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 17,873.22 44.93 0.25%
Nasdaq 4,933.51 31.74 0.65%
S&P 500 2,099.06 8.96 0.43%
Treasuries 1.85 0.03 1.54%
Data as of 6:55pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 14.88 0.18 1.22%
Coca-Cola Enterprise... 51.55 0.69 1.36%
Baxalta Inc 45.53 -0.17 -0.37%
Apple Inc 100.35 -0.06 -0.06%
Micron Technology In... 12.31 0.36 3.01%
Data as of May 27
Sponsors

Sections

Unionized Verizon workers who had been striking since mid-April will return back to work on June 1 after negotiating a healthy pay raise and bonus. More

Janet Yellen hinted again Friday that a June or July interest rate hike is a very real possibility. More

The FBI has opened a national security investigation into the hacking of Bangladesh's central bank amid signs that the hack might have come from North Korea. More

The gender pay gap in the labor market is pretty well documented. But the gender gap also exists in the housing market. More