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Fee or tax? Whatever it's called, passengers to pay air security hike

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The CEO of Delta Air Lines is speaking out against the doubling of a security fee now under consideration in Congress. The measure would add a $5 fee to each nonstop, round-trip ticket. The money is for a Transportation Security Administration fee, which already stands at $5 per ticket.

The Associated Press reports that Delta's Richard Anderson calls the proposed $5 fee a tax, and said that it will result in higher fares. He said the increase will not be absorbed by Delta. Anderson's complaint isn't the first from an airline executive. The airlines have long complained that mandatory sales taxes, security fees, and airport taxes drive up the cost of their tickets and they are blamed for price hikes.

U.S. News and World Report reports that holiday travelers can face countless hidden taxes. The story cites a study by the National Business Travel Association that showed that travelers pay up to $101 in sales, hotel, rental car and other taxes on an average three-day trip.

The story said that many air passengers pay close to $60 in various taxes for a round-trip ticket. That includes a 7.5 percent tax on the base ticket price (so a round-trip ticket that costs $300 before taxes and fees will have another $22.50 added to the fare price), a domestic segment tax of $4 per person per segment (a single takeoff and single landing) and an international travel facilities tax of $17.50 per person for flights that begin or end in the U.S.

A survey by TravelAdvisor released Tuesday found the average round-trip airfare in economy class is up nine percent year-over-year for the December travel season. The survey also showed that 45 percent of the 14,000 respondents say they will travel this holiday season, nearly equal to last year. One quarter of survey respondents cited they will drive instead of fly to their destination due to the cost of airfare.

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