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Proposed Bill Aims to Cap Checked Baggage Fees at $4.50

Proposed legislation that would cap bag fees at $4.50 is making its way through the U.S. House.

Rep. John Mica of Florida introduced the Baggage Fees Fairness Act of 2015 on Wednesday, a legislation that would impose a $4.50 cap on airline’s checked luggage fees.

“It’s time to bring some fairness to the soaring fees that airlines are charging consumers for basic services,” said Mica, chairman of the House Transportation Oversight Subcommittee. “This is fair and equitable since airports have been held to that fee level for handling passengers at the same $4.50 limitation by law for the past 15 years. During that decade and a half, most major carriers have imposed dramatically increased baggage and service fees.”

Mica noted that baggage fees are not included in airfare price, therefore limiting funds that go to the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, which finances airport safety, air traffic control systems and equipment.

The text of the proposed bill, if approved, states that domestic and foreign air carriers may not charge passengers fees for checked luggage if the amount of the fee exceeds the total amount of passenger facility charges (PFCs) that could be imposed on the passenger by eligible agencies for boarding.

The U.S. Travel Association estimates that bag fees expanded airline revenues by more than $3.5 billion in the last 12 months. As that revenue does not contribute to the airport improvement fund, taxpayer revenues pay the difference to operate and maintain air control and air service systems.

The proposed bill can be read in its entirety here.

[Photo: iStock]

Comments are Closed.
teevee July 28, 2015

and the apologists are rampant! not to mention uninformed. i'd love to meet the throngs of people that "prefer to buy their tickets a la carte." in fact, i'd like to see the studies or surveys wherein passengers stated this preference. face it, this BS nickel and diming (now $1 and $5-ing) airline passengers was stuffed down our throats. airfares did NOT drop after they were implemented and the fares continue to rise even though fuel costs have fallen progressively and sharply over the past 5 years. KUDOS Mr. Mica!

Kensterfly July 27, 2015

I get a free checked bag on UA and, of course, Southwest, so it doesn't really matter to me BUT if airlines charged $5 or so wouldn't more people gladly pay the fee rather than drag it through security and worry about finding space in the overhead bin? And think how much more quickly security queues would flow if people were toting only purses and briefcases. And think of the positive effects of on time performance when most people are not bringing small suitcases on board and searching for overhead space. The deplaning process would also be shortened considerably. If virtually everyone on the plane was checking a bag at $5 or so ($10 max) I suspect the revenue from baggage fees wouldn't be much different from what it is now and would come with other positive benefits. Having said all of that, I don't think the issue is something the government should interfere with.

BlueStreak17 July 25, 2015

I think the part about skirting the taxes because it's not technically airfare is a fair point.

sdsearch July 25, 2015

Liberals? The House is under Republic leadership, and John Mica is chairman of a Subcommittee in the House, so obviously he is a Republican. stoeuroflyer, do you simply call everyone you don't agree with a "liberal" with doing some research? Or do you simply consider every politician a "liberal"? At any rate, the danger of a law like this is that it'll just make the airlines shift the fees to something the law doesn't cover. So the fees won't go down, but they'll be charged for something else other than checked bags. Remember "whack-a-mole", Congressman?.

CalItalian July 25, 2015

Congressman John Mica is no liberal. For one, he's a Republican. He's been in congress for about a quarter of a century so no-nothing is another term I would not associate with him. Crony capitalist maybe. This bill is doa but not because the public wants to pay for fees. If the public were demanding a la carte then Spirit and Allegiant would be the top two airlines in the industry. http://www.ktrh.com/articles/houston-news-121300/air-travelers-baggage-charges-are-being-13792170/