How Virgin America makes extra money

Virgin America makes nearly $24 in average non-ticket revenue per passenger. Photo: Virgin America.

Virgin America makes nearly $24 in average non-ticket revenue per passenger. Photo: Virgin America.

Did you know Virgin America earned $23.95 in non-ticket revenue last year for every passenger? That means ancillary revenue accounted for 10.8% of the carrier's overall revenue in 2014. 

The number is impressive, but it's less than half of the $55 per passenger Spirit Airlines recorded last year. Here's how Virgin America's ancillary revenue breaks down, according to a recent presentation to investors:

  • Baggage. $9.24 per passenger
  • Change and cancel fees. $5 per passenger
  • In-flight purchases. $2.70 per passenger
  • Advance seat sales. $3.06 per passenger
  • Other revenue. $3.95 per passenger

And here's something else you may find interesting from the presentation. Virgin America has one of the youngest fleets in the industry, and it flies its airplanes more than many competitors. Of course, this can't last forever. Eventually, age will catch up with the fleet, and the airline's Airbuses will spend more time in maintenance.