Dec. 17--Miramar-based Spirit Airlines landed in the top-five carriers nationwide whose fees from checked bags and other travel-related services helped to drive third-quarter revenue.
The low-cost carrier reaped $57.4 million in baggage fees and $8.1 million in reservation/change fees in the third quarter of 2013, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported Monday.
Overall U.S. scheduled passenger airlines collected $879 million in baggage fees and $735 million for reservation cancellation/change fees from July through September, the federal agency's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported.
The top five airlines for baggage fee collection, in order, were Delta, United, US Airways, American and Spirit.
JetBlue Airways, in ninth place, took in nearly $20 million and $36.3 million in bag and reservations/change fees respectively, BTS data showed.
JetBlue and Spirit are the No. 1 and No. 2 carriers at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, with 19 percent and 18.1 percent of passenger traffic respectively this year through October, according to the latest airport data.
"Charging for services that either used to be free or used to not be available has literally saved the U.S. airline industry," said Jeff Klee, CEO of CheapAir.com. "For most airlines, these fees are the difference between making money and losing money."
The top airlines for reservation/change fee collection were Delta, United, American, US Airways and JetBlue.
At Palm Beach International Airport, records show JetBlue and Delta are the top two carriers, with 26 percent and 25 percent of passenger boardings respectively, for the 12 months ending October 2013.
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