Airline travel down, fees going up

Airline travel down, fees going up

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Airline travel may be down, but the airlines have raked in $3.8 billion in the first six months of this year, just from fees.

KSL Travel Show host Doug Wren says the biggest money maker is the checked bag fee. Revenue just from that fee alone is up 276 percent in April, May and June alone compared to the same period last year.

"I've been at the airport every week and I see people that are very irate. What do you mean I have to pay another $50?" said Wren.

Wren says shop around to even the discount carriers. You may notice on a travel website that a Delta or American flight seems cheaper, but that doesn't include their checked bag fees.

"Southwest does not charge for their bags, either the first or second bags. On Jet Blue for the first bag you won't pay anything, for the second bag you will," said Wren.

Wren says if you travel a lot, it's worth getting a membership with one airline so they'll be loyal to you. He has a platinum membership with Delta and does not have to pay any bag fees.

Other sources of income for the airlines include fees for canceling or rebooking flights, assigning seats, flying with pets or sending an unaccompanied minor.

"We've been conditioned as passengers to accept the fee. Something needs to happen. The only way they will see that happen is us, as a consumer, choosing another airline that doesn't charge a fee," said Wren.


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Mary Richards


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