More than 210 million passengers will travel on U.S. airlines this summer, a six-year high. Sadly, peak summer travel season also means peak tax season. Commercial aviation and its customers actually pay 17 different aviation taxes and fees. A whopping $62, or 20 percent, of a $300 round-trip ticket is actually taxes and fees. The burden will get even higher when the Transportation Security Administration fee more than doubles in July.
Making matters even worse, federal mandates allow the government to bury the costs that airline customers pay in government-imposed taxes and fees in the advertised price of a ticket. This allows the federal government to somewhat cleverly raise quick money without consumers realizing it, and in a way that places blame on the very product it taxes: air travel. That’s wrong, and it needs to change.
A new bill making its way through Congress, the Transparent Airfares Act, would help fix this issue. In a recent OpEd for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Airlines for America CEO Nicholas Calio explains the bill “would allow airlines to clearly delineate how much of a customer’s ticket price is due to federal taxes or fees” and “discourage lawmakers from using air travel as a revenue source every time they need one.”
Lawmakers on both side of the aisle support the Transparent Airfares Act, and major labor unions, including the AFL CIO, United Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Air Line Pilots Association, support its passage. As Calio explains:
“Virtually all other consumer products are advertised using the base price, with taxes added on at the point of purchase. The Transparent Airfares Act would present base airfares and government-imposed taxes and fees in a similar manner, and in the process ensure that the advertised price of a ticket is just that – not inclusive of government-mandated costs.”
“Left unchanged, the government’s existing rules make raising taxes and fees more likely in the future. After all, if consumers can’t or don’t know what their current tax burden is, what’s to stop lawmakers from hiking taxes further?”
Flyers deserve to know the true costs of flying, including the tax burden that the government puts on every passenger.