If you fly even occasionally, you’ve probably given up grumbling about baggage fees. Like leg cramps, turbulence and only getting half the soda, you’ve accepted them as an unavoidable air-travel annoyance. And that’s exactly how the airlines want it. For them, baggage fees are big money. How big? According to data from the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics, U.S. airlines have collected more than $2.5 billion in baggage fees so far this year, a 23 percent increase compared to the same period last year. Delta was by far the fee-collection leader, raking in $733.2 million. Hawaiian was near the middle of the pack with a still-staggering $40.3 million.
“These ancillary revenues are making airlines profitable,” an industry consultant told CNN. “But it’s the name of the game. People are paying it, people aren’t revolting, and so they’ll be there forever.” Considering the borderline-revolt passengers are engaged in over TSA’s invasive screening procedures, that almost sounds like a dare.