Last year, baggage fees were used by airlines to make up for lost fare revenue, as the recession kept people on the ground. This year, it’s just been a great source of extra revenue, as passenger traffic and fares are up – and the fees haven’t gone away. Almost all airlines are getting in on the action, some more egregious than others.
Well, data for the third quarter of 2010 is in, and we can finally take a look at who’s hitting us hardest … and for how much. The numbers will probably shock you. The top baggage fee-grabber owned close to 30 percent of the total baggage fees charged in the United States, a market that has reached $2.6 billion for the first three quarters of the year, and the top five dominate with approximately 80 percent of the total fees charged for bags, according to data from the Department of Transportation.
Let’s take a look at the top five airlines for baggage fee snatching (and then the rest):1. Delta Air Lines, $733 million: in fairness, Delta is the largest airline in the United States, so it’s to be expected that it will generate the most revenue.
2. American Airlines, $431 million: the third-largest airline hits the #2 spot for baggage fees, implying an aptitude for prying open customer wallets yet to be recognized by its competitors.
3. US Airways, $388 million: again, this is an impressive take, as evidenced by the distance between US Airways and Continental, in the #4 spot.
4. Continental Airlines, $258 million: this almost makes the airline look downright reasonable, especially when it’s year-to-date baggage fees aren’t even as substantial as what Delta raked in during the third quarter alone!
5. United Airlines, $239 million:
And, the rest:
6. AirTran Airways: $112 million
7. Alaska Airlines: $81 million
8. Spirit Air Lines: $56 million
9. Frontier Airlines: $44 million
10. JetBlue Airways: $43 million
11. Allegiant Air: $43 million
12. Hawaiian Airlines: $40 million
13. Virgin America: $27 million
14. Southwest Airlines: $23 million
15. Republic Airlines: $18 million
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16. Horizon Air: $13 million
17. Sun Country airlines: $9 million
18. Mesa Airlines: $2 million
19. Continental Micronesia: $2 million
20. USA 3000 Airlines: $2 million
[photo by The Story Lady via Flickr]