Checked-Bag Fees Net Airlines More Than $1 Billion

Posted May 15, 2009 by Nicki Krawczyk

Baggage2 I’m happy to give credit where credit is due, especially when it comes to genius money-making schemes. Well, genius legal money-making schemes. Which is why I’m willing to congratulate the airlines on their recent success: over the last year, excess baggage fees have earned airlines over $1 billion.

Now, I know that airline fees haven’t been particularly, oh, "popular" with airline passengers. People don’t like to pay for stuff that used to be free. Plus, for those who don’t happen to follow travel blogs (unlike you, dear reader), those extra fees usually came as a surprise right when it was too late to make alternate plans. If you’re at the check-in counter, it’s a little late to pack light enough to carry your bag on and if you’re up in the air at thirty thousand feet, it’s a little late to pack a sandwich.

However, as with all things, we adapted. We grumbled, but we sure weren’t about to drive from Phoenix to Cleveland just to save the $25 checked-bag fee. And, yes, I’m not crazy about shelling out extra dough for a packet of peanuts, but I’m also not crazy about a crucial industry continuing its nose dive into debt and Chapter 11. The airplanes need us… and we need the airplanes.

So, to this recent news of airlines actually making a little money, I say, “Huzzah!” There still need to be major changes in order to avoid a Detroit-style meltdown, but every little bit (and yes, by “little bit,” I mean a billion dollars) helps. Start setting out tip jars, big airlines, and we’ll see if we can’t make that 2 billion.


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