Airlines set bag fee record in first half of year

Associated Press Modified: September 25, 2012 at 2:00 pm •  Published: September 25, 2012
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NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. airlines collected more than $1.7 billion in baggage fees during the first half of the year, the largest amount ever collected in that six-month period.

Delta Air Lines Inc. once again claimed the title as the airline collecting the most in baggage fees: nearly $430 million from January through June. The slightly larger United Airlines — part of United Continental Holdings Inc. — followed with $351 million in bag fees, according to a report from the Bureau of Transportation statistics released Tuesday.

Airlines started charging for a first checked suitcase in 2008 and the fees have climbed since. Airlines typically charge $25 each way for the first checked bag, $35 for the second bag and then various extra amounts for overweight or oversized bags.

The nation's 15 largest carriers collected a combined $932 million in bag fees in the second quarter, the BTS reported. That's in addition to the $816 million collected in the first quarter of 2012. The third quarter, which includes the busy leisure travel months of July and August, is traditionally the highest of the year but figures aren't expected to be reported by the government until December.

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