American Airlines generated more than $1.2 billion in revenue from checked bag fees last year, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Transportation. All told, passengers paid a record $4.9 billion in baggage fees last year.
Like most airlines, Fort Worth, Texas-based American charges economy passengers $30 for a standard-sized checked bag and $40 for a second. The airline charges $150 for a third bag and $200 for a fourth. American was the only U.S. airline to top $1 billion in baggage revenue.
United Airlines, which generated almost $900 million in baggage fees, also charges $150 for a third checked bag.
SeaTac-based Alaska Airlines earned almost $280 million in baggage revenue. It charges $100 for a third bag.
Checked baggage fees have risen exponentially in recent years, coinciding with a move by many airlines to charge for a variety of items, including soda and coffee. Ten years ago, for instance, passengers paid U.S. airlines a total of $2.7 billion in bag fees.