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US Airlines collected more than 1.7 billion in baggage fees

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The third quarter, which includes the busy leisure travel months of July and August, is traditionally the highest of the year but figures aren't expected to be reported by the government until December.

Behind Delta and United, American Airlines and U.S. Airways have made the most cash from baggage fees so far this year - raking in $288.5 million and $260.5 respectively.

Delta was also the biggest baggage earner for the same period in 2011, when it made more than $424 million.

American Airlines came second last year, collecting $293 million while U.S. Airways took third place with earnings of more than $255.6 million. 

The figures show United Airlines in fifth place last year, earning a whopping $214 million less from baggage fees than this year. But that due to a merger with Continental Airlines.