Mexico is trying to crack down on airline fees and flight delays. The carriers are having none of it.
According to Bloomberg, Mexico’s consumer-protection agency fined five airlines including New York-based JetBlue a combined 22.4 million pesos ($1.27 million) for alleged transgressions such as charging fliers for their first checked bag. The entity, not known for taking on major corporations, is also monitoring whether airlines comply with a new requirement to compensate passengers when flights have major delays.
The question is whether Profeco, as the regulator is known, can make the fines stick — and defeat a legal challenge by the airlines in Mexican courts. The carriers are still charging for luggage on flights to the U.S. and Canada, saying an international treaty supersedes the new laws. The companies declined to say if they’ve paid any levies Profeco has assessed. That makes Mexico City the latest front in the clash between passengers’ rights and airline fees.
“This case is pitting the airlines’ economic freedom to do business against a large part of the population that uses these services,” said Julio Salazar, the legal director at Power to the Consumer, an advocacy organization that supports the effort to restrict the fees.
Profeco declined to comment, citing the ongoing court dispute. Three of the companies fined, Grupo Aeromexico SAB, Volaris and Viva Aerobus, also declined to comment. Interjet didn’t respond to a request for comment. JetBlue Airways Corp. referred questions to Airlines for America, the lobbying group for major carriers in the U.S.
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