More Fees and Taxes: You're Not Surprised, Are You?

You can stop blaming the airlines completely for piling on the fees and charges: The latest proposals come from the government:

  • A $100 takeoff fee on each commercial and corporate jet; only small piston planes would be exempt.
  • An increase in the security fee from the current $2.50 per segment, with a $5 cap, to $5 for any one-way flight, increasing at 50 cents per year until it reaches $7.50 in 2017.

Arguments for and against are as you'd expect:

  • The government says it needs the added funds to pay for security and help modernize airports and the air traffic control system, as well as help reduce the deficit.
  • Airlines and small-city airport managers say the fees would hit smaller regional jets especially hard, leading to loss of service at many cities where current services are economically marginal. Also, they continue, taxes on a typical $300 ticket currently amount to around $60, and that's already enough taxation. Consumer advocates second these arguments.

As is all too often the case, both sides in this argument are right. Airport and air traffic control systems do need to be upgraded, the country does face a severe budget crunch, and no matter how you look at it, corporate jets don't come close to paying their "fair share" toward the airport and air traffic control services they use. But these proposed fees are high enough that they undoubtedly would discourage air travel, especially to/from small cities that probably would lose what limited air service they now have. And consumers really don't need another hit in this lousy economy.

I won't even try to predict the outcome of these proposals. But I am pretty sure that, no matter what the outcome, you, the traveling public, will ultimately pay more to travel.

What do you think? Are the proposed government fees outrageous? Tell us your thoughts in the comments field below.

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