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How Much are US Airlines Making from Baggage Fees?



airlines-highest-baggage-fees” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Upgraded Points recently revealed their newest data study exploring the growing rate of U.S. airlines‘ baggage fees and the amount of revenue generated from those fees. Using industry data, Upgraded Points ranked the airlines based on the amount of fees levied, their rate of increase, and the overall airline income percentage those fees represent. In addition, the study also explored average fees paid by customers.  

Airlines Who Made the Most in Baggage Fees

American Airlines generated the most revenue in total from baggage fees, probably because they charge much larger fees relative to other carriers, while also boasting a significant volume of passengers. But other notable airlines also took a hefty profit from baggage fees.

  1. American Airlines: Leading the pack, American Airlines netted over $1.2 billion in baggage fees for the year. It is the largest U.S. airline in terms of domestic routes, in addition to having raised its fees from $25 to $30 for the first checked bag and $35 to $40 for the second.

  2. United Airlines: With over $933 million gained from baggage income, United came in a close second for most fees gained from baggage charges. In addition to raising its fees, United is one of the main promoters of the basic economy fare, which may account for higher checked-baggage fees overall.

To see the complete study, including a greater breakdown of each airline by baggage-fee income ranking, visit HERE.

“We’ve all noticed that baggage fees have increased over the years; you feel the financial pinch every time you check-in to fly,” said Upgraded Points Founder Alex Miller. “But I think people will be shocked to learn just how much revenue those fees actually create for airlines. We’re talking a record $5.1 billion in baggage charges, just in the past year alone.” 

Analysis Methodology

The study looked at current data released by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) for the year spanning April 2018 to March 2019. Upgraded Points read and evaluated the raw revenue data from baggage fees, while also calculating the percentage of increase from the previous year based on known rate increases from carriers like United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines. Some results from the study are included below.


Percentage of Baggage Fee Increase

Based on the previous year, all airlines increased their baggage fees an average of 8.6 percent; though there were notable exceptions of carriers whose baggage fees actually represented less of overall-income percentage than the previous year. The largest baggage revenue increase was Alaskan Airlines, by 40 percent. Some other individual breakdowns also demonstrated dramatic baggage-fee increases:

  • Sun Country: 91.9 percent.

  • Spirit: 27.3 percent.

  • Allegiant: 11.9 percent

  • Southwest: 7.2 percent

In general, baggage fees make up 3 percent of the overall operating revenue for all airlines, though some airlines rely on this revenue more heavily than others. For instance, while Spirit, Frontier and Allegiant are among the lowest-cost carriers, baggage-fees make up far more of their revenue than much larger carriers: 19, 16 and 14 percent respectively. Spirit Airlines generates the highest percentage of revenue from baggage fees because their customers pay the most in such fees. While Southwest charges the least in fees and do not charge for carry-ons, allowing passengers to check up to two bags for free. 

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Travel Etiquette

Amtrak Offers BOGO Valentine’s Day Tickets



Amtrak has announced a Valentine’s Day Buy One Get One Free Sale. From Thursday, February 13, through Monday, February 17, customers can buy one coach ticket and get the second free for nationwide travel between March 9and August 30, 2020, with no blackout dates. Customers can receive discounted tickets by using the code V214 at checkout or at

Amtrak is offering a great way for customers and their loved ones to travel for a weekend away or on a leisurely vacation. From couples to moms, to friends, to every loved one, Amtrak encourages individuals to give more than chocolates, flowers, and valentines this year. Instead, consider gifting a trip on Amtrak with a two for the price of one, Buy One Get One Free Sale.

The discount is valid for travel across the national network including most long-distance routes as well as the AcelaAdirondackCarolinian/Piedmont,CascadesDowneasterDownstate Illinois Services, Empire ServiceEthan Allen ExpressHeartland FlyerMaple LeafMichigan ServicesMissouri River RunnerNortheast RegionalSan JoaquinsValley FlyerVermonter and reserved sections of the Pennsylvanian and Keystone Service. Two customers can travel together in coach for as low as:


New York – Washington, D.C (Acela) $183

Los Angeles – Seattle $126

Washington, D.C. – Boston (Acela) $192

Seattle – Portland, OR $36

Washington, D.C. – Chicago $105

San Francisco – Denver $149

San Francisco – Los Angeles $66.50

New York – Atlanta $164

New York – Washington, D.C.$98

Chicago – St. Louis$31

Los Angeles – Albuquerque $86

St. Louis – Kansas City $36

Portland, ME – Boston $29

Richmond, VA – Charlotte $54

Detroit – Chicago $40

Washington, D.C. – Orlando $139

Fares will vary by train

Being able to easily travel to/from city centers, Amtrak has one of the most generous baggage policies in the travel industry, applicable for two personal items and two carry-on bags. Amtrak also offers the freedom to use phones and electronic devices at all times (no “airplane mode”), the ability to travel with small pets on many trains, large spacious seats with ample legroom and no middle seat.

This sale is valid for one free companion rail fare traveling on the same reservation as one full adult coach fare. This offer is valid for travel on all reserved service except the Auto Train. Adults must travel together and be booked in the same reservation. Valid for coach seats only; no upgrades allowed. This offer is not combinable with any other discount offer. All prices will be automatically discounted from the standard fare when accessing this promotion at or by using the discount code (V214) when booking their trip. Other terms and conditions apply.

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