Senate legislation to require airlines to refund baggage fees on delayed, lost luggage

The US Senate has passed an FAA reauthorization bill requiring airlines to refund baggage fees if bags are lost or delayed, US Sen. John Thune, chairman of the Senate commerce committee said.

About eight years ago airlines started charging for checked bags that they previously transported as part of a ticket.

This component of the legislation may not wind up in the House version of the bill. Current FAA authorization ran through July 15, and could lead to an extension of the current law.

The new regulations will require an airline to provide to a passenger an automated refund for any ancillary fees paid by the passenger for checked baggage if the luggage does not arrive within 12 hours of a domestic flight´s arrival or 15 hours of an international flight´s arrival.

Customers paid USD3.8 billion in baggage fees last year and USD3 billion in reservation change fees. The cost to check a passenger´s first bag ranges from USD20-30 on most airlines; the cost for a second and third bag can increase to as much as USD150 per bag.