A provision in the Senate FAA Reauthorization bill would ensure airline change and cancellation fees are reasonable


Washington (September 13, 2018) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Roger F. Wicker (R-Miss.), and Representatives Steve Cohen (TN-09) and Walter Jones (NC-03) today sent letters to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee calling for the inclusion of a Senate provision establishing protections from unreasonable airline fees in the final Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act. A 2017 report from the Government Accountability Office found that few airlines consider the costs of the services provided when setting the price of their ancillary fees. According to recent reports, the Chairmen and Ranking Members are pre-conferencing the FAA reauthorization bills to resolve differences between the two pieces of legislation.


“We believe this provision both promotes a vibrant aviation sector and ensures passengers retain fundamental rights when they fly,” write the lawmakers in their letter to Transportation Committee leadership. “We urge you to preserve this crucial provision in the final FAA Reauthorization bill, so we can provide passengers the much-needed relief they deserve.”


A copy of the letter can be found HERE.


The Senate FAA Reauthorization bill includes a provision that directs the Department of Transportation (DOT) to assess whether change and cancellation, baggage, and other fees are reasonable and proportional to the costs of the services provided. The DOT is then directed to ensure change and cancellation fees are not unreasonable or disproportionate to the costs borne by the airline when a flight reservation is modified or cancelled.


Recently, JetBlue Airways raised fees for a passenger’s first checked bag from $25 to $30, while also increasing fees for second and third checked bags by $5 and $50, respectively. The airline also raised change and cancellation fees from $150 to $200 for certain flights. Shortly after, United Airlines also raised fees for the first checked bag from $25 to $30, and increased the fees for a second checked bag from $35 to $40.