The TSA increased the security fee charged to flight passengers on Monday, more than doubling the mandatory cost for some and redefining what counts as a "flight."
Previously, passengers were charged $2.50 for a non-stop, one-way flight, and $5 for a one-way flight with one connection or more. That meant that the most a passenger could be charged was $10 for a round trip flight, reported USA Today
. New rules uncap that limit, and charge for each leg of flight with a layover of four hours or more.
The new law, passed by Congress in December, updates the original law passed in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, World Trade Center terrorist attacks. It's expected to raise nearly $17 billion more than current fees over the next decade. $12.6 billion will be used to cut the deficit.
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"In accordance with federal law, the revenue generated from the security fee will be deposited in the general fund of the Treasury," explained David Castelveter, a TSA spokesman. "The revenue is to be used to offset TSA costs for providing civil aviation security services, after stipulated amounts are applied to reduction of the federal deficit."
Passengers and airline industry groups have opposed the fee increase, and the TSA is collecting comments on the new fees through August 19.
"Policymakers really treat travelers as a piggy bank, picking their pockets," said George Hobica, founder of AirfareWatchdog.com.
According to Fox News
, many are upset that most of the fee increase won't improve security, but pay off the federal government's mismanaged debt.
One man from Cambridge, Massachusetts, said that not only is the fee ridiculous, but the agency itself is an ineffective one.
"It only succeeds in humiliating the elderly, scaring children and making all travelers feel like criminal suspects," he said in submitted comments. "We should scale back airport security, not expand it."
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