Surprisingly Southwest Airlines made bank off fees in 2009

Surprisingly Southwest Airlines made bank off fees in 2009

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

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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me:
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