PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — That trip is planned, the flight is booked, but suddenly a last minute emergency means rescheduling travel plans are a necessity.
So travelers are hit with a $200 change fee when those emergencies arise.
“That’s gouging my wife says. It really is,” says one traveler.
“If you don’t want to drive. I suppose you’re going to pay,” adds another airborne traveler.
And plenty of people have been opting to pay those fees. In fact last year, U.S. airlines made $4.6 billion in fees alone.
Congress wants to crack down as part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s funding bill.
Lawmakers want to strip airline of the ability to set fees and to entrust that oversight to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao.
Philadelphia-based aviation attorney Arthur Wolk says he believes we’re at a tipping point with how airlines are treating their passengers.
They’ve now gotten to the point where passengers are starting to say “Ouch”.
Wolk also thinks we will see more regulation of fees and a push for better customer service in the next few years.
However, since that could mean less in revenue for airlines it is something they are desperate to avoid.
He believes airlines are surely going to lobby hard against any change.
“We’re in the $5 billion-a-year pure profit, pure profit category of fees, and I think we’re coming to an end of that era,” Wolk adds.
The sentiment seems to be that change needs to come and somebody needs to do something. And that somebody will have to be the government by means of regulation according to some travelers.
“It’s the best thing to do,” Wolk finishes.
Now even though plans to prohibit airlines from charging unreasonable fees for changing or canceling tickets did not make it to the final bill all is not lost.
The US House and Senate leaders say they will direct the FAA to set minimum dimensions for passenger seats.
The new bill will also prohibit airlines from removing passengers against their will from overbooked flights…