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News In Brief

Airlines against delayed-baggage refund fees, but increase fees in other areas

Daryl Paranada Sep 27, 2010

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.

[RELATED: Airline industry expects larger profit]

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.

You can find other results of the analysis here. And follow our coverage of the airline industry.

Have you experienced unpleasant airline fees recently?

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