Brazilian President Takes to YouTube Threatening to Veto Free Baggage Allowance

In December Brazil advanced a rule to eliminate foreign ownership restrictions on airlines operating inside the country. There had been a 20% cap, and currently Delta owns 9.4% of Gol, Qatar 10% of LATAM, and United 8% of Azul — three airlines that control 92% of the Brazilian market.

The rule was temporary, requiring legislative action followed by the President’s signature. The legislative hurdles were the easy part. The rule is meant to benefit the Boeing-Embraer deal and to attract foreign investment in the nation’s airline sector.

However the nation’s President doesn’t like one part of the legislation: a legally mandated free baggage allowance.

Taking to his YouTube account, President Jair Bolsonaro declared,

How many times have you seen [advertisements], lunch for BRL15 with free fizzy drink. Does anyone actually think the fizzy drink is free?… The baggage is included in the price”. Mr Bolsonaro added: “I’m inclined to veto [the article of the bill which reintroduce the baggage allowance]…

Man checked a can of beer as luggage on a Qantas flight.

Nothing is really free. Requiring free checked bags will mean higher ticket prices. Even though airlines report big money from checked baggage fees that’s really an accounting fiction, moving money out of airfare. There is likely incremental revenue (and higher costs associated with lengthier boarding processes as everyone carries on bags).

He isn’t wrong to take issue with this provision, although it reminds me of U.S. President Bill Clinton a href=”” target=_blank>promoting school uniforms, the sort of small ball issue normally delegated to a deputy assistant undersecretary.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Big money from checked bag fees is not accounting fiction.

    The fact is that checked bag fees are additional revenue that airlines use to get money from a lot of passengers who don’t know as much as the owner of this blog does when it comes to making or using travel plans.

  2. In fairness… I have no problem with that tweet. We should all live in a world where we don’t know what a ‘Golden Shower’ is.

  3. Doesn’t this guy have more important things to do, like attacking gays, women, free thinkers and minorities?

  4. @Christian

    More like protecting citizens from crime and violence, ending corruption both judicial and legislative and fixing a broken pension system.

    Just because a man doesn’t bow down to gay worship and anti men feminist hate you vilify him.

  5. Jair Bolsonaro channeling Milton Friedman: There is no such thing as a free lunch!

    Let’s hope we see this more often. Few countries in the world are more in need of free markets than Brazil.

  6. Anyone who thinks baggage fees trickles down to lower airfares is delusional. It means higher baggage fees and higher airline profits.

  7. Who ever pays checked bags fees? I know I don’t and I check bags every time on AA, UA, LH, OZ, BA. Please get over it, it is only the uneducated travelers who pay for bags. And do not tell me WN (Southwest) does not charge for bags, because their financial statement says they have a real lot of revenue from it.

  8. When Lufthansa turned over all those routes to eurowings later germanwings the prices stayed the same only the service became a la cart and the total airfare price rose. Believe me I was there. This got only worse when AB went belly up.
    Bag charges are a scam, not an accounting trick. Just a plain up scam.

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