News Airline taxes Baggage fees and Security

TSA Tries Using Pre Screening to Make Security Process Faster
Sick of airport security screening process? You´re not alone.

Delta Airlines kiosk check in at the Atlanta Airport.

The aviation industry recognizes that and is trying a variety of short term and long term changes that are designed to make airport security faster and more pleasant. One short-term initiative is the Transportation Security Administration´s PreCheck experiment at four U.S. airports.

Airline customers volunteer information about themselves in the hopes that it will speed their trip through security. Eligible travelers go through a lane with expedited screening. Passengers participating in the program are certain frequent flyers from American Airlines and Delta Air Lines’ frequent flyer programs as well as participants in the Customs and Border Protection Trusted Traveler programs.

The TSA is testing PreCheck at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County, Dallas/Fort Worth International and Miami International airports. (Source: TSA press release).

Airlines, Consumer Groups Lobby Against New Taxes
Airlines, pilot, flight attendant and other airline unions and consumer groups are fighting proposed tax increases on airlines and their passengers, saying the new taxes will cost jobs.

The first tax would add a $100 departure fee to all flights. The second would double the existing passenger security tax to $5 per one-way trip in 2012, and triple the taxes to $7.50 by 2017. It is currently $2.50 per flight segment per one-way trip, maxing out at $5.

The coalition says that nearly 120 members of the House of Representatives have told congressional leaders that the $100 departure tax would cost airlines $1 billion a year. The coalition has launched a website, www.stopairtaxnow.com. (Source: Air Transport Association press release).

Airline CFOs and Cargo Heads Glum About the Next Year
A monthly survey of airline CFOs and cargo heads, which has been a fairly accurate economic predictor, finds that their expectations for profitability for the next 12 months is down significantly.

It’s down more for cargo, in particular; airlines are seeing sharp drops in this area. However, even though confidence has fallen to levels seen in the first half of 2009, airlines say they are continuing to hire new employees. (Source: International Air Transport Association October Airline Business Confidence Survey).

Airlines Take in $1.5 Billion in Baggage Fees and Reservation Change Fees
Airlines collected $1.5 billion in baggage fees and change fees in the second quarter, according to the Department of Transportation. Airlines took in $887 million in baggage fees and $612 million from reservation change fees. Delta Air Lines topped the list, collecting $392,000 in fees, followed by American Airlines, $249,936 and United Airlines, $164,767. So far, the DOT tracks only baggage and change fees, but it has proposed requiring airlines to report a total of 16 different fees.

Separately, travel technology company Amadeus estimates that airline ancillary revenue will total $32.5 billion worldwide in 2011. It projects that ancillary revenues for major U.S. airlines will increase to $12.5 billion this year from $6.7 billion last year. That is 38 percent of the global total and represents seven airlines: Alaska, American, Continental, Delta, Hawaiian and U.S. Airways.

Amadeus partnered with Ideaworks, a consulting company, on the projections. Ideaworks believes the majority of ancillary revenue for US major airlines comes from selling frequent flier miles. Baggage fees account for 20%.

The rest comes from a la carte items such as selling food and beverages wifi, early boarding and other benefits.  US-based airlines have readily adapted to an a la carte world, but they also benefit from consumers who are keen to get frequent flier miles. (Source: DOT, Amadeus press releases).