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Updated Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 02:05 PM

Airlines boost 3Q baggage fee collections

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press

Airlines are raking in more baggage fees.

U.S. airlines collected $924 million in baggage fees in the third quarter, up almost 3 percent from the same period last year, the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported on Monday.

United Continental Holdings Inc. reported some of the biggest gains. United collected $187.3 million in bag fees in the third quarter, up 10.8 percent from a year earlier.

Delta Air Lines Inc. is the second-biggest airline by traffic, but it had the top spot for baggage fees. It has collected $662.8 million so far this year. That's up slightly from the same period last year.

Baggage fee collections fell sharply at American Airlines, which is reorganizing under bankruptcy protection. It took in $138.3 million in the most recent quarter, down 9.5 percent from a year earlier.

Even Southwest Airlines Co., where passengers can check two bags for free, has collected $104.3 million in baggage fees so far this year. That's mostly because its AirTran subsidiary does charge for baggage. In fact, AirTran raised its bag fees on Friday.

Ticket-change fees are up, too. Airlines collected $652 million in change fees in the most recent quarter, up 8 percent from $602.9 million a year earlier. Delta is tops in that category, too, with $200.4 million in ticket change fees, compared to $171.9 million for United.

Airlines report baggage and ticket-change fees to the government. Fees for other add-ons, such as picking a seat or getting on the plane early, are not reported separately.

Airline profits jumped almost 55 percent to $1.39 billion in the third quarter, compared to $902.2 million during the same period last year, the government reported.


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