DOT: Airlines collected $7.8B in ancillary revenue in 2009

By Jerry Limone

U.S. airlines raked in more than $7.8 billion in ancillary fee revenue in 2009, according to a report by the Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Of the total, more than $2.7 billion was revenue from baggage fees.

Delta and Northwest led the way with a combined $2.4 billion in ancillary fee revenue. (The DOT defined ancillary fee revenue as baggage fees, reservation change fees and miscellaneous operating revenue, including pet transportation, sale of frequent-flyer miles to airline business partners and standby passenger fees.)

American was second at $1 billion, followed by US Airways ($912.1 million), Southwest ($617.1 million), United ($619.5 million), Continental ($539.7 million), AirTran ($249.7 million), JetBlue ($193.1 million) and Alaska ($147 million).

Of all the carriers, Spirit Airlines by far had the highest percentage of ancillary fee revenue compared to total operating revenue, at 20.9%. AirTran was second at 10.7%. Of the major carriers, Delta had the highest percentage at 9.1% (not including Northwest).

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