New bill aims to ground 'ridiculous' airline fees

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Lawmakers Introduce New Fair Fees Act For Airlines

Are you sick of being nickel and dimed by airlines? From sky-high baggage fees to costly ticket-change or cancellation fees, it seems like airlines are always finding a new way to gouge consumers.

A new bill in Congress aims to rein in soaring airline fees and keep them in check. The Forbidding Airlines from Imposing Ridiculous (FAIR) Fees Act, introduced by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), would effectively ban airlines from assessing fees "that are not reasonable and proportional to the costs incurred."

Basically the legislation would enable airlines to recoup the costs associated with a service it provides — like checking a bag — but it would prohibit the carriers from charging exorbitant fees to generate revenue. The FAIR Fees Act directs the Department of Transportation to examine the airlines' cost to process checked bags, change tickets and cancel tickets.

View the best day to buy flights and more online shopping hacks:

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New bill aims to ground 'ridiculous' airline fees

1. Clear your browser history

Some retailers might sneakily increase prices based on your browsing patterns and demand - so make sure to always clear your history and cookies before shopping! 

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2. Use an alternate email address

When you log in to a retailer's site with a new email address, retailers will often welcome you as a new customer with exciting new promotions and discounts. 

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3. Note price changes throughout the week

Another pro tip: Prices and deals can fluctuate based on the day of the week. For instance, if you're purchasing a flight, monitor prices for around a week to see if they take a dip on any particular day before purchasing. 

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4. Let items linger in your cart

Here's a hack: Add items to your cart, but let them sit for 24 hours before purchasing. The retailer might attempt to lure you back with additional discounts.

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5. Check out multiple sites

Do some research! Don't settle for the first price you see - poke around on a search engine and find the best deal. 

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6. Bargain with customer service

Use customer service to your advantage. If you ask (politely!) about an expired coupon, you'll often find yourself pleasantly surprised by an extension or new code! 

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7. Don't purchase impulsively

Try this shopping hack - don't buy that shiny, new toy right away. Step away for a few hours, and if you find yourself itching to go back and click 'purchase', then you know you won't regret your investment!

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8. Avoid shipping fees

Take advantage of free shipping! If you are a few dollars below the free shipping price point, add a low-cost filler item you need anyway (like socks!) and make the math work out in your favor. 

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According to government data, U.S. airlines collected more than $5.1 billion in baggage, ticket change and cancellation fees during the first three quarters of 2015.

"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 said in a statement. "There is no justification for charging consumers a $200 fee to resell a $150 ticket that was canceled well in advance."

EXPLORE MORE: Frugal trick to avoid paying extra luggage fees

Although the legislation may not garner enough support in Congress to move forward, it's getting a thumbs up from consumers and business travel groups.

"Airlines are overcharging consumers with fees that are grossly disproportionate to the value of the service received and result in a windfall for airlines. 'Exhibit A' is change fees, where airlines charge $200 when the true cost of a change is 6 to 7 times lower, if not zero," Business Travel Coalition founder Kevin Mitchell explained to Skift, a travel industry intelligence site. "This kind of unconscionable consumer price gouging is a textbook example of unfair methods of competition that underpin competition laws."

According to Bloomberg, Airlines for America, the industry's trade group, called the bill "nothing more than an effort to re-regulate an industry that was deregulated to the consumer benefit." The organization said the griped-about fees are necessary to "help to reduce passenger 'no-shows' and the need for airlines to overbook."

Looking for some savvy ways to save money on flights, food, Wi-Fi and baggage fees? Check out "Wring the Most From Your Airline Travel Dollars – Even During the Holidays."

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New bill aims to ground 'ridiculous' airline fees

PHOTO QUIZ (Click through for answers): One of the most visited spots in the U.S. (it gets 41 million visitors per year), you can visit Paris, New York, and more without leaving this city's limits.

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This southern city is at the top of the list when it comes to historic buildings—it has more than 35,000 places on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Colorful lifeguard huts dot the famous beaches here, each with its own personality.

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A giant mountain that looks a bit like a sleepy camel makes for a pretty backdrop come sunset time in this city.

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This Atlantic beach sees nearly 5.5 million beachgoers a year, and is neighbors with another top spring break spot.

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And the spring break hotspot is... Ft. Lauderdale!

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