Airlines made $7 billion on baggage, reservation change fees, feds say

By: Jason Stoogenke

Updated:

Airlines are making record profits and part of the reason are the baggage and reservation change fees travelers pay, according to a new federal study.

The report showed the two fees cost passengers $7.1 billion in 2016.

[READ: GAO report on airline fees]

Airline officials defended the profit by saying they’re unbundling fees. In other words, you only pay for the services you use. But many passengers feel nickel-and-dimed.

"Nobody likes baggage fees, of course.  But, what are you going to do?  If you have to fly, you gotta fly," passenger Lynn Moss said.

"Any time you add an additional charge that, to carry a bag -- and most people have to carry bags," passenger Ivan Neely said. "To see that there's record profits and you're still charging… what can you do? If they add the fee, either you pay the fee or you don't fly."

Federal officials looked at 11 airlines.

The most expensive for the first checked bag: Allegiant and Spirit. 

The most expensive for oversized bags: American, Delta and United. 

The most expensive for reservation changes: American, Delta, United and Hawaiian. 

The least expensive in almost every category: Southwest. 

One solution would be shopping around, but it's hard to compare apples to apples because airlines don't have to share all their pricing information with third parties, which is an issue the U.S. Department of Transportation is investigating.

Read more top trending stories on wsoctv.com:

Next Up: