Airline Fees Total $4.3B in First 9 Months of Year

Posted Dec 13th 2010 04:43 PMUpdated Dec 14th 2010 10:32 AM



The top 20 U.S. airlines took in $4.3 billion in fees -- $2.56 billion for checked bag fees and $1.7 billion for cancellations and changes -- in the first nine months of the year, according to information collected by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS).

Delta raked in close to $1.26 billion in fees through the end of the third quarter. The newly merged United and Continental together collected $922 million (though the data was gathered separately). American collected $784 million.

Despite its position as one of the nation's largest carriers, Southwest checks in low at No. 14 for bag fees because it does not charge a fee for first or second checked bags. The carrier does not even appear on the fees list for flight changes as it doesn't charge change fees.

For the third quarter, the airlines pulled in a total of $906.3 million in baggage fees, up from $739.8 million in the third quarter of 2009.

Cancellation/change fees actually declined in the third quarter, from $613.5 million last year to $590.3 million this year.

The BTS data do not tell the whole airline fee story, however. Airlines charge a wide array of fees for priority boarding, pillows, blankets, food, entertainment, inflight Internet access and even, in the case of Spirit Airlines, stowing a bag in an overhead bin.

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Wanderer 247

I believe the US airline industry, like the other industries in this nation, has fallen prey to the greed and unethical practices that are tearing this country apart. The time has come that we, the citizens of this abused nation to say ENOUGH!! We need to stop indulging these industries in their madness. We as Americans can make the difference.

February 05 2011 at 5:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

prices are at an all time low since deregulation.

December 15 2010 at 6:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The airlines are getting worse than banks. Now I hear this thing on TV commercials called a 9/11 fee. GIVE ME A BREAK! Some people will find any excuse they can for charging a fee. The airlines would get MUCH further with the consumers if they would get rid of all the extra fees and just incorporate the costs they need into the tickets. Then, customers would just assume this is it. It's disgusting when you buy a ticket for a certain price and go to check out, many times that cost increases by as much as 50% once they get all the fees and taxes added in. Congress has 3 times completely abused the American public over my lifetime and that is when they deregulated the airlines, next the phone company and finally the power companies. They give us the excuse it will help lower prices but EVERY time it's been a COMPLETE, TOTAL and ABSOLUTE DISASTER. I've often wondered how much companies have paid off members of congress to screw the AMerican public this badly. Next time they want to deregulate something we should just shoot the whole bunch of them and put them out of OUR misery. I can't believe after all 3 of these disasters they would ever try it again.

December 15 2010 at 11:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David S.

Geez, what a bunch of whiners on here. Some airlines allow you two bags without charging any fees -- at least United Airlines does. If you cannot pack your stuff in two suitcases, that is your issue. As to the "groping" as Margie puts it, what a joke. This is not groping. These are pat-downs. People flatter themselves too much thinking the TSA would want to grope you in the first place. I flew overseas recently, and was patted down once. It took all of two minutes. Everyone else was subjected to the same. It didn't bother me a bit. Either people want to be safe or they don't. The bottom line is if you don't like it, drive or take the bus. Good luck if you are going overseas.

December 15 2010 at 4:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They are only able to charge these ridiculous fees because people will pay them. Boycott the majors who charge them. You think they'll be worried how much your bag weighs when they can't fill a flight? I fly Southwest if at all possible. No fees, happy employees. They actually care about the customer. And if I'm forced to ride another airline, you better believe I'm yelling at the counter about getting screwed over. Make a scene about it. If they have a line full of loud complaints, they'll think twice about the next stupid fee in the boardrooms.

December 15 2010 at 1:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If you want to know the real reason Airlines charge these fees, just take a look up in the sky and look for the planes around your airport. No they are not sky writing when you see that long foggy line behind them at 20,ooo feet. They are dumoing fuel so they can land. Aircraft normally take on 30-35% more fuel than they need to make it to their destination in the event of problems on the ground that prevent them from landing on time or having to wait in a holding pattern, or even having to divert to another airport. If they don't encounter any problems, they are normally to heavy to land safely and have to dump hundreds, sometimes up to a thousand gallons of very expensive jet fuel. A few months ago in Memphis a FEDEX pland was dumping fuel between 5,000 and 8,000 feet and the fuel didn't have time to evaporate and ruined hundreds of acres of crops, and it was like pulling teeth to get them to admit to it. Well I think it would be safe to say the airlines dump Billions of dollars worth of fuel every year, but they will never admit it. The next time you are at the airport and see a pilot, ask them what that cloud like substance trailing behind their planes are and see what he/she says.

December 15 2010 at 1:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

no need to fly anymore it has gotten out of hand. between high fees, nasty service, and strip searches.. I feel much more secure if I just drive, or take a train..No need to go to different countries they are all beginning to look alike mc donalds berger king, wendy's etc etc.can see them down the block.Who needs to go to paris to eat a big mac, beside i'm american and they all hate us anyway.also the govt. fees and taxes cost as much as the ticket..If we were all smart we would just stay home for awhile.. Eat at home read a book turn off everything we don't need as a matter of life and death so our utility bills go way down. spend only what we must to survive if we all did the Corp world would go crazy, gas, oil, electic prices would drop service would get better.. It will never happen but for me I'm doing my part..I try not to use any service that the govt. runs that will add a few years onto my life alone..Try to use the fireplace to keep the heating bills down, bought a few solar panels to run lights computer and a few other things. Got a majic jack helps get rid of the cell phone and land line and cost only 20.00 a year. Drive only were i have to and combine trips that has cut my gas in half. I bought a 25.00 th antenna which gets me the local channels and a satelite dish for fta television to cut the cost of cable don't get all the shows but the savings and the freedom from the greedy entertainment business and cable providers is more rewarding.My daughter asked me why the sudden urge to go Green was I trying to save the planet.. My answer was the only thing green to me about what I was doing was to keep my green in my pocket and break my dependency on the Corp. world..Frankly I'm tired of being squeezed for more money everytime i turn around..My wife is a good cook why eat junk at some resurant when we can sit at our own table and get a much better meal at a fraction of the cost..There are so many ways to break our dependency on the corporations of the world. Also When I do need to buy something I try to use the small store the family owned ones..I will keep trying as I wait for the day when I'm able to get all the services that I need to live a Happy life and do it without having to use Any of the products that corp. and the govt provide.. It may not happen until I die but I'm going to keep on trying.. U should join me.......

December 15 2010 at 1:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There is a solution. Simply STOP Flying. If the airlines feel it in their wallets they will have to change. People are too ready to put up with anything the airlines choose to dole out including rudness, over doing security to the point of sexual harrassment, age discrimination as older people need to have access to the bathrooms and, therefore, need ailse seats(certain airlines also have the nerve to charge to use the bathroom). I stopped flying several years ago and will not fly again until some changes occur.

December 15 2010 at 12:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

With a nod to LilyTomlin:

We don't care. We don't have to-we're the airlines.

December 15 2010 at 12:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What this article has failed to point out is that SOUTHWEST now charges you $10 to 'check in' via your home computer and print out your boarding pass; this used to cost the flier NOTHING.

December 14 2010 at 11:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply