Last updated: 10:15 AM ET, Mon April 18 2016

Airlines May Soon Have to Refund Checked Bag Fees

Airlines & Airports | Patrick Clarke | April 18, 2016

Airlines May Soon Have to Refund Checked Bag Fees

As part of a new bill reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration, air travelers may soon be refunded checked bag fees in the event that their luggage is delayed or lost.

If approved, the legislation would be significant considering that U.S. airlines brought in approximately $3 billion in checked bag fees in 2015, according to the New York Times.

The Senate version of the bill would require airlines to automatically refund baggage fees if luggage is not received within six hours of arrival on a domestic flight and 12 hours of arrival on an international flight, while the House bill would implement a 24-hour deadline without an automatic refund.

Naturally, the proposals have been met with resistance from airlines.

"We urge the Senate Commerce Committee to reconsider its approach and instead support provisions that will help provide a rational tax and regulatory framework that will benefit all stakeholders of the aviation system, including the two million people who fly on U.S. airlines every day," Airlines for America President and CEO Nicholas Calio said in a statement last month

"It’s disconcerting at a time when other countries rightly view their airlines as national assets and drivers of the economy and jobs that we are taking steps backward toward reregulation, which will make it more difficult for consumers to afford to fly."

If ultimately signed into law, the legislation would be a welcome relief for frequent air travelers.

Nonetheless, the Times points out that it will likely be a year or more before the requirements take effect. 

In the meantime, passengers' only option will be to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Transportation in the event that their bags are delayed or lost and the airline refuses to refund their fee.

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