Of government dysfunction and airline greed

I’m sure readers are aware that, due to a failure on the part of the House of Representatives and the Senate to agree on the wording of a bill authorizing the ongoing funding of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), that agency no longer has the legal right to collect user fees and taxes to pay for its operations. Those charges were normally levied as part of ticket pricing by the airlines. As a result, the FAA has had to furlough thousands of its staff, and suspend many of its operations.

Have you noticed the prices of airline tickets going down? Not necessarily. Most airlines have simply increased their ticket prices, adding the FAA revenues to their base charges. That means you still pay the same amount for a ticket as you would have before the FAA furloughs. The only difference is that the money now goes to those airlines, rather than the agency. They’re getting richer at your expense, hoping you won’t notice. (However, a few airlines have been more responsible. Spirit, Hawaiian and Alaskan have not raised their fares, and are passing on to their customers savings from the discontinued FAA charges.)

If you, like me, object to being ripped off by companies, you might want to take this into account when you next take a commercial flight. I plan to ask whether the airline(s) serving my proposed route tried to rob consumers in this fashion. Whenever and wherever possible, I’ll use an airline that didn’t try to rob me, even if that means I have to take a more roundabout route.

As for the House and Senate and their inability to get their act together . . . I would get angry with them, except that I’m already so mad at them over the debt crisis that there’s no room for another irritant. A plague on both their houses!



  1. Give them a break. They were really busy trying to come up with a fair and balanced plan for increasing the fuel economy requirements for privately owned vehicles, while simultaneously ensuring that companies who were actually making money would share that money with those who hadn't gotten around to actually getting jobs yet.
    Plus, of course, they had to think about the upcoming re-election campaign. So they've been a little distracted, and we can hardly blame them for letting that slip through the cracks.

  2. See the latest? Congress has made the tax RETROACTIVE!!

    Now, think about the precedent of that. Pick an activity we all enjoy, one we performed oh, say maybe a year ago, and retroactively tax it. Or add a nice big chunk of tax to all vehicles bought in the previous year — retroactivly, you know, because there was no authority to tax then, but by George, we'll do it now and roll 'er back!

    Holy cow, what a plan!! I'll bet Harry and Nancy are just now beginning to realize the potential.

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