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Discuss: Why Do Airlines That Charge Fees Struggle?

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Discuss: Why Do Airlines That Charge Fees Struggle?


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Unless you’ve been living under a rock this week, you already know that Spirit Airlines announced it will begin charging for carry-on bags. That got us here at SmarterTravel thinking: The airlines that charge the most fees seem to be the ones struggling financially, while airlines that charge fewer fees do pretty well. Why?

A few points: Many of the airlines charging bag fees were struggling before the fees were in place, so while their financial situation may be gloomy, it’s not because of the fees. Also, it’s well-documented that the revenue from fees has kept many airlines from spiraling into the financial abyss.

And yet, airlines such as American, Delta, United, and US Airways still posted yearly losses in the hundreds of millions and even billions last year, while JetBlue and Southwest, notable for offering at least one free bag, posted profits. Is there a connection? Is it a coincidence? You tell me!

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