Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Airline industry made billions off added fees

By Aaron Smith, CNNMoney.com staff writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Those baggage fees really add up: The airline industry raked in nearly $8 billion from fees last year, according to a government report.

The revenue from so-called ancillary fees totaled $7.8 billion in 2009, according to U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics. That's a 40% increase from 2008, when the revenue from ancillary fees totaled $5.5 billion, the bureau said.

The tally does not include air fares. It's made up of the plethora of extra fees that airlines have tacked on over the last few years, including fees to transport checked bags, pets, and musical instruments.

The fees are also applied to other services, such as curbside check-in or ordering tickets over the phone. The fees vary from airline to airline.

In 2009, the airlines collected $2.7 billion in baggage fees, $2.4 billion from reservation change fees and $2.7 billion from an assortment of other ancillary fees, such as frequent flyer award program mileage sales.

Delta Air Lines (DAL, Fortune 500) was the leading collector of ancillary fee revenue, bringing in more than $1.6 billion in 2009.

But the carrier that relies the most on extra charges is Spirit Airlines. In the fourth quarter of 2009, 21% of the airline's operating revenue came from ancillary fees, a larger percentage than any of its rivals.

In April, Spirit Airlines began charging extra fees for carry-on bags. Because that that measure was imposed in 2010, it's not included in the 2009 numbers. To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 22,956.96 85.24 0.37%
Nasdaq 6,624.01 18.20 0.28%
S&P 500 2,557.64 4.47 0.18%
Treasuries 2.31 0.03 1.18%
Data as of 3:52am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 26.24 0.41 1.59%
General Electric Co 23.36 0.38 1.65%
PG&E Corp 53.43 -4.29 -7.43%
Advanced Micro Devic... 14.26 0.04 0.28%
Micron Technology In... 41.49 1.09 2.70%
Data as of Oct 16
Sponsors

Sections

More than 5% of DACA recipients have started their own businesses since enrolling the program, according to a recent survey. More

Crashing out of the EU without a trade deal will cost British households an extra £260 ($345) a year, according to a new report. More

Netflix plans to continue ramping up its spending as the arms race for original content heats up. More

More than 30 companies have been sued by the government over the past month for scamming student loan borrowers. More