Last week I told you about the FAA shutdown and how some airlines were lining their pockets by jacking up their rates in place of the nonexistent taxes. Well it appears that the IRS stepped up and applied some pressure, so much so that US Airways and Delta have both agreed to refund customers who purchased airfare since the FAA went on forced hiatus. No word yet on whether other airlines will fall in line here, but now that there's a crack in the dam I would surmise the rest won't be too far behind.
Even if the other airlines decide to hold out, you can either call the airline directly and request a refund (good luck with that) or you can submit a claim to the IRS for reimbursement, although the IRS has yet to decide whether to write those checks themselves or somehow get the airlines to pay you directly. Clearly there are still plenty of details to be worked out, but if you bought a plane ticket and think you got hosed, the IRS has put together a handy little FAQ right here.
For the record, there was some chatter that Congress might find a way to reauthorize the FAA at the conclusion of the debt ceiling vote, but (unsurprisingly) it didn't happen. Now that Congress is in recess for the month of August, it looks like the FAA will remain shut down into September. So depending on which airline you're using, this month could be a great time to book a trip! Or it could result in lots of paperwork and bashing your head against your desk. One or the other.