Taxes and other fees for an airline ticket between Ketchikan and Seattle are approaching 10 percent of the price.
A roundtrip, coach flight price two weeks ago amounted to $562.01 for an April 1 weekend trip. Taxes and fees came to $55.39, just under 9 percent of the entire ticket of $617.40.
During this time of year and most of the year, only one airline provides the service. About the only other way to get to Seattle from here is an approximately 36-hour ride aboard the Alaska Marine Highway System ferry to Bellingham, Washington, and then a two-hour drive into Seattle.
Ketchikan, compared to much of the Lower 48, is isolated. It’s choice of transportation is limited, and, even then, the competition is non-existent most of the time.
This is the situation for the fourth largest city in Alaska. For smaller, more isolated communities, it costs much more to go to the city.
Adding even what might be considered a small amount to any of these prices is significant to Alaska travelers. A little here, a little there, and it amounts to real money.
Congressman Don Young is well aware of this, especially with the Bush Alaska travel circumstances. Not only does he travel into the Bush to carry out his duties, but he lived and worked in the Bush before election.
Young has joined Hawaii’s representatives in sponsoring a measure to exempt both states and Essential Air Service communities from increases in air travel fees for the Transportation Security Administration.
The Passenger Fee Restructuring Exemption Act would lower Alaska and Hawaii’s TSA fee to $2.50 for interstate direct flights.
Congress set the fee at $5.60 in 2013, and the Trump administration is seeking an increase in the fiscal 2018 budget.
An increase disproportionately affects travelers in Alaska, Hawaii and EAS communities, some of which are in the Lower 48 and located more than 100 miles away from an airport. It only adds a higher fee to a ticket likely to be higher than in the other states.
And, as is often the case when prices are higher, it affects business and the economy. Higher TSA fees are detrimental to an industry on which both Alaska and Hawaii depend — tourism.
Security is invaluable. Alaskans and Hawaiians appreciate it and willingly will pay a fair fee for that. But that fee shouldn’t be such that it begins to impede commerce and unfairly increase the cost of travel, especially for Alaskans.
— Ketchikan Daily News,