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Big U.S. airlines get $1.6 billion in passenger fees in 3 months

December 17, 2012|By Hugo Martin
  • Delta Air Lines ramp agents unload bags from a flight arriving at JFK International airport in New York.
Delta Air Lines ramp agents unload bags from a flight arriving at JFK International… (Mary Altaffer / Associated…)

Fees to check bags and change reservations generated $1.6 billion for the nation's largest airlines in July through September, according to new federal data.

The total represents a 5% increase over the same period last year, when the nation's airlines collected $1.5 billion from checked bag fees and charges for changing flight reservations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Airlines began to charge baggage fees and other extra passengers fees about four years ago in response to a decline in demand during the economic recession and a surge in fuel prices.

On average, revenue from bag fees and charges for food, drinks, pillows and other extras represent about 6% of all revenue for the nation's largest airlines, according to the federal agency.

Delta Air Lines leads all other carriers with $233 million in baggage fees and $172 million in reservation change fees for the three-month period, according to the agency.

The nation's airlines are not yet required to report revenue from other extra passenger fees, such charges for food, drinks, blankets and access to wireless Internet. The U.S Department of Transportation, however, has proposed new rules requiring airlines to report revenue from other passenger fees.


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Follow Hugo Martin on Twitter at @hugomartin

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