I just read in a travel agent trade publication that U.S. airlines made in excess of $1.2 billion in baggage fees during the first half of the year. To put that in context, it was their number one source of “ancillary revenue” (meaning everything besides the actual airfare). It was even more than they made in cancellation/change fees (which we ALL know are ridiculously high).

Am I the only one who thinks that’s a heck of a lot of money to make on something that the passenger really can’t control? I can live with charges for food/drinks (bring your own), headphones and blankets (ditto), and even a last-minute cancellation (that’s what travel insurance is for), but how am I supposed to go away on vacation without any luggage?

Guess I’ll have to stick with the few airlines who actually give my bags a free ride (like Jet Blue and Southwest), and stay away from the “legacy” carriers (like USAir, United, Delta, Continental and American) who, in most cases, charge $20 for the first bag and $30 for the second! Ouch!

Looking to check out the fees for yourself? Click here.