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Senator Promises to Fight New Airline Fees

Following an example set earlier by United Airlines, American Airlines announced last week that use of overhead bins on flights will no longer be free for every passenger.

A condition of the carriers' new "basic economy" fares is that customers who opt for those low rates will be allowed only one carry-on bag—and it has to fit underneath the seats. Under United's basic economy system, which starts next month, use of overhead bins for those passengers comes with a $25 fee (one of numerous fees basic economy customers are subject to, for services once considered obligatory).

At least one U.S. lawmaker has decided enough is enough. New York Sen. Charles Schumer said on Sunday that he intends to push for an expansion of air passengers' rights to combat overhead-bin fees and other new charges.

Pointing out that fuel prices are low and competition is scant thanks to the low number of airlines left, Schumer discarded the notion that major carriers are hard up for cash.

Instead, he said, "they continue a relentless march to monetize every atom of the airline, nickel and diming travelers with fee after fee to maximize their profits. What's next? Are we going to pay per peanut?"