Chuck Schumer Takes Aim at Airlines on Overhead Bin Fees
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is taking aim at airlines over charging for overhead fee bins. He has stated that the Airline Passenger Bill of Rights needs to be expanded so as to combat the airlines’ attempts to “monetize every atom of the airline.”
In a press conference on Sunday, Schumer said,
“You don’t have to read the tea leaves to see that, when it comes 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?” added Schumer, before brandishing a backpack to illustrate his point. The press conference followed the senator’s appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” where he criticized republicans’ attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
Schumer has asked the airlines to voluntarily stop charging for overhead space, but said he would use the Federal Aviation Administration to stop them from charging. Schumer said, “I’m announcing that in the upcoming FAA 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 announced last week their new Basic Economy Fare and United and Delta both announced it last year. The airlines say that a new fare class opens the opportunity to make travel for Americans more affordable. In the opinion of the airline, consumers can now pay a cheaper rate and pay for only what they want as part of their ticket.