Delta Airline Fees Net Over $1 Billion in 2010

If you hate those irritating airline fees, bad news: airline fees are not going away or getting any cheaper.

Airline Fee Revenues Rise

In the first three quarters of 2010 alone, U.S. airlines collectively amassed $4.3 billion in fees, and that doesn’t include all fees they collect, just the two big ones: baggage fees and change fees. Learn what the airlines individually charge for these fees by visiting the FareCompare Domestic Airline Fee Chart.

The biggest fee moneymakers were the biggest airlines:
1. Delta – $1.26 billion
2. United – $922 million
3. American – $784 million

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that in the 3rd quarter of this year alone, airlines collected $1.5 billion in baggage fees and change fees. That’s $143 million more than the same quarter last year.

Southwest Fee Revenue Flying High (Even with Free Bags)

As for Southwest, it made the number 14 spot, mainly because it doesn’t charge a change fee, and passengers are allowed two free checked-baggages. Even so, the low cost carrier managed to bring in more than $22 million, from travelers who check three bags or more.

Passengers Prefer Paying Airline Fees

One of the more remarkable things about all these incredible figures is that people who profess to hate the optional airline fees–namely, the coach-traveling public – keep paying them anyway (although there is some evidence to suggest that more people are jumping on the carry-on bag bandwagon to avoid first checked-baggage fees).

However, if you want to keep your travel costs as low as possible, remember these fundamental travel tips:

  • You can use a carryon
  • Bring your own lunch
  • Let the airline select your seat

Some travelers believe there are some airline fees worth paying for, but the choice is always up to you.


Published: December 23, 2010