Lonely Planet Writer

US airline baggage fees, up 295% from 2008

We are in an era of growing tension in the skies, particularly in the US, with its cursing flight attendants, Congress debating unfair pricing schemes, TSA body scans leading to 'opt-out days' and increased use of the term 'junk,' and a rising 'ancillary fee' business totaling $4.3 billion (and counting) to US airlines this year.

Not to mention that airfares are likely to rise, along with travel, in 2011!

Fees are an increasingly sticky point for passengers. In the past two years, according to statistics just released by the US Bureau of Transportation, baggage fees have risen 295%, from $651,000 collected in the first nine months of 2008 to $2.57 million of the same time period in 2010. Change fees jumped up 43% too, from $1.21 million in 2008 to $1.74 million this year. And all this done with 5% fewer passengers: 541 million in 2010 compared to 572 million in 2008.

Quick show of hands: who's rethinking the bus this year?

[Photo: Throw your bags in the air by kagey_b]