Frequent fliers will soon be reminiscing about the small luxuries a $200 airline ticket bought: like free Diet Coke. A new wave of start-up airlines is selling ultra-affordable flights as low as $10. But prepare to plunk down for seat assignments, checked baggage—and even peanuts.
No-frills players like Skybus and Allegiant Airlines are taking a page from flush Irish carrier Ryanair, earning profits on side deals, like hotel bookings and on-board liquor sales, and charging for extras. That may change the way that old-guard airlines do business: American has already ditched pillows, and other major carriers are scrounging for cuts.