Delta Air Lines said on Monday it will refund the ticket taxes charged for travel during the Federal Aviation Administration shutdown.
The refunds will apply to people who bought tickets before the FAA shutdown began on July 23 and then traveled during the shutdown. Passengers who bought tickets after the shutdown began didn't pay the taxes anyway. Most paid higher fares instead.
The refunds won't happen right away. Delta said it is waiting for guidance from the IRS about how to handle that.
Last week the IRS said airlines could issue direct refunds. Delta is the first to say it will do so. Other airlines have been referring travelers to the IRS for refunds.
However, the IRS has suggested that passengers ask the airline for a refund. It has said it plans to take refund applications from travelers who can document the taxes they paid and their travel dates. "The IRS is committed to working with Delta and other airlines to ensure they can provide a smooth refund process for their passengers," the agency said in a written statement on Monday.
During the shutdown, airlines stopped collecting federal taxes that can add up to $60 on a $300 round-trip ticket. Instead, most raised fares by the amount of the taxes. Travelers are paying the same now as they did before the FAA shutdown, but the money _ some $30 million a day for the industry _ is going to airlines instead of the government.
Some members of Congress have been pressuring the airlines to roll back the fare increases or to set them aside in an escrow account. The airlines have declined.
Alaska Airlines and Spirit Airlines are among the few carriers that did not raise fares by the amount of the taxes.
Shares of Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines Inc. fell 9 cents to close at $7.80.