New Bill Could Make Air Travel Marginally Less Awful

Illustration for article titled New Bill Could Make Air Travel Marginally Less Awful

One of the many things that makes air travel so shitty these days is checked-baggage fees, which cause people to clog both overhead bins and security checkpoints with their carryons. But now, Sen. Mary Landrieu has proposed a bill that would guarantee fliers one free checked bag, force airlines to clearly advertise all additional fees as part of the ticket price, and mandate "certain minimum standards" for air travel. Predictably, the airline industry does not like this. Steve Lott, spokesman for the Air Transport Association, told the Washington Post,

Rather than limit choice and regulate what airlines can or cannot offer to passengers, regulators should continue working on the efficiency of the airport checkpoint. Service choices in the airline industry are not new. Airlines began offering customers the option to pay for services they value, including checking a bag, more than three years ago.

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He has a great point — I love making the choice to pay for something that used to be free.

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DISCUSSION

What's more outrageous but less widely reported is that the major airlines are also getting away with charging for bags on some international flights. They do not clearly disclose that at all. When I flew from Phoenix to Quebec, I was shocked that American charged me for bags. I was then informed that Canada isn't "international." Really? Because I just crossed the entire damn continent. And don't get me started on flying anywhere with my dog. $250 RT for, basically, a carry on bag that stays under the seat the whole time, and they don't even offer priority boarding with that fee. I complained on the return trip and they agreed to let me board early, but it's an amazing rip-off. You get absolutely nothing for your money.