According to the statistics keepers at the Department of Transportation, the top U.S. airlines all reported a profit in the 3rd quarter of this year (July, August and September) and a big part of that was fees. Delta Air Lines collected the most money from baggage and cancelation fees.
Airlines Collect $1.6 Billion in Fees
Collectively the carriers amassed $924 million in baggage fees in the third quarter alone, plus another $652 million in reservation change fees. It should be noted that this nearly $1.6 billion total does not include other fees such as money collected for snacks and meals, or such things as pillows, blankets and Wi-Fi charges.
Top 5 Baggage Fee Airlines
Delta led the way on baggage fees, pulling in more than $233 million. Some will be surprised to see Southwest in fifth place out of 14 reporting carriers – because Southwest still offers two free checked-bags – but now that its merger with AirTran is nearing completion, the two airlines report fees jointly and AirTran does charge fees for checked luggage.
Airline Baggage Fee Revenue
3rd Quarter 2012
|1. Delta||$233 million|
|2. United||$187 million|
|3. American||$138 million|
|4. US Airways||$129 million|
|5. Southwest||$46 million|
Top 5 Change Fee Airlines
Carriers raking in the most money from changing or canceling a reservation were as follows, beginning with the top earner: Delta, United, American, US Airways and JetBlue. Southwest came in at 6th place, again due to its merger with AirTran, since Southwest does not charge a change fee and AirTran does. Beginning in 2013, Southwest will introduce a new ‘no-show’ fee though the cost has yet to be specified.