying the LCCs in Europe or… Read more »
barowsky
Member

“Your family still got a gooo deal as just checking now a UA SFO-EUR-SFO with a 21 day advance purchase and a saturday night stay would be $403.20 inc tax/surcharges per person.”

But on AS its only $220

ASFLYER
Guest

I think your wrong about the name change – Alaska Airlines allows a name change for $100.00 you advised that no other airline allowed a name change.

newkidtown
Member

That nane change is interesting. Is it like buying the option to resell the ticket? (People don’t plan spelling mistakes and legally change the name at most once in their lifetimes)

Voyager0927
Guest
The use of add-on fees for extra privileges is a business decision to be made by a given carrier. What I find distasteful is the deception that Allegiant resorts to in order to get its customers to make use of these extras. Advance seat selection and priority boarding are included as a default setting, so you must manually opt of them. You need to read the fine print carefully to figure out how to opt out of advance seat selection, which involves a counter-intuitive process of clicking the “Change” button twice for each individual passenger on each flight segment. Then,… Read more »
David SF eastbay
Member
I admire Allegiant for what it is doing route wise and targeting the leisure market, it seems to work for them. That said I wonder how many of these leisure travelers just assume they have to pay all those fees. Since most leisure travelers travel in at least pairs, paying a seat fee in advance gives them peace of mind that they will be sitting together. A single traveler may not care and just want to save the money. As with all optional fees it’s up to each person to decide what is important to them. But I agree people… Read more »
KP
Guest
Actually, (sorry to correct you about this CF), the cost per seat assignment is highly variable and obviously depends on what airports you fly into and out of. For example, we paid $9 per seat and $11 per seat for different flights earlier this year. Again, it depended on which airports we used. And, yes, you’re right, that it does go up from there (I think the front rows were even higher than the exit rows) and we’re too cheap to pay much more than that ’cause it gets expensive quickly when you pay for an entire family to travel…
atomsareenough
Guest
i tried to fly allegiant once, and it was a painful experience all around. since i’m near the airport and i didn’t want to pay the “convenience” fees, i went to the ticket counter, and the guy took my credit card info and told me i’d get an email confirmation… but i didn’t get one, so i had to go back AGAIN the next week to make sure the ticket was actually booked. i don’t think it had been, but after i went the second time, i did eventually get my confirmation email, with a booking that was dated the… Read more »
Ron
Guest
Cranky, you should have pointed your cousin to my comment on your post from Feb 20 regarding the booking process (and how difficult it is to get rid of the extras), and to my comment on your post from June 8 regarding the trip experience (and why advance seat assignment and priority boarding make no sense). I just have a little to add on top of those comments. Since all seats are assigned (if not pre-purchased, they’re assigned at check-in), there’s little point in buying seats, especially if you’re traveling in a group — they seat groups together on the… Read more »
David SF eastbay
Member
I decided to read the Allegiant FAQ section of their website and saw that ever if you paid for a seat in advance they can cancel it if you don’t check in as least 60 minutes before your flight. I might not have thought about that since they say their check in counter closes 45 minutes before flight time. At a small outline city I bet people don’t think they have to arrive 60 minutes before a flight and could lose their paid seat or know the counter closes 45 mins ahead of the flight and not be able to… Read more »
Nate
Guest
Cranky -> The convenience fee is actually $13.50 for booking online, and yes, free at the airport, if and when someone is actually there to sell you a ticket. The Trip Flex fee is more than just a name change, its also for changing the flight. Otherwise, the change fee is $50. I’ve used this many times and its saved me a lot. Regarding Priority Boarding, this only “helps” people in rows 3 – 20ish. The idea is to get on and snag overhead bin space. If you are EVER in rows 3 – 10, kiss your carry-on goodbye. It… Read more »
Stephen Dutton
Guest
Its the “convenience fee” that sticks my gullet, they charge us to book online (saving them people costs), book by phone (the cost is our call?), and then they charge you $14 PER person to do so, they have saved costs once then dupe you again..$189 over the top of your so called fare is a bit to rich in fact it is nearly double and it is really in Sheriff of Nottingham territory, but the $5 a toilet trip isn’t on there yet like Ryanair, makes you want to do it in the aisle anyway just to get your… Read more »
Really?
Guest

@ Stephen Dutton:
So, you actually think you would get your money’s worth by eliminating in the aisle?????

Really?
Guest

@ atomsareenough:
Seems Allegiant’s Magic Weather Wand wasn’t working the day of your flight…….

atomsareenough
Guest

@ Really?:

there wasn’t any weather at either the origin or destination airport, which is why i put “weather” in quotes. that was their stated excuse, but i didn’t see anything which corroborated it. certainly nothing that merited canceling the flight.

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