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Airline Groups Seek Court Review of TSA Fee Hike

Two airline trade groups asked a U.S. appeals court on Wednesday to review fee increases on airplane tickets imposed by the Transportation Security Administration, saying the agency is "improperly" raising taxes on travelers and hurting carriers. The petition, filed in federal court for the District of Columbia, concerns the TSA passenger security fee charged since 2001. Under a new structure put in place by the U.S. budget agreement passed last December, the fee rose from $2.50 per leg of a connecting flight, capped at $5 for a one-way trip, to a flat fee of $5.60. Flights with layovers that are longer than four hours incur additional charges of $5.60 per leg — up to $22.40 for some round trips.

Airlines for America — which represents U.S. carriers including Delta Air Lines and American Airlines Group — and the International Air Transport Association, with 240 member airlines worldwide, said in a joint petition the TSA was charging more than it should. "TSA's decision to abandon the round-trip cap clearly subverts demonstrable legislative intent and is contrary to common sense and any realistic assessment of Congress' carefully targeted amendments to the passenger fee," the petition states. TSA spokesman Ross Feinstein said the agency did not comment on pending litigation.

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