Man Finds September 11 Security Fee Peculiar

We know we’re the last people to notice this, but while booking some airline tickets we saw a line item for a “September 11 Security Fee.”

Whether or not this fee actually has helped made us safer aside, why give it that name? Wouldn’t “security fee” suffice?

The first reason that comes to mind is that most people will not argue with something called the “September 11 Security Fee.” (Apparently we’re also not the first person to have this thought either). Next time we punch someone in the face, we’ll call it “The 9/11 Security Punch In The Face.” — BEN POPKEN

U.S. Transportation Department Imposes September 11 Security Fee [DOT]


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  1. Seth_Went_to_the_Bank says:

    Rewatch Terry Gilliam’s Brazil and tell me if everything in the picture is not exactly the world we live in now.

    They should just call the fee “Ministry of Information charge” and get it over with.

  2. FlyRyan says:


  3. crnk says:

    Good job consumerist for pointing out to us something that happened 5 and a half years ago. Honestly, I don’t care what they call it, they’re still going to charge us the same fees….and I’d rather see them itemized than a $20-40 “govt taxes and fees” area for domestic flights.
    Either way, they’ll take the same amount of money, so why is this a big deal?

    PS, does consumerist think that people would fight against paying it if it was just labeled as a security fee? Even if they did, it would get everyone nowhere. It would be like trying to resist paying the federal portion of gasoline tax….the point is that you can’t unless you don’t consume. SO, if you disagee this much, then don’t fly at all.

  4. PsychicPsycho3 says:

    I think I want full disclosure on fees. This way I know why it’s there and can complain to governing bodies about why its no longer necessary, a la the long distance Spanish American War tax.

  5. Baz says:

    I think the name for this fee would be legit if the fee had actually helped PREVENT Sept. 11th. Or is this just the govt. making money off a national tragedy? Where do these funds go, and if they in fact do go to prevent another September 11th, why is the govt. dropping many long-distance flights from the air marshal program?

  6. timmus says:

    How strange… if I wanted to invent a fee that nobody would dispute out of guilt, I’d call it the “9/11 Fee”.

  7. ExGC says:

    This is actually what the government calls it, along with the “U.S. Passenger Civil Aviation Security Fee”. It is $2.50 each way and theoretically directly goes to the TSA – hence the name, since the TSA was formed in response to the 9/11 attacks.

  8. strathmeyer says:

    Is this money going to go towards putting a lock on the cockpit door?

  9. cgmaetc says:

    Isn’t that fee allowed under a clause in the Patriot Act? I think it reads: “Thou shalt invoke the memory of September 11th to levy questionable fees.” Yeah, it’s right after the part where our civil liberties are stripped away, bit by bit…

  10. zolielo says:

    @Baz: I missed the story on less Air Marshals. Do you have a link? I will look on my own but if you got one handy.

    I recall a few think tank studies (2003 -04) that stated the 20/20, sharpshooting, “undercover” agents are actually effective.

  11. tonkyhonk says:

    This is the money that goes into forcing you to walk barefoot on filthy floors and making you pay $4 for a small bottle of terror-free water at the airport gift shop.

  12. zolielo says:
  13. Erskine says:


    crnk is right – never question. Anything. Especially if it’s OLD. That’s just the way things work and it’s none of anyone’s business because it’s established already. Duh!

    Thanks for keeping the lid on tight, crnk. What you don’t know will not harm you as long as you trust us.

    Consumerist – stop hating America!

  14. FLConsumer says:

    I wonder how long this fee will be assessed. I can imagine some 100 years later it’ll still be there and people will wonder what happened on September 11 that made it so special to deserve its own tax.

  15. forgeten says:

    getting rid of all that hazardous shampoo costs money people.

  16. Buran says:

    @Baz: You mean we can actually pay money and create a magical time machine that allows us to skip random days when we feel like it?

  17. Tallanvor says:

    And what’s more fun, the TSA has been lobbying to double the fee.

  18. Trai_Dep says:

    So do flights into Boston get a $5.00 Teen Aqua Hunger Force fee? Or do those crazy Irish bastards just blow sh*t up for free?

  19. magic8ball says:

    I once tried to buy an item of furniture, and was told by the salesperson that it was not in stock, and it would take “a couple of weeks” to ship it to my location. I wanted to know why it was going to take so long, and the sales guy said, and I quote, “Homeland Security.” I asked if they were shipping it by plane, and he said, “No, by train.” “So … Homeland Security is holding up your trains?” He didn’t really have an answer to that.

  20. bigvicproton says:

    its like trying to argue against PATRIOT ACT, so if you say you dont like something about it you are immediately against PATRIOTS, thus unpatriotic. genius really…

  21. crankymediaguy says:

    “And what’s more fun, the TSA has been lobbying to double the fee.”

    New slogan:

    “Air travel, now with EXTRA 9/11!”

  22. SexCpotatoes says:

    Can I turn around and make this a CHARGEBACK?

  23. Havok154 says:


    And then your whole family gets wiretapped while you mysteriously “disappear”.

  24. catnapped says:

    @timmus: DING! And what prize do we have for timmus?

  25. catnapped says:

    @trai_dep: Don’t forget about the “Jet Fuel Protection Fee” when flying into JFK

  26. jersy says:

    You think thats annoying … rent a car in NY, or NJ, and you’ll find the same 9/11 security fee.

    I had been renting often, so I asked what the fee was all about, and the rental agent claimed that the government imposed that fee because at one point the terrorists rented cars.

    I felt much safer after the took my extra $5 per day, thats for sure.

  27. WV.Hillbilly says:

    @Baz: You’d bitch even louder if 9/11 never happened and there was some kind of terrorism prevention fee, because, after all, no terrorism occurred, why should you have to pay a fee for it?

  28. crnk says:

    No, I’m not saying we shouldn’t question it, but an issue like this would be FAR more relevant on a government and taxation themed website instead of a website like consumerist that generally focuses itself on customer service and the legitimacy of various business moves.

    Sure the fee is there, but consumerist JUST NOTICED it, even though it is over 5 years old. If it was as big of a deal as it is made out to be, then why didn’t someone pick up on it earlier?

    Next up, consumerist will be starting to address (and question the legitimacy of) how much (and I’ll tell you it is not much) we’re taxed on liquor bought in Wyoming, even though they haven’t increased state taxes on it for somewhere around 60 years!

  29. mopar_man says:

    I had a good hearty laugh at this weekend’s “Family Guy”. YouTube clip.

  30. Baz says:


    What I’m saying is it would have made sense to charge a “security fee” when it really would have come in handy – BEFORE something like 9/11. Where does this money go, and why wasn’t it there before?

    Of course, 9/11 could have been prevented if a few reports made it to the right people instead of sitting on a desk somewhere in an inept manager’s office. Tell me how money would have made a difference preventing 9/11 when we had all the intel we needed to stop it months before.

  31. 9/11 24/7 baby.

  32. bambino says:

    @FLConsumer: I don’t think 9/11 will be forgotten by 2101.

  33. Youthier says:

    @jersy: I hope they never discover that terrorists at one time ate bread or drank milk. THAT will suck.

  34. ptrix says:

    “Excuse me, what’s up with this “September 11 Security Fee? Today is June 7, and I want my security NOW, dammit!” :P

  35. Jmarsh04 says:

    Last summer, in New Jersey, they doubled that fee (it ws $3, now it’s $6) as part of the budget agreement. Originally, the $3 was to be earmarked for homeland security, but the extra $3 Jersey piggybacked onto the “9/11 fee” can be used for absolutely anything the State sees fit. It just goes into a general fund.

    I’ve seen enough politicians/businessmen take advantage of 9/11 to make money or gain power, that I’m conviced it was allowed to happen. It has turned out to be quite a get-rich-quick scheme for a lot of people.

    And I guess coming to that conclusion means I hate America, right?

  36. FLConsumer says:

    @bambino: Bullshit. America’s already forgotten about 9/11 except for those living near NYC.

  37. Chicago7 says:

    “I don’t think 9/11 will be forgotten by 2101.”

    Not as long as there is still a member of the Bush family alive.

  38. FlyRyan says:


    Are you crazy? America has not forgot about 9/11…. it’s still talked about in the mass media and in normal conversation….

    I’m on the west coast btw.

  39. FlyRyan says:

    Yeah…. thats why I posted it as the 2nd comment on here. ;)

  40. Jacknhoo says:

    The fee, by whatever name it is referred to, is warranted by the fact that increasing security does require funding. I don’t believe we should lose sight of the intent of the fee, by becoming overly focused on its delivery into practice. Sure, it was cleverly presented to us and depending on its implementation couold turn out to be even dubious, we let it slide in hardly unquestioned or refined. The fact that in this free market, where we have the good fortune of uninhibited social opportunity, inalienable rights and a fine balance of law and raw liberty and all are ideals essentially supported by the people, scrutiny of the fee is absolutely and an obligation. We are the supposed people who have the power to ensure it is effective as intended and not abused. These are all good discussions, on this page, to have to help people hone their knowledge on this important security issue. I hope people do not leave here (this webpage) feeling like they have taken any real action to rectify the problem opaqueness of the September 11th security fee and any secutity fee. I believe the vast majority of people support security and realize that it certainly does require funding. But for the security to be and remain effective and minimally invasive to our beloved freedom, it will always require our diligence, commitment, education and persistence. We have to make sure our voices and valid are heard by our representatives and that what they hear from us is credible and not discountable exaggerations or inuendos.