Bag Fees Still Bringing in Big Bucks


Bag fees are lucrative. There is no disputing this and, really, it's kind of old news at this point. But it's still staggering to see just how lucrative they are. The top ten airlines in terms of bag fee revenue brought in a staggering $669 million in the second quarter (April through June) of 2009. Here are the top earners:

  • American: $118.44 million
  • Delta: $118.36 million
  • US Airways: $104.14 million
  • United: $67.41 million
  • Northwest: $67.19 million
  • Continental: $63.16 million
  • AirTran: $40.54 million
  • Spirit: $16.18 million
  • Frontier: $13.46 million
  • JetBlue: $12.35 million

JetBlue is the only carrier listed that doesn't charge a first-bag fee. My quick and rough guess is that a first-bag fee would bring its revenue up around AirTran's number, so theoretically it's leaving between $20 and $30 million on the table. One has to imagine that Southwest would appear in the upper half of this list if it charged for the first and second bag.

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As always, you can keep track of all the airline fees with our Ultimate Guide to Airline Fees.

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