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Hawaiian Air posts record $18.1 million in bag fees

The carrier cites an increased number of passengers on mainland routes

By Star-Advertiser staff

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 10:44 a.m. HST, Dec 18, 2012


Hawaiian Airlines took in a record $18.1 million in baggage fees in the third quarter, according to a federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics report issued Monday.

The local airline ranked 11th in the nation in total collections. The $18.1 million follows previous record amounts of $16.5 million in the second quarter and $16.1 million in the first quarter of 2012.

Hawaiian has earned $50.76 million in year-to-date baggage fees, virtually ensuring it will exceed the record $56.6 million in fees collected in 2011.

Hawaiian also collected $4.75 million in cancellation and change fees in the third quarter, up from $4.35 million a year ago. Its total through three quarters of 2012 was $13.74 million.

Hawaiian said the increase in bag fees was due in part to the increased number of passengers on mainland routes.

"We increased the number of passengers carried on our North America routes by 16 percent for the third quarter compared to the same quarter last year," said Ann Botticelli, Hawaiian spokes­woman, in an email. "That includes the daily service to JFK (New York) that began in July and has proven to be quite popular."

As a whole, U.S. airlines collected $924 million in baggage fees in the third quarter, up almost 3 percent from the same period last year, the bureau reported.

United Continental Holdings Inc. reported some of the biggest gains. United collected $187.3 million in bag fees in the third quarter, up 10.8 percent from a year earlier.

Delta Air Lines Inc. is the second-biggest airline by traffic, but it had the top spot for baggage fees. It has collected $662.8 million so far this year. That's up slightly from the same period last year.

Baggage fee collections fell sharply at American Airlines, which is reorganizing under bankruptcy protection. It took in $138.3 million in the most recent quarter, down 9.5 percent from a year earlier.

Even Southwest Airlines Co., where passengers can check two bags for free, has collected $104.3 million in baggage fees so far this year. That's mostly because its AirTran subsidiary does charge for baggage. In fact, AirTran raised its bag fees Friday.

Ticket-change fees are up, too. Airlines collected $652 million in change fees in the most recent quarter, up 8 percent from $602.9 million a year earlier. Delta is tops in that category, too, with $200.4 million in ticket-change fees, compared with $171.9 million for United.

Airlines report baggage and ticket-change fees to the government. Fees for other add-ons, such as picking a seat or getting on the plane early, are not reported separately.

Airline profits jumped almost 55 percent to $1.39 billion in the third quarter, compared with $902.2 million during the same period last year, the government reported.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.






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