Tidbits for travelers: airfare tax holiday (sort of) & fresh airport art

A little bit of this and that for a summer Monday:

Tax holiday on airline tickets – sort of

The U.S. government’s failure to reauthorize the budget for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), means that domestic airlines can’t charge some federal excise taxes on flights until the issue is worked out.

For a while there over the weekend, it looked like travelers would be getting a holiday from several taxes (the 7.5% tax on domestic transportation, the $3.70 domestic segment tax and the $16.30 international arrival/departure tax), but it turned out only some airlines, including Alaska Airlines, Spirit Airlines (surprise!) and Virgin America are passing along the savings.


The other airlines? They raised their bases fares so that, in many cases, anyone seeking to buy a ticket would pay what they would have before the FAA shutdown.



If you’re traveling through John Wayne Airport in Orange County, CA before September 12, 2011, look for paintings by Steve Metzger on the departure (upper) level near the security screening areas and on the arrival (lower) level near baggage carousels 1 and 4.

Courtesy Steve Metzger

A professor at Fullerton College and the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, Metzger’s paintings from photos depict “metaphoric icons of the passage of time.” Here’s a link to more images from the Metzger exhibition.

And, on Thursday, July 28, 2011, passengers at Philadelphia International Airport will be able to watch woodworker Roosevelt Bassett turn discarded wood lathe into purses and hats.

Part of the airport’s series of artist demonstrations, Bassett will be at work from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. in the Terminal B-C Food Court.

If you’re not passing through the PHL on Thursday, don’t worry. There’s an exhibition of Bassett’s wood handbags in Terminal B.

Tax-holiday for airline tickets

The temporary shutdown of the FAA – the Federal Aviation Administration – due to a spat over $16.5 million in subsidies to 13 rural communities, means a temporary tax holiday for anyone who buys an airline ticket before the issue is resolved.

The shutdown means that, starting Friday night, airlines don’t have the authority to collect federal excise ticket taxes until congress reinstates them.

A release sent out by Alaska Airlines lists the taxes that will not be collected:

• The 7.5% tax generally applicable to domestic transportation – as well as the 7.5% tax on amounts received from the sale of frequent flier miles.
• The $3.70 domestic segment tax.
• The $16.30 international arrival/departure tax.
• The $8.20 departure tax for flights between Alaska/Hawaii and the mainland US.

On a $300 round trip ticket, notes Alaska Airlines, this represents a savings of about $44 or about 14 percent.

What are you waiting for?