Yesterday I made the point about where airline ancillary revenue ends, and instead just gets referrered to as ‘other revenue.” Today I see reference to a story originating from the Detroit News and mentioned on Cranky Flyer about Spirit Airlines wanting to sell advertising space on the aprons of flight attendants. Obviously pitching for a cut of this revenue for themselves, the union was quoted as follows:

“Turning flight attendants into walking billboards is unacceptable,” Deborah Crowley, president of Spirit’s flight attendants union chapter, said in a statement.

It reminds me of the people I see walking the streets wearing a sandwich board – selling gold via this methods always seems popular, and I remember people walking Pitt Street Mall in Sydney advertising “material cut to measure” via walking billboards; which then took me to thinking maybe this photo is close to what was inside the mind of the union rep making the above statement.

Back to a more serious tone, if there are any accountants reading this who have seen any accounting guidelines for defining exactly what can be called ancillary revenue and what is outside of the category, I would love to see it.  I never read a set of financial statements using that as a line item in the profit and loss, but every almost every chief executive refers to it these days in commentary when releasing results; yet it doesn’t seem as if one can be totally sure which buckets of revenue they are including when making reference to this term. If Spirit are counting advertising on aprons as part of ancillary revenue, then the the whole process of comparison gets a lot muddier.