by Michael J. Shapiro | June 28, 2017
Profeco, the Mexican federal prosecutor's office, fined five airlines yesterday for a total of 22.4 million pesos (US$1.25 million) for violating passenger rights. Specifically, the carriers were penalized for charging an extra fee for the first piece of checked luggage on travel to the United States and Canada -- a practice that had picked up traction over the past year.
 
Among those fined were the Mexican carriers Aeroméxico (US$351,900) Interjet (US$284,872), Volaris (US$251,357) and VivaAerobus (US$234,600), as well as U.S.-based JetBlue Airways (US$128,472). The agency also is investigating United Airlines and American Airlines for the same practice, and expects to resolve the issue in the next several days.
 
The agency levied the fines with respect to Mexico's Federal Consumer Protection Law and the Civil Aviation Law, both passed in April 2016. The laws were enacted to protect consumers against misleading advertising, discriminatory actions, unfair contracts and other abusive practices by the airlines. 
 
Profeco also established a number of consumer rights and rules that airlines operating in Mexico are obligated to follow, including:

• Informing passengers by electronic media and at customer-service desks about the causes of flight delays and cancellations; 
• Compensating passengers with discounts for future flights and food-and-beverage credits for airline-responsible delays of one to four hours; 
• Offering future ticket discounts amounting to at least 7.5 percent of the ticket price, plus food and beverages and access to devices to make phone calls or send emails, for airline-responsible delays of two to four hours; 
• Providing a full refund of the ticket price plus additional compensation and/or the right to the first available seat on the next flight for airline-responsible delays of more than four hours or cancellations. 

All passengers also have the right to transport checked luggage weighing at least 55 pounds (25kg) and carry-on luggage of no more than 22 pounds (10kg) without additional fees.
 
All airlines are obligated to inform passengers of the full ticket prices and their rights at the time of purchase.