Schumer Fighting Airlines Over Excess Fees

New York Democrat Chuck Schumer is calling on the U.S. government to prohibit airlines from charging fees for carry-on bags, claiming the steadily rising charges are a slap in the face to travelers.

The Senator is encouraging the Treasury Department to rule that those bags are a necessity for air travel, as they often contain important items such as medicine. If it cannot close the gap in the law, Schumer warned he would introduce legislation that would do so.

Major U.S. airlines such as Delta (NYSE:DAL) and American Airlines (NYSE:AMR) have been steadily raising fees and cutting capacity this year to make up for high fuel costs and still soft revenues. Others such as privately-owned Spirit Airlines are charging for once-free extras such as carry-on luggage and entertainment.

Schumer is also urging U.S. airlines to reimburse passengers for fees incurred when their checked-in baggage is lost.

The Senators call comes amid new regulations from the U.S. Department of Transportation that require airlines to reimburse passengers for baggage fees only if their bags are lost and never returned, which relates to only a small number of cases.