Airlines are finding more and more ways to charge passengers for flights that are already very expensive. They're charging for pillows, in-flight TV, snacks, and as mentioned last week, airlines are even charging passengers for specific seats on the plane. Now, they're considering charging more for airport security.
A Democratic-controlled Senate panel, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a proposal for an increase in security fees. The fees will be doubled.
These fees are already included in the price of airline tickets, so they are unavoidable. Crafty passengers who already try to avoid checked-luggage fees by bringing larger carry-ons will not be able to keep this security charge in their pockets.
There is some belief that the increase in carry-ons is even to blame for this hike as security now has to scan more bags at TSA checkpoints to ensure the safety of the passengers, since less passengers are checking their suitcases.
The fee is currently $2.50 for a one way non-stop ticket. This move would increase those fees to $5 and the fees for a non-stop round trip flight would increase from $5 to $10. Those who change planes along a trip will continue to pay $5 each way.
This fee goes towards the Transportation Security Administration or TSA, who are about to face budget cuts. A raise in the fee would help to cover increasing costs. The fee hasn't changed for 10 years.
A similar proposal was made last year but failed due to Republican opposition. Republicans still oppose the movement, but their proposal to kill the higher fee failed on a 15-15 vote. Republicans believe that the fee would hurt the airline industry which is already battling a weak economy and high fuel prices. They believe that this fee would be a burden on multi-passenger families.
Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La.,who authored the proposal, said that currently, the fee only cover's one-fourth of TSA's airport security costs. She believes that only fliers should have to support the greater cost to meet TSA's $7.6 billion budget, rather than all taxpayers.