During the first quarter of 2019 the big three US airlines: America, Delta, and United have made a whopping $757 million as baggage fees earnings, reports simpleflying.com. There is big business in baggage fees and most airlines in the US have been getting their share of profits from charging fees for the baggage. According to a report made by inc.com, the consolidated baggage fees earned from across all the airlines in the US is close to $ 1.3 billion and the best part is baggage fees are exempt from the 7.5% excise tax that applies to air tickets and this is why some airlines don’t include baggage fees as part of the ticket airfare.
The listing of airline earnings for the first quarter of 2019 from baggage fees is as follows:
- American Airlines $317.3 million
- United Airlines-$238.5 million
- Delta Airlines-$201.4 million
- Spirit Airlines-$176.1 million
- Frontier Airlines-$91.4 million
- JetBlue-$84.6 million
- Alaska Airlines-$69.7 million
- Allegiant-$63.7 million
- Hawaiian- $20.2 million
- Sun Country-$16.7 million
- Southwest Airlines- $12.0 million
Most airlines in the US are charging a baggage fee of $30 in the economy class in the domestic category on the first piece of checked-in item for anything weighing up to 50lbs. For international flights, most US carriers allow 2 items of checked-in luggage for free and privileged travelers who are elite status members and hold airline cards can make use of the extra perks that the airlines offer to them such as free baggage allowance, seat upgrade, etc.
From the listings above we can see that Southwest occupies the bottom-most position as an airline which has earned the least from baggage fees, this is mainly because Southwest includes these costs bundled inside the air ticket.
Southwest has been a very customer friendly airline and is known for permitting one cabin bag plus a smaller personal item such as a laptop for free and also allows 2 checked-in items for free without any extra fees, unlike its rivals.
According to inc.com, in September 2018, the US Congress made some drastic changes to the air travel industry but nothing much has been done on baggage fee restrictions.
The budget airlines have not topped the list because they don’t handle much air traffic but in reality, most of these so-called budget airlines even charge for the carry-on items as part of their baggage fees.