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“Ridiculous” airline fees for checked bags and seat assignments could become a thing of the past if these two senators get their bills approved

The Law prohibiting airlines from charging ridiculous fees (FAIR). and the Charter of Air Passenger Rights aim to reduce fees such as checked bags and seat assignments, as well as introduce a fair compensation scheme for affected customers.

The accounts of Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Edward Markey of Massachusetts arrive after weeks of chaos on the asphalt. In early January, thousands of domestic flights were canceled after an antiquated computer system used to generate alerts called NOTAMs – or Notice to Air Missions – Broken. Airports in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Atlanta experienced between 30% and 40% of flight delays.

This winter was the worst on record for canceled flights in the USaccording to Financial Timeswith more than 10,000 flights canceled due to technical problems and storms.

Huge money maker

The FAIR Fees Act would be a direct blow to a billion dollar money maker for airlines. In 2019, US domestic airlines collected $5.8 billion in bags and $2.8 billion in ticket reservation fees alone. Second Forbesbaggage alone was worth $28.1 billion worldwide in 2018.

Research by Upgraded Points, a market research firm, also found that low-budget airline travelers pay more for their bags on average. Additionally, carriers with a basic economy option also rank high on the average check-in fee list.

The bill would also target charges that may be levied on parents who are trying to ensure they can sit with their children, as well as asking the Department of Transportation (DOT) to review any other additional charges accrued by the providers. airline companies.

Senator Markey said it’s “no secret” that airlines are “pinching passengers’ wallets with ridiculous fares — from charging travelers extra for a carry-on bag to forcing parents to pay to sit with their children.” – at the same time as they are leaving their passengers stranded. That’s unacceptable.”

Do you get compensation for flight delays?

The changes wouldn’t stop there. The legislation – which is co-sponsored by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, DR.I., Bob Casey, D-Pa., Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. It also requires airlines to pay at least $1,350 to passengers denied boarding due to an oversold flight, and requires airlines to immediately reimburse the costs of damaged or lost baggage.

The impact of such a bill would be ticket price hikes and service cuts, according to industry group Airlines for America (A4A). Its members, many of which are the largest US carriers, would see “a decrease in competition,” he said. An A4A spokesperson told CNBC that “the policies proposed in this bill — establishing government-controlled prices, establishing a private right of action and dictating private sector contracts — would dramatically reduce competition, leading to a subsequent increase in airline ticket prices and a potential reduction in services to small rural communities”.

There is currently no requirement for airlines to return cash to customers if their flight is delayed. The DOT material points out that there are no federal laws to provide passengers with money or other compensation, not even a hotel room or meals for those stranded by an airline.

DOT added that a “significant delay” still doesn’t give customers any assurances and added that it doesn’t have a framework for defining what “significant” entails. “Whether you are eligible for a refund depends on many factors, such as the length of the delay, the length of the flight and your particular circumstances. DOT determines if you’re eligible for a refund on a case-by-case basis,” he adds.

William J. McGee, senior fellow in aviation and travel at the American Economic Liberties Project, said, “Despite airlines’ dismal performance over the past year, they continue to screw passengers over with ever higher junk taxes.

“We applaud Senators Markey and Blumenthal and Congressmen Cohen and Garcia for continuing the fight against unreasonable and often opaque fares that deceptively drive up the price of air travel. And many taxes should have been eliminated a long time ago, such as forcing families with small children to pay extra to sit together.

The airlines to America did not immediately respond when approached Fortune for comment.