MIDDLETOWN, DAUPHIN COUNTY—A new study by a government watchdog group says airline passengers are having a harder time finding deals. The problem is all of the fees that surround flying. Now Congress is considering making some changes to try and limit how airlines operate.
The fee structure really comes down to simple math. The airlines pay a 7.5 percent tax to the government every time you buy a ticket. However, when you pay a baggage fee, they keep all of the money. Higher fees means more money for the companies but not everyone is on board.
"It's crazy. You pay a lot of fees when you buy your airline ticket," said Wendy Schucker from Lebanon who was waiting for a flight at Harrisburg International Airport.
The Schucker family is heading to Chicago. Four days in the windy city, for a family of four, usually means a couple of bags are coming along. But at $25 a pop, Wendy Schucker told her family, pack what you must.
"I told the family, if you can't get it in a carry-on, you can't take it,"she said.
A new report by the Government Accountability Office shows more people are having a harder time finding the best airline deals available because of the added fees. Consumers are not able to comparison shop accurately among carriers.
"You struggle with it, you deal with it. Luckily I work for a good company that helps us with that expense," said business traveler Matt Barnicle.
"Carrying more than one bag is not necessary for all travelers," said Spirit Airlines President Ben Baldanza, while testifying on Capitol Hill yesterday.
Airline executives telling a Congressional panel, they are dropping the costs of tickets while raising fees, so everything should even out. The thinking is to make customers only pay for what they use.
"It is unfair to charge those customers for extra services they do not use," said Baldanza.
Still most travelers we heard from at Harrisburg International Airport would like to know what they are paying, before hitting the gate.
"It's kind of annoyance having to pay extra. With all things being considered, we would choose not to pay," said Earl Schucker.
Lawmakers say, if they taxed the fees they would have brought in almost $200 million in revenue. They hope taxing the fees would make the airlines be more forthcoming with the price structure. However airline executives say, taxing those fees would just drive up price.