DOT Wants More Transparency From Airlines About Baggage Fees

The Department of Transportation (DOT) on Tuesday proposed a rule to require airlines and ticket agents (including travel agents) to disclose carry-on and checked bags fees along the fare price. These fees are usually an afterthought for most people, and you have to go into the fine print to figure out whether you’ll have to pay for your bags.


“Displaying the fees for transporting carry-on and checked bags alongside the fare will make the cost of travel more transparent,” outgoing DOT secretary Anthony Foxx said in prepared remarks.

The move also comes 2-and-a-half years after an earlier DOT rulemaking process that included similar disclosure requirements for bag fees as well advance seating assignments. DOT said that baggage fee disclosures were among the more controversial proposals of that 2014 process, which is why they are now to be handled separately in this new rulemaking process.

Baggage fees are a big moneymaker for airlines. US Airlines raked in $3.8 billion in revenue from baggage fees in 2015 and $3.1 billion in the first three quarters on 2016. American Airlines leads the way in 2016 with $839 million, followed by Delta with $659 million and United with $520 million.

Those wanting to join in the conversation can send their comments by clicking here. Comments should be submitted within 60 days from Tuesday, January 17th with the docket number DOT-OST-2017-0007.

I’m not sure how much weight do those comments hold, but they say that the department’s final decision will be based on the comments and evidence filed by the public and its own analysis and regulation evaluation.

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