Baggage Fees Bring Airlines Big Profits

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After three years of losses, the U.S. airline industry finally made money in 2010, primarily from additional baggage fees.

Airlines collected $3.4 billion from the extra bag charges alone -- a 24 percent increase since last year, according to a new Department of Transportation report.

Delta made the most money from bag fees totaling $952 million, followed by United and Continental at nearly $655 million. American collected $580 million and US Airways $513 million.

"The public hates the airlines now. They are in a race to bottom with vicious cycle higher fees," said George Hobica, founder of

Charging for checked bags started in 2008 to counter rising oil prices.

But baggage fees aren't been the only way airlines are making money. The industry also made $2.3 billion in fees for ticket changes.

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