Airlines Appetite for New Fees is Out of Balance

I was driving this afternoon on the way to an appointment and turned the radio on to get the top national news. The #1 story?  Airline fees. How expensive they are, and how confusing they are to the traveling public. 

The reason this was the top story was a congressional hearing held today on the subject of airline fees. The Government Accountability Office has produced a report on the topic and we have worked closely with them on this. There will be lots of stories on this hearing, check them out: 

I have stated before that if, as a matter of business, airlines want to raise fares this way then fine, as long as the consumer is protected and informed. I have also said that there are public policy considerations to address, including the fact that fare increases done through fees contribute nothing to the aviation trust fund (which funds air traffic control and infrastructure improvements) as well as the fact that these fees ($120 roundtrip to check two bags for example) mean that more people are carrying bags on, which puts added burden on TSA checkpoints and slows the travel process. These are issues that should be addressed. 

I have also written that while airlines have looked for new fees to add (bag fees and the new peak travel fee could add $720 to the cost of a roundtrip for a family of 4), they have fought airport efforts to be permitted to assess an additional $2.50 passenger facility charge user fee. 

House Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Jerry Costello, as he often does, put it best in his statement:  “while the airlines protest vehemently about any increase in the $4.50 passenger facility charge that airports use to fund infrastructure projects, they have a seemingly unlimited appetite to charge their own fees.  This is a relationship that is out of balance.” 

Well said, Congressman Costello! 

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3 thoughts on “Airlines Appetite for New Fees is Out of Balance

  1. Just took your survey and don’t mind saying that all airline fees should be taxed with a fair share going to airports for improvements. How the IRS figures that revenue raised from fees is somehow different from airfare revenue when it comes to taxes is beyond me. Of course this isn’t the first mystery posed by the nation’s tax code. The airlines say fees are part of “ancillary revenue.” “Revenue” is the key word here. We’re all paying taxes on our revenue. There’s no reason to let the airlines off the hook and shortchange airport projects in the process. Change the tax code!

  2. I agree with Airport Avenger. If fees aren’t part of revenue and can’t be taxed, then I want to refuse my hourly wage and instead charge an “ancillary fee” for my services.

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