U.S. Airlines Push Back Against Proposed TSA Fee Hike

Credit: skift.com

Reuters  / Brendan McDermid

A private contractor prepares a passenger at a security checkpoint during the check-in process at at JFK airport in New York. Airlines and airports have been spending more money to hire contractors to alleviate some of the burden on TSA. Reuters / Brendan McDermid



Skift Take: Airlines for America makes a good point. Before Congress raises the security fee on airline tickets, shouldn't it let TSA use all of the money airlines collect from the fee?

— Brian Sumers

A representative from the largest U.S. airline trade group on Monday criticized the Trump Administration’s proposal to increase the fee consumers pay to fund the Transportation Security Administration, arguing Congress has erred by banning the agency from using all the money it generates from its current fee.


The group, Airlines for America, is still upset from 2014, the last time Congress raised the security fee. Congress increased it from $2.50 per nonstop flight to $5.60 per one-way trip, but earmarked 60 cents of each one-way allocation to overall deficit reduction. Travelers now contribute about $1.3 billion each year that is not used to improve security, according to Airlines for America.


“Our first concern is about raising a fee at the same time you are diverting $1.3 billion annually away,” said Sharon Pinkerton, senior vice president for legislative and regulatory policy at Airlines for America, said in a telephone briefing. “That seems backwards. I think the first thing Congress and the Administration has to do is return that money to TSA.”


The Trump Administration has said it wants the new fee to cover 75 percent of the TSA’s costs. The Associated Press pegged the increase at $1 per one-way trip.


The Trump Administration’s document is a blueprint, and there’s no indication of how much of it Congress will adopt. Still, Airlines for America signaled it plans to lobby against the TSA funding proposal.


“What would the need be to increase the TSA fee?” Pinkerton said. “That simply has not been demonstrated to us. Far from it. We think that system we have in place now should be able to realize those efficiencies and ensure passenger wait times are not excessive.”


Delta Air Lines is the only non-discount U.S. carrier that does not belong to Airlines for America. A Delta spokeswoman declined to comment on the airline’s reaction to the proposed TSA fee increase.


In the briefing, Pinkerton credited TSA for recovering from last year’s operational miscues, mainly in the spring, when passengers at some large airports waited in lines for hours. Many airports complained that TSA had erred by cutting its staffing as the number of travelers were increasing. Airlines for America even created a social media hashtag — #IHateTheWait — to get passengers to pressure the agency to reduce wait times.


Most of the long lines are gone, but Pinkerton said Airlines for America still has some concerns about TSA procedures. She said the group wants the agency to add more canine teams, and enroll more travelers in TSA PreCheck, its expedited security program. She questioned whether the agency can improve its outreach and promotion to attract new PreCheck members, perhaps by offering special prices to families. She also asked whether the agency can streamline the PreCheck application process to make it easier.


Airlines for America also wants TSA to make its budgeting and staffing process more transparent, she said.


“They really need to be able to demonstrate exactly what their budget needs to be,” Pinkerton said. “A lot of that comes from their staffing allocation model. You look at how many people you think you are going to have travel this summer and that will drive the number of people you need to deploy. We haven’t seen an analysis yet from TSA that says essentially, we need more people than we have now.”


Air Traffic control


While Airlines for America does not support the proposed TSA funding change, it endorsed another Trump budget proposal — a change in how the U.S. air traffic control system operates. Under the Trump plan, the Federal Aviation Administration would relinquish control, and the system instead would be run by an independent non-governmental corporation.


Many stakeholders favor the plan, which would ensure the United States operates like many other developed nations, including Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. One major holdout is Delta, which has argued the U.S. air traffic control system works fine as it is.


The change could make the nation’s air traffic control system more efficient, Pinkerton said. It would also insulate it from partisan politics, and keep air traffic control running smoothly during crises like government shutdowns. During previous shutdowns, air traffic controllers worked temporarily without pay, though they later received their wages.


“It makes no sense for the aviation community to be held hostage to the politics of Washington,” she said.


Top Stories

London Signs Tourism Agreement With Paris While the UK Prepares for Brexit

The timing of this announcement – in the same week that the UK formally starts the Brexit process – shows that the Mayor of London is keen to show the city is still very much willing to work with Europe. -Patrick Whyte
  • 2 days ago
  • 22

Virgin Atlantic Heading Toward Loss Thanks to Brexit and Low-Cost Competition

Looks like it could be a tough couple of years for Virgin Atlantic. Even if the Brexit vote hadn't happened the airline would have still faced a squeeze from the increased level of competition on its transatlantic routes. -Patrick Whyte
  • 2 days ago
  • 14

Carnival Expects a Strong Year Despite Tensions in Asia

Carnival Corp. is seeing strong demand and a willingness to pay more in its key markets. That's good news for the company and the industry in general, but China will warrant close attention if the dispute with Korea is not resolved quickly. -Hannah Sampson
  • 2 days ago
  • 13

Hawaii Tries a Light Touch for New Vacation Rental Regulations

We've yet to see a market where the carrot approach works better than the stick, and we're not optimistic about Hawaii’s hopes either. -Jason Clampet
  • 4 days ago
  • 9

North Korean Airline Begins New Service to China

Given the current geopolitical climate, we wonder how in demand this route will be. -Deanna Ting
  • 2 days ago
  • 9
farawayyachtingcharters - Easy Branches
botoxfillerveintheraphyinphuket - Easy Branches

Latest in Travel

Thomas Cook Abandons Practice of Separating Hotel Guest by Nationality

For most people, the idea of separating travelers based on nationality seems both old fashioned and a little odd. Forcing Brits to mingle with other nationalities (and vice versa) might do wonders for European integration. Although given the countdown to Brexit has already begun, it's probably a little late in the day. -Patrick Whyte
  • 51 minutes ago

Gourmet meals and a butler, coming soon to a theatre near you

Mixed Melanchony: Watermelon, cantaloupe, cherry tomato and black grapes tossed with balsamico chaat vinaigrette  For a lot of us, a movie without the standard popcorn and cola is unthinkable. But what if the dishes on offer were mac and cheese, burrito and tomato parmesan penne? We’d go with the latter. Curated by celebrity chef Vicky Ratnani, […] The post Gourmet meals and a butler, coming soon to a theatre near you appeared first on VOGUE India.
  • 3 hours ago

A Preview of Southwest’s New Security Checkpoint Opening Monday in Los Angeles

Anyone who has flown Southwest through Terminal 1 in Los Angeles over the last couple of years knows that it’s ... Read More
  • 3 hours ago

System Professional and Vogue India decode your hair

Vogue India’s Fashion Director, Anaita Shroff Adajania, and her sister – YouTube star, Scherezade Shroff, give us #SisterGoals in more ways than one. Recently, the duo launched System Professional’s Energycode Mapping service with Vogue India at Asilo, The St Regis, Mumbai. What’s more: they gave the service a test run and shared their childhood hair […] The post System Professional and Vogue India decode your hair appeared first on VOGUE India.
  • 4 hours ago

How to wear retro florals without looking like wallpaper

Spring/Summer 2017 was over-flowing with retro wallpaper blooms inspired by Seventies interiors – think curtains, table cloths and sun loungers. Beautiful bouquets crowded the catwalks in Chloé, Michael Kors and Prada in chestnut and turquoise hues, whilst Miu Miu radiated rainbow colours. Heat up your wardrobe this summer with Vogue’s top 10 floral picks for […] The post How to wear retro florals without looking like wallpaper appeared first on VOGUE India.
  • 4 hours ago

Our J.W. Anderson for Uniqlo wish list

As J.W. Anderson is named the latest Uniqlo collaborator – following in the footsteps of fellow catwalk labels Lemaire and Jil Sander, and fashion names including Carine Roitfeld and Inès de la Fressange – our mind has already begun to draw up a virtual shopping list. Will there be a version of his Pierce bag, […] The post Our J.W. Anderson for Uniqlo wish list appeared first on VOGUE India.
  • 5 hours ago

These celebrities will inspire you to go for that haircut

We get it, you love your long hair. There’s this emotional connect that most of us have with being able to run our fingers through our hair or playing with them aimlessly, and the idea of that going away can be a little daunting. However, not only is a fresh cut healthy for your hair, […] The post These celebrities will inspire you to go for that haircut appeared first on VOGUE India.
  • 7 hours ago

Find a summer eyeshadow palette for every budget in our edit

Besides your clothing choices, your make-up should also get an update with the changing season. Summer calls for as much of nude with hints of shimmer as it does pops of colour. These eyeshadow palettes (there’s one for every budget) allow you to create fresh spring looks across the board—whether you’re looking for a basic […] The post Find a summer eyeshadow palette for every budget in our edit appeared first on VOGUE India.
  • 8 hours ago

10 products that promise the shiniest hair of your life  

If you ever got face time with the hair gods, what would be your number one request? Longer hair? Maybe. No frizz? Yes please. Shiny hair? Yep, that would be all of us! It’s the first thing you notice in shampoo commercials and the best thing about blowouts. When it comes to gorgeous hair, shine […] The post 10 products that promise the shiniest hair of your life   appeared first on VOGUE India.
  • 8 hours ago

Alaska Air Won’t Have Flatbeds But Will Reward Frequent Flyers With Free Upgrades

Alaska's frequent flyers should love this decision. No, they won't get flatbed business class seats to New York, but they'll keep plentiful free upgrades. For most road warriors, that's a big deal. -Brian Sumers
  • 8 hours ago

The New Wave of Booking Tech That’s Disrupting How Airlines Sell Tickets

Airlines are using new channels, such as Facebook chat and other airlines' websites, to sell their seats and other products. Some are turning to startups for help, rather than rely only on establishment vendors. -Sean O'Neill
  • 8 hours ago

Oasis CEO: Expect More Consolidation, Disruption From Alternative Accommodations

Will Oasis and other alternative accommodations players' arguably steadier, slower, and more curated approaches to scale pay off in the long term? Or will the speed and scale of bigger players like Airbnb win out in the end? -Deanna Ting
  • 9 hours ago