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Travel Tip: How Much Airlines Make From Change & Cancellation Fees

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wingJust when you thought airline fees couldn’t get any worse…fasten your seat belts. I’m talking about ticket change, penalty, and luggage fees.

United Airlines has increased its ticket change fees from $150 to $200. In some cases, that’s more than the airfare itself.

But if you think that’s bad, consider some international ticket fees.

On Delta Air Lines, a change fee could get as high as $400. In fact, Delta was number one in reservation and cancellation fees—they pulled in $778 million.

American Airlines raked in $517 million. That’s almost pure profit—it didn’t involve fueling or flying a plane. It’s not a bad deal for the airlines, but a very bad deal for you.

In any case, a nonrefundable airline ticket is now worthless if it’s not used.

Consider this: the average domestic airfare in the U.S. is $374.

If you need to change it, take away $200 and then add any increase in airfare.

But remember, with airlines flying full, chances are your unsold seat WILL be filled. So if you buy a nonrefundable ticket, budget accordingly or get trip cancellation insurance.

To learn more about how much airlines make from additional fees, check out:

Keep reading for more travel tips.