U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) urged major airlines to reverse a new policy that has increased change fees to $200 per ticket. Within a matter of weeks, four major U.S. airlines recently increased their fees on ticket-changes from $150 to $200 and new reports show that, in 2012, the nation’s fifteen largest airlines collected $2.6 billion worth of ticket-change fees, Schumer said.
Schumer urged Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, U.S. Airways and United Airlines to reverse their new ticket-change charges and said Schumer has had success working with airlines in the past, and successfully convinced the majority of them to reverse fees on carry-on baggage.
“Families on a budget are already trying to plan their vacations months and months in advance to lock in the lowest rate, and these new fees essentially mean those plans are set in stone, even if work, school, or a family emergency get in the way,” said Schumer. "With the growth of other fees, flying has already become prohibitively expensive for many, and the airlines, after making billions of dollars in these fees last year, shouldn't pile on. At $200 per change, it makes it all but unaffordable for a family to change their plans by even a day or hour."
In 2012, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the nation’s airlines collected $2.6 billion in ticket-change fees, which has increased 7.3 percent since 2011.
According to Schumer, in April, United Airlines raised its ticket-change fees to $200 for itineraries between the United States and Canada. Its policy also increased certain international itineraries from $250 to $300. Soon after American Airlines, Delta and U.S. Airways also raised the fee for changing a domestic flight reservation from $150 to $200.
Schumer said he has long advocated on behalf of airline passengers. In 2010, major U.S. airlines proposed charging passengers for carry-on-luggage. Schumer said he personally contacted officials at American Airlines, Delta Airlines, JetBlue, United Airlines and US Airways and urged them to reverse their decision for carry-on fees. Schumer successfully secured a commitment from these companies to not charge passengers for carry-on baggage.
Schumer urged the airlines to reverse their increased ticket-change fees. Schumer explained that, under these new policies, it would cost $1000 for a family of five to change their traveling plans. Schumer made the case that families are already paying extra fees for baggage, food, and Wi-Fi and this new policy has brought passengers to the tipping point.