Montanans react to TSA fee increase


MISSOULA, Mont. - It is about to get more expensive to buy airline tickets, and it's happening right at the height of this summer travel season.

The government is increasing the mandatory security fees put in place after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

The fee, which funds the Transportation Security Administration, was originally $2.50 per leg of a connecting flight, and was capped at $5 per one-way trip.

The new fee is a flat rate of $5.60 per one-way trip for flights that are direct or have layovers no longer than 4 hours.

Flights with longer layovers are considered a separate leg of the trip and add on an extra fee of $5.60.

Travelers aren't the only ones unhappy with the fee increase. Airlines lobbied hard against it, and lost.

Before the fee increase was official, industry rep Airlines for America predicted summer air travel to rise to its highest level in six years.

Montanans say enough is enough.

"We can't even get free meals on planes anymore, so it's just like one thing after another," said Missoula resident Liz Masters. "I really don't think they need to keep adding on. We pay enough already to travel."

"Forget it. I'm just going to drive," said Missoula resident Davis Diede. "Whenever I need to go anywhere, I'll just drive or head up to Whitefish and take the train."

The increased fee goes into effect next Monday, July 21.