Airlines Have Already Collected More Than $1 Billion in Bag Fees This Year

Jun 17, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

United States-based airlines reported a total profit of $2.1 billion in the first three months of 2019. That figure is up 25% from the same period last year. The first three months of the year are traditionally the worst performing for airlines.

That profit came, like most airline profits in the last decade, thanks in large part to baggage fees and other secondary charges. During those three months, airlines collected $1.3 billion in bag fees alone, according to statistics released Monday by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

The standard fee to check a bag now stands at $30 for the first suitcase, up from the $25 that most airlines charged last year.

That higher fee is paying off. Airlines have already taken in more than $170 million in additional bag fees compared to this point last year.

American Airlines – the world’s largest carrier – continued to collect the most bag fees of any airline, more than $315 million in the first quarter. United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines all maintained their positions in the top five bag-fee earners. Only Frontier showed a drop in checked-bag revenue in the first quarter of 2019 compared to its 2018 earnings.

Southwest Airlines remains the only major US carrier not charging for the first checked bag. It also includes a second checked bag for free. Nevertheless, the airline took in more than $12 million in bag fees in the first three months of 2019. That came mostly from people checking overweight bags or a third suitcase.

Featured image by Kiattisak Lamchan / EyeEm / Getty Images.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.