Letters to the Editor

Avoid travel to Europe to protest airfare tariff

Consumers are buffeted by taxes of all sorts and at all levels, from a new maximum of 39 percent on individual incomes to sales taxes approaching double-digit levels on average at the state and local levels.

One obnoxious tax is the one imposed by foreign governments on U.S. travelers abroad. The countries that benefit from our vacations and business trips -- and our spending on goods, services, food and hotels -- are not satisfied with that income. They also impose a hefty tariff on airfares.

On a recent trip to Los Angeles from Savannah, my coach airfare was $485 round-trip; $43.60 was taxes and fees, a tax of about 10 percent. A planned round-trip coach ticket from Savannah to Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris is $1,661.20; taxes and fees are $623.80 or a tax of more than 60 percent on the base ticket price of $1,037.40.

I don't know the split on the 60 percent, but my bet is that foreign governments get the lion's share.

Fortunately, Americans don't have to pay that tax the way they have to pay income and sales taxes in the U.S. They can just turn around and plan vacations in the U.S. rather than in Europe. Maybe if all travelers picked 2014 as the year to avoid the 60 percent airfare tax then maybe the high-tax European governments might get the message that we are still an important contributor to their economies.

Thomas E. Nugent

Hilton Head Island