Flying Taxes

One of the things I’ve started to notice when flying on points is the amount you pay in taxes when booking a flight. Usually when you buy a full priced ticket you tend to not notice the miscellaneous fees at the bottom of your receipt. Depending on where and how your flying these “hidden fees” can significantly increase the cost of your ticket. I once paid about $160 in taxes when flying to Paris from San Francisco (round trip).

San Francisco-Paris Round Trip Fee Schedule

You would expect that these sort of fees would be associated with the countries whose airports you fly in and out of… well I recently discovered that this doesn’t have to be the case. Here’s a domestic Canadian flight I booked from Vancouver to Calgary.

Vancouver to Calgary Receipt

The line marked Flight Segment Tax – United States really threw me off. Why would I be paying $4.20 to Uncle Sam when I’m flying domestic in Canada. This was clearly a mistake, I bought the ticket on the Air Canada US site and figured their software somehow bugged out on me. A few minutes of googling made me realize that this was not a bug at all and completely legal. It turns out US citizens are charged this tax if they fly domestic in Canada and Mexico over a designated buffer zone near the border.