Business

Just how much are those airline fees?

Travelers walk through terminal 3 baggage claim at O'Hare International airport in Chicago in 2013. Attorney General Jim Hood and attorneys general from 16 states are asking the U.S. Transportation Department to let consumers see up-front what fees they will be charged for baggage, selecting their seat and early boarding.
Travelers walk through terminal 3 baggage claim at O'Hare International airport in Chicago in 2013. Attorney General Jim Hood and attorneys general from 16 states are asking the U.S. Transportation Department to let consumers see up-front what fees they will be charged for baggage, selecting their seat and early boarding. AP file

Airlines are expected to earn $57 billion from fees this year — $7 billion just from baggage fees — and Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood joined attorneys general from 16 states in asking that consumers be told about these charges up-front when booking a flight.

The attorneys general in a letter last week asked U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to reverse the department’s decision to withdraw a rule requiring the charges be disclosed at the beginning of the booking process so consumers can know the full cost of their plane tickets.

The Transportation Department announced announced earlier this month it was withdrawing the Transparency of Airline Ancillary Service Fees rule, and said in an online post it would have been “of limited public benefit.”

Typically when booking a flight online, carry-on baggage fees, checked baggage fees, seat fees and other charges are not disclosed until booking is nearly complete or even after tickets are purchased. The rule would have required airlines to post all the fees up front at the beginning of the booking process, rather than surprising consumers at the end.

According to a 2016 study, travelers paid an average of $100 in fees per round-trip on Spirit airlines, $97 on Frontier, and $86.92 on United.

Other states whose attorneys general signed the letter are: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia.

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