U.S. airlines collected nearly $3.5 billion in baggage fees last year, the government said Tuesday, continuing a steady improvement in the critical revenue stream that started just five years ago. That was up from $3.36 billion collected in 2011. The nations largest airlines also reported $2.55 billion in reservation change fees — that $150 or $200 customers pay to change the time or date of travel. Thats up from $2.38 billion in 2011. United was second to Delta in amount taken in from baggage fees last year, more than doubling its collection. The Chicago airline, the worlds largest, took in $705,547 last year from bag fees, up from $276,817 in 2011. Reservation fee revenue at the airline also soared, rising faster than nearly all its major competitors. United reported reservation fee revenue of $660,943 last year, double the $324,129 it collected in 2011. United has already broadly raised its reservation change fees this year.
Republic of Ireland national carrier Aer Lingus has confirmed it has reached an agreement to damp lease three Boeing 757-200s to expand its transatlantic activities during the first half of 2014. The aircraft will be acquired via Air Contractors and the first jet is expected to enter service in January 2014 with all three aircraft in operation by next summer. The details of the anticipated deal were revealed during the Aer Lingus Group interim management statement for the period from January 1, 2013 to March 31, 2013, representing the first quarter of the Group’s 2013 financial year.
The airline remains tight-lipped over its operational plans for the 757s and simply says they will operate in the North Atlantic market, but the expansion of a previous interline partnership with US low-cost carrier JetBlue Airways into a full blown codeshare agreement earlier this year will support its strategy in the US market. It is rumoured that the 757s will be based at Shannon Airport and will be used to expand the carrier’s existing offering, increasing the existing seasonal services to Boston and New York and potentially freeing up a larger Airbus A330-200 to operate from Dublin, where demand is stronger.