Airline Baggage Fees Bring In Nearly $1B In Three Months, Ticket Sales Still Top Revenue-Maker

All those baggage fees added so far this year appear to be bringing in the big bucks for U.S. airlines. A new report found that airlines brought in nearly $1 billion last quarter by charging customers for hauling their belongings. And while that seems like a lot of dough, it’s just a drop in the bucket for the industry.

The Department of Transportation’s latest new data regarding airline revenue and expenditures found the 27 U.S. airlines took in nearly $960 million for flying bags from July to September 2014, a fairly significant increase from one year ago, CNN Money reports.

The new figure represents a 9% increase – $79 million– from the same time last year.

But baggage fees, while continuously tacked on by companies, aren’t the bread-and-butter for airlines.

In fact, when you look at airline’s complete revenue, you’ll find that baggage fees are just a small fraction of the $45.3 billion airlines’ recorded in the third quarter of 2014.

Ticket sales represented the bulk of revenue for the industry, with the same 27 companies bringing in $34 billion in sales last quarter.

Transport-related earnings – including inflight sales, code shares between airlines, and associated businesses – was the second highest revenue-maker for the airlines, bringing in $7.2 billion.

Earnings from pet transportation, sale of frequent flier award miles to airline business partners, standby passenger fees and other public service revenues made up the third highest category for the airlines, bringing in about $1.1 billion for the third quarter.

As for the biggest expenditure, that belongs to fuel costs. Airlines spent about $11.4 billion on fuel for the third quarter.

Though fuel costs have recently begun to decrease, airlines say they actually paid 4% more during the third quarter of 2014 than they did during the same time period a year earlier. We’ll have to wait a few months to see how the recent, significant drops in oil prices impact the current quarter.

Still airlines aren’t exactly hurting, according to the U.S. DOT data.

For the third quarter, airlines recorded a net income of $3.1 billion, and increase of 0.47% over last year.

As for year-to-date net income, the 27 airlines have combined to make $7.2 billion, an increase of $2.2 billion from January to September of 2013.

Airlines get $1 billion from baggage fees [CNN Money]
3rd Quarter 2014 Airline Financial Data [U.S. DOT]

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