Democrats say it’s time to crack down on hidden airline fees

Politics

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — With Americans gearing up to travel during the holidays, those flying can expect an extra fee to pop up here and there. Democrats in the House and the Senate say it’s time to crack down on airline fees.

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“For too long they have been allowed to blindside travelers with exorbitant charges and ancillary fees,” Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said.

Markey’s legislation would prohibit airlines from charging disproportionate fees on things like cancellations, seat changes or extra bags.

“Does it really cost an airline $100 more to add one additional suit bag? Of course not,” Markey said.

The legislation also directs the Department of Transportation to review additional fees from airlines and ensure children can sit with their families at no additional cost.

“No economic justification for it. And frankly there’s no moral justification,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said.

Blumenthal says these unexpected fees blindside Americans, especially during busy holiday travel.

“We are in the season of gift giving, and the airlines are, again, taking,” Blumenthal said.

However, some Republicans are wary of the legislation’s potential impact on the airline industry, and trust customers to make the right choices.

“At the end of the day, its consumers that make a determination of what succeeds and what fails,” Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) said.

Kelly says lawmakers should stay out of the way.

“You people have a pretty bad track record of running a successful business. Let’s not start telling the private sector what they have to do,” Kelly said.

In a statement, Airlines for America representative, Carter Young said, “U.S. airlines strive to provide a safe, seamless and enjoyable travel experience for all customers, which is why carriers offer a robust variety of air travel options, giving passengers the ability to choose the services that best fit their individual needs and preferences.”

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