NEW YORK (AP) - U.S. airlines collected more than $1.7 billion in baggage fees during the first half of the year, the largest amount ever collected in that six-month period.
Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) once again claimed the title as the airline collecting the most in baggage fees: nearly $430 million from January through June. The slightly larger United Airlines - part of United Continental Holdings Inc. (UAL) - followed with $351 million in bag fees, according to a report from the Bureau of Transportation statistics released Tuesday.
Airlines started charging for a first checked suitcase in 2008 and the fees have climbed since. Airlines typically charge $25 each way for the first checked bag, $35 for the second bag and then various extra amounts for overweight or oversized bags.
The airlines also collected an additional $1.3 billion in fees for canceling or changing a reservation during the first six months of the year.
Without the fees, many airlines would struggle to remain profitable. The industry turned a $2.3 billion operating profit with a 6-percent profit margin in the second quarter, according to BTS, up from $228 million, or a 0.7-percent margin, during the first quarter, a traditionally slow time of year.