There's been a lot of speculation regarding higher ticket prices as a result of industry consolidation, particularly given the recent announcement of a merger deal between United and Continental.
Now, we learn that a bill recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives would raise the taxes on domestic airline tickets.
Airlines are apparently fighting the measure, "warning the increase would impede industry growth and raise consumer prices."
But it seems like a whole lot of angst over nothing. For all of the fuss, the proposed tax increase would raise the "Passenger Facility Charge" from $4.50 to an astonishingly underwhelming $7.00.
That additional $2.50 would raise nearly three billion dollars that would go towards terminal and runway improvements.
And aren't terminal and runway improvements worth it?
I mean, seriously: are you going to put off your purchase of a $400 airline ticket because you're being asked to pay $2.50 in extra taxes? Would you even notice?
I doubt it.
And for an airline industry that gleefully imposed checked-bag fees that can add up to $60 to a flight for the privilege of checking two bags -- and that has in at least one case added a fee nearly ten times' the proposed tax for the "privilege" of a carry-on bag -- to talk about how this affects passengers is simply ridiculous.
Airports, runways, and air traffic infrastructure all cost money. $2.50 is a small price to pay.