Q. Why aren't airline baggage fees regulated?


Congress deregulated air fare in 1978. The DOT does not regulate airline charges for services, including fees for checked bags. A checked bag costs an airline more than a carry-on bag. Some feel that passengers with carry-on bags only should not have to share the cost of checked bags. This is part of the "unbundling" of services that includes charges for in-flight meals and entertainment.

There are no regulations against airlines advertising a ticket price that does not include checked baggage. DOT has taken steps to help consumers assess airline baggage fees. On May 13, 2008, the Aviation Enforcement Office issued guidance to airlines that customers must receive timely notice of fees. Airlines cannot charge for a assitive devices, like wheelchairs or walkers, checked by passengers with disabilities.

Questions? Contact the Aviation Consumer Protection Division

Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings
Aviation Consumer Protection Division
1200 New Jersey Ave, SE
Washington, DC 20590
United States


  • Phone: (202) 366-2220
  • TTY/Assistive Device: (202) 366-0511
  • Business Hours: 8:30am-5:00pm ET, M-F

  • Last Updated Jul 18, 2017
  • Views 8
  • Answered By David Martin

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