Airlines collect fewer bag fees in 1st quarter

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NEW YORK (AP) ? U.S. airlines collected slightly fewer baggage fees in the in the first three months of the year despite an uptick in travelers.

The data, released Tuesday by the Transportation Department’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, may suggest that more travelers packed light to avoid an extra charge. More airline-branded credit cards also offer perks like waived baggage fees, which may account for the decline.

The nation’s largest airlines reported baggage fees of about $767 million in the first three months of the year. That’s lower than any three-month period in 2010. In the first quarter of last year, airlines took in $768 million.

Still, passengers couldn’t avoid reservation fees. Airlines took in $592 million in charges to change plans in the first quarter, compared with about $554 million a year earlier.