On Tuesday, the Senate moved forward with the 2013 Homeland Security appropriations bill which includes an increase on the tax flyers pay to support the Transportation Security Administration. It will double from its current level of $2.50 per one-way nonstop flight to $5.
Security Tax: From $2.50 to $5.00
Airlines are opposed to the hike, saying the TSA should be improving its efficiency instead getting more tax money. According to the CEO of Airlines for America – an industry trade group which represents several domestic carriers – passengers may decide the taxes they have to pay are too high to fly: “Our customers today pay 20 percent – $60 on an average $300 domestic roundtrip ticket – of their ticket prices in taxes, on par with taxes for alcohol and tobacco, products taxed to discourage their use.”
Airline Fees Rising, Too
However, the industry spokesman did not mention the many fees applied by carriers in recent years, which first caught the flying public’s attention in 2008 when American Airlines began charging for a first checked-bag. Some argue bag fees put more of a strain on the TSA than anything else since those fees have resulted in more travelers using carry-ons which must be screened at security checkpoints (though this scenario could change, if more airlines follow Spirit and Allegiant lead in charging for carry-on bags).
Supporters of the newly doubled security fee note that this tax hasn’t been raised in a decade. Those who oppose it fear passengers are being nickeled and dimed to death. Some industry analysts say, it’s to argue with either point of view.