Schumer Calls For Airline Carry On Baggage Fee Legislation <


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Schumer Calls For Airline Carry On Baggage Fee Legislation

Shane Nolan

April 13, 2010 - Spirit Airlines has reported it will soon charge passengers a fee for carry on bags. Passengers will only be allowed to carry onboard one free carry on and that carry on must fit under the passenger seat. If the carry on does not fit under the seat or if passengers require to use the overhead bins passengers will be required to pay an additional charge.

Senator Charles Schumer of New York, “passengers have had enough with more and more fees, feds need to immediately treat carry-on luggage as a necessity for air travelers.”

Today, United States Senator Charles E. Schumer called on Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to close a loophole in current airline regulations that have airlines charging customers for bringing aboard even one piece of carry-on luggage. 

Schumer is calling on Secretary Geithner to issue a new administrative rule that would define carry-on baggage for air travelers as a “reasonable necessity” in order to help keep carry-on baggage free for fliers and keep other airlines at bay from passing similarly outrageous fees. 

Last week, a prominent airline broke long-standing airline practices by announcing it would begin charging customers a whopping $45 for carry-on luggage. The decision could spur other airlines to impose similar fees. Schumer’s efforts are designed to rein in this outrageous practice and restore basic fairness for air travelers. 

“Airline passengers have always had the right to bring a carry-on bag without having to worry about getting nickel and dimed by an airline company,” Schumer said. “The Treasury Department needs to close the loophole that encourages this abusive practice and rein in these fees.” 

For years, the airline industry has struggled to confront declining profits as consumers in a tough economy seek the most cost effective way to travel. During this tough economic time, the airline industry has sought to keep ticket prices low while maintaining their bottom line. In order to do so, the airline industry has continued to add supplemental fees to airline travel—fees which consumers have begrudgingly tolerated thus far. 

In the last few years, airlines have added fees for checked baggage, seat assignments in the coach cabin, in-flight entertainment headsets, peanuts, and even pillows. The latest fee that the airline industry is seeking to impose is pushing travelers to the tipping point.


Since the inception of commercial air travel, customers have always been given the opportunity to bring one carry-on bag with them to store in the overhead compartment without fear of being slapped with an additional fee, but that’s now beginning to change. Carry-on luggage is particularly essential for weekend travelers, day trippers, and overnighters. 

These fees will have a heavy burden on middle-class families trying to take their family on a summer vacation. Families with children almost always need a piece of carry-on luggage in order to ensure that they have everything they need, like medicine and other emergency supplies, readily accessible. These new fees will not only impact family budgets, but will also increase the costs of doing business. Business travelers, who often only stay a night or two at their destination before heading home, almost always use carry-on baggage. 

“Airline passengers have absorbed fees upon new fees over the last several years and they are hitting the boiling point,” continued Schumer. “This latest fee is a slap in the face to travelers and has crossed the line of acceptable practices. I will fight to see it reversed and make sure no other airlines follow suit.” 

Schumer’s letter to Secretary Geithner should serve as a sign to the entire airline industry that consumers have had enough with unnecessary fees that don’t improve the quality of air travel. Fortunately, this fee is one which the government can address by closing a loophole that currently exists in airline regulations. 

Schumer has pledged to press the Treasury Department to revise its recent decision and close this loophole. If Treasury is unable or unwilling, Schumer plans to offer legislation that will close the loophole by specifically mandating that carry-on bags are reasonably necessary for air travel and that, therefore, carry-on bag fees are taxable.
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