Passengers Pay 3% More in Baggage Fees

Airlines are raking in more baggage fees.

U.S. airlines collected $924 million in baggage fees in the third quarter, up almost 3% from the same period last year, the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported on Monday.

United Continental Holdings (NYSE: UAL  ) reported some of the biggest gains. United collected $187.3 million in bag fees in the third quarter, up 10.8% from a year earlier.

Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL  ) is the second-biggest airline by traffic, but it had the top spot for baggage fees. It has collected $662.8 million so far this year. That's up slightly from the same period last year.

Baggage fee collections fell sharply at American Airlines, which is reorganizing under bankruptcy protection. It took in $138.3 million in the most recent quarter, down 9.5% from a year earlier.

Even Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV  ) , where passengers can check two bags for free, has collected $104.3 million in baggage fees so far this year. That's mostly because its AirTran subsidiary does charge for baggage. In fact, AirTran raised its bag fees on Friday.

Ticket-change fees are up, too. Airlines collected $652 million in change fees in the most recent quarter, up 8% from $602.9 million a year earlier. Delta is tops in that category, too, with $200.4 million in ticket-change fees, compared to $171.9 million for United.

Airlines report baggage and ticket-change fees to the government. Fees for other add-ons, such as picking a seat or getting on the plane early, are not reported separately.

Airline profits jumped almost 55% to $1.39 billion in the third quarter, compared to $902.2 million during the same period last year, the government reported.


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  • Report this Comment On December 18, 2012, at 6:47 AM, FelixCaliferous wrote:

    NEVER PAY BAG FEES AGAIN! Here's how:

    Carry your bag to the gate. (Don't pack things that won't pass security.) Plan to be one of the last people to board. When all of the overhead bins are full, they will check your bag for free.

    It never fails.

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