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Airports, Airlines battle over passenger fees

It's hard for a traveler to tell what's going on sometimes in the pot-calling-the-kettle-black wars of the air travel industry. We've covered elsewhere the dispute between the legacy airlines and the Gulf carriers over subsidies and "Open Skies."


The other biggie right now is over the Passenger Facility Charge that's added to all tickets for flights originating in the U.S. Currently it's $4.50, with a maximum of $18 for multi-leg round-trip itineraries.


The airports and their lobbyists want to raise it; they say it's necessary to fund the $75 billion in airport improvement projects they say are needed to bring our airports into the 21st century (and answer all our complaints). They say that air traffic has grown far beyond investment in facilities.


The airlines and their lobby loudly claim that raising the fees will discourage air travel.


To which the airports reply, in essence, "if all your piled-up fees for baggage, for changes, for food, for whatever, didn't turn travelers off, nothing will."


In the words of the old song, traveler, "Which Side Are You On?" for a discussion of the claims, see this USA Today article.


Crowded counters at Tokyo's Narita

Photo: Wikimedia / Nanashinodensyaku

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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What I dislike are when fees are not used for what they're charged for.  If airport improvement fees really are used to fix up and improve airports, I think most consumers are fine with that.  But when they just get put into the general revenues of a city's cash pool, that bugs most of us.


What a find far more unreasonable than this are the fees to change or cancel a flight.  Often they approach or exceed the value of a ticket.  That's really gouging the consumer.

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

The other fees that especially bother me are the ones you never see in tickets, because they come out the back door. Compare airport car rental prices with off-airport of the same brand; compare the price of gum or candy at the airport or a neighborhood store. That’s airport revenue, too, either through a direct charge (car) or super-high-rents (newsstand)
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