They’re being described as the lifeblood of the industry -- those fees you pay to travel by air.
The $25 dollar for a checked bag or the $10 for early boarding are adding up to big earnings for the airlines.
The annual Amadeus Review of Ancillary Revenue looked at the financial filings made by carriers.
It shows a 66 percent jump in revenues from the fees over the past two years.
“They started with the fees a few years ago and people accepted them. So they’ve just slowly been adding more,” said Doreen Loofburrow the Vice President of Travel Services for AAA. The report identifies the top fee earners.
United / Continental is first with $5.2 billion, followed by Delta at $2.5 billion, American with $2.1 billion, Qantas earned $1.4 billion and Southwest at $1.2 billion finished out the top 5.
“It’s crazy,” said Portland traveler John Sells. “They keep adding fees but the ticket prices don’t come down.”
For the airlines, the fees are a way of dealing with the rising fuel costs.
Travel planners for AAA point out the fee for checking baggage keeps climbing.
“It started at $20, then it was $25. Now some airlines are charging $30 a bag,” remarked Loofburrow.
Southwest and JetBlue are the only two US carriers that don’t have a baggage fee.
Southwest makes up for it with a $10 per passenger charge for early boarding to secure a seat.
“The revenues would indicate it’s very popular. When 20 to 30 percent of travelers are doing it at some point it stops being a benefit,” explained Loofburrow.
Travelers, she said, can benefit from choosing a single airline. “If you’re a frequent flyer you get to have most of the fees waived.”
With some airlines making 30 per cent of their revenue from fees, they will be looking to add more.
“It can now cost up to $100 to carry a small dog or cat on board and that’s something that didn’t used to exist,” concluded the AAA travel planner.