All Those Carry-ons Actually Costing Taxpayers Millions

Congress asks whether airlines should help cover the expense
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 4, 2011 11:16 AM CST
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told Congress that increasing carry-on baggage is costing the Department $260 million a year.    (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
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(Newser) – In dodging baggage-check fees by squeezing everything into a carry-on, fliers are still ending up with a big bill: The increased workload for airport security is costing the Transportation Security Administration, and therefore taxpayers, $260 million a year, reports the AP. "When you have to pay to check a bag it increases carry-on luggage and that means there is more to inspect at the gate and so forth for passengers to get on planes," says Department of Homeland Security head Janet Napolitano.

When asked by a senator whether airlines should help shoulder those increased costs, Napolitano did not answer directly, but she did tell Congress that a $5 increase in the per-flight security fee would bring in $600 million per year. A security fee bump has been proposed by the Department of Homeland Security each year since the Department was formed in 2002, but it has yet to be approved by Congress.

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