According to data from the Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics, U.S. airlines amassed $3.8 billion in fees during the first half of 2009 for checking bags, canceling or rebooking flights, carrying pets and assigning seats. That's up $1.5 billion from the same period last year, a result of higher charges for these services as airlines try to offset the worst downturn in travel since Sept. 11. The most profitable fee is from checked bags, with airlines collecting $1.24 billion from January through June. A spokesman for the Air Transport Association says airlines need more revenue sources to be profitable.
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