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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

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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