Besides charging passengers to check luggage, airlines have collected billions of dollars in extra revenue by turning their cabins into flying department stores. And experts foresee big growth in such sales in the coming years.
The nation's top airlines take in an average of nearly 12 percent of their revenue from onboard sales of food, drinks, online entertainment and blankets, among other items and services, according to industry studies.
In the future, airlines are likely to expand such offerings to include "destination-based attractions," such as car rentals and hotel reservations and more entertainment options, according to a recent study by Toronto-based GuestLogix, a provider of onboard sales technology.
The report predicts that most of the sales will be made from the entertainment system installed in the seat backs.