The announcement Sunday comes despite the fact that some of those same airlines are expected to report first-quarter losses next week amid significantly higher fuel prices and the beating they took from the heavy February snowstorms. Add-on fees for things like checked bags, pillows and food are a key revenue stream for them.
For 26 large U.S. airlines, so-called ancillary fee revenue accounted for 6.9% of their total operating revenue in the third quarter of 2009, up from 4.1% a year earlier, the most recently available government data shows.
FEDERAL ACTION: Senators propose new tax for airlines with carry-on fees
But major carriers risk alienating customers if they follow Spirit Airlines' lead and impose a fee on carry-on bags. The small Florida airline in August will begin charging customers up to $45 to place a bag in an overhead bin.
Other fees haven't stopped people from flying, but many of those fees can be avoided. It would be hard for many travelers to avoid a carry-on bag fee.
"We believe it is something that's important to our customers and they value, and we will continue making that available to them at no charge," American Airlines spokesman Roger Frizzell said. (Continues here)