National Consumers League

FAA reauthorization bill is a missed opportunity to address add-on fees

September 22, 2018

Media contact: National Consumers League – Carol McKay, carolm@nclnet.org, (412) 945-3242 or Taun Sterling, tauns@nclnet.org, (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC--The National Consumers League (NCL), America's pioneering consumer advocacy organization, today expressed disappointment about the lack of any language addressing anticompetitive add-on fees in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization conference bill released by Congress early this morning.

The following statement is attributable to NCL Executive Director Sally Greenberg:

"The airlines' outrageous $200 change and cancellation fees are but one egregious example of the fees and penalties that line the industry's pockets while costing flyers billions of dollars every year. While there are some things that will benefit consumers in the FAA reauthorization bill, the glaring lack of the bipartisan FAIR Fees Act language is a missed opportunity for Congress to get a handle on the rampant growth of anti-competitive ancillary fees that result in so much consumer aggravation. The airlines' tone-deafness in this area -- witness American, Delta, United, and JetBlue all raising bag fees to $30 per bag within weeks of one another this summer -- should make it obvious that they will continue to raise fees with impunity until Congress steps in.

We applaud the efforts of a bipartisan group of members of Congress, particularly Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN9), and Representative Walter Jones (R-NC3), who worked diligently, albeit unsuccessfully, to get the FAIR Fees Act language included in the final conference agreement.

While this is a setback for the flying public, NCL will continue to work with consumer champions in Congress and elsewhere to raise awareness of the costs of airline nickel-and-diming on flyers, competition, and airport investment. This is not an issue that is going to go away. The airlines should expect that NCL and our allies will continue to highlight the industry’s mistreatment of their customers at every turn."

###

About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.