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New bill targets airline bag-check fees

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As the height of the holiday travel season nears, one lawmaker is trying to ease the burden on travelers with a new bill that would limit airlines' abilities to charge customers for checking bags. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., this week introduced the Airline Passenger BASICS Act (the "BASIC" stands for Basic Airline Standards to Improve Customer Satisfaction) - which would mandate that airlines allow fliers one free checked bag within certain weight limits per flight, and would… (www.cbsnews.com) さらに...

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racerman
If anyone thinks this bill would get them "free" bag travel ,I have a bridge to sell them. If this bill passes the airlines will raise fares to make up for the lost baggage fees, then everyone would pay for the bag fees in the ticket prices, whether they have a checked bag or not. let the people pay for what services they use. I bet the Senator who introduced this bill also voted for Obamacare to get us cheaper health insurance rates.
conmanflyer
I prefer to have the fees continue as is because if you look at the numbers airline tickets have actually gone down. Inflation is what you see when the tickets back in the 60s cost 300 for transatlantic, now are $1000. baggage fees are just a way to pay for what you use. why should i pay for the space in the hold for a bag if im only going to have one roller bag?
rick737
The free market will work, if left alone. When passengers are tired of the fees, they will find a ride that costs less. If the airlines see they are loosing business because of the fees, the fees will go away. The bag fee actually shifts the cost to the person using the services. If I prefer to travel with a small carry-on that fits under the seat, why should I have to pay as much as the the guy who brings a couple of steamer trunks. He elected to use the baggage system, so let him pay for it.

Senator Landrieu should butt out and let the market take care of this. As long as the airlines post the pricing, there should be no complaints.
canuck44
canuck44 0
Richard, she was one of the three losers most responsible for the Katrina disaster along with the Governor, Kathleen Blanco, and of course Mr. Chocolate City himself, Mayor Ray Nagin. She has been trying to make herself relevant on something ...just anything since that time with a failure rate of 100%. This is a "slogan bill", long on rhetoric, of little value and often full of unintended consequences that seldom appear before the next election.
whip5209
Much as I despise the baggage fees (at least on the first bag), the market needs to sort this out. Not a bunch of lame brains in DC. How can they manage airline business when they can't even manage or balance the federal budget?
dmanuel
dmanuel 0
While I dislike paying the bag fee, I certainly understand the airlines utilizing it (giving passengers some options as oppose to putting a blanket ticket pice increase in effect). However, it seems to be vote pandering when someone in the government is quick to evoke a regulation that imposes a cost on business without considering the impact of tat action. I believe we were founder on the principals of free enterprise, so why is the goverent so quick to write checks others have to cash? BTW, I want to thank Yazoo for providing a source referenced (facts) response on airline revenues. I frequently see comments about historical cost, that do not take inflation into consideration. Good job on providing this information.
preacher1
preacher1 0
While I am pretty much in agreement with the comments here, it is kinda comical to read this comment string. I remember earlier when these fees first started hitting and we were all railing against them in this forum. Now, after a year or so, we get a do nothing, political loser, try and make a name for herself, but late again as usual, and here we are lambasting her & the government and defending the fees.LOL.Gotta Love It.
whip5209
Wayne, I think you are missing the point, at least with me. I don't like the luggage fees, I think that a person should be able to check 1 bag for free. But, the airlines have a right to charge that fee, and I have a right to either put up with it or find somewhere else to travel. The market will dictate how this is accepted. We are going to have to deal with this until the number of available flights decline to the point where ticket prices can pay for the flight. The extra "fees" will disappear when passengers have to compete monetarily for a seat. Having the Obamas, Franks, Pelosis, Landrieus, and other left wing political idiots micromanage the airlines will create another banking fiasco in the airline industry.
tneagle
To me it's like negotiating a deal for a car, then they hand you the keys and say, "Hey, you want steering wheel with that? Now, do you need some wheels?" When you buy a ticket, it should come with one checked bag free (2 if it's an international flight. Now we've got stewardess (Yes - that's the term) hawking boxed lunches like it's a bus going from Delhi to Punjab. Making customers comfortable and providing good service for your money is what will keep people coming back over the long haul. It's also the reason I try to avoid Delta! They once sold me an airline ticket to ride a bus!!!
preacher1
preacher1 0
Well, I agree common sense should prevail and major items like fees should show up on the website. that being said, I also agree about 1 free bag but as with most of the comments here, I would rather let the market bring it around rather than it being mandated by the government.
Yazoo
Yazoo 0
I actually agree with Wayne Bookout and others.
Gee! What a concept? Free enterprise in a Capitalistic Society. Let the market determine. I'd actually love to see the airlines charge for carry on bags and have free checked bag(s). Just think how fast and smooth the boarding process would go! However, I don't think that you'll see change any time soon.
From a June 2011 ABC report:
"... the Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today that U.S. airlines collected almost $5.7 billion from baggage fees and reservation change fees in 2010.

American passenger airlines made an estimated profit of $2.6 billion in 2010, according to the ATA. More than $2.1 billion of that profit came from fees. ... Delta made the most last year from bag fees with $952 million in revenue, according to the BTS. The recently merged United and Continental were in second with $655 million, followed by American ($580 million) and US Airways ($513 million)."

From my earlier post, you can see that if they can't make the money selling the seats, they are going to have to get the revenue somewhere else. There's big money in bags.
tneagle
I think my initial point may have been missed. When you buy a seat, the luggage comes with it - period. No further negotiating or quibbling. What the airlines are doing is petty and usurious. They shouldn't be allowed to conduct business in such a manner. I'd they can't be trusted to self regulate, then legislating minimum standards is appropriate, especially since it is within Constitutional mandate to regulate interstate commerce.
rick737
Since our federal government is doing such a good job keeping their own house in order, it has plenty of time devote to this. Dale, the airlines are what is known as "free enterprise". They make money by charging their customers a fee for their services. If they charge too much, the customers will stop buying the product. If they charge too little, they go out of business. ECONOMICS 101. Congress can not do anything to change that concept. The right of congress to regulate free enterprise does give them the right to do it wrong.
Yazoo
Yazoo 0
I don't believe that it is usury at all. The airlines charge, or in the case of SWA not charge, what the market will bare. One airline charges $25 for the first bag up to 50lbs. UPS charges $40 to ship that same bag 600 miles. Is that usury?
Dale used the analogy of paying extra for the steering wheel of a new car. I don't think that is quite true as the steering wheel is part of the car and required for it to operate. It is more like the dealer charging you extra for undercoat, mag wheels, XM Radio. You are buying a seat. They didn't charge you extra for the seat belt.
I just paid $750 for a plumber to snake a pipe. It took him about an hour. That's usurios!! But I paid him because that is what the free market demands. And I had to get the sewage backup out of my shower!!!! (No offence to plumbers.)
rick737
Reminds me of a story. It seems a doctor had a drain back-up at his office. He called a plumber. The plumber arrived about 15 minutes later. In 10 minutes, he had the drain cleared and had written a bill for his services to the tune of $350.00. The doctor looked at the bill and said, That's over $700.00 per hour for your labors. I'm a doctor and I don't make that kind of money. The plumber said "neither did I when I was a doctor".
canuck44
canuck44 0
Believe me, Richard, this will go from anecdote to reality in the next few years, but not for any monetary reasons. Many of us find it impossible to work when entirely immersed in bull shit spread by an expanding force of clipboards and other short school bus slugs. With the new grads thinking 50 hours per weeks onerous, expect long lines for care.
PLANESOLUTIONS
With the serious economic issues our elected officials need to address, why do they have to waste time and resources dealing with an issues they really should have no involvement in? Many years ago the airline industry was deregulated - LEAVE THE FREE MARKET ALONE!
MimosaDrive
I agree with the other comments in letting the market decide what fee structures succeed. Congress has other things they should be dealing with (but aren't).

When one airline started charging for putting carry-on bags in the overhead bins, it helped reduce the chaos and delays resulting from everybody trying to cram more bags that the overhead space was designed for. And despite people complaining about the fee, it seems to allow their flights to be leaving mostly on time.

Congress - don't you have a budget and overloaded debt to work on?
intellichance
As an employee of the only carrier that offers two free checked items, I oppose such a bill. This would be detrimental to my company's marketing and competitive advantage. Let the public decide in a free enterprise how to spend (or not spend) their money. The government needs to butt out and worry more about the frivolous spending of our tax dollars and fixing the economy.
whip5209
ABSOLUTELY! And I will fly on your airline if possible. See lefties, this is how it works. What a concept!
tarbaby
If the Airlines are not able to charge all these rediculous fees.....another way to nickel and dime the traveling public....then they will "increase the fares even more to make it up. Bring back fare regulations to stop the insane fares charged to the traveling public..........Fly SOUTHWEST!!
rick737
Wow, that is the dumbest statement so far on this thread. Price controls control nothing. As soon as they are lifted,and they will be lifted,they seek the market balance. It cost money,lots of money to run an airline. Airlines have to make a profit to continue to operate. What part of Economics 101 don't you understand?

I love SWA too. But, regulating others will make them all into mini SWA's.
rick737
mean't to say "regulating others [won't] make them into mini SWA's" Sorry for the mistype.
canuck44
canuck44 0
They need to fix the big problems in the country and stop meddling in business.

Having said that it is necessary to check a bag if you are taking presents that the TSA would confiscate, liquid toiletries, sten guns, bowie knives and the like. Also if the first bag is free the number of the most obnoxious individuals arriving with their entire wardrobe and bedding to place in the overhead might diminish....except of course at EWR.

It would have made more sense to require the fees to be posted with the ticket price and let the consumer decide.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 0
If you think airlines are charging too much and making too much profit, maybe you should look at the oil companies. Really, if you don't like the price of a product or service, don't buy it. You have a choice, at least until we decide to put the government in charge of everything.
tarbaby
Bottom line........it is all GREED! Many folks are just a bunch of Lemmings. All about the dollar.....
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 0
Of course it is. That is what corp's are supposed to do. Not greed, just capitalism at work. When they try and get greedy, customers leave. That's the way it works. Corp's are not around for philanthropy.
tarbaby
More like Socializism, isn't it?......James
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 0
The more government involvement the more we move toward socialism.
tarbaby
Yup....you're right James....it is already happening, unfortunately.
preacher1
preacher1 0
C'mon November 2012 and pray we can survive til then.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 0
That will be the first step. If that fails????????????
preacher1
preacher1 0
Already doing it anyway but we best be praying harder for the Lord to come.
htinc
Just another exampl of the Obama government tring to take us down the road to Social-lism.
Checkguy
DA SHAFE 0
I agree that this is a free market issue, but disagree that this is " another exampl (sic) of the Obama government tring (sic) to take us down the road to Social-lism (sic)". Congressmen can float whatever ideas they want, but that doesn't necessarily reflect what the Executive branch is wanting to do. As for Katrina, Congress may have been indirectly responsible for some aspects of that debacle, but it was the Exec Branch of the government that was in charge of execution. Who was President then?
rick737
How about the politicians on the ground in La, Ms, Al? Where were the governors of those states, the mayors of the cities, the judges and supervisors of the counties? Why do you left wing wackos have to blame Bush, every time someone gets a hang nail? And by the way what the h$ll does a hurricane have to do with baggage fees? The idiot left wants to stick their collective noses into every aspect of life. If you don't like free enterprise markets, move to North Korea. You'll find the controls more to your liking
laxlover
Government, Get the HELL out of my life!!!!!!!!!!!


Bunch of Bureaucratic idiots in Washington!!
mikeb5618
All the above posts are right on. The government has no constitutional authority to dictate the pricing practices or service standards of private businesses. This BS has become typical of the current American government.
Yazoo
Yazoo 0
It cost's airlines $X.XX per pound to transport something. Why should someone who only has a small carry on be charged for full sized bag. You have to pay an extra fee when you have a large bag and take a taxi. Why should this be different.
Janet Napolitano is an idiot because the TSA only performs random bag checks at the gate. And even that is rather rare.
As to Connor Oslie's comments about airfare he is not correct. I'm using ATA and overall industry average figures. The 1926 passenger revenue per passenger mile (RASM) was $0.12. The revenue per passenger mile in 2004 was $0.12.1. Yet the costs (fuel, wages, fees, rents, and TAXES) per available seat mile have greatly increased. The 2011 RASM is projected to be in the 12.32 cent range. The 2011 Cost per Available Seat Mile (CASM)is projected to be 12.49 cents. So on average the airlines are loosing 0.17 cents/mile just to carry what they carry. To increase revenue you need to squeeze every penny for each seat mile. That means charging for bags, food, drinks, WIFI, movies, and putting ads on the tray tables. Ryan air, a discount European carrier, wanted to install pay toilets!
canuck44
canuck44 0
...and pay per view pornography and rent-an-attendant.

When you lose 0.17 cents/seat mile you don't make it up on volume and you have to shift costs to other sources...reminds me of Medicaid and Medicare.
whip5209
If people start relieving themselves in the aisles and corners, the toilet fee would go away.

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