As airlines are trying to limit their financial losses by imposing new fees, consumer advocates are loudly criticizing these ideas as examples of these businesses trampling on travelers’ rights.
Earlier this month, discount carrier Spirit Airlines stirred controversy by announcing that it would charge passengers for carry-on luggage stowed in overhead bins. This caused the organization called FlyersRights.org to demand that Congress ban such practices permanently.
Its president and founder, Kate Hanni, has sought to expose airlines’ motivations behind such decisions by saying that the United States has become known as the "Land of the Fee" when it comes to air travel. She added that this is because fees are treated differently than other revenue in terms of the taxes airlines have to pay to fund the national aviation system.
"So not only do these latest gimmicks harm passengers, they are shortchanging all of us by skirting [the airlines'] responsibility to help maintain and upgrade our nation’s aviation infrastructure," Hanni stressed.
In a related development, European carrier Ryanair said it will begin charging passengers for in-flight bathroom use, and FlyersRights.org also urged Congress to prohibit U.S. carriers from doing this same.