N.Y. Sen. Charles Schumer vows to fight new airline fees

By Ed Adamczyk Contact the Author   |  Jan. 23, 2017 at 12:08 PM
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Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Sen. Charles Schumer said he will push for an expansion of passengers' rights after two major airlines announced plans to start charging for use of overhead bins.

Schumer, D-N.Y., reacted Sunday after American Airlines announced it would follow the lead of United Airlines in restricting use of the overhead luggage bins. United's "Basic Economy" fare structure, scheduled to begin in February, calls for passengers to have only under-seat space for carry-on luggage, with a $25 cost, plus applicable bag fee, for any other carry-on items.

"You don't have to read the tea leaves to see that, when it comes [to] new airlines fees, the future is turbulent," Schumer said. "They continue a relentless march to monetize every atom of the airline, nickel and diming travelers with fee after fee to maximize their profits. What's next? Are we going to pay per peanut?"

He added that "In the upcoming FAA {Federal Aviation Administration] bill, which regulates the airlines, I'm going to lead a push to expand the airline passenger bill of rights...to add provisions so they don't allow these extra fees for the overhead and for some other things, because enough is enough. Jet fuel prices are low; competition is narrow because there are so few airlines. Profits are way up and they're gouging the consumer."

American airlines President Robert Isom, in announcing the new fee structure and limitations, said his airline "now has something to offer every customer, from those who want simple, low-price travel to those who want an ultra-premium experience via first class."

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