Senate proposal attempts to limit airline fees

FILE - In this April 13, 2009 file photo, American Airlines flight attendant Renee Schexnaildre demonstrates the overhead baggage area during a media preview of the airline's new Boeing 737-800 jets, at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport in Grapevine, Texas. Global airlines on Tuesday, June 9, 2015 announced a new guideline that recommends shrinking carry-on bags, in an effort to free up space in packed overhead bins. (AP Photo/Donna McWilliam, File)

WASHINGTON (MEDIA GENERAL) – Lawmakers are debating the FAA Reauthorization, which is a large bill pertaining to many different aspects of the Federal Aviation Administration and transportation across the country. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) plans to submit an amendment to the bill called the FAIR Fees Act, which stands for Forbid Airlines from Imposing Ridiculous Fees Act.

“We need some reason, we need some protection,” said Sen. Markey. “We need some way to say that there’s an airline passenger bill of rights; that they just can’t be tipped upside down and have money shaken out of their pockets.”

An investigation by the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation showed baggage fees have gone up almost 70 percent in since 2009. Those fees have not gone down after oil prices tanked, which has helped airlines take their profits from the millions back into the billions.

“We now have four airlines that control 80% of airline traffic in America,” Sen. Markey said.

Markey’s proposal would limit fees and force airlines to only charge what’s necessary to cover their costs.

“The passenger has no other option than to pay it. We have to make sure that there’s protection. That those fees are reasonable,” Sen. Markey said.

The Massachusetts Democrat already tried to attach the FAIR Fees Act to the bill once. A 12-12 vote in the committee kept the amendment off, but he plans to try again on the Senate floor.

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