Airlines on track to collect more than $3 billion for checked luggage this year


Thought those reservation change fees I showed you yesterday were shocking? Then check this out.

Here’s what airlines have charged us in baggage fees during the last 20 years. Notice any trends?

From 2007 to 2009, the number jumped from $464 million to an astounding $2.7 billion, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. If the first-quarter number holds for the rest of the year — and that’s a big “if” considering that it continues to go up — then the airline industry will collect more than $3 billion in baggage fees for 2010.

Holy smokes!

Let’s look at some of the biggest beneficiaries.

Delta Air Lines leads the flock, as it did with change fees. That’s some jump in the last two quarters!

American Airlines doesn’t want to get left behind. No worries, boys, you won’t.

Neither does Continental.

Or United.

Even “no-fee” Southwest is helping itself to some of the boo-tay. You might even say it’s an early adopter, when it comes to luggage charges.

Truth is, this is going to continue. The sky is the limit, figuratively speaking, for these luggage fees.

It won’t stop until we say it stops.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at . Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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