The Real Deal: Big Baggage Fee Profits
Updated: Wednesday, March 20 2013, 01:56 PM EDT
ALBANY - The airline industry brought in more money in baggage fees during the first six month of this year then ever before. Industry experts claim the money is used to help offset the increasing cost of fuel and although some passengers don't seem to buy it, they're still forking over the cash.
When you ask fliers about baggage fees, Jill Cantley has a typical response: "I think it should be included in your airfare, I don't know why we have to check a bag and pay the fees, if it's over-sized, I get it, maybe a little extra--it takes up extra space but otherwise I think there should just be no fees!" Yet, the airlines are raking in big bucks when it comes to charging for bags.
In the first half of 2012, airlines collected 1.7 billion dollars in baggage fees which means, while the added charge may be annoying, it's not preventing most people from checking luggage at the counter as opposed to carrying it on. Delta Air Lines once again claimed the title as the airline collecting the most in baggage fees: nearly $430 million from January through June. United Airlines followed with $351 million in bag fees, according to the Bureau of Transportation statistics.
"If you're traveling with children you really have no choice... you need your stroller checked, you have a lot of luggage, you could not possibly fit a families amount of items in a carry-on," says Cantley. Linda Curt who is visiting form Chicago says she still checks a bag to avoid some of the restrictions put in place by TSA for carry-on luggage, "I don't even want to think about trying to conserve down to the size that's appropriate, I just put it all in a bag, I know I can check it," says says. And then of course, there is the issue of vacation souvenirs. Anna Toth is visiting the Capital Region from Pennsylvania and prefers to carry-on but sometimes just can't manage it, "I went to San Fransisco in May and we bought so much extra stuff, we didn't have a choice, we wanted to get it home so, I was forced to pay and I was angry about it but we each paid like an extra $100 for the luggage," she says.