Thousands of flights depart U.S. airports daily. Most of them reach their destination without incident.  When mistakes are made they can be doozies.

There has been reporting in recent weeks about overbooked flights resulting in passengers being told they had to surrender seats they had paid for.   Then there is the story of a French woman who was placed by United Airlines on a flight bound for San Francisco rather than the  flight to Paris that she paid for.  While most of us fly without incidents such as these we all accept that we are just one junket away from becoming the next victim of the airlines.

Being dragged off of your flight against your will is just one concern air travelers face.  Consumers have been grappling with a mounting "nickeling and diming" by the airlines for years as well.  Perhaps some relief is on the way.  U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) has co-sponsored legislation that seeks to address some of those issues.

The Forbidding Airlines from Imposing Ridiculous (FAIR) Fees Act filed by Markey and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) addresses such things as baggage fees as well as ticket change and cancellation fees.  The legislation looks to limit the amount that can be assessed to travelers for those services.

Markey tells the State House News Service, "Airline fees are climbing as high as the planes passengers are traveling on, and it's time to stop their rapid accent."  Markey says, "Airlines should not be allowed to overcharge captive passengers just because they need to change their flight or have to check a couple of bags."  Markey says the fees are "excessive" and calls it "gouging."

I am generally not a fan of government regulation of private industry but this is an industry already being regulated by the government so, have at it.  Airline travel should not be cost prohibitive for so many Americans.

Now, if they can just get us more space between the seats.

Editor's Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3pm. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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