Rep. John Mica Proposed Airline Baggage Fees Cap, At $4.50

Passengers charged as much as $100 to check in bags with Spirit Airlines will be thrilled to hear about the new bill filed by Rep. John Mica (R-FL) to cap the fees at a mere $4.50 per bag. In the middle of the battle over reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Rep. Mica has filed lesiglation to limit the bag fee paid by passengers, Bloomberg Business reported a few days ago. The $4.50 bag fee proposed by Mica matches the current passenger facility charge (PFC) that passengers pay when purchasing airline tickets.

The FAA’s current authorization expires on September 30 of this year, and the battle over renewing it in Congress invites lobbying by many interests who have a stake in what terms by which the authorization will be renewed. Many consumers will applaud the effort by Rep. Mica to lower the fees airlines charge for checked bags.

Mica also proposed to move control of the U.S. air traffic control system from the FAA to a private corporation modeled after that used in Europe and Canada. Mica noted that the baggage fees are not included in the ticket price, limiting funds that go into the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, which finances airport safety and air traffic control systems and equipment.

“It’s time to bring some fairness to the soaring fees that airlines are charging consumers for basic services,” Mica said in statement released by his office. The bill filed by Mica is titled the Baggage Fee Fairness Act of 2015.

Airports are urging Congress to raise the PFC from $4.50 to $8.50 on every airline ticket purchased by consumers. Airlines oppose raising the PFC fees, since consumers pay a number of fees and taxes to the government with their airline ticket purchases.

“This is fair and equitable since airports have been held to that fee level for handling passengers at the same $4.50 limitation by law for the past 15 years,” the Hill reported from Mica’s statement about the bill. “During that decade and a half, most major carriers have imposed dramatically increased baggage and service fees,” Mica continued. “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”

Certain customers were charged $100 per bag by Spirit Airlines, but not all customers. The airline has several different fees for bags they charged.

“Spirit Airlines customers who are members of the company’s Fare Club are only charged a $25 bag fee for declaring their carry-on items. Folks who choose to check their carry-ons online are charged $35, while those who prefer to use an old-fashioned telephone are hit with a $40 bag fee. If you declare your carry-ons at the ticket counter, Spirit will force you to cough up $50. Checking your carry-on items at the boarding gate, meanwhile, will smack you with the full $100 bag fee,” the Inquisitr reported back in 2012.

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