Senator Takes Aim At American Airlines For Charging Extra For Access To Overhead Bins

Image courtesy of MartinRottler

Odds are, if an airline finds a way to charge travelers yet another add-on fee, New York Sen. Charles Schumer will be close behind, expressing his displeasure. This time, the lawmaker has American Airlines’s new Basic Economy fare in his sights.

The newest fare class from American is cheaper than regular Economy tickets, but Basic Economy passengers will board the plane last, and they can only bring one carry-on item that fits underneath the seat, or pay a fee to stow a bag in the overhead bin. United introduced a similar fare option in November, earning Schumer’s ire. He’s still not a fan of the idea.

“They continue a relentless march to monetize every atom on the airplane,” Schumer said of airlines in general in his weekly address on Sunday, CBS New York reports.

Schumer says he’s worried other airlines will soon follow suit, and that someday all passengers may have to pay extra for access to the overhead bins.

“You don’t have to know how to read the tea leaves to see that when it comes to new airline fees, the future looks turbulent for consumers,” Schumer said. “Yet again, and as predicted, another major airline just made it harder for everyday consumers to fly by banning the free use of the overhead bin for some travelers.”

American responded to Schumer by pointing to the company’s previous statement.

“American Airlines now has something to offer every customer, from those who want simple, low-price travel to those who want an ultra-premium experience via First Class,” the statement reads. “Importantly, this new fare product also gives American the ability to compete more effectively with the growing number of ultra-low cost carriers.”

Schumer wants any airlines that have implemented similar policies to abandon them, “and allow free use of the overhead bin for all fare classes and for all customers.”

He’s now planning to push for an expansion of the Airline Passenger Bill of Rights in the upcoming Federal Aviation Administration bill.

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