Senator Joins DOT Secretary In Blasting Spirit's New Carry-On Bag Fees

Spirit Airline’s ballsy new $20-45 fee for carry-on bags has already caught the attention of the Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, and now New York Senator Charles Schumer is rattling his sword.

Last week, LaHood told Elliott.org that this is “absolutely not” the way an airline should be handling fees, and says that Spirit is trying to deceive passengers with super cheap fares up front and hidden fees disclosed in fine print.

You can read the full interview here, but the gist is that LaHood thinks all fees or potential fees should be disclosed before the consumer makes the decision to purchase the ticket. As far as what the DOT plans to do about it, he says, “We have a rule in process [scheduled for release in June], and all the things we’re talking about, they’re being considered. We’re on this. Stay tuned.”

Senator Charles Schumer is taking more immediate measures to counter Spirit’s new fee. The NY Daily News reports that he has asked Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to reverse a recent ruling that allows Spirit to keep the entire carry-on baggage fee tax free. Airlines don’t pay taxes on fees charged for “unnecessary” in-flight items like peanuts and pillows, and currently carry-on bags are also considered unnecessary by the Treasury Department. Schumer has told various media outlets that if the Treasury Department doesn’t reverse the ruling, he’ll introduce legislation to stop carry-on bag fees altogether.

“LaHood on Spirit’s carry-on baggage fees: ‘We’re gonna hold the airline’s feet to the fire on this’” [Elliott.org via USA Today]
“Sen. Schumer demands action over airline’s new $45 fee for carry-on bags” [NY Daily News]