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Airlines Reaping Windfall from Checked-Baggage Fees

Your luggage is making the major airlines a fortune.

According to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, passengers have paid an estimated $26.2 billion in mandatory baggage fees since 2007, around the time when many carriers began charging extra to check your first bag. 

As the Daily Mail points out, that's enough money to buy United Airlines, currently valued at $17.1 billion, and still have change left over to buy JetBlue Airways, valued at $6.6 billion.

And you'd still be left with $2.5 billion.

Airlines introduced the extra fees to help cover high fuel costs, but those have gone down while the fees remain in place.

At least the companies have passed along the benefits of what has become a $974.5-million-per-quarter jackpot in the form of more seating space, extra features, and, overall, not treating passengers like recalcitrant livestock.

Oh, wait.