After Briefing from TSA, Markey and Blumenthal Reiterate Call to Airlines to Suspend Bag Fees This Summer

Urge airlines to be part of the solution for long airport security lines


Washington (May 19, 2016) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), members of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, today reaffirmed their commitment to providing airline passengers much needed relief from remarkably long Transportation Security Administration (TSA) lines, following an Senate Commerce Committee briefing with TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger on the status of the nation’s airport screening lines. Yesterday, Homeland Security Jeh Johnson expressed support for the elimination of bag fees, stating “We've asked the airlines to consider possibly eliminating the checked baggage fee to encourage people to check their luggage rather than putting it in the carry on.” Earlier this month, Senators Blumenthal and Markey sent letters to the 12 major U.S. airlines urging the companies to stop charging bag fees during the summer to help speed inspections and unsnarl lines. 


“It’s time for the airlines to stop prioritizing their bottom line over their customers standing in line,” said Senators Markey and Blumenthal. “The airlines and Congress must stand up and provide travellers with some much needed relief.  Congress must provide TSA with the resources and funding it needs to ensure passengers can swiftly and safely pass through screening checkpoints.  The airlines must recognize the role that their bag fees play in increasing wait times. Airlines should suspend their bag fees during this busy summer travel season.”

Yesterday, Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Markey and Blumenthal, along with 20 other Senators, sent a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee calling for more TSA funding to help ensure adequate staffing levels, reinforce screening efforts, and help expand security training programs.  TSA funding has decreased by nearly $250 million since 2011 even though the number of passengers screened has increased. In 2015, TSA screened more than 708 million passengers, an increase of 40.7 million compared to 2014.

In March, Senators Markey and Blumenthal introduced the FAIR (Forbidding Airlines from Imposing Ridiculous) Fees Act to ground skyrocketing airline fees and protect consumers from unfair checked bag, ticket change and cancellation fees.