Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

May 14 2016

Why Congress Wants To Eliminate Baggage Fees

Carolyn Clark


If you’ve been to the airport recently, chances are you waited in line for a long time. The Transportation Security Administration has approximately seven percent fewer agents working at airports around the US than it did in 2014. While the number of workers has decreased, the number of passengers is projected to increase by 12 percent. That equation adds up to some lengthy wait times for passengers, and airlines and airport operators have already voiced concerns over the issue. Now, two members of Congress are aiming to solve the problem — but not by hiring more agents. Instead, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) asked 12 major US airlines to stop charging baggage fees during the summer.

“We write in the wake of reports of staggeringly-long lines expected this summer at TSA screening checkpoints in airports across the country,” the two wrote in a letter to airline executives. “We call on airlines to take a smart, common sense step to help thwart this growing problem: stop charging checked bag fees during the coming summer months, the busiest travel season of the year. Without charges for checking their bags, passengers will be far less likely to carry them on, which snarls screening checkpoints and slows the inspection process.”

In the letter, the two lawmakers call out that fuel prices have decreased, leaving more room for airlines to make this type of change. They cite TSA statistics that baggage fees lead to a 27 percent increase in the number of roller bags as carry-ons. While passengers may applaud the potential to eliminate additional fees from the flying experience, the numbers show that airlines will have plenty of reason to be reluctant to offer assistance: they earned $3.5 billion from baggage fees in 2014.

Free bags seem unlikely this summer, but you can celebrate the return of one small free perk: snacks. United and American both announced the return of complimentary snacks for economy passengers earlier this year.

Looking for help figuring out how to save money on your travels? Check out “This Is When You Will Find The Best Deal On Airfare.”

Please log in to post comments.