Right now, you should be saving $25 to $50 when you buy an airplane ticket. Why? Because Congress didn't approve a bill to keep the FAA running, which means the FAA doesn't have the authority to collect taxes on airfare, which should mean no taxes for you! Too bad the airlines are pocketing the difference.
As of Saturday, the FAA and federal government is losing out on $25 million a day in tax revenue, $25 million of which should technically result in consumer savings but instead is fattening the pockets of airlines. In anticipation of these airfare taxes expiring, airlines shrewdly bumped up their fares "by the same amount as the federal taxes". That means even though there are no taxes for consumers to pay, consumers all still paying the same price as before (with the airlines taking all the 'tax' money). Rick Seaney of FareCompare.com told the NY Times:
"The consumer should have saved anywhere from $25 to $50 round trip. Instead, it's a windfall for the airlines."
The taxes that expired were the 7.5% excise tax on domestic airfare, the $3.70 federal charge per flight segmant and the $16.30 tax on international arrivals and departure. The taxes can't be collected again until Congress passes another extension of the legislation that finances the FAA. For the record, Spirit and Alaska Airlines have passed on the savings to their customers, so if you're looking for cheaper tickets, start there. [NY Times]