Airlines against delayed-baggage refund fees, but increase fees in other areas
The Department of Transportation is working on a new rule to mandate that airlines must offer refund fees in the event that your bags are lost or delayed.
But -- no surprise here -- the Air Transport Association, which represents most of the big airlines, is against the new rule. The trade group says airlines should have the choice of whether it will offer a refund and that defining what a timely delivery for bags is, well, a "subjective" question.
The Transportation Department didn't include a definition of what a timely delivered bag is. It hopes to adopt a rule by the springtime.
The L.A. Times reports that the nation's top 10 airlines collected more than $3.1 billion in baggage fees in the 12-month period that ended in June.
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And while we're on the subject, it seems that airline fees are steadily increasing. A USA Today analysis -- which compared 13 U.S. airlines' fees today with those in effect in June 2009 -- shows that some airlines fees are up by more than 50 percent. Not only that, passengers are also facing new types of fees - everything from blankets to ticket changes to receipt requests more than seven days after a flight.
According to USA Today, most U.S. airlines have increased their checked baggage fees by as much as $10 since last year. Airlines now charge $23 or $25 for a first checked bag. Only low-cost carriers Southwest and JetBlue do not charge. In June 2009, most airlines charged $15. Four airlines even charged nothing. Other findings show that booking a reservation via the telephone can cost you a reservation, booking, or convenience fee, and that the most expensive change fee for a coach ticket has increased from $250 to $300, (that's how much American charges for international flights).
USA Today says airlines made a record $2 billion in fees during the second quarter of the year.
Have you experienced unpleasant airline fees recently?