Your TSA Security Fees Just Doubled, But Security Won't Improve


As if flying weren't costly enough, your next plane ticket is going to be more expensive, thanks to the federal government. Today the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) security fee rose by more than double.

CNN reports:

Until Monday, a passenger was charged $2.50 for each leg of a journey. For a nonstop round trip, the cost was $5. For a round trip with a connection each way, the cost was $10.

The fee was capped at two flights each way. That means you couldn't get charged more than $5 each way or $10 round trip, even if you took three flights to get your destination.

Now, passengers must pay a flat fee of $5.60 in each direction, no matter how many plane transfers are made to get from one city to another.

For passengers flying a nonstop round trip, that means the fee will increase from $5 to $11.20.

Passengers flying round-trip with a connection each way will see their fees increase $1.20 to $11.20 per round trip, versus $10 before the fee increase.

Domestic flyers will also get hit with an additional $5.60 if you have a layover that's four hours or longer.

"Business travelers who fly non-stop routes, and travelers in secondary markets requiring connections," suggests Fox News, "will see the biggest impact."

Airlines for America

"Due to new TSA fee hike, travelers will pay a billion dollars more per year in added taxes/fees," tweeted Nick Calio, the president and CEO of Airlines for America, an industry advocacy group.

The securirty agency, which operates with an annual budget of over $7 billion, gets a lot of flak. More than half of Americans believe all those pat-downs and invasive body scans are mere security theater that have no real deterrent on hijackings.  And those skeptics are right. Research on the 13-year-old agency shows it so far hasn't had a measurable effect on air travel safety.  

The "TSA estimates the hike will generate $16.9 billion more than current collections," explains USA Today. The heftier fee won't actually do much (if anything) to improve security, though. "Congress agreed to the increase in December to raise $12.6 billion to cut the deficit," and nothing will go to security improvement until that's paid. 

Airlines for America criticizes that the government treating "airlines and their passengers as its own personal ATM," though some members of Congress say they never intended for the TSA to charge this much. Senate Budget Committee chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.) has contested that the TSA changed how defines a "round trip" flight in order to work around the cap Congress placed on the agency's fees.

NEXT: Peter Suderman on Dodd-Frank and the Age of Endless Regulation

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  1. Yeah, but if it saves even ONE Malaysian airplane…

    Oh, wait, TSA, USA….never mind….

  2. Is this a positive or negative for GDP?

    1. Negative. Every government action is a negative on economic activity.

      1. But we’re not talking about economic activity.

        We’re talking about GDP.

    2. The drag effect of government on the economy is the NPV of government expenditures minus transfer payments.

  3. Does this mean twice the groping?

  4. “Business travelers who fly non-stop routes, and travelers in secondary markets requiring connections,” suggests Fox News, “will see the biggest impact.”

    So, rich capitalists and people from flyover country will take it in the shorts. I’m sure nobody in the administration has a problem with that.

  5. Twice 0 security is still twice as much. What’s the gripe again?

  6. Come on – you have to remember their major successes.

    Which I’m sure will happen any day now.

    Especially with more money!

  7. Always worth it to quote Schneier’s quick summary:

    Exactly two things have made air travel safer since 9/11: reinforcing the cockpit door, and convincing passengers that they need to fight back. Everything else has been a waste of money. Add screening of checked bags and airport workers and we are done. All the rest is security theatre.

    1. “convincing passengers that they need to fight back” which leads to the GroundTruth regulation: every male* passenger between the ages of 18 and 65 must show that he is carrying a knife with blade no shorter than 2 inches before being allowed to board any common carrier.

      (* This is not to discourage women in the same age group from carrying such a knife, but GroundTruth, at the end of the day is a bit of a dinosaur)

      1. I’m serious.

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