Deborah Bouchette researches the luggage rules for an upcoming flight, but is surprised by a 200 Euro fee to check her bag, anyway. Her airline says she should get a refund -- so why isn't she?
Check this out: The latest luggage fee numbers, as reported by the federal government, show that the major airlines are collecting less for our checked suitcases. They haven't returned to the early 2007 levels, which were still pretty reasonable, but well off the highs reached in the second and third quarter of 2010.
Has the airline industry won the luggage fee war? Consider the following facts.
Sidestepping this year-old airline rule was pretty easy up to this point. Flight attendants and gate agents routinely waved passengers with too much luggage through, hoping to avoid a confrontation. But now that baggage fees are generating serious money — they accounted for $1.5 billion in 2008, according to the Transportation Department — airlines are less likely to let the surplus bags slide.
Can the government regulate fees for checked baggage? The Transportation Department has a canned answer
And it's the wrong answer. In a recent column about luggage, I suggested that a simple rulemaking by the Transportation Department could compel airlines to include one piece of checked luggage as part of the base fare. I recommended that readers write the DOT to let it know they supported such action.