Will Airline Passengers Have to Pay for Saving Money?

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At the moment, airlines pick up the aviation security costs (capped at 2000 levels) above the revenue collected from passengers via the Sept. 11 ticket fee of up to $10 round-trip. Presumably this isn't enough to cover total costs, as TSA is asking for an increase in passenger "airport security fees".

By the way, an increase in this fee has been proposed almost every year since 2002, but Congress has yet to OK one.

So maybe it'll come in the form of another user-fee; if that's the case, chances are you or I will pay. Or will we?

Between airfare hikes, airline/government fees and airport hassles, many short haul-travelers are now hitting the road instead of boarding a plane.

Face it, one-hour flights now take about the same amount of time to drive, if you include getting to the airport, parking and waiting in all those lines. And unlike the automotive and banking industries, nobody offered the nation's carriers a bailout.; and passengers sure aren't getting one. So where does that leave us? Up in the air.

If I could make one suggestion to the TSA, it would be this: tell us in plain English what you need and why. More transparency please -- and fewer sound bites.

This work is the opinion of the columnist and does not reflect the opinion of ABC News.

Rick Seaney is one of the country's leading experts on airfare, giving interviews and analysis to news organizations that include ABC News, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, the Associated Press and Bloomberg. His website, FareCompare.com, offers consumers free, new-generation software, combined with expert insider tips to find the best airline ticket deals.

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