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Waiting all day for your suitcase? Your baggage fee will soon come back to you, too

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Let's say you arrive at an airport a day before your suitcase does. Do you get your baggage fee back from the airline?

Right now the answer might be: "Well, we'll see about that ... you'll have to visit our website and fill out an application. Here at Delta you won't get a cash refund, but you may be eligible for a voucher. It could be for as much as $50 – even though checking two bags would have cost you $60."

But in the future? No applications or vouchers, just report the late bag and the carrier will "promptly provide an automated refund."

That's the language in a new law passed this month. The measure authorizing the Federal Aviation Administration to keep operating through September of next year also made some changes.

Sen. John Thune of South Dakota – who chairs the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation – was especially proud of airport security measures in the bill.

But the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on the baggage fee refund provision, quoting Thune's remark on the Senate floor that “passengers won’t have to spend a ton of time tracking down a refund when the airline doesn’t deliver.”

The Transportation Department has up to a year to finalize new regulations, the newspaper says.

Atlanta-based Delta Airlines is the dominant carrier at Minneapolis-St. Paul International airport.

They charge $25 to check one bag. If there's a second bag, that will cost you another $35. Those fees have been lucrative.

Numbers from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics show Delta reported $875 million in baggage fee revenue last year, which was about $1 million less than the industry's leader, American Airlines.

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