Airlines Raking In More Cash From Bag, Reservation Fees

While airlines didn’t bring in as much income last year as they did in 2013, a new report says they’re still sitting pretty thanks to people willing to pay reservation and checked bag fees.

According to the Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, airline net income fell from $12.2 billion in 2013 to $7.5 billion in 2014 — but that’s not really a huge deal as those figures could include one-time gains or losses, points out the Associated Press.

And besides, that’s just net income: Pre-tax operating profit rose at the 27 airlines in 2014 to $14.6 billion, up from $11.3 billion in 2013.

It’s where they’re making money that’s telling: Airlines pulled in $3.5 billion in bag fees, which is a 5% bump up from 2013. Charging reservation-change fees brought in $3 billion in 2014, which is a 6% increase.

Those are the only ancillary fees reported to the BTS as separate items, however. There are plenty of other extras airlines get revenue from: Think about every time you pay for more leg room or an aisle seat, buy a movie to watch in flight or order another wine for dinner. Those fees all get lumped together and cannot be identified separately, the bureau notes.

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