If you’re an ordinary traveler not able to afford private planes, first class or even business class when you fly, air travel can be brutal, generally speaking. And it’s made worse by the insane sums of money we spend just to be tortured into tiny seats and shuttled overseas. While many airlines are trying to crack the code on lessening this burden by lowering flight prices, one in particular is invested in seeing them shrink or even disappear altogether. “Our goal, and we’re working hard toward it, is for our ancillary revenue to actually surpass our passenger revenue,” WOW Airlines CEO Skúli Mogensen recently told Business Insider.
If you’ve ever flown WOW, you know what he means by “ancillary revenue”—every non-essential element of the flight is excluded from the ticket price, including checked baggage, food and more. This sounds like no big deal at the time you’re booking—airline food is gross—but it can be less than ideal when you’re trekking from, say, Los Angeles to Paris through Iceland and don’t have anything to eat or watch (WOW planes do not currently offer in-flight entertainment). Still, if you’re on a budget, these amenities are a luxury gladly traded for international fares under $500, which is what WOW and other budget airlines are banking on. Eventually, they hope to make all their revenue from a la carte pricing and strategic partnerships, thus relieving passengers of the burden of funding their own flights. “I can see a day when we pay you to fly,” Skúli said, going on to explain that his company might eventually reward those whose social media posts generate business for the airline. “There are all kinds of interesting opportunities using technology and social media,” he said. “People tend to take a lot of photos while traveling, sharing their experiences. We see a lot of interesting ways to empower people to spread the word about WOW and to reward them accordingly.”
While the latter idea isn’t exactly revolutionary—we know several airlines already comp flights for certain influencers—we’re just excited that an airline CEO is working to get us paid to do something we’ve been paying out the wazoo to do since we were old enough to book our own trips. Here’s hoping his vision is realized, as we have a lot of travel planned for this year and beyond (most of which our bank accounts can not currently support).