Biden Is Suddenly Targeting Fees Costing Americans

( Hotels and airlines were the target of President Joe Biden’s ire this week, as he asked members of Congress to work on limiting some of the extra fees that they charge their customers.

The president spoke right before the White House Competition Committee held a meeting on Wednesday, calling the fees “unfair” and saying that they “add up.”

Biden said he believed that Congress should put limits in place on how airlines charge fees for seat assignments if the passengers are just family members who are trying to sit together. He also pointed out that a lot of hotels today tack on extra “resort fees” onto the bill.

The president highlighted other fees such as extra charges levied for tickets to sporting events and concerts, as well as fees that are charged any time someone wants to change their cellphone, cable or internet service.

As Biden said:

“Some airlines charge extra to pick your seat, including for parents who just want to sit next to their child on a plane. They charge extra — you don’t know that going in, though — and it’s wrong.”

A spokeswoman who works for Airlines for America, which is a trade group representing the largest carriers in the U.S., said that their members don’t charge any fees for families who want to sit together. The members of that group include Southwest, Delta, United and American airlines.

However, some of the budget airline companies do charge such fees.

The spokeswoman, Marli Collier, said:

“[The larger airlines] make every effort to accommodate customers traveling together, especially those traveling with children, without additional charges, and consumers are offered a range of choices at the time of ticket purchase, including various seating options.”

Congress has asked the Department of Transportation in the past to review the seating policies that airlines have in place, as well as to figure out how they can ensure that children who are 14 years old or younger could sit with one of the older members of their family without having to pay an extra fee.

Last July, that department issued new guidance that urged all airlines to follow that suggestion “to the maximum extent practicable.”

It wasn’t just airlines that drew the ire of Biden, though. He also took aim at hotels that add resort fees onto their bill, “which can be over $50 a night, when you check out,” he said.

Curt Cashour, who’s a spokesman for the American Hotel and Lodging Association, responded by saying that 94% of hotels in the country don’t charge these resort fees. And those that do charge the fees do so because “it covers unique and tangible amenities such as food and beverage credits, special events, access to pools and beaches, transportation and spa services.”

Just last week, members of the Senate from both sides of the aisle said there should be much more transparency with ticket fees, following the fiasco of Ticketmaster having to scrap a general sale for some Taylor Swift concerts.