Senate panel investigates US airline baggage, seat selection fees | Airlines

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Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, who chairs the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, said these fees are often hidden from and confusing to consumers.

Blumenthal said he wrote the chief executives of American Airlines (AAL.O), United Airlines (UAL.O), Delta Air Lines (DAL.N), Spirit Airlines (SAVE.N) and Frontier Airlines (ULCC.O) seeking a detailed breakdown on how much they collect from each fee, the reason for them and the costs to supply each service.

Between 2018 and 2022, total revenue across major U.S. airlines from baggage fees increased from $4.9 billion to $6.8 billion, the senator said. Blumenthal also cited a report by a travel consultancy that found that eight leading U.S. airlines last year collected an estimated $4.2 billion in fees for seat selection.

“U.S. airlines increasingly charge ancillary fees that obscure the actual cost of air travel,” Blumenthal said in the letters.

“These itemized fees are often not disclosed to customers until well into the ticket purchasing process or after a ticket has been purchased, making it difficult for customers…

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