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Report: Airlines collected record baggage fees in 2012

Frontier Airlines ticket counter

Baggage fees were first used in 2008, and are now helping airlines rake in billions as their use becomes more commonplace.

Airlines are fighting to be profitable and such fees—along with charges for boarding early, picking prime seats and changing or cancelling flights—are helping airlines reach said goal.

Most airlines charge $25 each way for the first checked bag, $35 for the second bag and ranging amounts for overweight or over-sized bags.

The nation’s 15 largest carriers collected a combined $3.5 billion in bag fees in 2012, up 3.8 percent from 2011, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Reservation change fees totaled $2.6 billion, up 7.3 percent.

In December airlines outlined a national policy and told the government that they needed fewer taxes, fees and regulations.

The industry has undergone big changes on its own over the past several years through mergers and other tough business decisions to improve overall efficiency and financial prospects.

Although fuel price are higher than last year and continue to pressure their finances, U.S. airlines have aggressively managed capacity and are charging higher fares on flights that are often full, in addition to collecting fees for checked bags and other extras.

Revenues are up overall and a narrow profit is expected for the year for the 10 largest carriers, according to industry data from the first nine months of 2012.

Most items on the proposed National Airline Policy are long-held industry priorities.

Regarding taxes, airlines say they are subject to 17 different taxes and fees, adding about $61 to a typical round-trip ticket.

***Information from the CNN wire contributed to this report.***

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