Al Franken is worried about United's cheap tickets with no overhead space

United says the new fare gives travelers more choice.
Publish date:
Updated on

Add Al Franken to the list of people who are concerned (or even ticked off) about United's decision to not include overhead baggage space with some tickets.

The airline this week said its new "basic economy" fare, which is the cheapest option, includes a few restrictions: including no overhead space to put baggage. That means you're limited to a single bag that fits under your seat, and none of your luggage or bags full of rolls shoved above your head.

On Friday, Minnesota's U.S. Sen. Al Franken published a letter he wrote to the Department of Transportation, asking them to keep an eye on this squeezing. Franken said families and travelers are "already stretched thin by excessive airfare costs and baggage fees," and that he has "serious concerns" with United's new policy.

"The Basic Economy tier will mark the first time one of the Big Three major domestic carriers will limit fliers to just one personal item that has to be small enough to fit under a seat," his letter reads. "This new approach, aimed at raising profits at the expense of travelers' comfort, is cause for concern, especially given that domestic carriers have enjoyed strong profits."

CNN reported airlines saw record profits in 2015 – a total of $25.6 billion, which was more than twice as much as 2014. And Franken mentioned that in part of his letter.

He's also worried that this new fare could set a precedent ��� specifically a negative one – that other airlines will copy. That's something places like WIRED have dived into.

United said the policy is to offer consumers more choice.

Franken is asking the federal officials to do what they can to keep new "restrictive" policies like this "reined in."

Next Up