Taxes and fees could double low airfares - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Taxes and fees could double low airfares

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SPOKANE, Wash. - Airlines want you to fly so much that the prices you now see online look more like bus fares, but what you see can be a lot different than what you actually pay.

Government security fees, excise taxes and airport landing fees drive up the price.

In some cases, taxes and fees can actually be more than the ticket price.

On one $76 fare from New York to London, there are $374 dollars in taxes, fees and a fuel surcharge that brings the total to $450.

Rick Seaney of FareCompare.com said, "The taxes, fees and fuel surcharges are more than the base fare. It happens all the time."

Seaney says those taxes and security fees aren't new. They look more dramatic now that base fares are so cheap.

"Your price that you were enticed to click on was 300 bucks, and now that final total is 700 bucks. You're upset," Seaney said.

The airlines argue they're no different than many other businesses.

"The price you see in the aisle at the grocery store is a little different than what you see at the checkout counter. And that's controlled by the government," said Brad Hawkins of Southwest Airlines.

Most airline websites don't show you the taxes and fees until right before you purchase, while some travel sites like Expedia and Orbitz list the full price up front.

With fares this cheap, the taxes and fees can turn a low price into a surprise.

The average taxes and fees on a round trip domestic ticket are about $40.

You can avoid some of that cost by looking for non-stop flights. The airlines pay landing fees at each airport where they land and pass those fees on to you.
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