In every year since 2010, US airlines have collectively raked in more than $3.3 billion in baggage fees. Last year alone airlines collected $3.8 billion in baggage fees, nearly equal to the city budget of Phoenix. Talk about a chunk of change for the likes of American, Delta, and United.
Naturally, those big fat numbers have caught the attention of lawmakers. Two US senators -- Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) -- wrote a letter to 12 airlines in May, calling for a summer reduction in bag fees to ease abysmal, Samsonite-choked TSA lines. "A recent investigation by the minority staff of the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee found that three airlines increased checked baggage fees by 67 percent between 2009 and 2014," they wrote.
The airlines responded by playing a very tiny air violin. The industry group Airlines for America replied with a statement that read, in part: "Not only does the data not support a causal relationship between recent lines and baggage fees, it would be illegal for airlines to jointly agree on any pricing policy, including bag fees." Or, in short: you got a problem with how we run our business? Write new regs or STFU.