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Senator Pledges to Fight Spirit's Carry-on Fee

The Associated Press (AP) reports that travelers aren't the only ones irked by Spirit's audacious new fee for carry-on bags. New York senator Chuck Schumer has asked the Treasury Department to recognize carry-on bags as essential to travel, and prohibit airlines from charging them.

According to the AP, "Schumer said carry-on bags often contain medications and other necessities, particularly for families. Carry-on fees artificially avoid higher ticket prices and the taxes applied to tickets."

Schumer contacted the Treasury Department because the fee is considered a tax issue. In a letter, he asked Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to close a "loophole" that exempts Spirit from paying taxes on its carry-on fees. At issue is a determination that carry-on bags are not essential to travel, which allows airlines to charge for the service without paying federal taxes on the fee. This is true of fees for pillows and blankets, some snacks, and other non-essential items.

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According to the New York Daily News, the airline would presently pay about $3.40 in taxes for each $45 fee collected.

Schumer said he will introduce legislation regarding carry-on fees if the Treasury Department doesn't take action.

"Airline passengers have always had the right to bring a carry-on bag without having to worry about getting nickeled and dimed by an airline company," Schumer told the AP. "This latest fee is a slap in the face to travelers."

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