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Profepa fines five airlines for charging baggage fees

Mexico City, D.F. – Last week, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office (Profeco) announced it had fined five airlines a total of 22.4 million peso for the improper collection of fees for the first checked-in baggage on flights from Mexico to the United States and Canada.

In a statement, Profeco said the airlines fined included Aeroméxico (6.3 million peso), Interjet (5.1 million peso), Volaris (4.5 million peso), VivaAerobus (4.2 million peso) and low-cost American JetBlue Airways (2.3 million peso).

“Sanctioned airlines have engaged in misleading advertising, discriminatory acts, abusive clauses in their membership contracts and other practices that violate the rights of passengers,” they explained.

Rafael Ochoa Morales of Profepa said that the agency is also targeting United Airlines and American Airlines for the same infraction, which will be solved in the coming days.

“The sanctions imposed on these airlines are derived from the Procedures for Law Violations (PILs) initiated by Profeco last April,” he explained adding that sanctioned companies have the option to file an amparo in court.

Volaris has already said they will challenge the sanction. In a statement the airline said, “Volaris states that it has not incurred any violation and will challenge this unfortunate sanction before the corresponding judicial bodies.” They added, “Volaris operates in strict compliance with applicable law and regulation and in accordance with the commercial practice expressly permitted by the Air Transport Agreement between the Governments of Mexico and the United States.”

According to Profeco, passengers have the right to carry at least 25 kilograms of checked luggage and up to two pieces of hand luggage of not more than 10 kilograms on domestic and international flights originating in Mexico based on the new rights of the passengers.

The rules regulating the rights of passengers in Mexico, including luggage, are in force meaning passengers can demand these rights, said Rafael Ochoa Morales.

However, Volaris said that it will continue to collect fees for the first checked-in bag on its flights from Mexico to the United States and Canada, despite the fine from the Federal Prosecutor’s Office.

In January, Aeroméxico began charging a fee of $25 for the first suitcase on routes to and from the United States and Canada. Two months later, Volaris and Interjet also implemented a tariff of this type of $20 and $50, respectively saying it is necessary to charge for the first suitcase to avoid an increase in the rates and for operational reasons.

Since the fines, airlines continue to claim that they can apply first checked-in baggage fees through international agreements and have filed amparos against Profepo. This leaves passengers uncertain as to whether or not they will be charged for their first checked-in baggage when arriving at the airport.

Rafael Ochoa Morales reaffirmed, “There is no international treaty that allows such collection. Our provision is clear and current.”

“They are violating the law in one way or another and that is why actions will continue,” he added.

To report irregularities, passengers can call 5568 8722 in the Mexico City metropolitan area. For the rest of the country free of charge: 01800 468 8722.