Airlines Bagging in the Profit
Airline passengers no longer even bat an eye when paying to check-in a bag. The airline industry began charging customers for checked baggage back in 2008 as a way to combat rising fuel costs. What began as an alternative revenue stream has quickly morphed into a key revenue stream for the airline industries. In 2010 alone, baggage fees resulted in $3.4 billion among the top 20 airlines. Here in Hawaii, the state’s largest carrier, Hawaiian Airlines, earned $54 million with checked-bag fees. However, that is small potatoes compared to the $952 million that Delta accrued from checked-bags, or the $580 million that American Airlines collected from checked-bags. While this has contributed to more people packing just carry-ons, tor those flying to Hawaii only packing a carry-on usually isn’t feasible. Arriving in Hawaii with only a carry-on could seriously impede a traveler’s ability to tour the islands, especially if they wanted to tour the summit of Mauna Kea where warm clothing is imperative. Retailers here in Hawaii have jumped in on the debate as well. With checked-bag fees, the number of gift items being purchased here in Hawaii has been declining. After suffering three years of losses, most major airlines finally made a profit in 2010. Checked-bag fees are here to stay.