Well, they may not be making a profit on ticket sales, but U.S. airlines are certainly raking in the dough thanks to ancillary fees initiated in 2008. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that the U.S. airline industry made $1.15 billion from baggage fees last year. Considering that baggage fees were only in effect for part of the year (major airlines started charging for a second checked bag in May, while American started the trend of charging for the first bag in June), and you can estimate that 2009 income from baggage fees may well double or triple.
According to the DOT, American Airlines made the most in baggage fees last year. AA made $278 million, while US Airways picked up $187 million. Delta rolled in $177 million, United made $133 million, and Northwest totaled $121 million.