TSA 'Security Fee' Expected To Double Next Year, Current Level Of Ineptness To Remain Unchanged

from the rights-to-be-violated-twice-as-effectively-in-fiscal-2014 dept

The TSA, having earned every bit of its ~$8 billion/year, is now looking for just a little bit more. As Kevin Underhill at the ultra-enjoyable Lowering the Bar blog notes, the "security fee" that's been tacked onto tickets is about to increase -- more than doubling in most cases.

[T]he AP says that Congress is currently debating whether to double the TSA fee that is currently $5 per ticket. (It's actually $2.50 per "enplanement," but close enough.) Passengers pay that, not the airlines. The TSA collects about $1.8 billion from us every year just through this fee, and in return, provides virtually nothing in addition to what's already provided by (1) alert passengers and (2) reinforced cockpit doors.
And it will definitely be passengers paying the fee. The CEO of Delta Airlines has already gone on the record to inform the public that this increase will be all theirs.
"Airfares are going up for consumers. So that tax increase will not be absorbed by Delta," Richard Anderson said at a Delta Air Lines Inc. presentation for investors in New York on Wednesday.
As if there was ever any doubt. Any new fee levied by the government, whether to cable companies, wireless providers or airlines, is immediately dumped into the laps (or rather, extracted from the pockets) of Joe Public.

The AP story offers a slightly deeper explanation of the fee that doesn't do much to justify the increase.
The fee is meant to offset some of the cost of the Transportation Security Administration. A report last year by the Government Accountability Office found that the fees currently cover about 29 percent of the cost of airline security. The higher fee is meant to get travelers to pay for more of those costs, although some of the new money is slated to be spent on non-security items.
Hmm. As far as I know, every government program is already paid for by travelers, including our extra-useless Theatrum Satis Absurdum. The only way to get travelers to pay more of the cost is to double-dip, first through income taxes and second, through this ridiculous "security fee."

Not that this fee increase will result in better or more efficient "security." Travelers will just pay more and see nothing in return. The $5 fee will increase to roughly $11.20 per round trip ticket, with some of the funds earmarked for "covering" security costs, and the rest vanishing into the "non-security" ether.

In exchange, travelers will continue to be saved from toy guns carried by toy monkeys, small children with rare medical conditions, breast cancer survivors and dozens of "suspicious people" given "ocular patdowns" by Behavioral Detection Officers employing the best in modern junk science.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    hobo, Dec 13th, 2013 @ 10:28am

    I prefer Theatrum Statis Absurdum or theater of the absurd night stand.*

    * - according to google translate.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2013 @ 10:32am

    When a real incident happens --

    -- and it will, eventually -- I predict that it will be aided and abetted by TSA personnel. They are easily manipulated, they're often corrupt, and they are really, REALLY stupid.

    I hope I'm wrong. But given their history, this seems to be the way to bet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2013 @ 10:35am

    Sources of payment

    Government programs are paid for by its subjects, but there is a distinction between extracting it via income taxes or extracting it via this fee increase. If extracted via income taxes, then non-fliers pay too. If the program is funded by the people buying the tickets, those who manage to avoid the TSA also avoid paying for it. As one who avoids American airports as much as possible, I prefer to see TSA funded not at all, but if at all, then by ticket buyers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    Nina Paley (profile), Dec 13th, 2013 @ 10:41am

    Here's an illustration.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    sorrykb (profile), Dec 13th, 2013 @ 10:45am

    You underestimate the TSA

    I still think they could double their level of ineptness to keep up with the fee increase.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2013 @ 11:01am

    Sequester is likely the real cause

    The real reason they want a fee increase is likely the sequester.

    The sequester arbitrary cuts spending by a certain percentage across the board in all government programs, like the TSA. If the TSA doubles the fee however, they probably won't need to cut anything.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Jasmine Charter, Dec 13th, 2013 @ 11:07am

    I have no problem with this...

    I have no problem paying more. I mean, it takes alot of work to harass the elderly, small children, disabled veterans and sock puppet monkeys with 2 inch toy guns.

    Seriously, I think about how much good they do... rifling through our bags and taking extra money and electronics that could potentially be used by terrorist sock moneys to wreak all sorts of havock!

    Thank god for the TSA! Without which, the terrorists could have never won.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    mattshow (profile), Dec 13th, 2013 @ 11:31am

    Typical. Increase the fees with no increase in service. If my fees are being doubled, I would expect the level of ineptitude I have to deal with to increase by at least 50%.

    Hell, even with small fees increases, my ISP manages to increase the ineptitude of it's customer service agent by at least 400% (my conservative estimate). Just another example of the government lagging behind privacy industry.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    BentFranklin (profile), Dec 13th, 2013 @ 11:34am


    Nice, Nina. That perfectly illustrates my opinion that we pay for our own oppression.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2013 @ 11:36am

    Re: When a real incident happens --

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Mark Wing, Dec 13th, 2013 @ 12:09pm

    We don't really fly anymore after having our disabled daughter felt up a few years ago for "not following instructions" which she was incapable of following. I hope they really crank up the fees so that the airports will be empty and the average person will understand what a screwed up system this is. Unfortunately, I think it's going to get worse before it gets better.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    pouar, Dec 13th, 2013 @ 12:41pm

    Wait, they're making me pay them to grope me against my will.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. icon
    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Dec 13th, 2013 @ 12:55pm

    Re: Re: When a real incident happens --

    Wooo Hooo! We caught a manufactured terrorist!!! Yeeah America!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2013 @ 1:30pm

    TSA _now with double your money ..hows that for value

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2013 @ 2:06pm


    LOL GG

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. icon
    scotts13 (profile), Dec 13th, 2013 @ 3:56pm

    I don't mind

    They really do spend a lot of money on scanning machines, salaries, and rubber gloves. They probably need the extra money; let them triple the fees.

    As long as passenger participation is optional: "Grope, or no grope, sir?"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. icon
    steell (profile), Dec 13th, 2013 @ 4:33pm

    2001, that was the last time I flew, and likely to be the last time. I'd rather drive anywhere in the US than deal with the TSA. And if I need to travel over the pond? Mexico City or Toronto.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. icon
    99guspuppet (profile), Dec 13th, 2013 @ 5:33pm

    TSA is moving even more toward totally funded irrelevance

    Traveled Denver to LAX in December 2013. Both ways I was selected for fast tracking. ( I am an old white male ) Going to LAX I had to open one bag. Nothing else. Kept my shoes on. Going back to Denver. I passed my bags through the Xray machine. That was it. I was untouched. ( Well I did walk through a metal detector. ) Imagine if TSA could have lots of funding and employees ... and they went in a black box for 8 hours ( maybe used their psi power ) and then went home. Travelers simply walked through the airport, unimpeded , got on their plane, flew. What a wonderful world. 99TSA 99guspuppet

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    dob, Dec 14th, 2013 @ 9:43am

    Swim or take the bus

    If this is not absolutely the best reason I've found today for ~not flying and telling those bastards to stick those polluting, cattle prodding airliners up their arses, then its definitely on my top 1000 list.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Stephen Sossaman, Dec 15th, 2013 @ 11:19am

    And a wonderful illustration it is

    If Nina makes variations of this illustration (using other currencies), she would trigger the grim shock of recognition around the world.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. icon
    Ninja (profile), Dec 16th, 2013 @ 1:44am


    Epic. And incredibly depressing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Not That Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2013 @ 5:59am


    It should be noted that this was not requested by TSA, but included in the bipartisan agreement on how to keep the government running past Jan 15. I've also read, in connection to that bundle of Congressional maneuvers, that the fee would not go to the TSA, but to the "general government fund".

    So really, this is increasing the fee to pay for other things marketed as a "debt reduction" measure. Sure, some of that money may be used to fund the TSA, but I'm guessing it will be rapidly diverted to some Representative's pet project in the district.

    All blame lies on Congress. Fix the cause, not the symptoms.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    Pragmatic, Dec 16th, 2013 @ 6:02am


    You do know the current state of affairs is being driven by private enterprise and that "the privacy industry" is being shot down, e.g. Lavabit, don't you?

    Or were you being sarcastic?

    Voted funny, just in case you did intend to amuse.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2013 @ 7:13am

    That is an awesome deal

    So the fee will be $11.20 for around trip ticket. That means two gropings for an average of $6.60. That is a steal, street prices for those services would run much higher I bet. Oh, and are illegal for some reason.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Dec 16th, 2013 @ 8:48am


    I'm quite certain that the average person knows how screwed up the system is already. No need to wish further punishment on your neighbors in a misguided attempt to increase awareness.

    Generally, people fly because there is not alternative. If I could realistically travel in any other way, I would. But I can't.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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