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Airlines Hit New Record High Collecting Ancillary Fees

Self-Service Checked Bag Machines at Washington Reagan National Airport
Source: American Airlines
Self-Service Checked Bag Machines at Washington Reagan National Airport

A new study shows airlines worldwide set a new record in 2012 racking up $27.1 billion in ancillary revenue. The 19.9 percent increase in money collected from bag fees, on-board sales, and various other non-fare revenue sources shows airlines are expanding how they generate profits.

The latest study from IdeaWorks also spelled out how quickly airlines around the world have embraced charging customers for a variety of goods and services.

Between 2009 and 2012 the amount of ancillary revenue raised by airlines has more then doubled.

(Read More: American Airlines Invite for Those Who Make the 'Social' Grade)

US Carriers Lead The Way

While much attention has been paid to smaller, low-cost carriers charging customers for everything from a can of soda to carry-on bags to the right to board early, it's the legacy airlines making the biggest profits on ancillary revenue.

In particular U.S. based airlines lead the world in ancillary revenue growth according to IdeaWorks.

(Read More: Delta Divided Signals New Course for Industry: CEO)

Top 5 Airlines Worldwide for ancillary rev last year:

1) United $5.35 Billion
2) Delta $2.57 Billion
3) American $1.98 Billion
4) Southwest $1.65 Billion
5) Qantas $1.57 Billion

Source: IdeaWorks

(Read More: United Offers 'Subscriptions' for Leg Room, Checked Bags)

IdeaWorks results are based on the financial reports of 53 airlines around the world that report ancillary revenue.

—By CNBC's Phil LeBeau. Follow him on Twitter @LeBeauCarNews

Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com

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