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Airline Baggage Transparency and Accountability Act

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The Association for Airline Passenger Rights (AAPR) today applauded Sen.

The Association for Airline Passenger Rights (AAPR) today applauded Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia for introducing the “Baggage Transparency and Accountability Act of 2010” (S.3691) and announced its strong support for his legislation. The legislation would end potentially “unfair or deceptive practices” by commercial airlines by requiring them to provide clear pricing information to consumers.

S.3691 would establish rules to assist consumers to compare airfares and other costs applicable to tickets for air transportation, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide that fees charged for carry-on and checked baggage on passenger aircraft are subject to the excise tax imposed on transportation of persons by air and for other purposes.

“Passengers are fed-up with the ‘nickel and dime’ approach being exercised by the commercial airline industry,” stated Brandon M. Macsata, executive director of the Association for Airline Passenger Rights. “Flying – which has already become an increasingly stressful experience for most passengers – is made absolutely worse when unexpected fees are levied on the flying public at the last minute.

Passengers deserve the right to know what exactly will be the final fare upon completing the purchase, not when their trying to check-in atthe gate only minutes before their scheduled departure.”

Senator Webb’s legislation would:

* Increase transparency of hidden fees for airline ticket sales;

* Eliminate a tax loophole that incentivizes airlines to charge carry-on and checked baggage fees. The fees would instead be treated as ‘paid for taxable transportation’;

* Authorize the Department of Transportation’s Aviation Consumer Protection Division to oversee lost and stolen baggage claims; and

* Require data collection and the public release of collected data concerning airline handling of lost, damaged and stolen baggage.

“In recent years, airlines have been adding various fees to the total ticket prices, often without fully disclosing these additional costs to customers,” Senator Webb said in a statement. “In addition, airlines have exploited a tax loophole which enables them to avoid paying taxes on these fees. This not only adds confusion to purchasing tickets, but also reduces funding for our nation?s vital air traffic control system.”

For more information about the Association for Airline Passenger Rights
or AAPR’s support for the “Baggage Transparency and Accountability Act
of 2010,” please visit www.flyfriendlyskies.com