US airlines raked in $4.7 billion in baggage and change fees during the first nine months of 2013

The ticket price is just the beginning for travelers.
The ticket price is just the beginning for travelers.
Image: AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh
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US airlines made $4.7 billion from checked baggage and reservation change fees in the first three quarters of 2013, according to preliminary data from the US Department of Transportation’s US Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

For the fourth consecutive year, Delta Air Lines is on track to beat out all other US airlines in checked baggage and change fees, taking home $1.3 billion in revenues.

Delta’s share of fees is in line with its share of US traffic. It carried 57.5 million domestic and international passengers in the first six months of 2013, more than any other airline. (Southwest’s passenger numbers are greater than Delta’s when AirTran’s passenger numbers are included. The BTS includes AirTran’s fee revenue in Southwest’s totals.) Fourth quarter data will not be available until May 5, 2014.

Comparing the combined first three quarters of 2013 with the combined first three quarters of 2012, revenue from bag fees are actually down by $95 million year-over-year. That’s in contrast to the additional fees airlines are bringing in from change fees. Those are up $195 million year-over-year.

US airlines are ranked below by 2013 baggage and change fee revenue for Q1-Q3.

US airline change fees
Image: Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics

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