Sen. Begich co-sponsors bill opposing airline carry-on fees

Posted: Monday, April 19, 2010

JUNEAU - Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, co-sponsored a bill that could put an end to costly baggage fees.

The Block Airlines' Gratuitous Fees (BAG) Act was prompted by an airline's announcement last week that it would charge passengers up to $45 for carry-on baggage, according to the Senator's office.

"What's next, pay toilets on airplanes?" Begich asked in announcing his support for the bill. "We really need to be looking for ways to ease the financial burden for Alaskans and others who fly frequently - not piggyback more and more fees on them each time they travel."

The BAG Fees Act would essentially end a tax break for airlines on overhead baggage fees. Currently airlines are able to keep the entire fee charged for carry-on bags, paying no taxes on services considered unnecessary for travel. The bill would designate carry-on baggage as a necessity.

By closing the tax loophole, airlines would be less likely to want to charge the fee, Begich said.

"We're trying to stop this fee before it becomes attractive and popular with many airlines," he said. "We know from past experience that once one airline starts to charge a baggage fee, others generally follow suit."

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