Is Bashing Airlines For ‘Poorly Disclosed’ Checked Bag Fees And Change Fees Presidential?

President Biden has been talking up poor disclosure of airline fees, as though consumers don’t know that checked bags come with a fee, or that airlines don’t tell them what a seat assignment might cost (they literally present a seat map with prices, because they are trying to sell these seats).

Few politicians have ever hurt themselves railing against airlines. There are areas where airlines can do better, and consumers can rarely sue airlines because their suits are mostly pre-empted by the Airline Deregulation Act. But there’s something striking about the President of the United States talking about the national problem of undisclosed change fees and checked bag fees, when the Federal Reserve is poised to send the economy into recession to rein in inflation (which is exacerbated by the administration’s own energy and spending policies).

In a way this reminds me of former President Bill Clinton pivoting from major policy initiatives to school uniforms. No matter what you think of the Department of Transportation’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on airline fees (and there are issues with it, like generating longer telephone hold times and effectively banning services that help consumers but aren’t approved by airlines) this hardly seem to rise to the level of the President.

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. President is doing this because airline fees are racist. Fees impact every black poc latinx poor person and marginalized trans lgbtqabcd+÷= person. Only rich white men and a few white birthing persons are able to afford to fly

  2. “But there’s something striking about the President of the United States talking about the national problem of undisclosed change fees and checked bag fees, when the Federal Reserve is poised to send the economy into recession to rein in inflation (which is exacerbated by the administration’s own energy and spending policies).”

    As the saying goes “stay in your lane”. You clearly don’t know anything about a national economy.

  3. @Ray – why do you think that is not my lane? What do you believe I’ve written that’s wrong?

    Forget the ‘my team, your team’ stuff I was and continue to be highly critical of President Trump and Bush 43 before him.

    I also do not blame Biden for a majority of inflation, but his policies have certainly contributed and Federal Reserve actions are going farther than they would otherwise.

  4. Biden is a joke. he can barely read a teleprompter and his party is going to lose so badly he is grasping at straws throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks. No it isn’t “Presidental” to raise such things (isn’t that what he has Mayor Pete for) and also he comes across as ignorant since much of what he says, at least with respect to airlines, is already either widely known or disclosed by the airlines during ticketing.

    IMHO very sad to see this old man who clearly “doesn’t have it” out their discussing trivial matters trying to appeal to a few voters when we are dealing with a potential escalation of the war in Ukraine, a “Jimmy Carter” economy, illegal immigrants flooding over our borders and a national escalation in crime. Of course the inability to deal with these (with the exception of the war which I agree so far with US policy) is what will definitely cost his party the House and likely the Senate along with quite a few governorships and state legislatures. Oh well, as Obama said, elections have consequences.

    You can have your view and demonize me or Republicans (very few of us are “Trumpers” BTW) but what I stated above is true regardless of your party affiliation and next Tuesday will prove it. After that I expect Joe to go back to sleep and we will hear nothing on this or his recent rant against oil companies. It is all election posturing.

  5. I have a feeling you sympathize with the airlines when it comes to the issue of additional fees above the price of a ticket. Put yourself in the shoes of the consumer-passenger once. Why should an airline charge for ONE piece of luggage in addition to the quoted price for a ticket? Does a taxi, a train, a bus do this? Isn’t it true that most every family traveling on vacation by necessity have to take baggage? The baggage is part and parcel of the trip. The baggage is a necessary part of the trip, yet the airlilnes think it is reasonable to ADD a fee for the bag and a large fee it is. Why not require the carriers to quote the ACTUAL price. That is the fair and reasonable thing to require. The extra seat charge is a different issue because carrier for decades have had classes of seats at different prices with different services offered depending on the perks being offered. But even as to this new twist of charging different prices for seats in economy, what is the airline providing to the passenger that justifies the increased cost? Better service, better food, better entertainment? No. It is just nickel and diming us as passengers but failiing to first advertise the REAL cost so we all know exactly the final price. It is as close to bait and switch as it can be. It reminds me of the rental car industry advertising renta car prices and not quoting the airport fee. California stopped this, but other states have not. Good for Biden in calling the airlines out for their shoody business practices. The big ones, except Southwest, should be shamed into improving their practices. If they don’t heed the message then the Congress and the FAA through rulemaking should step in and make them improve. Hurray for Southwest, the only honorable airline in the country. Bret

  6. Desperate times call for desperate measures says Sleepy Joe.
    Why this type of behavior from the President surprises anyone is beyond me.
    He has been doing it for 46 years with varying levels of incompetence.

  7. It’s your 3rd political post in the last week… Isn’t View From The Wing a travel blog? Why dabble in critical political commentary at all? Justifying criticisms of Biden and the administration by saying you were equally critical of previous administrations sounds like something that would be better reserved for View From The White House.

  8. @breton lobner You charge for bags because there is a finite amount of space on an aircraft. Not to mention there are those that fly with only a carry-on bag. So you are paying for the amount of space you are taking up. Which is the same as a fee for more leg-room or a larger seat in first. Pay more for the amount of space you are using. This at least makes sense vice resort fees at hotels where you are paying for services even if you aren’t using them……

  9. @iv @Ray – are these two clowns now in charge of the “lanes”? Are you gonna tell everyone where theirs “lanes” are? Pathetic….

    Thank yo @Gary, for bringing this to our attention. This is not presidential level topic, or area of concern. Let the market decide.
    The Grandfather Dementia in the White House is grasping for straws, now that he’s ruined the economy, and is about to get major “shellacking” on Nov. 8.

  10. Zombie Joe needs to check into Shady Pines old folks’ home and continue his aggressive lobotomy treatments.

  11. @breton lobner – taxis do charge for baggage. Something like $1/bag, so it’s proportional with amount of luggage you have.
    I’m not disagreeing with your other points. A few years back, airlines were required to show the entire price of the airline ticket, including fees, taxes, etc. I think airlines need to disclose the cost of additional baggage. They can’t quote the exact number since they don’t know how many pieces of luggage one will have, but it would be good to have an idea.

  12. Unreal. Joe “Kickback” Biden is simply unreal. If you don’t like the baggage fees, then find another airline or adapt. Don’t like Spirit’s fees? Fly Southwest or only bring a carry-on and avoid the worst of it. These things are fixable.

    However, having Kickback Joe rant about these fees as discriminatory is simply ridiculous. Maybe he should have Hunter give back the bribe money he got from China and Burisma if he’s so worried about fairness.

  13. Taxis do not charge for bags in California nor do Uber, Lyft, charter party carriers (limos) or vans (SuperShuttle). Your state or city may have other rules. My point is this: Tell me the entire cost before I take steps to buy a ticket or purchase the product or service that is being advertised. I hate surprises except on my birthday.

  14. @Breton Lobner You’re being obtuse. The product being advertised is a seat on a plane to get you to another destination. Anything above that has a fee (and which YOU determine whether or not you need it ie bags or more space). Quit whining like a travel newb.

  15. @Breton Lobner “My point is this: Tell me the entire cost before I take steps to buy a ticket or purchase the product or service that is being advertised. I hate surprises except on my birthday.”

    Airlines say: tell us how many bags you’ll take, and I’ll tell you the entire cost.

  16. The charges are well disclosed. Depending on the airline, have to dismiss one screen after another to get to being able to make a payment. They have every right to charge for services that some people want and others don’t., and as long as they are properly disclosed, there should be no issue here. Its the hotels with their mendacious “resort” fees that need to clean up their act.

  17. Very little, if anything Dementia Joe does is presidential. And anyone who bases their voting decisions on airline fees is an idiot.

  18. Baggage fee disclosures? They are an insufficient way to deal with this mess that hits busy consumers. When even someone like me gets shown one baggage fee in one place for an airline flight and then gets subjected to a different baggage fee for the very same flight, let’s just say that my confidence in baggage fee disclosures for first checked bags is not high. Very recently had indications for a TATL flight that the first checked bag on an itinerary would cost anywhere from $0- c $75, and the alignment was lacking between the various places I was looking to see what it would cost. I managed to avoid the c $60 I was being asked at one point and got it down to $49 and change. Still felt like the airline was trying to sucker the customers because there were also indications elsewhere that the first checked bag would cost $0. Add in multiple operating airlines on a ticket and ticket receipts sometimes being messed up, and I’m with the Biden Administration on consumer rights.

  19. Another thought-leading clickbait post. It’s not about the budget, it’s about riling up all the whackos so they’ll “engage” online.

  20. Not Presidential? That’s malarkey, Jack. (BTW,Trump complained about a needing to flush the toilet twice. He went down the tube anyway.)

  21. Nothing this idiot president does is presidential. The worst president the USA has ever had for the average working citizen. Cares about progressive bull crap and ignores common sense. Sadly, because of his mental shortcomings, he may not realize how much damage he has done, and will continue to do if the Senate and House is not recovered by the Republicans in this election.

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