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Vote could regulate how airlines charge for change fees

NEW YORK — According to the Bureau of Transportation U.S. scheduled passenger airlines reported a net profit up more than 10 percent last year, compared to 2016.

Yet, at the same time baggage and change fees continue to rise.

While baggage fees have a set price by each airline, it’s the change and cancellation fees that can range anywhere from $75 to more than $400, sometimes costing the traveler more than the actual price of the ticket itself. But that could change.

This past weekend, congressional lawmakers left a proposal to regulate airline change fees out of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018.

That proposal would have give then Department of Transportation control of the fees.

“If it were in the bill it would mean the DOT could cap fees at a lower rate if they wanted,” explains Julian Mark Kheel, Editorial Director of the travel website The Points Guy.

But right now, the skies the limit, unless congress gives that authority back to the DOT, when they hold a vote on whether or not to pass the bill, ahead of a September 30th deadline.

Some airlines are ready to take action.

“American, in fact, threatened to prevent all charges on all tickets if this proposal were put into effect,” says Kheel.

For tips on how to avoid change and cancellation fees and a breakdown of the policies by airline, click here.