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

Just the hot list include
Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 24,461.68 -203.21 -0.82%
Nasdaq 7,151.63 -86.42 -1.19%
S&P 500 2,670.53 -22.60 -0.84%
Treasuries 2.93 0.02 0.62%
Data as of 11:26am ET
Company Price Change % Change
General Electric Co 14.53 0.54 3.86%
Apple Inc 166.70 -6.10 -3.53%
Bank of America Corp... 30.14 -0.04 -0.13%
Advanced Micro Devic... 10.03 -0.08 -0.79%
Micron Technology In... 51.06 -0.36 -0.70%
Data as of 11:11am ET
Sponsors

Sections

General Electric is finally giving demoralized shareholders and employees a reason for hope. More

US regulators are close to slapping Wells Fargo with a $1 billion fine for forcing customers into car insurance and charging mortgage borrowers unfair fees. More

Ads from over 300 companies and organizations ran on YouTube channels promoting white nationalists, Nazis, pedophilia, conspiracy theories and North Korean propaganda, a CNN investigation has found. More

A plan that lowers your student loan payments and offers some forgiveness isn't always the best choice. More