Delta CEO talks air traveler headaches, from fees to redeeming miles


(CBS News) Ever wondered why airlines charge so many fees?

"CBS This Morning" co-host Norah O'Donnell did, and asked Richard Anderson, chief executive officer of Delta Air Lines, why so many fees are being extracted from travelers, from bags to drinks on the planes.

Anderson noted there are few things at work here: "If you look at the totalities of the cost of air travel today in the U.S. and you include fees on an inflation-adjusted basis," he said, "we're still 10 percent lower today than we were in 2000. Second, the transparency of the Internet gives you the ability to shop a la carte, and third, the industry is incredibly competitive."

In 2012, Delta earned $1.6 billion in fees from baggage and change/cancellation fees, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. The industry as a whole made $3.5 billion on baggage fees, and $2.6 billion on airline change fees.

In addition to fees, Anderson addressed the apparent difficulty "CTM" co-host Gayle King experienced while attempting to redeem frequent flyer miles on the airline's web site.

King said, "To redeem the miles you have to practically do the 'Hokey Pokey, turn yourself around, and stand on one foot. Is there anything that I can do or people like me can do to get our frequent miles?"

Anderson said they're in the process of developing a new website. "We want to give you the capability and the functionality that you need to be able to do that," he said. "Look, I don't like to hear that. We want it to be easy for you. That's a good takeaway for us."

For more with Anderson -- including talk about the airline's new facility at New York's JFK Airport, the airline's mission and how it differs from Spirit Airlines', and the effect of the company entering the oil business, watch his full interview in the player above.