Get ready to pay more for your flights because starting next week, there will be an increase to the TSA September 11 Security Fee. It’s not a huge increase but something worth noting if you travel frequently or travel with a family. Effective July 21, 2014, the September 11 Security Fee will be increased from $2.50 per flight segment with a $5.00 cap to $5.60 per ONE Way with NO cap. On the surface, this increase doesn’t seem like a big deal but the fee structure gets a little more convoluted.
Flying domestically (not including to Alaska and Hawaii), if your itinerary has a layover of 4 or more hours, the flight segment after the layover will be considered a separate trip and will add another $5.60 fee to the cost of your ticket. Each subsequent layover of 4 hours or more will result in an additional $5.60 fee.
Flying internationally or to Alaska and Hawaii, the layover limit is more lenient with a maximum of 12 hours before an additional $5.60 fee will be added to the cost of your ticket. Each subsequent layover of 12 hours or more will result in an additional $5.60 fee.
Let me give you some examples.
Example #1: Flying LAX to JFK (non-stop) currently costs you $2.50 in September 11 Security Fees ($5.00 roundtrip). Starting July 21, 2014, that same flight will cost you $5.60 ($11.20 roundtrip). That’s an increase of $6.20 per person roundtrip.
Example #2: Flying LAX-SFO-JFK (with a layover in SFO less than 4 hours) currently costs you $5.00 in September 11 Security fees ($10.00 roundtrip). Starting July 21, 2014, that same flight will cost $5.60 ($11.20 roundtrip). In this situation, it’s only an increase of $1.20 difference per person roundtrip.
Example #3: Flying LAX-SFO-JFK (with a layover in SFO more than 4 hours) currently costs you $5.00 in September 11 Security Fees ($10 roundtrip). Starting July 21, 2014, that same flight will cost you $11.20 ($22.40 roundtrip). That’s an increase of $12.40 per person roundtrip.
So as you can see, the increased fee really isn’t that big of deal and will most likely be negligible to a majority of travelers out there. Most passengers will see an increase between $.60 and $22.40 depending on their travel habits. But if you travel frequently or travel with a family, every dollar counts and those increased fees here and there will add up quickly.
You should keep in mind that this is just the September 11 Security Fee. That’s not including all the other taxes and fees that are tacked onto the price of an airline ticket such as the US Passenger Facility Charge and US Transportation Tax and the additional taxes and fees if you are traveling internaitonally such as US Customs, US Immigration and other foreign government taxes and fees.
Like I said earlier, the increased fee is pretty negligible but if you want to avoid the additional cost, all you have to do is book your airline ticket by July 21, 2014. You don’t have to travel by that date. You just have to book your trip by that date to avoid the increased fee. This fee hike was approved by Congress under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 and is projected to bring in an additional 12.6 billion dollars over the next 10 years.
But here’s a fun fact. Did you know that the increase to the September 11 Security Fee has nothing to do with security or even with air travel for that matter? Congress approved this fee hike to the September 11 Security Fee but the majority of the revenue generated won’t go to TSA or to the airports to identify, improve or fund additional security measures for air travel. The additional revenue generated will go back to the US Treasury general fund for non-specific use.
That’s right. You read correctly. The additional revenue will not go to the TSA but will be used to fund other government projects. Now, this is a travel blog so I will (try to) keep my opinions to myself but I’m assuming our readers will not be okay with this.
If you are not okay with this, you may let the TSA know your thoughts. The full legal text of the rule can be found here. The TSA is also inviting public comments on this change. If you agree or disagree with the increased fee, you can let them know here. Look for the “comment now” box in the upper right hand corner. You have until August 19, 2014 to let them know your thoughts.
So what do you guys think? Was it right for Congress to levy higher taxes against air travelers to fund other government projects? Shouldn’t a “security fee” levied against air travelers be used to provide or improve security measures for those passengers that are paying that fee?
What are your guy’s thoughts?