Airlines net record baggage fees in 2012
NEW YORK – U.S. airlines collected more than $6 billion in baggage and reservation change fees from passengers last year – the highest amount since the fees became common five years ago. Passengers shouldn’t expect a break anytime soon. Those fees – along with extra charges for boarding early or picking prime seats – have helped return the industry to profitability.
Airlines started charging for a first checked suitcase in 2008 and the fees have climbed since. Airlines typically charge $25 each way for the first checked bag, $35 for the second bag and then various extra amounts for overweight or oversized bags.
The nation’s 15 largest carriers collected a combined $3.5 billion in bag fees in 2012, up 3.8 percent from 2011, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Fees for changing a reservation totaled $2.6 billion, up 7.3 percent.