Ramp fees?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Morgan3820, Jun 19, 2014.

  1. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 En-Route

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    How do FBO's enforce ramp fees?
    I'm picking up a friend at a nearby airport that charges a landing/ramp fee if you do not buy fuel. I will have close to full tanks on landing, so I do not have room for fuel. I will stop briefly to pick him up and then continue on to our final destination. I called the FBO about the fee and after a brief chit-chat the attendant agreed to waive the fee because I was just doing a pickup and not parking, great!

    But it got me to wondering, how does an FBO enforce such fees? I know he can get my name and address from my N number. But without a SSN he can't do a collection. And what agency would take a collection action for $10?

    For background, the airport is uncontrolled and owned by the county(taxpayers). The guy who runs the place gets a sweetheart deal of $200/yr. lease. Basically, he collects all of the hanger/tiedown rent, all fuel profits and has a monopoly on maintenance. The county gets the $200/yr.

    I'm not looking to get into the costs and profits of running an airport, which if private I know can be meager. But how can he force someone after landing to pay up?
     
  2. dans2992

    dans2992 En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Are you the plane owner? Typically if they get your tail #, a bill might be sent to the owner.

    If you ever need to buy fuel from them in the future, you may need to make good on overdue fees...
     
  3. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member

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    It is not unheard-of for the FBO to pull a fuel truck in front of your plane to enforce collection.
     
  4. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 En-Route

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    I am the owner. I do not begrudge fees when appropriate. I tip line boys. I'm just curious. It is not called a ramp donation, but a fee. Does it have the force of law? Can the FBO call a cop or put a lien on the airplane?
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2014
  5. NJP_MAN

    NJP_MAN Pattern Altitude

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    Our ramp charges $25 and I have seen people act like they are going in to pay and just bail without payment. I just laugh at that.
     
  6. Z06_Mir

    Z06_Mir Pattern Altitude

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    It happens sometimes with us. Sometimes we waive it especially if they're regulars. The last place I worked I'd usually waive it unless they wanted a lot of services or they were a jerk. If they were a jerk and then asked about the fees I'd move their aircraft to the next size up.
     
  7. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    They will usually be accommodating if you talk with them. However if you just ignore them and skip,you will probably get a bill in the mail. If it's a landing fee the town will chase you for the money.
     
  8. Shawn

    Shawn En-Route

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    How can they enforce it?...not give you passenger access to the ramp. Many places have to buzz you in through the FBO lobby to the ramp.
     
  9. Dean

    Dean Pattern Altitude

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    I never go to places that charge landing fees. If I tie down, thats a different story and I don't mind a reasonable fee, if it is too high I go elsewhere.
     
  10. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 En-Route

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    So far what I'm reading is that short of blocking the aircraft with a fuel truck (which I wonder is legal i.e. interfering with a flight) There is no real way to enforce such a requirement. ???
     
  11. timwinters

    timwinters Ejection Handle Pulled PoA Supporter

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    +1

    The only place I've ever landed that has a ramp fee is St. Louis downtown. And thy waive it if you eat at their restaurant or are doing a compassion flight. So I've never had to pay it.
     
  12. Cpt_Kirk

    Cpt_Kirk En-Route

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    I made small talk with the girl behind the desk and swept her off her feet with my charm and astonishingly good looks. No ramp fee.

    As we all know, pilots make smoother approaches.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2014
  13. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

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    There are state/local laws which can be invoked to enforce it.
    Yes, they can. Will they? :dunno: But I wouldn't try that stunt anywhere I might ever need to go back. :wink2:
     
  14. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

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    Yes, there are several ways. Whether they would choose to go to the trouble is open to question, but you would be unwise to return anywhere you'd skipped out on the fees.
     
  15. docmirror

    docmirror Touchdown! Greaser!

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    "Can the FBO call a cop or put a lien on the airplane?"

    Anybody can call anyone they want. Without a-priori method, such as a stated public charge rate, or identifying sign in a public place, I don't think contracts law would support a finding for charging a fee if a pilot were to land, walk in, ask if there is a fee, then leave if the fee were unacceptable.

    I've looked all over for fee info on various websites for airports I want to visit. If the specific fees are not listed on line, and not listed in the A/FD, well then there is no fee. This is no different than any other contracted service. You can't be charged for standing in a park listening to a concert unless there is a gate. Which is were the term 'gate fee' comes from. There's a gate, with a sign on it, and that is the charge to pass the gate. If an FBO has a gate off the public ramp of the airport, surely they can put a fee schedule on it.

    After my debacle at one airport being charged $41 for 1.2 hours, I now don't pay fees unless there is a sign or printed bill. I've never gotten a fee bill in the mail. Of course, I tend to visit smaller fields, and stay away from the big public places. However - I visited Houston exec last week and it was da bomb with their giant canopy to park under. I bought 10 gallons, and never asked about a fee for parking/stopping. Had I stayed over night, I presume there would be a fee, but again, without a public notice, I don't think ad-hoc fees pass the general contracts smell test.
     
  16. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    The FBO rents tbeir ramp space from the airport. One real easy way to enforce is to send you a trespass notice baring you from the FBO's ramp and have you arrested next time you taxi in.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2014
  17. cirrusmx

    cirrusmx Line Up and Wait

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    Fbos and airports have to cut a profit or at least survive. pay the ramp fee its worth it. most of the times you even get to borrow a courtesy car and use the facilities. it amazes me how pilots are super stingy.
     
  18. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If you don't want to pay a ramp fee,buy some gas. Plan to have room for some gas on arrival.
     
  19. timwinters

    timwinters Ejection Handle Pulled PoA Supporter

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    Well, except that the airports that have ramp fees are typically the ones with fuel that's $1 to $2 higher than surrounding smaller fields. It's just better to avoid them completely if at all possible which is my methodology.
     
  20. LuisO

    LuisO Pre-takeoff checklist

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    :yeahthat:
     
  21. docmirror

    docmirror Touchdown! Greaser!

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    This is often true. In my example over at Addison the alternative to paying the outragious ramp fee was to buy a min of 10 gal of gas at -- wait for it! $6.82. And this was a few years back. An airport 11 miles away had gas for $4.11.

    An exception is Houston Exec out in Katy to the west. Big shade canopy, no ramp fee, and modest gas cost. They get all my business when I go to Houston. I think Exxon and Phillips corp use them as well.
     
  22. DJTorrente

    DJTorrente En-Route

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    Ramp fee $25; 10 gal. * (6.82-4.11 = 2.71) = $27.10

    Funny how that works out, no?

    I strongly believe that any public use airport should have a free tarmac with access beyond airport property. You want tie-downs? Bring them. You want cold bottled water, popcorn, Otis Spunkmeyer cookies? The FBO is right over there to do business with.
     
  23. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Most of the places I go have an overnight fee, but not for a day stop. Five bucks to park my plane overnight is NBFD to me.

    Napa (KAPC) used to ding me constantly because I'd fly in before the office staff arrived in the morning and they would think I've been there all night. They stopped after I explained what was going on.
     
  24. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It's because we have to save as much money as possible to spend on flying airplanes, don'tcha know?

    What irks me is that most of the places that charge ramp fees are places that are making a very nice profit already and are doing far better than just surviving. Luckily, as other posters have noted, you can often talk your way out of the fee.

    The worst one was when I was not told of a fee - I never made it in the door, and in 10-15 minutes of chatting with the lineman he didn't mention a thing even though he knew I was heading right back out. The FBO called the tower and told them to have me call them on Unicom, at which point they asked me to taxi back into the FBO and come pay the fee! (Fat chance I'm going to burn more 100LL just to come pay your fee you didn't tell me about...) They sent a bill in the mail, which did not get paid. :nono:

    On the other end of the spectrum is Wisconsin Aviation at KMSN - The only FBO at a class C airport, which is usually a recipe for high fees - And they have a sign on the door from the ramp into the terminal that says "NO RAMP FEES. We prefer to earn your business." Well done.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2014
  25. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yabut, it's often cheaper to just pay the fee. Fees in my area range anywhere from $5 to $40, with the more expensive ones having more expensive gas.
     
  26. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Most pilots are ethical and have a conscience so they are not usually a problem. It is when one side or another turns into a jerk that things go downhill.
     
  27. dell30rb

    dell30rb Final Approach

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    Southern Air at KMRH pulled a fuel truck in front of a running king air to prevent them from leaving over a ramp fee.

    They got their ramp fee... and a lot of bad press!
     
  28. dans2992

    dans2992 En-Route PoA Supporter

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    One word... "beta". :)

    Just kidding.
     
  29. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 En-Route

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    Again, as I have said, I pay reasonable ramp fees and tip and I might add put gas into courtesy cars. I am merely curious how these things can be enforced. I guess part of me wants to know so if faced with a demand for an outrageous amount, I can access my options. Just last week I tipped the line boy at my own airport because after servicing ten bizjets with no tips to show for his effort, I felt sorry for him. So please stop beating me up.
     
  30. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

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    FBO's nearly always have their fees posted somewhere prominently visible as you walk in.
     
  31. Everskyward

    Everskyward Experimenter

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    I have not found that to be the case, especially since fees almost always vary according to the size of the aircraft.
     
  32. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

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    Sometimes they only say there is a fee based on size, but in my experience over 40+ years, it's rare that an FBO with a ramp fee doesn't have some notice of that displayed.
     
  33. Everskyward

    Everskyward Experimenter

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    I have had the opposite experience and have only occasionally seen signs like that. But I usually ask.
     
  34. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

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    :dunno: I've only been in maybe 500 different FBO's, so my experience may be limited.
     
  35. Everskyward

    Everskyward Experimenter

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    I have probably been in an equal amount.
     
  36. RotorAndWing

    RotorAndWing Final Approach

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    But you need to throw out your resume at least once a day on the board or tell us how long you've been flying.........;)
     
  37. Everskyward

    Everskyward Experimenter

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    That would give away how old I am. :rofl:

    Not that I really care. :D
     
  38. Captain

    Captain Final Approach

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    Funny story on topic;

    I landed at TEB and proceeded to customs. Customs had moved to the North end of the field near ops, they used to be on Atlantic's ramp. So I park and take my pax in to clear customs.

    I come out and there is an Atlantic guy writing me an invoice for ground handling. Like $150 too. I told him I'm not going to pay it and he said I have to. I told him I requested no service, I'm not on his ramp and I'm going to Signature...good day.

    Well, he gets upset and parks is tug in front of the plane and goes into airport ops to plead his case like they give a crap. I follow him in and tell him to get his GD tug out from in front of my plane. I have reverse thrust and if the plane or anything else get damaged during me backing up because you wont move your tug you'll be liable.

    The ops guy just looked at him with a 'ya gonna move your tug or what' look so they guy went out and moved his tug.

    I called my Chief Pilot and told him what went down and within an hour an email went out to all pilots informing us to NOT pay Atlantic for parking at customs unless services were requested.
     
  39. cirrusmx

    cirrusmx Line Up and Wait

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    jay sus!! I wonder how people can afford to maintain and fly their own airplanes and at the same time complain for a miserly 20 dollar ramp fee. usually where they charge fees you get full line services and all that jazz.
    In another note, what really irks me is paying upwards of 150 dollars on a flight school to fly a 40 year old beat up arrow that doesn't even have a HSI. I would seriously consider in pitching in for one.
     
  40. docmirror

    docmirror Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Maybe that's an east coast thing. West of the Miss river, no way, no how.