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Airline Group Creating Centralized List of Bag Fees

The International Air Transportation Association (IATA), which represents the global airline industry, wants to create a database of every airline’s baggage fees and charges. Dubbed the Automated Carrier Baggage Rules (ACBR), the IATA says the list “will provide a central database for interline baggage rules, enabling airlines, travel agents, and passengers to know what baggage rules will apply for any given itinerary.”

In a release, Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO, said, “Baggage rules are becoming increasingly complex and confusing. We must improve transparency so that travelers know what to expect.”

Also: The sky is blue. Et cetera.

I suppose if we’re going to be stuck with baggage fees henceforth, this is probably the best news we can expect. So let me say, “Yes, please!” A centralized list of fees, regularly updated, would at least remove some of the confusion from booking fares. The IATA says the Airline Tariff Publishing Company (ATPCO) will populate and manage the database, which is expected to be up and running by early next year.

Of course, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t point out the obvious, which is that we shouldn’t really need a centralized database of baggage fees. That’s not even a comment about the existence of baggage fees in the first place, but rather about how complicated these fees have become. Most airlines have similar fees, but there is certainly no across-the-board standard, especially when it comes to international fees. And don’t even get me started on online fees versus airport fees.

Transparency will help, of course, but if the IATA is going to put so much energy into bag fees, why not broker some sort of indstrywide standard for how much airlines can charge? Well, probably because airlines wouldn’t go for it. But one can dream, right? In the meantime, a little less confusion isn’t a bad thing. And speaking of which, our own fees chart (which goes far beyond mere bag fees) is pretty good at sifting through the airlines’ mess of fees and charges.

Readers, do you like the idea of a central database of all baggage fees? Do you think it’s a bit sad that we need one?

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