Sections

Weather Forecast

Close
Advertisement

Airlines collected record baggage fees in 2012

Email Sign up for Breaking News Alerts
business Willmar, 56201
West Central Tribune
(320) 235-6769 customer support
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

By Scott Mayerowitz

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. airlines collected more than $6 billion in baggage and reservation change fees from passengers last year — the highest amount since the fees became common five years ago.

Advertisement
Advertisement

These fees — along with charges for boarding early or picking prime seats — have helped return the industry to profitability.

Airlines started charging for a first checked suitcase in 2008 and the fees have climbed since. Airlines typically charge $25 each way for the first checked bag, $35 for the second bag and then various extra amounts for overweight or oversized bags.

The nation's 15 largest carriers collected a combined $3.5 billion in bag fees in 2012, up 3.8 percent from 2011, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Reservation change fees totaled $2.6 billion, up 7.3 percent.

The airlines took in $159.5 billion in revenue last year and had expenses of $153.6 billion, according to the government. That 3.7 percent profit margin comes entirely from the baggage and change fees.

Passengers likely won't get relief from the fees anytime soon. American Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways all recently raised the fee for changing a domestic-flight reservation from $150 to $200.

Even Southwest Airlines which promotes its lack of change fees and "bags fly free" policy recently announced a new policy on no-shows. Passengers who buy the cheapest tickets will have to cancel a reservation before departure; otherwise they won't be able to apply credit from the missed flight toward a later trip.

Scott Mayerowitz can be reached at http://twitter.com/GlobeTrotScott.

Follow SCOTT MAYEROWITZ on Twitter @GlobeTrotScott

Advertisement
Associated Press
Advertisement
Advertisement
randomness