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Some airline fares won’t let passengers stow baggage overhead

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By Jason Stoogenke

WSOCTV.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Passengers may have to rethink about bringing carry-on luggage the next time they fly.

More and more airlines are banning passengers with certain tickets from using the overhead bins.

At least three major airlines, including United, American, and Frontier, said if passengers buy the least expensive ticket, they get one carry-on, and it has to fit under the seat.

“With the price you pay for a flight, that should be included,” said passenger Kishia Means.

If passengers forget or get caught trying to use the overhead bin rather than under the seat, plan to check the carry-on luggage and pay for it.

American charges $50, Frontier charges $60, and United didn’t respond in time for this report.

“Do I like it? Probably not. But is it what they have to do to make money? Probably,” passenger Bryan Heverin said. “Unfortunately, go be competitive and make money. That’s what they’re going to have to do.”

The airlines defended the move, saying they’re not taking a perk away, and they’re actually adding a new level of ticket, a bare-bones one that’s cheaper.

Airline expert Michael Lowrey said more and more, airlines are charging travelers for what they use.

“(It) used to be like a buffet with lots and lots of options, but most people aren’t eating all of them, consuming all of them, and now we’re moving to more of an a la carte model,” he said.

But some major airlines aren’t going that route, including Delta and Southwest, which emailed Action 9 about its policy called “bags fly free.”

WSOCTV.com’s investigator Jason Stoogenke went on airlines’ websites to check when travelers buy a ticket, if they give a clear warning that passengers can’t use overhead bins. That was not easily noticeable, and Stoogenke actually had to hunt for it.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, vows to address this in Congress, according to national reports. He wants to expand the passenger bill of rights in an upcoming Federal Aviation Administration bill.

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