Those sneaky bastards.

Question for the reader: Did you know that last Friday the Federal Aviation Administration lost its authority to levy taxes on plane tickets (typically $25-$50 per ticket)?

My answer would be “no”…until I read about it in the New York Times today.

Apparently, Congress failed to pass the bill that finances the FAA. (Tangential question: Has Congress done anything this summer?) This means the agency is unable to collect the $25 million per day in excise taxes, etc.* on the plane tickets we buy.

The airlines were definitely paying attention to this:

Last week, evidently in anticipation of the tax’s expiring, some airlines quietly began raising fares — on average, roughly by the same amount as the federal taxes. Others did the same over the weekend, and most of the rest joined in on Monday.

Industry analysts (the quote here comes from Michael Boyd, with aviation forecaster Boyd International Group) are spinning this toward the positive, calling the situation “a wash for the consumer and a plus for the airlines.”

I’d rather get $50 knocked off my next flight.

* (“The main federal fare levies that expired are the 7.5 percent excise tax on all domestic tickets, the $3.70 federal charge on each flight segment, and the $16.30 tax on each international arrival and departure.”)