The $50-Refund Airlines Aren't Telling You About

FAA Stalemate means air travelers owed money

By Lynda Baquero
|  Wednesday, Aug 8, 2012  |  Updated 1:41 PM EDT
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Get a $50-Refund on Recent Flights

AP

Summer vacationers who have been flying to their destinations in the past two weeks could be eligible for up to a $50 refund on their plane tickets, but many have no idea they're entitled to the money.

When Congress stopped funding parts of the Federal Aviation Administration two weeks ago, they had to stop collecting certain taxes on airline tickets. But many fliers were clueless they were needlessly paying the extra money.

"This is news to me," Keith Thompson of London said at LaGuardia Airport.

Rachel Smith of the Bronx was also unaware that airlines could not collect certain taxes on airline tickets. She was traveling to Orlando with her two children and pointed out the savings would have been for three tickets: "That'll add up."

George Hobica, who founded AirfareWatchdog.com said the total amount of taxes that cannot be collected by the government during its standoff with the FAA "could be quite a lot of money."

"It could be like $30, $40, or $50 on the average ticket," he estimated.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, the government can't collect the 7.5 percent tax on the base ticket price. They also can't collect the $3.70 charge per person per domestic flight, nor the $16.30 charged to each international traveler.

But even President Obama admitted on Wednesday that many airlines aren't informing their customers and are pocketing that money.

Delta, though, is now advising their passengers they are eligible for a refund of the tax amount. So is JetBlue and U.S. Airways. Hobica said "only one airline, Spirit, which flies out of the NY area, actually lowered fares by the amount of the tax."

If you bought your ticket in the U.S. on or before July 22nd and you traveled after that date, you should check look at this link from the IRS website for information on getting a refund.

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