SOME frequent travellers have the sense that all the money they have spent on airline baggage fees down the years could have been put to a better use. So allow Gulliver to suggest one: buying an airline.

Thrillist has crunched the numbers and concluded that in the approximately nine years since checked-bag fees started becoming common, American flyers have spent enough putting things in the hold of planes to purchase the country’s most valuable airline.

According to figures from the Department of Transportation, from 2007 through the first quarter of 2016, domestic airlines have collected a total of $26.2 billion in checked-bag fees. That is just shy of the $27.8 billion market capitalisation of Delta Air Lines, as of earlier this week. It is safe to assume that the money splurged in the meantime will have more than made up this shortfall.

Of course, baggage fees are not just an additional charge that airlines skim off the top. If they are functioning as they should, they are an incentive to stop people flying...Continue reading