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Are New Taxes and Fees on the Airfare Horizon?

Brett Snyder of The Cranky Flier blog recently wrote for CNN about some possible changes in the airline taxes and fees landscape worth keeping on your radar, especially if your primary airport is a smaller one.

Here’s the quick overview: Two new tax changes are under consideration right now. The first is a bump in that $2.50 per flight segment security fee you see on all airfares. The plan is to increase it to a flat $5 each way (doing away with the flight segment detail).

Part two of the plan tacks on a $100 fee on all airline departures (flights). Snyder points out that while the new fee wouldn’t have much impact packed large flights from major airports, that “small cities are served by small aircraft, so a $100 fee per airplane has a much higher impact per passenger on smaller planes.”

Since many less major airports have been hard hit in recent years (remember back to 2010’s capacity cuts and the mergers that led to “efficiency” cuts at smaller hubs), Snyder’s concern is that smaller flights wouldn’t end up being economically feasible for airlines and would be cut, leading to even further reduced service.

Add this to the growing list of signs that airfares will continue to climb in 2012. This year has seen a rise in fuel prices and dozens of attempted fare hikes, many of which were adopted industry-wide. Looking ahead, not only are there the two potential fee increases but the possibility of more capacity cuts (especially on routes between the U.S. and Europe), which would likely increase demand for fewer seats and drive costs up more.

Travelers, we’re going to need a bigger piggy bank.

Your Turn: Do you feel like you’re paying more or less for airfare these days?

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