Two Senate Democrats renewed their call Friday for airlines to jettison baggage fees for the summer, but the airline lobby said it won’t make a difference for travel wait times.
“Contrary to what some members of Congress and others are suggesting, there are no data to suggest a causal relationship between baggage fees and the recent extensive wait times,” Airlines for America president and CEO Nicholas E. Calio wrote in USA Today . “This is a TSA scheduling and staff allocation management issue.”
Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, and Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts said eliminating baggage fees could encourage more travelers to check their bags, rather than drag them through security lines.
“While this is not a panacea, this could help get 20 more passengers per hour through screening check points,” the two Democrats said in a press release. “We urge the airlines to stop ignoring a sensible, short-term solution and heed our call, as well as that of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, and take action today.”
The duo attempted to make their case in a letter they fired off to a dozen airlines.
“Screening congestion is solvable — and this step will help. Please do not stand idly as travelers stand in endless lines,” they wrote.
Calio, whose organization advocates for airlines, had a counter offer: Pols should quit interfering.
“If Congress really wanted to take action to address lengthy security lines, it should return the $13 billion it diverted in 2013 from the increase passengers pay in TSA fees to the general fund back to where it belongs, paying for passenger security,” he said.