What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Consumer Protection : (H.R. 658) On an amendment that would have required ticket agents and all other sellers of airplane tickets to disclose the cost of checking baggage. The amendment would also have required that passengers receive refunds for lost baggage that had been checked on a flight.
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(H.R. 658) On an amendment that would have required ticket agents and all other sellers of airplane tickets to disclose the cost of checking baggage. The amendment would also have required that passengers receive refunds for lost baggage that had been checked on a flight.
house Roll Call 211     Mar 31, 2011
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Conservative

This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA) that would have required ticket agents and all other sellers of airplane tickets to disclose the cost of checking baggage. Under the amendment, airlines would also have been required to disclose such fees to aggregators (such as Orbitz or Expedia) with which they had a contract. The amendment would also have required that passengers receive refunds for lost baggage that had been checked on a flight. This amendment was offered to legislation authorizing annual funding for the Federal Aviation Administration, and limiting the ability of federal aviation and railroad workers to form unions. (The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has regulatory authority over all civil aviation in the United States.)

Capuano urged support for his amendment: “Very simply, it [the amendment] requires any airline charging a baggage fee to tell us what it is so that when you want to go online and get a hundred dollar ticket, you know it's going to cost you $120 for the baggage or whatever….The second thing it does is it simply says, if you collect a baggage fee and you lose that bag, that you have to refund the baggage fee. Very simple….Everybody who travels, everybody who flies knows that these two issues have become problems.”

Rep. John Mica (R-FL) opposed the amendment: “I strongly favor the disclosure of fees by airlines. I think that fees ought to be refunded when bags arrive late, damaged, or just lost. As drafted, the amendment goes far beyond that and allows…some unfairness to contractual agreements, first of all, with global distribution systems and ticket agents. This requirement tips the scales in favor of global distribution systems and their business relationships with airlines, and global distribution systems are not charitable organizations. They're owned by private equity firms, hedge funds, and exist to make money in the travel industry, and we would tip the balance in this requirement for them.”

Capuano responded: “I respectfully disagree. There is nothing in this proposal, as drafted at the moment, that would require anyone to disclose any information to anyone they are not already giving information to. If an airline is already doing work with Orbitz or Expedia or KAYAK or any of those, they're already giving them all of the information.”

The House rejected this amendment by a vote of 187-235. Voting “yea” were 175 Democrats and 12 Republicans. 221 Republicans and 14 Democrats voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment that would have required ticket agents and all other sellers of airplane tickets to disclose the cost of checking baggage.

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