In 2014, Delta Air Lines charged more than $860 million in baggage fees. In all, air carriers charged passengers checking luggage a total of more than $3.5 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
That’s a 660 percent increase since 2007 when baggage fees amounted to only $424 million.
Baggage fees began rising sharply in 2008 during the recession as fuel prices rose and ticket sales declined. Airlines like United began charging about $15 per bag to boost revenues.
Today, it’s more rare for an airline not to charge passengers to check a bag— Jet Blue was one of the few holdouts but caved to pressure from shareholders in June.