The New York Times reports that passengers who suffer from airlines losing their luggage may be getting their rights back.
Buried in the new bill reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration are a few sections addressing the fees that many of us pay to fly. And while the Senate and the House bills still differ a bit, one likely result is going to be this: The carriers are going to have to refund the fees you pay when your luggage isn’t on your flight and you have to wait a long time to get it.
Refunding those fees may not seem like a big deal, but airlines in the United States took in about $3 billion in fees for checked luggage last year. So plenty is at stake. And if you’ve ever tried to get your money back after an airline botched its baggage delivery, as I did recently, you’re acutely aware of the following facts:
■ Any attempt to reason with the airline begins with the discovery that it may have declared all baggage fees nonrefundable in nearly every circumstance.
■ A refund, if you get one, may come in the form of a voucher that requires you to fly that carrier again — and to remember to use it.
■ If you dispute the charge with your credit card company, you may run into resistance.
While the bill contains other improvements for traveling families, people in wheelchairs and others, those baggage fees are the ones that airlines have been charging for a longer time and are particularly noxious. If the bag doesn’t come spinning around the carousel, you shouldn’t have to pay, right?