Why Are Taxes So High on International Flights?

Although passengers usually blame airlines for the cost of international flight tickets, the government taxes are also responsible for it. Americans spent $3.5 billion in international airfare taxes in 2014. The information, released by ValuePeguin, analyzed the 15 most popular international destinations among Americans.

Several airline taxes and fees increase the final price. Depending on the destination, the airline taxes and fees can represent up to 50 percent of the costs.

How the Airline Taxes and Fees are Defined

What you pay for taxes will depend on the itinerary. It doesn’t mean only the final destination, but how many times the person will enter a new flight and through what airports the person will have to go.

The IRS has adjusted the airlines' taxes and fees for 2018. The domestic segment fee, which refers to take off and landing, has increased to $4.20, while the international taxes now cost $18.30. Departures from Hawaii or Alaska cost $9.20.

Taxes on International Flights

The air ticket fee doesn’t depend only on airlines. International governments are allowed to tax on airline tickets from people who come from other countries. It means that each country has different taxes. The United Kingdom has one of the highest airline taxes and fees and can cost up to $220 per person in 2018.

According to Value Penguin, the cheapest air ticket fee among the most popular destinations is China, where they charge approximately $14.

Taxes on Domestic Flights

Airline taxes and fees are higher when you travel overseas; there are also air ticket fees on domestic flights. A 7.5-percent fee is charged on every ticket in the U.S., and the Internal Revenue Service collects the amount. Each airport in which you land or take off, charge a tax. The prices are different in each one.

Government Taxes

A flight ticket has many other fees you might not be aware of. The September 11 fee, for example, charges $5.60 for a one-way flight and is goes toward financial security. The passenger Facility Charges depends on the itinerary chosen and can cost from $4.50 up to $18.

Where the Money Goes

Each government defines the final destination of the money collected on airfare taxes. It’s commonly used to improve the infrastructure of airports, but also security, passenger services or maintenance, which directly benefits the people who use the airports. In some cases, the money can also be used for environmental protection and agriculture inspection.

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About the Author

Luana Ferreira has a bachelor in journalism since 2010. She started her career on television in Brazil, working as a producer for newscasts, but soon moved to print and online publications. She works as a freelance writer since 2012 and has written about finances, business and entrepreneurship for prestigious publications like BBC, Entrepreneur, Playboy and Sapling.