Delta Airlines Collected the Most Fees of Any U.S. Airline in 2012

Delta Airlines Boeing 757

Delta Airlines

2012 saw a slight increase in both baggage fees and reservation change and cancellation fees among the nation’s top 10 major airlines studied. Topping the list once again was Delta Airlines who, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, in the 3rd quarter of 2012 had collected over $1.2 million in fees. In 2011 the airline collected nearly $1.7 million in total fees. United Airlines was ranked number two with a little over $1 million in total fees.

According to business class travel website and travel experts, Lets Fly Cheaper through data obtained from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics show a slight increase in fees for 2012 compared to the fee data from 2011. “If you think about it, that amount is barely a drop in the bucket when you compare it to an airline’s actual operating cost. I would say it’s a very mild way for them to make a little extra gas money” says Lets Fly Cheaper marketing director, Sean Delanty.

The bag fees collected from the past two years from the airlines studied, outweigh the change and cancellation fees by $701,000. “The bag fees are an expected expense passengers usually know they are going to have to pay. Changing and cancelling a flight is usually an unexpected thing” says Lets Fly Cheaper CEO, Ramon vanMeer. He also adds that the airlines may start to increase some of those fees or add new ones in 2013.

Over the past few years, the airlines have struggled to earn steady profits. Mainly due to the increase in the overall operational cost to run an airline in a shaky economy with fluctuating fuel prices. Those hurdles added together with the constant demand for low fare tickets has forced the airline industry to make changes to their baggage policies. “Passengers tend to feel they are getting “nickel and dimed” by the airlines when it comes to paying fees. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The airlines are only keeping up with the consumer demand for cheap tickets. It has nothing to do with greed” says Delanty.

2013 will likely not see a decrease in fees but rather an increase on what the airline will be imposing fees on. In 2012, Delta Airlines began charging fees for “preferred seating” which allowed passengers to pay extra for an aisle or window seat. This new practice left some passengers, whom were traveling together in groups and families, forced to sit apart from each other. The airlines have vowed to fix these issues in 2013.

See below for the complete list of the top 10 fee collectors for 2012. The data was collected from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics and is current to December of 2012.

Bag Fees

1. Delta Airlines
2. United Airlines
3. American Airlines
4. U.S Airways
5. Southwest Airlines
6. Alaska Airlines
7. Spirit Airlines
8. Allegiant Air
9. JetBlue Airways
10. Frontier Airlines

Reservation Change and Cancellation Fees

1. Delta Airlines
2. United Airlines
3. American Airlines
4. U.S Airways
5. JetBlue Airways
6. Southwest Airlines
7. Virgin America
8. Spirit Airlines
9. Alaska Airlines
10. Hawaiian Airlines

Lets Fly is a low fare specialist, focused on supplying cheap business class flights to international destinations worldwide. To book the lowest fare contact one of their travel agents at 1-800-240-0461 or go to

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