According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), US airlines made $7.8 billion in fees in 2009. This is a 42% increase over 2008. BTS says in a release “the airlines collected $2.7 billion in baggage fees, $2.4 billion from reservation change fees, and $2.7 billion from other ancillary fees, such as pet transportation fees and frequent flyer award program mileage sales.”
Delta brought in the most money with $1.65 billion in fees and surprisingly Southwest was fourth. Southwest might not charge for bags, but they do charge for other services like pets, unaccompanied minors and an early check-in option. Even before Spirit Airlines started charging for carry-ons, 21% of their total operating revenue came from fees — the highest of any other airline.
$7.8 billion is a lot of money. Passengers keep complaining about fees, but it is obvious that they keep paying them. I am not going to be surprised if more creative fees start showing up in the next few years.Source: USA Today Image: TVL1970