Airlines rake in billions in extra fees

7:10 PM, May 15, 2013   |    comments
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Los Angeles International Airport (file photo)

ATLANTA -- For the nation's airlines its good news, but for airline passengers it means shelling out more and more money.

Its fees for just about everything but the ticket itself.

The airlines brought in more than $6-Billion in fees for baggage and reservation changes last year alone.

That's a record amount since the fees became commonplace 5 years ago.

They are credited with helping the U.S. airline industry become profitable again.

Checked bag fees alone topped $3.5 Billion.

As airline fees mount, your ticket could be the cheapest part of the trip.
Start with your checked bag.

For passengers it's a $25 minimum charge for the first bag, but for the airlines it's meant billions in revenue.

Passengers say they feel trapped and don't like it.

"I am here for several days. I have to have a chance of clothes, so I think they've got us, unless you can carry on a bunch of different luggage and throw it in the overhead and that is just not feasible," said Susan Bell, an airline passenger about to check her bag.

And that's not all that has passengers angry.

Take changing a ticket.

Its $200 just to go from one flight to another. For the airlines that's a windfall of $2.6 Billion. Of that, $778 Million went to Delta.

"I think it's just ludicrous to have to pay that money just to change a flight, I think its highway robbery," said Tamara Berry, another airline passenger.

But one travel expense you can control is the ticket price.

That means comparison shop on the airline websites, then check out the airfare websites like Priceline, Best Fares, Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, and Kayak.

For the Memorial Day weekend, best available fares include:

  • Atlanta to Washington (AirTran)--$268 
  • Atlanta to New York (US Airways)--$278 
  • Atlanta to Orlando (AirTran)--$242

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