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Baggage fees -- a $3.36 billion bonus for U.S. airlines

Baggage fees may not be popular with the flying public, but they're here to stay. Why? Because U.S. airlines (including DFW-based American Airlines and Southwest) raked in nearly $3.5 billion from baggage fees last year. That's a significant revenue stream, especially for an industry that has been hit very hard financially in the last decade.

According to the U.S. Transportation Department, U.S. airlines made $3.36 billion by charging passengers to check bags (different carriers have different baggage fees/policies). That's actually a slight decrease from the previous year's level of $3.4 billion.

Delta Air Lines topped the list at $863.6 million in baggage fees. Fort Worth-based American Airlines made $593.5 million in baggage fees.

If you're not sure what your favorite airline charges for checked bags, check out this handy guide.