0 min left

Airline Groups Sue TSA over Fees


Airlines for America (A4A) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have filed a lawsuit against the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) over the recent increases in security fees attached to airline tickets. The eight-page petition, filed in the United States Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday, called for a review of the changes.

On July 21, the TSA raised the September 11 Security Fee for all flights from $2.50 to $5.60.  Flights that have a layover of four hours or more now incur an additional $5.60 fee. Airlines lobbied against the increase last year, arguing it would heavily impact travelers. A4A went so far as to circulate airsickness bags that asked passengers: “Are high taxes on air travel making you sick?”

Michael McCormick, executive director and CEO of the Global Business Travel Association, criticized Congress members’ support of the bill. “They think the business traveler can afford it. At some point, you have to say enough is enough.”

In May, Speaker of the House John Boehner wrote to the secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, commending a letter from Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, Wash., and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, Wis. In their letter, which was addressed to TSA Administrator John Pistole, they stated that “there is nothing about the language modification [to September 11 Security Fee] that reflects an indication to change the overall cap for air transport fees.” Boehner added in his letter, “Congress did not intend for the definition of a roundtrip to change.”

A4A and IATA allege that the increase is a violation of federal law because the lawmakers who simplified the terms of the September 11 Security Fee last December as part of a bipartisan effort to reduce the deficit did not intend for the $10 round-trip cap to be eliminated. The two trade groups also accuse the TSA of abusing the law by imposing fees on domestic legs of flights that originate outside of the United States.

“TSA is overstepping its bounds,” said A4A’s CEO, Nicholas Calio. “Air travelers are not an ATM for the government and should not be treated as such.”

A4A, the nation’s largest and oldest airline trade association, transports over 90 percent of all passengers and cargo in the United States. Member airlines include Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Continental Holdings, US Airways, as well as cargo airlines Federal Express and UPS Airways. Air Canada is an associate member airline.

IATA represents 84 percent of total air traffic with 244 member airlines around the world. Director general and CEO, Tony Tyler, said, “The law is clear and the TSA should abide by it.” Tyler called the decision to join A4A in the case against the TSA as one to “protect passengers” and “protect jobs from the negative impact of a dampening of demand for travel as a result of the higher costs.”

TSA spokesman, Ross Feinstein, declined to comment.

[Photo: iStock]

Comments are Closed.
Mark C. Palmer August 4, 2014

Just to clarify, the A4A and IATA haven't filed a lawsuit against the TSA, rather they filed a Joint Petition for the court to review the new TSA Rule increasing the security fee. My post on it @travelblawg: Airlines Seek Court Review of TSA Fee Increase, Launch Social Media Campaign http://travelblawg.boardingarea.com/airline-groups-ask-court-review-tsa-fee-increase/

MaxVO August 2, 2014

This lawsuit is totally retarded. The fees were imposed by Congress, and go into the General Revenue funds. They are not even for TSA, despite the name of the legislation.

holiosan August 1, 2014

“TSA is overstepping its bounds,” said A4A’s CEO, Nicholas Calio. “Air travelers are not an ATM for the government and should not be treated as such.” Yet the airlines seem to think that we're ATMs.

Himeno August 1, 2014

TSA will attempt to ignore it like they always do.