Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

You pay them because you have to.

You resent them because you're powerless.

What it does to your view of the airlines who charge all these nickel-and-diming fees, well, the airlines don't really care about that right now.

They're too busy taking selfies in first class with hundred-dollar bills strewn all over their flat beds.

You'll still be wondering who are the worst offenders when it comes to all the extra fees.

What I meant to say, of course, is that you'll still be wondering which airline is the most enterprising in securing additional revenue by getting passengers accustomed to these special charges.

Let's be grateful, therefore, to a company called IdeaWorks. It decided to calculate just which airlines make the most out of what it calls ancillary fees.

I present its numbers for 2015. They are quite glorious.

At the top is United.

The friendly skies used their friendship with you to entice $6.199 billion from these fees in 2015. This is up from a mere $1.6 billion in 2008. Bravo.

Next comes American. It managed to secure $4.718 billion for these fees. And to celebrate this year, it's released an ad campaign telling passengers to behave better.

Delta comes third with a mere $3.775 billion. Perhaps that's why it's instituting its new sub-cattle class seats, which will surely boost your need to pay more additional charges.

Next comes Air France/KLM, which has leveraged its entente cordiale in order to elicit $2.165 billion.

In fifth place is perhaps the most surprising name: Southwest. It doesn't charge baggage fees, yet still garnered $2.118 in fees that weren't ticket charges.

The next five are Ryanair (which used to have 108 different baggage fees), Lufthansa Group, easyjet, Qantas and the Alaska Air Group.

There's one more airline I should mention.

This one gets pride of place for enjoying a larger percentage of its revenue from ancillary charges than any other.

It's Spirit Airlines.

This managed to earn 43.4 percent of its revenue in 2015 from nickel-and-diming here, there and everywhere.

At least you know before you book that this is its business model. You know that.

But the airlines that promise peace, tranquility, friendship and joy in the skies -- well, they're in on it too.

Might this be a good time to remind you that airlines are projected to make $39.4 billion in profit this year?

Oh, there probably isn't a good time for that, is there?

This is the era of narrower planes, narrower seats, narrower minds and wider profit margins.

Isn't it great?

Sep 22, 2016