Tonawanda News

Web Extras

October 22, 2012

As airlines raise fees instead of fares, taxpayers pick up tab

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

"The amount of money that's involved is steadily increasing, and that may change some minds on the Hill," Dillingham said. "In my opinion, if that number continues to grow, the interest in having some of those funds be available to the aviation trust fund would also grow."

Whether the fees become a tax target when Congress next takes up aviation funding may depend in part on the stability of the airline industry. Already heavily taxed on tickets and fuel, and saddled with numerous fees, the airlines will underscore that they contribute an estimated $1 trillion in economic activity each year and employ almost 10 million people.

Medina points out that they lost $55 billion and 150,000 workers in the first decade of this century.

The squeeze to escape baggage fees by loading up the carry-on luggage has been blamed for longer lines at airport security checkpoints and occasional delays when every available nook in the cabin has been crammed full without finding room for it all.

Two airlines, Spirit and Allegiant, have begun charging passengers for some carry-on bags, too.

For some travelers, the fees are the cost of convenience.

Craig Furuta's job has him flying all over the country, and says he sometimes brings home more baggage that he left with if he finds things that he can't get in Washington.

"Such as, I bought a suit in London that I couldn't get here in the States, or buying certain jams and jellies — the local stuff is always the best stuff," Furuta said.

He had to lay out additional cash recently to check an overweight bag on US Airways.

"I was flying from Orlando, and I had it overweight because it was packed with souvenirs from Disney," he said. "It was $50 and it was worth it."

Text Only
Web Extras
  • Screen shot 2013-08-08 at 10.10.12 AM.png VIDEO: Dead shark found in New York subway train

    A dead shark was spotted on a train headed to Queens. It was still wet and had blood in its mouth. The sighting coincides with Shark Week on the Discovery Channel.

    August 8, 2013 1 Photo 5 Stories

  • 0805-bees.jpg Ga. man survives more than 1,000 bee stings

    A Georgia man survived being stung more than 1,000 times by bees, which then attacked emergency responders who came to help, according to the man’s stepson.

    August 7, 2013 1 Photo 5 Stories

  • county-clean-fatberg-image.jpg Gross! 16.5-ton glob of fat removed from sewer system

    If you've ever wondered what happens when you ignore those warnings about pouring grease down the drain, residents of one London suburb have found the disgusting answer. It's a 16.5-ton, bus-sized glob of fat, known as a "fatberg."

    August 6, 2013 1 Photo 4 Stories

  • 0805-fiery-truck-crash.jpg Video shows semi truck going airborne, bursting into flames

    Amateur video captured a fiery crash in this Indiana town, when a semi truck went airborne over a highway interchange and burst into flames.

    August 6, 2013 1 Photo 3 Stories

  • iStock_000007205767XSmall.jpg Are growing pains real?

    Are growing pains real? If so, what causes them? And how do I make sure my kid never has them, because I really don't need another reason for screamy 3 a.m. wake-ups?

    August 6, 2013 1 Photo 5 Stories

  • screenshot best man.jpg VIDEO: Dying boy plays best man at parents' wedding

    Looking dapper in a tiny tan pinstripe suit and orange shirt, a 2-year-old boy with only weeks to live served as the best man for his parents' Pennsylvania wedding.

    August 6, 2013 1 Photo 5 Stories

  • Screen shot 2012-12-05 at 4.31.28 PM.png VIDEO: According to trainers dogs can drive too

    Three dogs in New Zealand have been taught to drive a car. After weeks of indoor training in how to change gear, brake and steer, the canines have finally been allowed behind the wheel of a real car - with a little help from their handlers.

    December 7, 2012 1 Photo

  • HEALTH EXERCISE51.jpg Compression garments: So, does tight mean right?

    It seems that you can't head to a gym or run down your favorite trail these days without finding someone wearing compression garments.

    December 6, 2012 1 Photo

  • earth-at-night.jpg VIDEO: NASA's night view of Earth

    Weeks of work went into collecting pictures of the entire planet to create a remarkable look at night on Earth.

    December 6, 2012 1 Photo

  • 1376693_51096520.jpg Hospital incentives help babies determine own birth dates

    The evidence has been in for some time. Scheduling births may be convenient for physicians, hospitals and expectant parents, but it generally isn't good for the health of mothers and children.

    December 6, 2012 1 Photo