Extra fees are making airlines' profits healthier while keeping base fares low for consumers. They're on track to increase each year, which is becoming a good thing for the industry and flyers.
U.S. airlines made $4.7 billion from checked baggage and reservation change fees in the first three quarters of 2013, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
For the fourth consecutive year, Delta Air Lines is on track to beat out all other U.S. airlines in checked baggage and change fees, taking home $1.3 billion in revenues.
Delta’s share of fees is in line with its share of U.S. traffic. It carried 57.5 million domestic and international passengers in the first six months of 2013, more than any other airline. (Southwest’s passenger numbers are greater than Delta’s when AirTran’s passenger numbers are included. The BTS includes AirTran’s fee revenue in Southwest’s totals.)
Fourth quarter data will not be available until May 5, 2014.
Comparing the combined first three quarters of 2013 with the combined first three quarters of 2012, revenues from bag fees are actually down by $95 million year-over-year. That should be contrasted with the additional fees airlines are bringing in from change fees. Those are up $195 million year-over-year.
Airlines are ranked below by 2013 baggage and change fee revenue for Q1-Q3:
|Rank||Airline||Baggage Fees ($)||Change Fees ($)||Total Fees ($)|
|15||Island Air Hawaii||1,486,000||251000||1,737,000|
Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics
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Photo credit: Delta Air Lines' passengers wait to check bags at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. James Emery / Flickr