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Passengers Vent Frustrations As Airlines Pocket $1.7 Billion In Baggage Fees

Statistics Reveal Delta, United, American & US Airways Profited The Most
An American Airlines passenger waits for her luggage. (credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

An American Airlines passenger waits for her luggage. (credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A new government report is out on airlines and it’s not good news for passengers.

Not only did it say passengers will have fewer options when it comes to airlines and flights from which to choose, it also found airlines are making record profits from baggage fees.

If you think you’re paying more to fly the bags you check in, you’re right.

Airlines made a whopping $1.7 billion on baggage fees in just the first six months of the year, according to a government report.

“I think they’re ridiculous. They’re just nickel and diming constantly and it’s not getting any better anytime soon,” Toby Hughes of Allentown, Pennsylvania told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.

“I think it’s a way to keep airfare low — Get you to buy the ticket and charge you on the back side,” said Mark Naman, of Marlboro, New Jersey.

Statistics show Delta Air Lines made more money on baggage fees than any other airline, followed by United Airlines, American Airlines and US Airways.

“I usually don’t have bags to check in. I use a carry on. I purposely do that, so I can avoid any of the fees,” Hughes said.

But now, there may be a new trend. Spirit Airlines recently started charging a $100 fee for carry-ons.

On average, airlines charge $25 dollars for the first bag you check in, $35 for the second and extra for oversized and overweight luggage.

Consumer watchdog groups said people should expect to fork out more money as the holiday season approaches.

“If you’re looking to travel over the holidays, it’s probably a good idea to start searching now and if you see a good fare, jump on it. Anything under $400 on a long-haul flight, under $300 on a short-haul flight, said George Hobica of AirfareWatchdog.com.

“You have to pay for a sandwich, you have to pay for a snack, you get a cheap pack of pretzels and a soda and then they want you to pay for everything else,” said Scott Henricks of Wisconsin.

Airlines said years of dropping profits, mainly caused by a recession, has left them with no other options.

“Without the baggage fees and other fees, they would have been in the red,” Hobica said.

Despite profiting most on baggage fees, Delta does offer luggage perks. Some passengers who are Delta frequent fliers said they didn’t get charged certain fees.

“It cost $25, which I think is quite reasonable compared to some of the UK airlines,” said Martin Bull of London.

Still, many passengers said with all the new fees, they would rather take a train or drive than fly.

A Delta spokesperson said baggage fees reflect the high cost of air transportation.

Airlines For America, which represents the airline industry, said charging for services allows passengers to pay for services they value and enables airlines to keep base fares low.

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