Due to inaction by the U.S. Congress, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill was not passed. As a result, the FAA began experiencing a partial shutdown at midnight on Friday, July 22, 2011.
However, it’s important to note that only non-essential FAA employees are impacted. The FAA has indicated that this will not have any impact on flights or flight safety. Air traffic controllers will remain on the job (TSA employees, who are not part of the FAA, also remain on duty).
The biggest “impact” on consumers is that with no reauthorization, there is no authority to collect taxes on airfares except for airport fees. As of midnight Friday, airlines are no longer collecting taxes on airfares, and most believe that the FAA will not be able to retroactively collect those taxes. (Most airlines are using this as an opportunity to raise airfares without many consumers noticing the difference.)
Both ASTA and the Business Travel Coalition are raising the specter that some consumers may be due a refund if they are traveling during this non-tax period using tickets on which the taxes were already paid. The Air Transport Association estimates that the taxes on a $300 ticket would typically amount to $61.00.
Should you fit that bill, you may wish to consider tracking those itineraries in the event a refund ultimately is due to you. –
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