Congress takes an interest in airline fees


But before you get all excited about the fact that the feds might intervene keep this in mind: they aren’t doing it for the consumers.  Sure, they may talk a big game but at the end of the day it always has been and always will be about the money.  And it turns out that Congress is just now wizening up to the fact that the airlines are screwing the US government just as much as they are screwing passengers.

Every ticket sold in the USA is hit with a federal excise tax of 7.5% of the base fare.  The feds like collecting that money and using it to fund various programs.  But what happens when an airlines switches from selling $300 tickets to $100 tickets with a $200 fuel surcharge?  The feds lose $15.  Multiply that out by the millions of passengers that take to the skies daily and you can see where the feds might start to notice.

Who knows where this will end up.  I know that many airlines love being able to use the fees as a means to increase revenue on reward seats, corporate contract discounts and many other types of tickets.  And apparently to reduce their tax burden, too.  On the plus side, good call by the accountant who figured this one out.  I wonder if they were able to negotiate a percentage of the savings as a bonus??

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
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