Delta Airlines, which controls the biggest share of flights leaving Minneapolis-St. Paul International airport, has come in first in a ranking of money generated by add-on fees charged to passengers.
The Associated Press reports the numbers come from information released by the U.S. Transportation Department, which tracks the fees and charges. The story notes that while U.S. airlines raised a total of $3.35 billion from bag fees in 2013, that number declined by 4 percent from 2012. The story says the airlines also raised $2.81 billion last year from fees for changing a reservation or ticket; that's a 10 percent increase over 2012.
Delta Air Lines led the pack in bag fees, raising $833 million last year. Delta also led in change fees, at $840 million.
Delta said recently it raised $165 million in the first quarter of 2014 on other charges, including extra fees for priority boarding, economy seats with more legroom, and upselling to first class. That's a 20 percent increase in one year. Delta President Ed Bastian said the airline believes it can boost the money raised by such add-ons to $500 million a year over the next three years.
CNN reports the ancillary fees helped the 26 domestic airlines make a net profit of $12.7 billion last year. That's up from $98 million in profit the year prior, a staggering increase.
Fees on checked bags, reservation changes and other services have become a larger share of airline revenue and a big reason why the carriers are profitable. Robert Mann, a former American Airlines executive and now an aviation consultant, told the AP he suspects many airlines intentionally make economy travel uncomfortable to pressure customers to pay extra for a better seat, more legroom or early-boarding privileges.