Airline Bag Fees Net Big Bucks - NBC4 Washington

Airline Bag Fees Net Big Bucks

Those checked bags and aisle seats really add up!



    Airline Bag Fees Net Big Bucks
    Getty Images
    SAN FRANCISCO - NOVEMBER 25: A baggage handler loads bags onto a cart at San Francisco International Airport November 25, 2008 in San Francisco, California. As the econimy continues to falter, AAA is forecasting a decline in holiday travel with an estimated 41 million people traveling over 50 miles from their home, down from 41.6 million a year ago. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

    So much for airlines crying poor because of high fuel prices, a bad economy, volcanic ash and anything else an ill wind blows. 

    And so much for flight attendants complaining about passengers who stuff their carry-ons to the zipper-splitting brim while expecting airline workers to throw out their backs trying to cram the bags into the overhead bins.
    Please. Plenty of us must be checking our bags because the airlines are raking it in. Raking it in.

    NBC’s Tom Costello reported the Department of Transportation released data today on how much the airlines are making on fees for baggage and reservation changes.

    In the third quarter of 2010, the airlines made $906 million on baggage fees and $590 million on reservation change fees – a total of almost $1.5 billion.
    Compare that to the third quarter of the year before, when the airlines made $739 million on baggage fees and $613 million on reservation change fees – a total of almost $1.35 billion.
    Put another way: In just three months this year, passengers on U.S. airlines paid almost $1 billion just to bring their bags with them.
    To narrow the focus to one airline, US Airways expects to net $500 million this year in fees on items such as bag fees, reservation change fees and on-board sales, Costello reported.
    Wall Street analysts expect US Airways to report a net profit this year between $450 million and $475 million.
    "And so a la carte revenues represent 100 percent of that profitability," US Airways CEO Scott Kirby said last week at the Hudson Securities Airline Conference. Of the new fee structure, he said, “… we can't overstate how important that has been to US Airways and to the industry."
    Can someone show us how to get a week’s worth of clothes into a backpack that fits under the seat in front of us?