Senator-Richard-Blumenthal

Senator Richard Blumenthal is one of two senators backing the FAIR Fees Act, which would prohibit airlines from imposing fees that are not deemed to be reasonable and proportional to the costs of the services provided. Image via Federal Times

APEX Insight: Yesterday, two US senators proposed the Forbidding Airlines from Imposing Ridiculous (FAIR) Fees Act, which would protect consumers by limiting fees for checked bags, ticket changes and cancellations. APEX CEO Joe Leader weighs in.

In an impressive display of acronym creation, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) have introduced legislation intended to regulate airline fees. The Forbidding Airlines from Imposing Ridiculous (FAIR) Fees Act would prohibit airlines from imposing fees that are not deemed to be reasonable and proportional to the costs of the services provided.

In a press release outlining the FAIR Fees Act, Senator Markey said: “Airline fees are as high as the planes passengers are traveling on, and it’s time to stop their rapid ascent.” In a similar tone, Senator Blumenthal said: “This measure will ground the soaring, gouging fees that contribute to airlines’ record profits and passengers’ rising pain.” In addition to cancellation, ticket change and bag fees, the FAIR Fees Act directs the US Department of Transportation to review any other fees charged by airlines.

Sen. Markey and Sen. Blumenthal’s proposal has the support of a number of consumer associations including the National Consumers League, National Association of Airline Passengers, Consumers Union, Consumer Action, U.S. Public Interest Group, Travelers United, Airlinepassengers.org, Consumer Federation of America and Travelers’ Voice.

“APEX does not support the FAIR Fees Act as it restricts airline offerings, but we do support passengers getting the right fee information at the right time.” – Joe Leader, APEX CEO.

“APEX does not support the FAIR Fees Act as it restricts airline offerings, but we do support passengers getting the right fee information at the right time,” commented Joe Leader, APEX CEO. “A uniform approach to clearly outline airline fees falls within the existing US Department of Transportation scope, without the need for additional legislation. Airlines as diverse as Delta, Spirit, and Southwest approach fees in vastly different manners while universally providing clarity, information and innovation for their airline passengers.

The FAIR Fees Act follows on the heels of Congressman Steve Cohen’s SEAT Act, which would have established a minimum seat size and minimum distance between rows of airline seats. The SEAT Act was presented as an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration’s Reauthorization bill, and was defeated in mid-February.

Howard has been passionate about aviation since he was a little kid, and is a pilot who loves to fly gliders and just about anything else with wings. He's a frequent contributor to aviation magazines and blogs.