Who To Complain To About Baggage Policies & Fees … Not Who You’d Think

When you, the passenger, complain about checked baggage rules, carry on regulations and anything baggage related, do you know who oversees the regulations?  Probably not, because it is not one agency in the United States and the rules are not implemented in some cases by a regulatory governing body, only enforced by them


There is a very common misconception is the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) oversees airline carry on baggage regulations, but this is incorrect. The TSA has absolutely nothing to do with carry on bags, aside from setting the passenger and baggage screening policy and carrying out or overseeing passenger and baggage screening.   When passengers send complaints to the TSA about their carry on baggage allowance those complaints are fruitless and waste of time and energy.


For those travelers who are unhappy with an airline’s checked baggage policy, the appropriate agency to complain to is the Department of Transportation (DOT), the parent agency of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  The DOT established and enforces the guidelines for checked baggage and belly cargo and handles the complaints for things placed under the aircraft. While airlines must adhere to strict safety and security policy for cargo and checked baggage, individual airlines have the ability to place their own checked baggage into effect, including size and weight limits.


If you’re a passenger upset with an airline’s carry on baggage policy, the agency that oversees cabin baggage is the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) … however … the FAA only enforces the cabin baggage policy created by each individual airline.


Yes, you read that right; the FAA only enforces the carry on baggage policy created by each airline, which is then approved by the FAA.  The FAA steps in to enforce carry on baggage policy only if an airline violates its own policy that they themselves created.


If an airline’s baggage fees upset you, either for checked baggage or more recently cabin baggage, neither the FAA nor DOT has any regulatory oversight on those fees. Airlines may choose to charge for baggage or not charge for baggage, as well as decide the fee structure for baggage accepted onto their aircraft.


Ultimately if you are unhappy with an airline’s baggage policy or fees, the appropriate entity to complain to is the airline itself.


Happy Flying!



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