Bag Fees Fatten Airline Revenue

Airlines brought in $669.6 million in revenue just from baggage fees alone in the second quarter of 2009 according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

That is a huge increase over Q2 2008 revenue of $178.2 million, especially when one considers that less people flew in Q2 2009.

Why the big increase?  Airlines are charging more for services as they seek to offset the worst downturn in travel since after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Checked-bag fees are the most lucrative source of extra money for the airlines.  Bag fees are also the least popular for travelers.  Even so, the airlines have quickly expanded the fees.  Airlines started imposing the bag fees on second bags passengers checked in the spring of 2008.  Then some airlines began charging for even the first bag checked.  Now, some airlines even add a few dollars in fees to passengers who pay at the airport instead of online.

Travel industry experts don’t expect the bag fees to go away once travel and economy turns around.  The fees are so lucrative and airlines are becoming dependent on the extra revenue.

How have the extra bag fees changed your business travel?

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