Lost Luggage No Fees

Friday, April 15, 2011 - 2:29pm

Government plan forces refunds if airlines lose your bags.

You've already paid $15, $20, even $35 to check your bag on a flight.

Then the airline loses it, and you don't even get your money back.

The government wants to change that, tackling two of the biggest complaints about the air travel industry, poor service and the explosion of fees, at once.

Major airlines, which collect $3.3 billion in bag fees each year, are opposed.

“Normally, we're not happy when the government steps in on something. But in this case, yeah, I'd be happy if the government stepped in," said Gail Rigler, of Plano, Texas.

She was at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on Wednesday to pick up her mother, who was visiting from New York.

"I think it's crazy to have to pay for your luggage," Rigler said. "And then the insult on top of it is, if it gets lost, not to have that as a bare minimum. Yes, I think that's an insult to all the travelers."

Fort Worth-based American Airlines referred questions about the government's proposal to the Air Transport Association of America.

Airlines charge $15 to $35 to check a bag, $20 to $45 to check a second and more for the third and beyond.

American charges $25 for the first checked bag, $35 for the second checked bag and $100 to $150 for additional bags.

Most airlines, including American, won't provide a refund, even if it takes days to return a passenger's suitcase. Airlines say the rule would raise prices for everyone.

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