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Airlines Suing TSA for Cheating on Controversial New Security Fees

August 1, 2014 at 8:30 AM | by | ()

As you know because you've been following along, the new TSA fees that we've been trashing since 2010 went into effect earlier this month. They had been jammed up for years by airlines - more on that below - but the administration finally managed to get them passed. The old caps, which had been set at $2.50 per flight segment with a $10 roof for a four-flight round trip, were abolished.

Would you believe that TSA may have taken advantage of the new situation to collect fees even higher than what Congress allowed? That's the argument being made by airlines, who are now suing the security agency. Game on.

This nonsense has been aggravating from the beginning. The new fees were justified as a way to actually generate more airline passangers: people were avoiding airports because of long security lines, the talking points went, so if you increased security workers then more people would fly.

That argument - and we're being generous - had at least two fundamental problems. One, there was very little evidence that longer lines were affecting airlines' bottom lines more than, say, higher fees would. Two, the new revenue was not designed to go to TSA anyway, but instead was brainstormed for closing the budget deficit. In other words, this is plan to impose a new tax on travelers because Congress and the President can't get their shit together on fiscal issues.

Apparently, according to the airlines, not only were the new fees badly justified, but now TSA is overcharging even according to what the new law permits. One calculation has them levying $34 in fees per trip. The old cap was $10. For a family of four, that's a night at a decent hotel.

We wish the airlines all the luck in the world.

[Photo: NewsyVideos / YouTube]

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