Airlines claim passengers are overtaxed — but are they?

To say that air travelers spend as much time complaining about fees and surcharges as they do flying might not be much of an exaggeration. And now the airline industry wants you to add another complaint to that list: taxes.

Air travelers are overtaxed, say the airline trade organization Airlines for America and a coalition of other interest groups. In a campaign cleverly timed to coincide with this month’s deadline for filing federal income tax returns, they’ve called on Congress to “reform” the way the government taxes U.S. fliers.

“We face a uniquely bad tax environment,” says Steve Lott, an A4A spokesman. “The aviation industry and our passengers currently pay 17 separate federal taxes and fees, a hodgepodge thrown together and added to over the years without any guiding rationale or consideration for their overall impact on demand or affordability.”

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To illustrate its point, A4A posted a chart on its Web site showing taxes on air travel from 1972 to 2012. The number of taxes jumped from five in 1972 to 11 two decades later and to 17 today. Those taxes, which can raise the cost of a round-trip airline ticket by 20 percent or more, include such charges as the $2.50 Sept. 11 fee to pay for airport security and the $3.80 flight segment tax, assessed each time a passenger takes off and lands.

More taxes might be on the way. The administration’s deficit reduction plan includes increasing the passenger security fee, now between $5 and $10 per flight, to $15, with the possibility of future increases. Of the $24.9 billion the fee would raise over the next decade, $15 billion would be funneled toward reducing the national debt.

Back in October, when the administration proposed the idea, I sided with the critics who said that it was unfair, and I suggested that air travelers — and airlines — were overburdened by taxes.

But the airline industry’s latest push for lower taxes probably has more to do with another recent government action: the Transportation Department’s requirement that airlines and travel agents quote a fare that includes all government taxes and fees. Consumer advocates say that the regulation makes fares more honest, but airlines complain that it serves to conceal the extent of government levies.

“There are two big issues with government taxes,” says Michael Miller, a vice president at the American Aviation Institute, a think tank that often takes industry-friendly positions. “First, the total amount of taxes is higher than [for] nearly all other consumer products. And second, the government keeps adding to the consumer burden, never replacing older taxes. New rules hiding government taxes from plain view on your ticket price make it even easier to add new taxes.”

Air travelers don’t seem as quick to judge. In more than two decades of advocating for consumers, I can count on one hand the number of airline tax complaints I’ve heard, and those usually involve an allegation that the airline is miscalculating taxes or in some way profiting from them.

For example, when Kenneth Babineaux checked his Virgin America itinerary from Dallas to San Francisco a few weeks ago, he noticed a suspicious surcharge: a $33 “international” tax. Last time he checked, San Francisco was part of the United States. What’s more, he says, a supervisor he reached by phone was rude and dismissive when asked about the fee. “I have no confidence in Virgin America now,” says Babineaux, who works for a college near Houston. “And I haven’t even flown them yet.”

I contacted Virgin. It said that the fee had been incorrectly labeled because of a computer problem but insisted that Babineaux’s fare was correct.

Jeremy Branham, a budget-travel blogger who has researched taxes and air travel, says that when air travelers become aware of taxes, they quickly conclude that they’re paying too much. “In some cases, taxes and fees can account for as much as 50 percent of the total airfare price,” he says. And that has a ripple effect, limiting air travel and making American air carriers less competitive.

He’s right. In a poll I posted on my Web site after a recent column on airline taxes, I asked readers whether they thought that they were paying too much in government taxes and fees. More than nine in 10 said yes. I’m inclined to agree.

But the real problem isn’t taxes. It’s the source and the timing of the latest tax outrage.

Let me put it this way: If you take the Obama administration’s misguided budget-reduction proposal off the table and delete the DOT’s new “all in” fare rule, would airlines still be pushing so hard to tell us that we’re overtaxed?

It’s unlikely.

I’m more inclined to believe that the airline industry, worried because its fares used to look 20 to 50 percent lower, is trying to figure out a way to keep us buying tickets. Once taxes and fees are added to the price, the illusion of inexpensive fares is impossible to maintain.

Ironically, while finding religion about “hidden” taxes, airlines continue to engage in pricing legerdemain by making it as difficult as possible for passengers to discover extra fees for baggage, seat selection, telephone help, food, pillows, blankets — basically, anything that isn’t attached to the plane. (Just try comparing fares if you want to check a suitcase, reserve a seat and order lunch. I’ll wait.)

If the airline industry can’t overturn the full-fare advertising rule legislatively, its Plan B is tax reform. The source of the air travel tax dissatisfaction matters. If it’s a nonissue to passengers like you and me, then lowering these taxes will be about as difficult as persuading an airline to eliminate or even disclose its fees and surcharges. In the past half-decade, those add-ons have multiplied at an even more alarming rate than any taxes.

47 thoughts on “Airlines claim passengers are overtaxed — but are they?

  1. Wait. Part of my airline taxes goes towards the national debt? Isn’t that what income tax is for? Why add that tax burden on travelers? Or is it because only the “rich” can travel? That notion is antiquated these days.

    However, I’m still for the all-in fare. I want to know the bottom line before I buy. If it’s applied evenly across the board, what do the airlines have to worry about?

    1. The airlines are worried that including taxes means less room for them to weasel in fees and surcharges.  I think they have little (or no) credibility to whine about taxes when they nick us with every fee imaginable.

    2. Zero percent of your airline and airport taxes go toward the national debt – they are spending every dime they get and then some . . . 

  2. I think many of the individual taxes are reasonable, but when you add it up and some of the ones that have been around for a long time (if it wasn’t increased then they either never needed it or still don’t need it).  But I think expanding taxes, especially to pay down the National Debt is too far.

  3. Buy a Round-trip ticket to London LHR or UK and see how much is the ratio Taxe-Fees  on the original prices. 60% is not usually.

  4. A recent air ticket written by our agency for travel to Amsterdam returning from Zurich had a fare of $375.00.  The taxes and fees added another $663.00 or so.  That would seem to be a lot.

  5. Well I just bought an overseas ticket. The ticket was $400 and the taxes & fees were $500. Over 100% in taxes seems overtaxed to me. I do prefer the “all in” fare it would be nice if it also showed how much was ticket and how much was tax. United shows the breakdown just before confirming the ticket so you know who’s taking what bite out of your fare.

  6. I’m certainly in favor of lower taxes.  Who isn’t?  (Oh yeah, Obama and the Democrats.)  But having a tax for security is certainly reasonable (though we can disagree about how much and what kind of security).  So is a tax for building and operating airports.  The tax structure could certainly be modified, unified and streamlined.  As for the airlines complaining about having to show us the bottom line, (bleep) them – they brought it on themselves by their dishonesty.

    1. As someone who flies a lot for personal reasons (ie, it comes out of my personal wallet), I agree that charging passengers for the services they receive is reasonable.  Sure, I’d like to pass it along to some other taxpayer, but charging me for airports, the FAA, security, etc. is fair and reasonable. 

      Charging me for part of the national debt … not so fair and reasonable.

      And yeah, I agree that the airlines who nickel and dime us to death have little credibility whining about taxes.  Perhaps they’re just worried that ‘all in pricing’ makes it harder for them to hide their fees and surcharges.

  7. I don’t think airlines are above the tax fray.  A recent round trip purchase on DL: PVD-DTW-HND.  Around $1300.
    Base Fare: $620
    “Tax”: $675.34
    Included in this “tax” one labeled “YQ.”  Looking at this more closely, it is not a tax levied by any government, but rather a surcharge levied by the airline, disclosed if you click on the correct links.  However, it is lumped in under the line item “tax,” which is a little deceptive.  Even call this amount “Tax and fees” or “Tax and surcharge” would be more legit.
    Without this charge, total taxes levied were around $100. The largest government levied tax was only $33.40.

    Did I still buy this ticket?  Of course–it was the lowest “all-in” price I found.

    Would I have felt cheated if I clicked on the $620 “fare” only to see the cost of my ticket more than double?  Absolutely.

    I’m interested in hearing from these other examples how many of the 30-60% “tax” rates include airline surcharges.

      1. My point exactly–but by including it on the “tax” line, they make government taxes look inflated.

        Per cornhusker below, maybe they are doing me a favor by making it a fee instead of a fare…

        1. You are the exception. You actually care how your ticket costs are broken down. One problem with all in pricing is most people don’t..such as gasoline. This leads the way for new taxes to be quietly added with no real backlash from the consumer. (And yes, there is a new one in the administration’s budget proposal.)
          Prior to all in pricing laws. The site I use to compare airline ticket prices gave me the base, tax and total. Now, I only see the total and have to make the extra step to see the breakdown. Based on past comments on this topic, most people don’t care about the taxes and government fees.

          1. Except that doesn’t explain why gasoline tax has stagnated… just because a tax is included in an all-in price doesn’t mean it isn’t political suicide to try to raise it to cover the actual costs of roads.

    1. Within the US at least, all prices shown are ‘all-in’ (in advertising and the like) unless they explicitly break it down when you actually pay or look at the details, so it doesn’t really matter what they call it.

  8. The industry claims $60 of an average $300 domestic ticket are taxes and airport fees. (I just priced a couple random US domestic tickets and that was about right.) 

    I pay 6 cents tax on a $1 cup of coffee, if I bought 300 cups in a year, that’s only $18 in tax on $300 in purchases. (McDonalds…any size!) So if airline tickets are not overtaxed is my coffee UNDERtaxed?

    I can’t fault the airlines for standing up to taxes. I wonder how the restaurant industry would respond when faced with the prospect of my $1.06 coffee now costing $1.20?

    1. On the flip side, I pay taxes on my car every year, even if I haven’t bought a new one.  That would be like paying taxes on your coffee even when you didn’t drink one that day.

      Is that fair?

      1. I’m not following. 

        I pay tax on the purchase of coffee. I pay tax on the purchase of an airline ticket. If I give up coffee..no tax paid. If I give up flying…no tax paid.

        I pay an annual registration on my car, in part for the privilege of driving it on public roads. If I sold the car…no registration fees.

        Of course none of these is an option…especially the coffee…which, ironically, is the least taxed of all!

        1. In my state, there’s an additional 2% tax on restaurants, and a ad valorem tax on cars which is about the value of state sales tax in addition to a registration fee.
          So the item you purchased once is being perpetually taxed for the privilege of owning it.   You could say the same for property taxes.Those taxes over time amount to more than a 20% tax on airline tickets.

          I guess the point I’m trying to make is we’re comparing apples and oranges–user specific taxes vs. general taxes.   Each tax is levied because responsible government a) feels like that particular population can afford the tax and/or b) to generate revenue for specific (i.e. security screening) or general services and/or c) to make the people who use the services pay for them, or d) because they are a captive audience that doesn’t vote (hotel and car rental taxes)

          Somewhere along the way, politicians decided it wasn’t fair to have non-users pay taxes for airport services they don’t use.  Whereas general taxes like sales taxes and my perpetual car tax (I guess my state decided if you’re rich enough to own a car, you can afford the taxes) help fund the police to make sure you don’t get mugged on the way to buy coffee, the road crew that fixed the pothole on the street, etc.If it costs an additional 20% to run “free” airport shuttles to the economy parking lots, keep the lights on at the airport, to stay cool inside the airport on 100 degree summer days, and land safely on well maintained runways and taxiways, then I think it’s fair to pay.  Goodness knows, if we suddenly had to pony up $50 every time we went through a security screening or passport control, all hell would break loose.

          At YVR, there is a departure tax for flights going to the US.  In olden days, they did not include this in the price of the airline ticket, and you had to show up with $10 cash and buy a ticket before they would let you through security.  That fee is now rolled into the cost of the airline ticket, which I gladly pay to avoid that nuisance.

  9. But isn’t a reason for the plethora of new fees for baggage, seats, pillows, phone help, etc. due to the fact that there is NO tax on such things as opposed to the airfare itself?  If so, the much-loathed Spirit might be the wave of the future as airlines try to circumvent the taxes.  A scary thought. 

  10. Wow, what a way to obfuscate the issues.

    It’s really the airlines that have a lot more explaining to do rather than the taxman. Baggage Check In fee, Carry On fee, Seat Assignment Fee, Change Fee; do I need to continue further?
    So you see, the airlines want us to get mad at Uncle Sam so that we can give their CEOs (with inflated paychecks) a pass.

    Instead of whining, why not simply state the truth? Let me try.

    Hey fellow Americans, our government taxes us 7.5% of the fare we pay on a domestic (including to/from 225 miles of Canada and Mexico) ticket plus $3.80 for each flight segment (take-off and landing). The more expensive your fare, the larger the amount of the percentage tax collected, but the percentage (7.5%) is the same. However, the flight segment tax is a fixed amount, so connecting flights are taxed more than nonstop flights. The more the connections, the more flight segment tax you will pay. The tax is imposed at the time payment is made for the flight, not on the date of the flight itself. The taxes collected are deposited into the Airport and Airway Trust Fund.  This fund is used to improve and maintain the nation’s airports and airways.

    The tax – percentage and flight segment  – is an EXCISE tax based on the amount you PAID for the transportation. (Note: if you have a FREE i.e. AWARD ticket, you don’t pay these taxes.) The person liable for the tax is the person making the payment for the taxable transportation.  The person receiving the payment, the collector (airline), reports the collection using the IRS Form 720 excise tax return, and deposits the collections to the Federal Government by electronic funds transfer.

    In addition, 2 other user fees (not a tax)  – SECURITY and PASSENGER FACILITY CHARGES (PFC) –  are collected for domestic air travel.

    These user fees are charge per enplanement – meaning per flight you boarded and departed. There is a cap, a maximum of 2 charges per direction of travel.

    The Security Fee is $2.50 per enplanement (this funds your favorite friends, the TSA).
    The PFC is anywhere from $1 to $4.50 per enplanement depending on the airport. This funds your dilapidated airport.

    Passengers flying on AWARD tickets are exempted from paying the Passenger Facility Charges but they must still pay the $2.50 Security Fee per enplanement.

    So, are you really overtaxed on domestic air travel?
    Or is there a hidden agenda behind this call to arms?

    Compare 2 domestic roundtrip tickets: (a) Peoria PIA to Raleigh Durham RDU, and (b) New York JFK to Los Angeles LAX.

    PIA-ORD-RDU cheapest ticket today:

    TICKET     BASE USD                TX/FEE USD       TKT TTL USD
     ADT01       347.91                     69.29            417.20
       
     TX 26.09US 15.20ZP 10.00AY 18.00XF

    JFK-LAX cheapest ticket today:

    TICKET     BASE USD                TX/FEE USD       TKT TTL USD
     ADT01       249.30                     40.30            289.60
       
     TX 18.70US 7.60ZP 5.00AY 9.00XF

    Perhaps more glaring than taxes is the higher fare that airlines charge for a 769 mile flight between PIA and RDU compared to a 2,461 mile flight between JFK and LAX. Shouldn’t we be more concerned that airlines charge a flight 3x shorter 1.4x more?

    The traveler from Peoria to Raleigh paid more taxes because his fare was higher and because the airlines did not offer a direct flight between these 2 cities (causing more enplanements). Is that the government’s fault?

    I have a message to the A4A folks – WHO ARE YOU KIDDING?

    1. I see large tax percentages in your examples. 

      Deregulation has opened the door for LCC’s (and low FARE carriers) to jump in. It’s all market driven…not mileage driven. You’re correct in that the smaller cities suffer.

      If you were starting an airline, would you choose PIA-RDU or JFK-LAX for your first route? You would be able to carry more passengers on the NYC-LAX route so you could afford to charge less. Put too many seats on PIA-RDU and you have more capacity than the market can bear, regardless of ticket price.

      1. Less competition opens the door to more gouging.

        I don’t buy any argument that cost is not dependent on distance flown. That’s rubbish since fuel is the biggest cost component in this equation. Take a look at how much FedEx or UPS charges per lb. of EXPRESS freight. The ZONES are based on distance.

        Here is another great example. Suppose I want to fly to Hawaii from New York and take the Continental (now UA) nonstop from Newark to Honolulu (about 4966 miles each way). Here is what I will pay roundtrip:

        TICKET     BASE USD                TX/FEE USD       TKT TTL USD
         ADT01      1099.46                     81.39           1180.85
         TX 59.79US 7.60ZP 5.00AY 9.00XF

        The Federal Excise Tax and Gov’t mandated User Fees of $81.39 is about 7.4% of the fare. That is LESS than the New York City 8.875 % sales tax (percentage wise) for a pack of gum.

        ADDENDUM: In practice, the use of a hub and spoke system form may allow an airline to REDUCE the OVERALL cost of flying people and cargo between points A & B if the cost of direct flights are prohibitive (maybe due to wide load factors fluctuations). That said, if there is sufficient demand to afford direct point-to-point flights, then history has demonstrated that a great airline, Southwest, can take advantage of it.

        1. What I’m getting at is instead of looking at PIA-RDU as too expensive, JFK-LAX is probably too cheap. Many carriers on the route all trying to get the same business.

          In the past you’ve mentioned you’re familiar with HPN. Check out the fare from there to ORD on this Friday…then price it from any other airport in the NYC area. (non-stop late in the day) Why is HPN around $600 when LGA is around $200? Probably because they can get more for the HPN demographic and afford to keep the lower fares in LGA for the masses. That’s how they come up with prices.

          1. Too cheap???

            I can fly on Monday from JFK to HKG roundtrip and pay only $1007 (or less) to Cathay Pacific for that 8055 mile nonstop journey (each way). That translates to about 6.7 cents/mile.

            The JetBlue JFK-LAX $290 roundtrip ticket costs about 5.9 cents/mile.

            The United EWR-HNL $1180 ticket costs about 11.9 cents/mile.

            The PIA-ORD-RDU ticket costs about 27.13 cents/mile.

            While the JFK-LAX looks like a bargain (because of competition), that does not explain why CX charges less than 1 cent more per mile of a route they dominate (unless they want to kill everyone else). Note only CX flies JFK-HKG nonstop. UA is the only other one from NYC but that is EWR-HKG.

            Bottom line is the airlines will charge whatever you are WILLING to pay.

          2. Airtran serves Bloomington, IL about 40 miles away. Since Airtran is an LCC, one usually expects low fares as well, yet the   fare to RDU appears to only be just a bit less. 

            In fact, I believe they are pulling out of Bloomington, so even Southwest/Airtran does not see Bloomington as a good allocation of resources..even at over 25 cents per mile. 

            Deregulation has given us cheap fares on the highh demand routes but those of us that live away from a major airport pay the price.

          3. I didn’t even think about BMI. I’m not a midwest guy.

            Anyway Airtran (FL) has 3x B717 BMI-ATL and 4x B717 ATL-RDU, so that’s a decent option. Lowest published fare ticket still expensive at $351.20 or ~21.7 cents/mi

            My wife has family near Little Rock AR (LIT) and Sacramento CA (SMF). LIT is one of those very expensive airports from the East Coast. Much cheaper for us to fly to SMF and meet the Arkansas folks there.

          4.   Re: HPN
            Yes, I agree that HPN is for the rich and therefore if you are NOT WILLING to pay for its high fare structure, then you need to check out LGA/JFK/EWR.

            However, I want to add 2 points:

            (a) HPN is ‘near’ LGA and it does not add substantial hardship for poor Westchester NY residents to commute to LGA ~$20 each way.
            PIA is not that near to CHI or STL (approx 170 mi.) where one can get better fares. But one can ride a charter bus for $39 each way.

            (b) IMO there is a HIDDEN SUBSIDY in HPN. That airport has a lot of private jets. Guess who is paying for the airport?

    2. I tend to agree.  It would be an interesting story to compare the taxes with the average anciallary fees a flier would expect to pay.

      Having said that, I think the way those new airline taxes are structured, it would kill off quite a few smaller airports.

  11. Well, first of all, the law doesn’t say taxes have to be “hidden” inside the ticket price.  The only requirement of the law is that the total ticket price quoted must include those taxes.  So if an airline decides to quote a base fare, taxes, and the total fare on it’s search page, it is fully complying with the law.  So the airline’s arguments don’t hold water.

  12. Who do you think pays for the Federal Aviation Administration?  Who is responsible for the Air Traffic Control?  Who pays for the runways to accommodate the latest and greatest airplanes?  Who pays for the nearly constant terminal renovations?

    The users do.  Forgetting any proposals, almost all current taxes are user taxes to pay for the public facilities.  Who should pay for the air transport system in the USA?  All taxpayers or the users of the system?  Which is fairer?

    It is downright silly to think you can reduce the tax hodge podge and end up with a smaller amount of tax.  Without various taxes you would have USD$20 hot dogs inside the terminals (user taxes subsidize the space), airplanes falling from the sky (user taxes pay for the radar), and quonset huts for terminals.  

    Someone must pay for the system.  You might not be pleased with every facet of every part of the system, but all are essential in one form or another and must be paid for.

    Recently some politicians developed this theory we can just cut taxes and do without.  You will laugh about that all the way to the federally subsidized railway station or on the user-tax subsidized highway system.  Because you will not fly in the sky without essential services.  

    P.S. Ever think of why we have the safest commercial air system ever? Some years there are no commercial fatalities in the USA. It that too safe? Maybe we can cut the taxes and tolerate a bit less safety, right?

  13. Fees are one thing, for a “fee” needs to be rationally-related to some service being provided to the fee-payer. There are many services provided to airline passengers, from aviation security to air traffic control, and airline passengers—not the taxpayers at large—should pay for the costs associated with airline travel.

    On the other hand, airline passengers should not be taxed beyond the amount taxed to users of other transportation. At present, neither bus transportation, rail transportation, nor ferry transportation are taxed in the United States (though they are subject to a sales tax in Canada). Motorists may pay a tax on the sale of the fuel and maintenance services consumed. There is no good reason why the sale of air transportation should be taxed any differently than the sale of any other service.

  14. MIT (perhaps the best engineering school) has a fantastic program that studies the Global Airline Industry. One of its projects tracks Airline Ticket Tax.
    http://web.mit.edu/TicketTax/index.html

    The dollar value of total taxes and fees has remained relatively constant in real terms. The effective tax rate, which represents the relative share made up by these taxes, increased from 11% in 1993 to 16% by 2005. This was largely due to a significant reduction in average base fare (a 34% decrease from 1993 to 2005). Since then, the effective tax rate has remained relatively unchanged, as base fares have stabilized and even recovered slightly.

    2009 update

    The average effective tax rate for 2009 was 16.7%. This represents a small but noticeable increase in the share of the average domestic ticket that goes towards taxes and fees. In
    comparison, the 2008 tax rate was 15.5%. This increase in the tax rate is due to a significant decline in ticket prices. From 2008 to 2009, pre-tax fares declined by 10%, from $334 to $299 (all figures represented as inflation-adjusted, 2009 dollars). This represents at least a temporary reversal in the stabilization of base fares that occurred in the 2004-2008 period. In dollar terms, average taxes and fees have actually declined by 3%, from $51.82
    in 2008 to $50.09 in $2009.

    I would rather believe MIT, than the A4A coalition.

    http://i.imgur.com/K9mMs.jpg

  15. What a fluff question.  Every business on the planet complains they are over taxed.  And you know who pays it?  The consumer.

  16. In the 17th Century, Jean Baptiste Colbert said, “The art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to get the most feathers with the least amount of hissing.”
     
    Therein lays the excessive amount of taxes on flying that doesn’t exist in other areas.  A great deal of flying is done and paid for as a tax deductible business expense.  When the taxing authorities look for an area which will have the least amount of complaints, the corporations looked like the best “goose.”
     
    I suspect most of the readers complaints come from vacationers who don’t write-off their travel and pay for flying with income after taxes.

  17. taxes should be a % of the fare, like all the state & federal taxes you have added in most retail situation in the USA.

    Airlines need to make a stand & tell Uncle Sam to collect them, not the airlines.

    1. That is a silly statement.  All businesses report taxes and pay them to the various entities. I have to fill out city, county and federal payments for our family business.  We collect the taxes at the time of sale and have a reporting period in which we must submit them.  Carriers do the same. 

  18. Are we not overtaxed everywhere, much less just in the travel industry? Taxes on rental cars, hotel rooms, gas taxes and airplane tickets -taxes without representation at its finest!

  19. Are VERY RICH air travelers OVERTAXED?

    The IRS sued Warren Buffet’s Bershire Hathaway’s NetJet units for ~$366 Million over unpaid Ticket Taxes and penalties.

    Now you and I pay ALL our ticket taxes when we buy airline tickets. But apparently the very rich who fly these private jets don’t.

    What’s their answer? NetJets countersued the IRS for ~$643 million.
    Don’t you think the super rich are overtaxed? 🙂

    http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/03/26/netjets-case-warren-buffett-and-taxes/

  20. If the airlines are successful in getting some of the taxes removed, look for increases in fares and in baggage checking fees to steer at least some of the former tax money into the pockets of the airlines.

  21. How is it that you can find an airline ticket for $600 and the taxes are $400…or you can find the same flight on another airline and the ticket is $400 and the taxes are $600?  I find this just wrong!

    1. International carrier’s taxes and fees are different than US carrier’s which could account for what you are addressing. 

  22. I don’t doubt that the airline industry has an agenda behind highlighting the amount of taxes the government imposes on commercial air travel; that said, if the facts they’re citing are true, why criticize them for that? The fact is that a portion of the “all-in” fare that the government requires airlines to quote now goes directly to the government – depending on the flight and one’s political views, it may be a reasonable or an unreasonable level of taxation, but it’s not negligible by any means.

  23. Taxes are not responsible for the $1000 I had to pay to use “free” tickets for three people (2 of them children) for a round trip between the USA and Israel – returning through London.  Fuel Surcharges are.  These are not taxes.  These are fares – misleadingly positioned as fees.  I guess I should just be thankful that I got the seats on this route although ironically I could not get from Washington to New York using my miles!

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