Budget battle in Washington affects airline fees

FRESNO, California

Airlines collect about $200 million every week in /*FAA*/ taxes. Now that most airlines aren't charging those fees, you'd think they would be passing on the savings to you. Instead, some are making ticket prices higher to maintain profits.

From checking baggage to changing flights -- airline passengers are used to paying all types of fees.

"Do you think they're too high?

Yes, definitely."

This past weekend, the /*Federal Aviation Administration*/ partially shut down operations, including ceasing its collection of federal excise taxes on airline tickets.

We compared two /*U.S. Airways*/ tickets. The one purchased Friday, includes a nearly $20.00 U.S. tax. A ticket purchased Monday doesn't have the added fee.

"Have you ever seen them not charge these FAA fees?

Never."

/*Linda Jason*/ is a travel agent at /*YourTravelmaker*/ in Northeast Fresno. Since the FAA's partial shut-down, she's seen ticket prices drop.

Linda Jason said, "All the tickets that I issue will not have the U.S. tax, or the ZB taxes on them, and customers will be getting their tickets less this week because of that."

But, not all airlines are playing fair. On average, FAA fees increase the price of a ticket by about 25 to 50 dollars. So, to make up for the lost tax -- some airlines are increasing their rates.

Aviation expert /*Kent Scott*/ used to run a cargo plane airline. He says while customers are unhappy about the price hike, it's necessary for airlines to survive.

"It's a survival of the fittest in the airline industry," said Scott. "It's a doggy dog world, it's highly competitive, highly intensive and the airlines are always behind the curve on being able to get their costs and revenue under control."

No one knows how long the FAA shutdown will last. If you do notice FAA fees on your airline tickets, save your receipt, because you could get a refund.

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