Curious Why Airlines Haven’t Dropped Baggage Fees

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The New England Patriots battle the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium in week 6 of the 2010 NFL season.

Curious Why Airlines Haven't Dropped Baggage FeesWBZ

Last summer, many airlines started tacking on extra charges to cover rising fuel prices.

But those prices have dropped and passengers are still paying many of those fees.

That made Judy from Tyngsboro curious:

“We still have to pay extra to check luggage? I thought the fee was put in place because the cost of fuel went up.”

Airlines used to charge $15 for the first checked bag.

Now, most of them have upped that to $20.

There are two exceptions, Jet Blue and Southwest.

Neither charges for a first checked bag.

Add fees for snacks and meals to the baggage fees and you have a lucrative revenue stream for airlines.

Henry Harteveldt, an airline analyst with Forrester Research, says airlines can’t afford to eliminate the fees.

“The airline industry is losing a fortune,” he said.

“Travel is depressed, especially business travel, so these various, what the airline industry calls ‘ancillary product sales’ remain a very critical point of revenue.”

Some airlines make as much as $1 billion a year from all of the fees.

Passengers seem resigned to it.

Randa Armoush calls them ridiculous but says, “I doubt they’re going to take them off.”

She flew from Boston to Tampa and had to pay $50 to check her two bags.

“I’ve been on vacation the past two months,” she said. “I just can’t not take clothes with me.”

Analysts point out that fewer than 20-percent of passengers actually check a bag these days.

Harteveldt likens it to a trip to the movies.

“Your ticket only gets you your seat,” he said. “Everything else is up to you.”

What are you curious about?

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