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Measure Urging Congress To Prohibit Airlines From Charging Carry-On Baggage Fees Clears Senate

Bill Stems From Spirit Airlines Policy To Charge Passengers Up To $45 For Carry-On Luggage

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senator Jeff Van Drew urging Congress to enact legislation prohibiting airlines from charging fees for certain carry-on baggage stored in the plane’s overhead compartment has been approved by the full Senate.

“It’s one thing for airlines to charge travelers for checked luggage, but tacking on fees for carry-on baggage is quite simply a back-door way of inflating the fare,” said Van Drew (D-Cape May/Cumberland/Atlantic). “This measure asks Congress to prohibit this practice, and it sends a message to airlines that we are closely following their actions and are committed to exposing these deceptive policies to consumers when we discover them.”

The resolution (SR-71) was crafted in response to a policy adopted by Spirit Airlines in August to charge customers a fee of up to $45 for carry-on baggage that will not fit under the seat. The resolution notes “the imposition of these fees by an airline in the United States is a radical departure from the current practice of permitting airline passengers storing overhead bags meeting existing restrictions on weight, size and number of bags to do so without an extra charge.”

“While many airlines charge for checked luggage, travelers are at least given an opportunity to avoid the surcharge by packing a little lighter,” said Van Drew. “Charging for carry-ons makes the fee absolutely unavoidable – a tactic that could very well price out of airline travel middle-class families who are already scraping to get by.”

The resolution memorializes the Congress of the United States to enact legislation to prohibit airlines from charging fees on carry-on baggage which meets existing restrictions on the weight, size, and number of bags.

The measure was approved yesterday by the Senate. Duly authenticated copies of the resolution, signed by the President of the Senate and attested to by the Secretary, will be transmitted to each member of New Jersey’s congressional delegation and to the Speaker and Clerk of the United States House of Representatives and the President and Secretary of the United States Senate.

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