Senator urges United Airlines to drop new policy to charge for carry-on luggage

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NEW YORK (WPIX) — Sen. Chuck Schumer is urging United Airlines to drop its new “Basic Economy” policy that would require travelers to pay overhead bin space for their carry-on luggage.

“Air travelers are sick and tired of being nickel-and-dimed for every bag they carry and every morsel they eat by airlines that are already making sky-high profits,” Schumer said.

United Airlines’ new fare policy, that goes into effect in a few weeks, will allow travelers who purchase the “Basic Economy” ticket to bring one small carry-on item — anything that is 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches — that will fit under the seat on the plane.

Travelers who want to bring suitcases that usually fit in the overhead bin would have to either buy a ticket that allow them to use the storage, or check their baggage, usually an extra fee.

The “Basic Economy” ticket are cheaper, but have rules that Schumer said are the “most restrictive policies on airline passengers we have seen in a long time.”

Schumer said he wants United Airlines to scrap the “Basic Economy” ticket option completely and give fliers free access to use the overhead bin. The senator said the airline is forcing customers to pay to check their bags that used to be free to carry on board.

“Already, airlines charge extra for checked luggage, pillows, peanuts, and headphones and now you’ll have nowhere to store them,” Schumer said.

The new policy is expected to bring United Airlines $1 billion more in annual earnings by 2020.

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