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Since 2002, the Transportation Security Administration has been collecting the Passenger Fee (also known colloquially as the “September 11 Fee”) from passengers at the time of the initial ticket purchase. The fee was first established to strengthen airport travel security following the 9/11 attacks.

“The revenue generated from these security fees is utilized to help ensure the safe and efficient flow of people and commerce,” states the official TSA website.

The fee, which is currently at $5.60 for one-way trips and $11.20 for round-trip, has generated tons of revenue for the TSA. The agency has released its annual data on how much it’s collecting via the fee each fiscal year — and the total might surprise you. In 2017, the TSA collected nearly $4 billion in passenger fees.

The chart shows a steadily increasing pattern throughout the past 15 years, with a nearly $2 million jump to $3,882,602,000 in the past year. It seems a majority of offsetting collections are going to “aviation security expenses,” which include “background investigations, training, salaries, and benefits for the federal security screeners and law enforcement personnel, to TSA PreCheck and Known Crewmember programs to the Federal Air Marshals Service, to security-related capital improvements at airports, as well as the costs of security training for pilots and flight attendants and federal flight deck officers,” according to the TSA website. The rest is allotted to “offsetting aviation security collections.”

Featured image by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

American Express® Gold Card

With some great bonus categories, the American Express Gold Card has a lot going for it. The card offers 4x points at US restaurants, at US supermarkets (up to $25,000; then 1x), and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com. It is currently offering a welcome bonus of 35,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 35,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $2,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. restaurants. Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with The Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Shake Shack, and Ruth's Chris Steak House. This is an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • $100 Airline Fee Credit: up to $100 in statement credits per calendar year for incidental fees at one selected qualifying airline.
  • Choose to carry a balance with interest on eligible charges of $100 or more.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
See Rates & Fees
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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