US Airlines Have Collected More Than $1 Billion in Bag Fees for 10 Straight Quarters

Dec 16, 2018

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The US Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics released some fantastic news — that is, if you’re a major shareholder in a US-based airline. A recent report from the US DOT shows that for the 10th straight quarter, US-based airlines earned in excess of $1 billion in baggage fees alone — news that’s far from fantastic for passengers.

The US DOT report found that airlines earned nearly $1.3 billion in bag fees in the third quarter of 2018. Additionally, airlines have raked in more than $3.6 billion in bag fees during the first nine months of 2018. This past quarter, almost 3% of earned revenue for US airlines came from bag fees. American Airlines has earned the most through baggage fees, understandably so as the airline is the largest passenger airline by passenger volume.

While American Airlines might have earned the most in bag fees through the third quarter, American earned far less per passenger than other airlines. Frontier and Spirit had by far the largest fee-per-passenger ratio. This is thanks to the ultra-low-cost business model used by both Frontier and Spirit. While the base fare is typically lower on both Frontier and Spirit, neither airline includes carry-on or checked luggage in the price of a ticket.

Spirit Airlines Bag Sizers at Check-In

All three major airlines including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines have raised the price of the first checked bag from $25 to $30. Other major US airlines including Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines and JetBlue have also upped the price to check a bag. This will ultimately mean even greater numbers in future quarters.

Featured image via Shutterstock

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