US airlines collected nearly $6 billion in change and baggage fees from passengers in 2012 – the highest amount collected in one year since the two fees were introduced in 2008.
According to data released by the US Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the 15 largest US airlines collected a combined total of $3.5 billion in bag fees in 2012. Another $2.8 billion were collected in fees for changing reservations.
Delta collected the largest amount in reservation change fees ($778 million) followed by United ($660 million) and American ($517 million).
Delta also collected the largest amount in baggage fees ($865 million), again followed by United ($705 million) and American ($557 million).
Call us old fashioned, but we believe that paying for an airplane ticket should include more than the privilege to board an airplane. Between fees for changes, fees for checked luggage, fees for carry-on luggage, fees for a cup of coffee, fees for a seat – buying an airplane ticket often reminds us of buying a car and then being told there are additional costs for tires, brakes, seats – and the key.
Wouldn’t it be good if the mainstream US airlines learned how Southwest manages to offer competitive fares with changes to reservations and two pieces of checked luggage without fees – instead of continually upping the fees to provide basic services?