If You Flew Yesterday, You Paid More for Your Ticket and Here's Why
July 22, 2014 at 4:48 PM
There's no shortage of domestic and international travel politics stories floating around. There's the potential for a new Cold War because of the MH17 downing. There's the 24 hour FAA ban on flights into Tel Aviv. There's even the ongoing nonsense about how airport security officials are threatening to confiscate electronics that run out of battery power during trans-Atlantic flights, which is something that happens literally all the time.
But this story about hiking airline security fees is - rightly - driving people absolutely out of their minds. We flagged this for you last month as a heads up, but we've actually been tracking these legislative efforts since 2010. The Obama administration has tried to raise the fees that travelers pay for security through the normal budget process, outside the normal budget process, and probably at least once via occult wizardry. Every time it was justified as a way to make people travel more, which is not a very good argument because it's not how supply and demand works.
The argument was that more security fees would buy more security, which would speed up airport lines, which would make traveling more pleasant, which would increase overall airline purchases. That's silly for a range of reasons, and so fee hike proposals failed in 2010 and then again in 2011. But the increase made it into the last budget, and so here we are.
As of yesterday TSA fees fully doubled. And the early analysis is that instead of boosting how often people fly, it will force people to change how they fly - and to take less flights overall.
You want to know the punchline? The new fee isn't even about funding TSA. It's going to be aimed at paying down the deficit. Washington lawmakers can't get their shit together on the budget, so travelers will pay more and the travel industry will suffer. We're in good hands.
[Photo: ABC15 Arizona / YouTube]