Says arbitrary changes to TSA Passenger Fee implementation will disproportionally harm airline passengers from small and rural communities
WASHINGTON, March 28, 2014 – Airlines for America (A4A), the industry trade organization for the leading U.S. airlines, todayurged the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) against enacting radical changes in the imposition of the TSA Passenger Fee, which would drive up the cost of air travel and force customers to pay millions more in federal taxes and fees than Congress intended.
Currently, the TSA Passenger Fee is assessed on a per-enplanement basis of $2.50 with a maximum one-way trip fee of $5 or $10 per round-trip itinerary. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 simplified the fee structure creating a flat $5.60 fee per one-way trip, effective July 1, 2014, regardless of the number of enplanements. However, TSA has informed carriers it intends to break with previous regulatory guidance and no longer impose a round trip cap, which has always been the practice.
In a joint letter to TSA Administrator John Pistole, A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio and Travelers United (formerly the Consumer Travel Alliance) Chairman and Founder Charlie Leocha pledged to use all available resources to ensure passengers are not being subject to unjust TSA fees and urged Administrator Pistole to implement the fee in a manner that is consistent with Congressional intent and long-standing industry precedent.
“TSA’s decision to break from long-standing regulatory precedent will disproportionally harm airline passengers who rely on small community service, while costing customers millions more than Congress ever intended,” said Calio. “A4A and our members will utilize all means at our disposal to stop this unprecedented cash grab and ensure airline customers are not saddled with yet another arbitrary tax increase that drives up the cost of travel.”
Calio noted that on a typical $300 roundtrip domestic ticket, customers pay $61 in federal taxes, or 20 percent of the ticket price. That number will increase to $63, or 21 percent, in July when the TSA passenger security tax more than doubles – from $2.50 per flight segment to $5.60 per one-way trip, costing passengers more than $1 billion annually.