Why Air Travel Costs Are About to Take Off

Why Air Travel Costs Are About to Take Off

Experienced travelers know: you can pack light to dodge airline baggage fees and try to avoid seat selection charges by arriving at the airport hours early. But starting July 21, there will be one fee you can't avoid.

For years, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has charged $2.50 for each leg of a journey, and capped fees at $5 for a one-way flight and $10 for a round-trip one. (These fees are included in the price of a ticket.)

In three weeks, the TSA will remove the cap and raise the fee to $5.60 per leg, if your layover is longer than four hours on a domestic flight or 12 hours on an international flight, MarketWatch reports. There will be no limit on how much they can charge per trip. These mandatory charges will help pay for security, bringing in an additional $16.9 billion over the coming decade, according to the Federal Register.

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The fees will apply to all travelers, but will add up quickly for business travelers in particular. Taking a multi-stop trip over a few days has allowed business people to avoid the same airline security fees that are now attached to every take-off, no matter how it's booked.

People that live by smaller airports and nearly always have to take connecting flights to larger regional hubs will be charged similarly. So will budget travelers who have traditionally taken several connecting flights in lieu of a nonstop as a means of saving on flights.

Adjusting for inflation, the average domestic flight cost has risen more than 6% since 2010, according to a breakdown by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

At this point, there's still a chance that Congress can overturn the fee change. But if not, you can still save on airfare. Check out some of LearnVest's best tips to beat the airlines at their own game.

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