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Airlines collected record baggage fees in 2012

NEW YORK — U.S. airlines collected more than $6 billion in baggage and reservation change fees from passengers last year — the highest amount since the fees became common five years ago.

These fees — along with charges for boarding early or picking prime seats — have helped return the industry to profitability.

Airlines started charging for a first checked suitcase in 2008 and the fees have climbed since. Airlines typically charge $25 each way for the first checked bag, $35 for the second bag and then various extra amounts for overweight or oversized bags.

The nation’s 15 largest carriers collected a combined $3.5 billion in bag fees in 2012, up 3.8 percent from 2011, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Reservation change fees totaled $2.6 billion, up 7.3 percent.



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