There is a federal move afoot for airlines to be required to refund bag fees when luggage doesn’t arrive within 12 hours of landing at your final destination.
“We’re still looking at 8-9 months or a year before we see this come into play, so it’s going to take some time,” says iHeartRadio Aviation analyst Jay Ratliff. “But once it’s there it’s going to be great because it’s an added benefit for the consumer.”
But you’ve heard the expression that there’s no such thing as a free lunch? Airlines are already looking for work-arounds.
Ratliff suggests airlines may officially extend the required length of time from gate check-in to boarding from 30 minutes to 45 or possibly even an hour. It buys them more wiggle room.
They can also make more aggressive use of voluntary separation bag tags, requiring passengers to sign a waiver freeing airlines from responsibility for fees if they arrive later.
The proposal would include other services, such as in-flight wifi. If passengers are charged for internet service and it turns out to not be available on a flight, airlines would be required to refund the fee.
Prior to the dramatic drop in air travel during the pandemic, airlines collected $5.8 billion in checked bag fees.
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