April 12th, 2010
03:36 PM ET
12 years ago

Senator vows to block carry-on fee

Washington (CNN) - Sen. Chuck Schumer vowed Monday to offer legislation that would prohibit airlines from charging passengers a fee to carry on luggage.

Spirit Airlines recently announced a carry on fee ranging from $30 to $45 per bag, becoming the first U.S carrier to charge for carry on luggage.

The New York Democrat said in an interview on CNN that the new fees "step over the line" and if the Treasury Department does not answer his plea to prevent the fees from being implemented he is certain that the legislation will go through the Senate and the House "like a hot knife through butter."

Filed under: Charles Schumer • Popular Posts
soundoff (187 Responses)
  1. JR

    the government is trying to get its hands into everything. This is a private company matter. If Americans do not think it is fair to charge these fees, then it is the American people who will "choose" not to fly this airline. The government has nothing to do with it and no right to intervene. The only other action the airlines could do is raise its rates for all fliers on it planes. One way or another, they have to pay their expenses. This government is really getting out of control.

    April 12, 2010 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  2. Joe M.

    While I agree that carry-on fees are ridiculous, it is not Congress's place to ban them outright. The marketplace should sort it out, with companies looking for an edge maybe foregoing such a fee in order to draw customers.

    If all airlines adopt the fee, and evidence exists that they are colluding with each other in raising these fees, the proper government intervention is through the Justice Department's Antitrust division.

    April 12, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  3. JHatch

    Charging people for carry-ons regardless of where they-re placed is crossing the line. Just to check regular luggage is $40 a bag or more, and they usually have to weigh less than 50 pounds which is almost impossible. Some are even considering charging to use the bathroom! Eventually they are going to start charging for light and oxygen on the flight.

    I have to admit, Schumer has done a good job so far on the consumer protection legislation that has already come out this year, I hope he can prevail on this too. Thanks Chuck for looking out for the people!

    April 12, 2010 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  4. I'm just sayin...

    This is not a legislative issue Chuck! I support Government being used when necessary to protect the basic rights and needs of the citizens – either through regulation of the private sector or direct administration, but this is ridiculous... I'm no fan of the airlines these days, and certainly would avoid Spirit Airlines for sure, but something like this, even to a lefty like me, would qualify as unecessary government intrusion (and a lame attempt at pandering).

    April 12, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  5. Pa Santigie

    The Senator's heart is in the right place and someone needs to stand up for the consumers. But beware, Sir and remember the man you beat for the seat you hold. Former Sen. Alfonse D'Amato who went after the Banks for their excessive bank charges. Where is today?
    Someone needs to do something, they reduced the seat size and mobility, the pillow size, the blankets and snacks, now they want you to pay for the carry ons.......where will it end...Oh, I know they will remove the seats and have straps and hooks to keep us in place when flying.

    April 12, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  6. Di

    Why not go one step further and ban the fees for the first checked bag? That is what is causing all this nonsense. The airlines would then just put the extra cost in the price of their tickets and life would go on. One checked bag and one carry-on per person. If they have 80% of their flight attendants getting injured from helping people hoist an overstuffed bag in the overhead, don't you think they'd realize maybe this charging for the first checked bag was a dumb idea and abandon it? Instead of infuriating the public even more? This all started with one airline getting greedy, and the others following suit.

    If one airline would advertise one checked bag and one carry-on free per person, I guarantee you the rest will do it too, and then they can price their tickets accordingly to get it back to normal.

    Maybe they need regulating to stop this craziness.

    April 12, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  7. DOG1

    If Senator Schumer rode anywhere but first class or on private jets provided by "supporters" he would realize this isn't about money for the airline. Over the last few years people have started to carry on larger and larger items so they won't have to pay to check them. I see this everyday at the airport where I work. Our airlines are starting to look like the ones in 3rd world countrys with furniture, goats and chickens in the aircraft cabin. A great number of passengers bring "carry-on" luggage that they know the airline will see as too large and check into baggage at the gate. This way they get out of paying the checked baggage fee that everyone else pays. Of course they also hold up the line boarding the aircraft and make a great deal more work for the gate and ramp agents.
    This idea to charge for carry-ons is just an attempt to mitigate that practice and I would guess that most of the other airlines are considering going to it also.

    April 12, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  8. Sam

    Some people carry on a rediculous amount of carry-on-luggage. This isn't necessarily a bad thing.

    April 12, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  9. Matt, NY

    Hey Chuck,

    This isn't Russia in the 1970's. You have no power to tell airlines what they can and cannot charge. Typical democratic socialist behavior.

    April 12, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  10. Veronica W

    It's like taking a bus and being charged to carry on your groceries. In fact the domestic airlines ARE becoming buses with wings. Personally I am travelling less and if I have to by car. I am also boycotting Spirit and starting a FB page to boycott them.

    April 12, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  11. viacondios

    stay out of corporation's business....
    Spirit – if the government wants to butt in to this fight – like everything else – then just charge more for your tickets for every passenger that has a carry on bag instead of a separate charge. $75 one way if you have no carry on luggage. $100 one way if you do. I've flown for 40 years....and enough is enough with carry-on....but enough is also enough with government sticking their nose into every decision a company makes. Get the heck out of corporate business –

    April 12, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  12. Simon/Orlando

    Schumer should worry about other more important things than carry on luggage. Just don't fly that airline. I can't believe that while his state is going broke trying to pay government workers pension funds, he's worried about a luggage charge.

    April 12, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  13. Obama the Liar

    Hey Chuckie-why don't you and your fellow liberals stop the fees that you impose on Americans everyday with your lunatic tax and spend policies ?

    April 12, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  14. Bob Dockery

    Kudos to Sen Schumer for having the balls to oppose this egregious
    charge. It's bad enough that these airlines charge for first and second bags. I assure you that the others will try and follow Spirit if there are no consequences to their actions.

    It's time for a passengers' revolt if these airlines keep sticking it to us. That revolt can start right now by boycotting Spirit Airlines until they cancel the new baggage fee, I will certainly not patronize them. Southwest, you're looking better every day!

    April 12, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  15. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    The arrogance and intrusiveness of Washington politicians never ceases to amaze me.

    April 12, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  16. NFL1

    Rather than charge for carry-ons, the airlines should simply enforce the rules they already have in place. Many folks bring more than 1 carry on and 1 personal item! If they are set on a charge, set it based on extra items, but be sure that medical items (I have to bring a CPAP every time) are not charged.

    April 12, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  17. Kyle

    This is a business decision for Spirit Airlines. Why does our federal government have to get involved? If consumers don't want to pay, they won't fly Spirit Airlines. If their service to my carry on luggage is superior, I should be the one deciding if the fee is worth choosing that airline.

    April 12, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  18. Patriot1028

    "This is bound to be good for votes therefore I will impose congress into commercial business" You have got to be kidding me. We the populace today still have a choice who we fly with. We can simply use our feet and go to a different airline causing this one significant loss. For the federal government to feel they must get involved in every aspect of commercial business smacks of socialism. However that has also been a common thread of Chuck Schumer. He is one of the leading advocates of socialism in the senate today. Once he is through telling airlines how much to charge for bags, how many, number of pretzels, cost of drinks, he will eventually drive them to one government airline. Similar to the ever popular AMTRAK it too will be a total failure and leach.

    Mr Schumer, please allow us the consumers in a capitalistic society to handle this. Shouldn't you be more concerned with employment then trying to run yet another business out of business. Will you employ those they have to lay off?

    April 12, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  19. IndyVoter

    Good....I mean enough of the fees already...sheesh!

    April 12, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  20. walleye

    What next, charging to use the bathroom?? I think a stand needs to be made and thank Schumer for getting the ball rolling.

    April 12, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  21. cardog

    All this year I have been with the Democrats fighting the Republicans on almost everything. This latest stance being taken by Sen. Schumer crosses the line for me. Who is he to interfer with market enterprise? If the public wants to fly and the airlines (all of them) want to charge for services and/or conditions to fly, that is none of Sen. Schumenr's business.
    For years the carry-on situation in the airlines industry has been not only a dangerous safety issue but it causes the most tedious inconvience you can imagine. On a full flight, it takes 15 to 20 minutes just to get off the aircraft due to all the bags/junk etc that is being brought on board. If the traveling public would maintain a courtesey to place their carry-on only above their own seat or under the seat in front of them, it would not be so bad.
    In the event there is a hard landing and/or God forbid a crach, these same carry-on bags becomes heavy items flying through the cabin.
    Sen. Schumer, you can't legislate everything that comes along simply because you do not agree with it.

    April 12, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  22. Bear

    And how would Senator Schumer know anything about how to contain costs the airlines face as fuel continues to rise? Our government is "crossing the line" by telling businesses what they can and can't charge for. This administration "thinks" they have more power than the Constitution grants them. Time to clean house on these butter knives. Vote NO for all incumbents!!! Start voting for people who know how to budget and run a business instead of all these actors.

    April 12, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  23. James

    $30-35 per bag is ridiculous. I'm against charging fees for carry-on luggage. However, if they are going to charge any fee, $2 would be fair – certainly no more than $5. Some people may need to take a medical bag as a carry-on. Perhaps medicine bags could be exempted from any fees at all. I know the airline industry has been struggling, but don't gauge your customers like this. Not everyone makes a six figure salary.

    April 12, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  24. Bob in Pa.

    Chuck Schumer is an idiot, always sticking his nose everywhere it doesn't belong. People will let the Airline know just how unpopular their extra fees are.

    April 12, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  25. Emma

    Hey Senator Schumer...how about letting the free market resolve this issue? If customers don't want to pay the fee, then they should fly on another airline that doesn't charge a fee!! I know, a radical concept...letting people make their own decisions about what they do and don't want to pay for. There is a place for government regulation, but this is getting ridiculous. The government needs to back off and get out of everyone's way!!

    April 12, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
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