As of July 21, the ‘9/11 Security’ fee was increased from $2.50 per segment to $5.60 per segment, costing flyers an additional $6.20 for each non-stop round-trip flight. While this is a 140% increase in the fee, it only leads to a less than 2% overall increase in the cost of a typical ticket price, which includes the base fare as well as a host of other taxes flyers are already paying (see Figure 1).
Over the past two months, the typical roundtrip domestic ticket has been $315. On top of the base fare, flyers are charged a number of other taxes and fees including: an ‘Excise Tax’ of 7.5% of the ticket price, a Federal Segment Fee at a rate of $4/segment (or $8 for a non-stop round trip), and a Passenger Facility Charge of up to $4.50 per segment (or $9 for a non-stop roundtrip). This means that the 9/11 Security Tax use to make up about 1.4% of the total ticket price, and as of July 21st, it makes up 3.1%.
Figure 1: Average ticket prices before and after the 9/11 Security fee change
There have been many reports as to the significance of the 9/11 Security tax increase and how this is making flying significantly more expensive for consumers. While it is undeniable that a 140% increase is a substantial change, the additional $5.60 consumers will be charged is small compared to what they are already being asked to pay for amenities such as checked bags, WiFi, extra room, or flying with pets. Hopper took a look at how far $5.60 would get you when paying for one of these other flying-related costs (Figure 2).
Figure 2: Infographic showing how much the additional $5.60 in fees compares to average ancillary fees
From the image above, it’s clear that the new Security Fee is small compared to many fees consumers are already paying. For example, if a family of four is traveling, they will be paying an additional $22.40 for the updated charge. That’s still less than the average cost of one checked bag ($50, $25 each way), which all major domestic airlines (except for JetBlue) charge for. By collapsing luggage into just one fewer bag, families can save enough to cover the additional security fee for 8 roundtrip flights.
Unlike checked baggage, however, this fee is unavoidable, making it even more important for consumers to find the cheapest airfare and to understand all of the fees they may ultimately incur based on their travel habits. Hopper’s new Flight Explorer is designed to help you find the best deals on flights, while Hopper’s fee calculator will help you understand all of the add-on fees before you fly.
The data presented in this analysis comes from Hopper’s combined feed of Global Distribution Service (GDS) data sources which includes billions of trips per day. Demand is represented as the number of queries not actual ticket purchases, and is calibrated across all GDS sources for each market. Good deal prices are represented by the 10th percentile prices. For example if the 10th percentile price is $800 dollars it means that only 10% of trips are priced at or below this price.