Airlines making billions, collecting more in fees on checked bags and reservation changes

IndustriesAssociated Press

U.S. airlines are earning billions, and they're collecting more in fees on checked bags and reservation changes.

Whether airlines are making more or less money than before depends on which figures you use.

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The Department of Transportation said Monday that airline net income fell to $7.5 billion last year from $12.2 billion in 2013. However, net income can include one-time gains or losses, and analysts usually prefer to look at operating profit.

On that basis, the airlines did even better in 2014 than 2013. At 27 airlines in the government figures, pre-tax operating profit rose to $14.6 billion last year from $11.3 billion in 2013.

Airlines collected $3.5 billion in bag fees, a 5 percent increase over 2013, and $3 billion in reservation-change fees, a 6 percent hike.