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Why Are Taxes and Fees for the Same Route Higher on Some Airlines?

Dear Editor,

Why are taxes and fees for the same route higher on some airlines?


Dear Reader,

I’ve noticed the same phenomenon. Often when researching new airfare deals, I’ll compare final prices, including taxes and fees, from a few airlines to see which is ultimately the lowest. And some of the time, the final prices will be different even when the base prices are initially the same.

Sebastian White, a spokesman for JetBlue, says that taxes and fees can differ based on any connections the itinerary may have. White explains, “The difference in total fare would typically be a result of the routing. Airlines are required to collect Passenger Facility Charges (PFCs) for each airport of departure. For example, when we announce a new market such as [New York’s] JFK [to] [Houston’s Hobby airport], American Airlines may match our introductory fare, but the total ticket price could end up being higher on American since they require a connection in Dallas or Chicago (therefore the total AA price includes taxes [and] fees for two segments) while [JetBlue flies] nonstop and only require[s] one set of taxes [and] fees.”

In addition to the PFCs White mentioned, taxes include several other charges, as you may have read on’s [%14164 | | explanation of taxes and fees %]. Airline base prices include a 7.5 percent federal tax. The additional taxes and fees include PFCs from $3 to $4.50, as well as a segment tax of $3.30 and a $2.50 security fee. Taxes and fees for a nonstop round-trip domestic flight range from $17.60 to $20.60, while taxes on one-stop connecting flights can total $35.20 to $41.20, and even more for flights with two or more connections. International flights have even more taxes imposed including international departure and arrival taxes and immigration and customs fees.

In fact, I’ve noticed that taxes on international flights are sometimes more expensive than a low international base fare.

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