NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer is concerned about airlines charging passengers for the ability to use space in the overhead bin.
The New York Democrat says passengers who purchase new “basic” fares offered by American Airlines won’t be able to store carry-on baggage in the overhead bins. He says he worries other airlines will follow suit and that one day all passengers might have to pay extra if they want to stow a suitcase overhead.
United Airlines announced a similar policy late last year.
Schumer said Sunday that all passengers should be allowed to use the overhead bins without extra charges.
“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.”
In response to Schumer’s Sunday remarks, an American Airline spokesperson pointed to a statement they previously sent out regarding the new economy fare.
“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.”
The airlines argue that the new “basic” fares are simply a way to give passengers a cheaper alternative to standard fares, which come with overhead bin privileges.
“The airlines that have adopted this policy should hit the eject on this plan and allow free use of the overhead bin for all fare classes and for all customers,” Schumer added Sunday.
Schumer said he will push for an expansion of the Airline Passenger Bill of Rights this year in the upcoming Federal Aviation Administration bill.
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