We love a holiday here at Airport Parking & Hotels, and with an estimated 44.1 million Brits jetting off on at least leisure trip abroad every year, we’re certainly not the only ones!
From booking the perfect hotel to finding the best restaurants in your destination, planning a holiday requires quite a bit of research.
One element that everyone likes to tick off nice and early is your flights, and it can be tempting to add a few ‘extras’ to your booking to save yourself time or give you peace of mind.
But adding these in can be very pricey, so to help, we’ve explored which airline extras are worth the money and which you may want to skip or shop around for.
These are things such as…
– Seat reservations
– Pre-booked meals
– Extra luggage
– Fast-track through security
– Priority boarding
– Airport transfers
– Airport parking
– Travel insurance
What each airline offers will vary, but if you add even a couple of these to your flight booking then the total price can quite quickly skyrocket.
Our research reveals that two thirds of Brits (69%) paid for one more airline extras on their last flight.
The most popular airline extras (% of people who booked this on their last flight)
– Seat Reservation (27%)
– 10kg of Luggage (16%)
– Travel Insurance (14%)
– Airport Parking (14%)
– A Pre-booked Meal (14%)
– Priority Boarding (14%)
– 20kg of Luggage (12%)
– Airport Transfers (10%)
– Car Hire at Destination (9%)
The most popular airline extra is a seat reservation, with one in four passengers (27%) choosing to purchase this for their last journey. It seems that we’re really keen to get that window seat or sit with our family or friends, which is understandable really.
Sheffield-based travellers are the most likely to add a seat reservation to their itinerary (32%).
The next most popular extra is baggage. In fact, one in six (16%) paid for an additional 10kg of luggage on their last trip.
Women are more likely than men to buy this, with 93% admitting they would “because they need it,” compared to 82% of men.
Only one in eight (12%) favoured a larger check-in luggage allowance (20 kg) though. If you’ve gone to the effort of creating the perfect holiday wardrobe, it’s only fair that you can take it all with you, right?
Millennials appear to be the least likely to ‘travel light’, with one in six (16%) of those aged between 25 and 34 opting for the extra 20kg luggage on their last trip, compared to only 3% of those over the age of 55.
Travel insurance (14%) is the third most popular airline extra, and it seems that those in Belfast care about this reassuring add-on the most.
Interestingly, when it comes to planning, passengers flying out of Manchester airport are the most likely to pay an extra fee for fast track or priority boarding (20% did this on their last flight).
Travellers going from Leeds Bradford airport seem to the most likely to prioritise airport parking, with one in five (20%) opting to purchase this extra.
Well, not everyone does. In fact, over 45s are the least likely to – 36% didn’t buy an extra for their last flight.
However, among those that do invest in these little add-ons, the main reason for this is because it’s considered ‘easier’ (48%).
Many (33%) also do this for peace of mind, with those over 55 the most likely to do it for this reason.
Most common reasons why we pay for airline extras
– ‘Easier’ (48%)
– ‘For peace of mind’ (33%)
– ‘To save time’ (24%)
– ‘Thought it would be cheaper’ (20%)
Interestingly, one in five thought it would be cheaper to book extras direct with the airline rather than shopping elsewhere. This may not always be the case though.
We always recommend that you do your homework and explore other options before you add things to your flight booking, to ensure you are getting the best price. This is especially important with things like airport parking, airport transfers and car hire, as the cost of these can vary massively.
Everyone is going to have a slightly different opinion on this depending on who they are travelling with, where they’re going and of course just personal preferences and budget.
However, the airline extras that Brits feel are most worth the cost are…
– 10kg of extra luggage (89% said it was worth it)
– Airport transfers (88%)
– Airport parking (87%)
– Car hire at the destination (86%)
– Seat reservations (85%)
– Travel insurance (82%)
– 20kg+ of extra luggage (83%)
– Fast-track (78%)
– A pre-booked meal (76%)
After determining what the most popular airline extras among UK travellers were, and which people consider to be worthwhile, we investigated how the cost of these varies (across both short-haul and long-haul flights) to work out which airline offers the best value for money.
First up, let’s look at short-haul flights. We compared costs for airlines with a flight duration of less than four hours that fly from one or more of the London airports in June 2023.
Overall, easyJet offers the cheapest option when it comes to seat allocation with the average price being £11.58 per person on a return flight – and therefore only increasing the price of your ticket by about 11%.
On the other hand, Jet2 seems to have the most expensive seat reservations, with these coming out at £20 per person on average.
The average price of a reserved seat on a British Airways or Ryanair journey was the same at £16, while it as £19 on average for TUI Airways.
All airlines other than Ryanair outline that they will try to seat groups together (if seats are available) but that you should remember to check in as early as possible.
Short haul passengers can usually check in between 14 and 30 days before their flight.
If you are worried about being separated from your children, then please reast-assured that under-12s are guaranteed to be seated with at least one parent.
Jet2 and EasyJet will then try to sit the rest of the party next to each other, and with EasyJet, it happens ‘99% of the time’. On the other hand, Ryanair states that they would require at least one parent pay for their seat, to guarantee their places together.
When it comes to adding 10kg of luggage, EasyJet (at an average price of £27.48 per person) and Ryanair (at an average price of £34 per person) are the major short-haul airlines that charge for this.
Most airlines charge for an extra 20kg bag, with SWISS International offering the cheapest option at only £44 per bag on average.
Even though they offer the cheapest seat allocations, it seems that easyJet aren’t as affordable when it comes to luggage with their average price for a 20kg bag coming in at around £71.48 which could increase the price of your plane ticket by 67%!
We’ve totted up much more do these common ‘extras’ really cost on top of your plane ticket price for short-haul flights, and overall Jet2 came out on top.
Average cost for adding seat reservation and extra luggage for popular UK short-haul flight providers
– Seat reservation (up to): £11.58
– 10kg extra luggage: £27.48
– 20kg extra luggage: £71.48
– Total added cost for extras: £110.54
– Average increase on top of flight ticket: 104%
– Seat reservation (up to): £16
– 10kg extra luggage: £34
– 20kg extra luggage: £57
– Total added cost for extras: £107
– Average increase on top of flight ticket: 108%
– Seat reservation (up to): £20
– 10kg extra luggage: £/
– 20kg extra luggage: £68
– Total added cost for extras: £88
– Average increase on top of flight ticket: 37%
– Seat reservation (up to): £19
– 10kg extra luggage: £/
– 20kg extra luggage: £46
– Total added cost for extras: £65
– Average increase on top of flight ticket: 22%
* Jet2, TUI Airways & British Airways have 10kg luggage included in the flight ticket
Ryanair and easyJet are the two major UK short-haul airline providers that charge for 10kg luggage, the other airlines have it included in the flight ticket.
Some airlines offer additional extras including travel insurance, airport parking, car hire and fast-track security. This can triple the price of the original flight ticket for airline providers such as Ryanair and easyJet.
Best short-haul airlines for travel extras – lowest to highest (based on % increase on your plane ticket)
Jet2 – 135%
TUI Airways – 231%
easyJet – 328%
Ryanair – 335%
British Airways – 368%
Now that we know what short-haul airlines offer the best value airline extras it’s time to determine the same when it comes to long-haul airlines. These flights are usually five hours or more, and airline extras like seat allocations and meals are usually included in the ticket price (so we don’t need to pay on top for these which is great!)
Regarding luggage, 20+ kg bags are also usually included as part of the ticket price for long-haul flights, but if you want to add an additional bag, the average price works out at a staggering £295.15 on average.
Virgin Atlantic offered the cheapest extra 20kg bag option at £50 per person, and Qantas had the most expensive option at £790 per person (on a flight from London to Perth, Australia).
Long-haul airlines with the cheapest 20kg baggage options – from lowest to highest (average price)
– Virgin Atlantic – £50 (11.5% extra on top of your flight cost)
– American Airlines – £60 (13.8%)
– Lufthansa – £68 (12.8%)
– Emirates – £79 (13%)
– Air Canada – £146 (29%)
Overall, airline extras can give you reassurance, and often people feel they’re worth the extra cost.
They can really add up though, so it’s worth setting yourself a ‘total journey’ budget, and then sussing out what your priorities are.
Whether you’re flying from, London Gatwick or Manchester Airport we are here to help you. Don’t forget to explore the full range of airport parking, hotels, and lounge solutions we offer, as you could save yourself a fair bit of money.
- Survey of 2,004 UK adults ran in June 2023. Data split by respondent age, gender and location
- Desk research of 19 different flights short and long haul from London and extras that could be added – full list of sources available
- https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/baggage/checked-baggage-policy.jsp https://help.virginatlantic.com/hk/en/baggage/additional-baggage.html
- We polled 2,000 Brits about the airline extras they most frequently purchase when buying their flights and investigated the additional costs of these to determine how much they raise the initial cost of your trip.
- We then compiled a list of the most popular short-haul and long-haul airlines in the UK and determined what extras they offer in their websites to buy during the checkout process. (From London airports, four hour flights and 22nd-29th September return).
- The prices of these were determined and we also worked out by how much airline extras would increase the final price of your flight.
- Data accurate as of 15/06/2023 but with flight and airline costs these are always subject to change.