NY Senator Schumer calls for carry-on bag fee legislation

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) addresses the gala banquet of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual policy conference in Washington, March 22, 2010. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Senator Charles Schumer said he would introduce legislation that would prevent airlines from charging a fee for carry-on bags.

Schumer, a New York Democrat, said he would press the Treasury Department to issue an administrative rule that would define carry-on bags as a “reasonable necessity” to prevent airlines from imposing such charges, calling them a “slap in the face to travelers.”

Schumer said if the Treasury Department cannot close what he dubbed a loophole in the law, he will introduce legislation that would mandate carry-on bags as reasonably necessary for air travel.

“Airline passengers have absorbed fees upon new fees over the last several years and they are hitting the boiling point,” Schumer said in an e-mail Sunday.

Last week, privately held Spirit Airlines announced it would charge up to $45 for carry-on luggage, and would lower the base fares of its flights. Schumer said Spirit’s move could spur other airlines to impose similar fees.

Reporting by Deepa Seetharaman, editing by Maureen Bavdek