What's the true price of flying? It's much more than the price of a ticket. And it has been for a long time.
Last year, Americans likely spent more than $6 billion in baggage,
cancellation, and change fees, on top of their ticket price, in 2012.
The Bureau of Transportation only has data through the first nine months of last year, but total fees are up about 4 percent over previous years.
Here's a look at total fees by airline:
And here's the baggage fee data as a pie chart, if you prefer that sort of thing. Delta, United, and American account for about 60 percent of total baggage fees.
And finally, here are those fees graphed against each airline's market
share in domestic and international passenger miles, also according to
the Bureau of Transportation. This is really the key look.
What conclusions can we draw from these graphs, in particular the last one?
(1) Delta and US Airways are the worst. Maybe you knew that already.
(2) But don't be too hard on them. Generally speaking, the airlines that fly the furthest have the most fees, since people are much more likely to check bags and pay more per ticket for international flights.
(3) Airlines with mostly domestic routes have the fewest fees, for the same reason.