Get ready to pay more in security fees on your airline ticket if you are traveling to, from or within the United States effective as of July 21, 2014.
“This increase is part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013”, confirmed FlyerTalk member TSAPressSec — also known as Ross Feinstein, who is the press secretary for the Transportation Security Administration and an official company representative on FlyerTalk. “The law restructures the fee limitation from up to $2.50 per leg of a connecting flight (capped at $5 per one-way trip), to a flat $5.60 per one-way trip.”
At first glance, you might be thinking that you can tack on as many legs of a trip as you want and simply pay the $5.60, which is only 60 cents more than the former limit — but that depends on your itinerary. According to page 33465 of this document, the Transportation Security Administration uses the example of Juneau to Anchorage with a stopover of ten hours; Anchorage to Seattle with a stopover of ten hours; Seattle to Chicago with a stopover of ten hours; and Chicago to New York. With that itinerary, you would currently pay a fee of $10.00 for four one-way trips; but you soon could pay as much as $22.40 under the proposed changes — depending on the definition of a stopover.
Do not blame the Transportation Security Administration for this increase in what is known as the September 11 security fee — named after the infamous attacks in the United States by terrorists on September 11, 2001 — as it was mandated by the United States Congress as a result of budget negotiations this past December. “In accordance with Federal Law, the revenue generated from the security fee will be deposited in the general fund of the Treasury. The revenue is to be used to offset TSA costs for providing civil aviation security services, after stipulated amounts are applied to reduction of the federal deficit.”
There will be a period of 60 days where you may provide your thoughts, comments and opinions pertaining to this legislation, according to TSAPressSec. “An interim final rule (IFR) is an immediate implementation of a rule by federal agencies without prior public comment on a rule-making proposal. In this case, the IFR is effective at 12:00 a.m. ET July 21, 2014. Comments must be received by August 19, 2014.”
In addition, TSAPressSec continued with this statement: “The requirements of the IFR are effective 30 days from the date of publication — today — in order to be as consistent as possible with the July 1, 2014, effective date in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013. Despite the effective date, we are providing a 60-day window for comments on TSA’s implementation of the statutory restructuring of the fee per the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013. TSA will consider all comments before issuing a final rule with response to comments.”
Predictably, FlyerTalk members are outraged over the proposed restructuring of the September 11 security fee — and even more so with the process.
The possibility that any change to the proposed restructuring of the September 11 security fee is unlikely, as it is estimated to raise as much as $12.6 billion over the next ten years. Still, I encourage you to please voice your thoughts and let the Transportation Security Administration know what you think.