Airline Profits Soar From Baggage Fees

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NEW YORK (MainStreet) — For the major airlines in the United States, extra fees are the gift that keeps on giving.

U.S. airlines took in approximately $4.3 billion from extra fees in the first three quarters of this year, more than half of it coming from baggage fees, according to a new report from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

In total, the major domestic airlines made $2.5 billion from baggage fees during that period, compared to just under $2 billion in the first three quarters of 2009.

Meanwhile, airlines earned $1.7 billion from increases in fees they charge to change a reservation, roughly on pace with the amount they made in the first three quarters last year.

Of all the major airlines, Delta (Stock Quote: DAL) earned the most from these extra fees, taking in a combined $1.26 billion from baggage and change of reservation fees. American Airlines (Stock Quote: AMR) posted the second highest revenue from these fees, taking in $784 billion, followed by U.S. Airways (Stock Quote: LCC) which took in $632 billion.

As our sister site TheStreet.com notes, the majority of overall profits from major airlines like U.S. Airways are being driven by these extra fees. It’s bad for consumers, who would probably like to pay fewer fees, and also bad for the airlines, who seem to have no other way to drive revenue than to add fees for every service imaginable.

For more examples of just how far airlines will go to get more money out of travelers, check out MainStreet’s roundup of the worst airline fees around.

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