Unfortunately, American politics is extremely polarizing. Merely mentioning Joe Biden’s name will get me a mailbox full of nasty emails. However, I think that no matter where on the political spectrum you fall, there was a part of President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address tonight that all travelers (except perhaps airline and hotel executives) can agree on. RELATED: 12 Things in Travel to Know Today
At the 40-second mark of the video clip below, Biden talks about “junk fees”, which include airline seats, baggage, hotel resort fees and more. Read the White House transcript below:
“My administration is also taking on “junk” fees, those hidden surcharges too many businesses use to make you pay more. For example, we’re making airlines show you the full ticket price upfront and refund your money if your flight is cancelled or delayed.
“We’ve reduced exorbitant bank overdraft fees, saving consumers more than $1 billion a year. We’re cutting credit card late fees by 75%, from $30 to $8. Junk fees may not matter to the very wealthy, but they matter to most folks in homes like the one I grew up in. They add up to hundreds of dollars a month. They make it harder for you to pay the bills or afford that family trip. I know how unfair it feels when a company overcharges you and gets away with it.
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“Not anymore. We’ve written a bill to stop all that. It’s called the Junk Fee Prevention Act. We’ll ban surprise “resort fees” that hotels tack on to your bill. These fees can cost you up to $90 a night at hotels that aren’t even resorts. We’ll make cable internet and cellphone companies stop charging you up to $200 or more when you decide to switch to another provider. We’ll cap service fees on tickets to concerts and sporting events and make companies disclose all fees upfront. And we’ll prohibit airlines from charging up to $50 roundtrip for families just to sit together. Baggage fees are bad enough – they can’t just treat your child like a piece of luggage. Americans are tired of being played for suckers. Pass the Junk Fee Prevention Act so companies stop ripping us off. For too long, workers have been getting stiffed.”
When the president said, “these fees can cost you up to $90 a night at hotels that aren’t even resorts” he even got a chuckle from Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy. Seems even Kevin knows it’s crazy that hotels are able to charge resort fees, especially those that aren’t even resorts. It’s a big scam just so they don’t have to pay third parties like Expedia their high referral fee and to save on taxes.
And don’t get me started on airline travel credits, a topic I plan to write about soon as I’m about to lose $250 to American Airlines because of a ticket I purchased last year to Toronto but canceled because of Covid and it’s going to expire. Why should they be allowed to expire? Especially after the U.S. government gave them billions to stay afloat and they arguably misused the funds? But that’s another story (coming soon).
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