SACRAMENTO - The last thing passengers probably want to hear about is another increase in airline fees, but unfortunately there's a good possibility of it happening.
Lawmakers face a January 15 deadline to replace some of the automatic spending cuts known as the sequester. But that will require making other spending cuts or raising revenue to preserve the sequester's intended savings.
When a flier purchases your ticket, they pay what's known as a passenger security fee. It runs $2.50 for each leg of a trip. But the total fee to get to a destination is capped at $5. For example, a trip that has multiple stops will pay a maximum of $5 on the way out and $5 for the return.
If Congress goes ahead with a hike in user fees, travelers will pay $5 per trip each way regardless of the number of stops you take.
If Congress decides to double the passenger security fee for nonstop flights immediately, it could raise $13 billion over the next decade. If it starts in 2015, the hike could rake in $11 billion.
But that would only make up a small portion of the budget cuts that lawmakers are trying to replace.
Critics argue that an increase in the security fee to reduce deficits would do nothing to strengthen airport security or speed up long security lines.