Airlines Add Fuel Surcharges

Posted Feb 2nd 2011 11:30 AMUpdated Feb 3rd 2011 11:47 AM


American Airlines increased fares followed by United Continental Holdings adding a fuel surcharge, and other carriers have begun matching the hikes. The moves represent the third airfare increase of 2011, and the fifth since Dec. 15.

American's hikes range from $4 to $10 roundtrip on most of its domestic routes, according to Rick Seaney, chief executive officer of FareCompare, a company that monitors and tracks airfare activity.

United/Continental added fuel surcharges of $6 roundtrip to many routes, but was selective, "being careful to tiptoe around low-cost airlines and the cheapest of sale fares," Seaney says.

Seaney says this is the first appearance of domestic fuel charges since November 2008, when airlines dropped them after oil prices plunged from the summer highs of more than $140 per barrel.

Per U.S. Transportation Department rules, carriers are not allowed to break out fuel surcharges when they advertise or display fares -- so passengers will not see a surcharge listed, but rather a generic fare increase.

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The moves came as fuel prices spiked Tuesday night on the news of impending regime change in Egypt.

President Hosni Mubarak said he will not seek re-election in September.

During the latest round of conference calls to discuss 2010 earnings with investment analysts, airline chief executives said oil price increases must be passed on to consumers, or they will be forced to shrink capacity even further.

American also increased prices to Canada by $22 roundtrip and Hawaii by $21 roundtrip.

Delta, US Airways and Alaska Airlines have begun matching some of the increases, while Southwest, AirTran and Frontier are so far sitting on the sidelines.

UPDATE, Thursday: United/Continental dropped the $6 roundtrip fuel surcharge in favor of matching American's domestic fare increases of $4 to $10 roundtrip, according to FareCompare. CEO Rick Seaney cites a flurry of activity as Continental, Delta, United, US Airways, JetBlue, Alaska, AirTran, Air Canada and WestJet realigned their fares with American's. Only Southwest and JetBlue are still sitting this one out.

Photo, American Airlines
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They buy the fuel the year prior. only 1 day, 1 deal on a massive price for massive volume. So just like the gas stations price the current barrel (when it suits their asses) and by the price it was bought (when it suits their asses) but, they donate fuel to the poor, right? finance renewable energy efforts? What! point their fingers at us payin' $4.50 a gallon, and laughing? No Way! We're large enough to the point of A PENNY per gallon would comfortably aligns the pockets of the greedy. Per Gallon, Per Tank$ WOW & $5 comin' What are we going to do about this gross intolerance? it.

February 03 2011 at 2:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Quick question: Do these surcharges apply to flights that have already been booked and completely paid for? Or is United going to hit me up for additional charges at check-in?

February 03 2011 at 1:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Why is it that Southwest SEEMS to know how to do this airline thing and the rest of them just keep putting the big screw to their customers? People now refuse to take more than a carry on due to charges leaving little room in the overhead bins, now a fuel surcharge. It's nothing MORE than a rip off. STOP flying any airline that does this crap. When they REALLY start losing money, maybe they'll wake up, stop being greedy and pay attention to the fact that the consumer WILL in FACT draw a line. Those continuing the fly these greedy airlines are the problem.

February 03 2011 at 12:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Give me a break--fuel surcharge? Just like another poster said, I thought the cost of the airfare covered the fuel costs? The airline industry's quality has gone down so much over the past 10 or so years, it is a sad thing. Never on time, extra costs and fees for luggage and drinks, and dirty planes. It is a necessary evil for some, especially if you have to travel for your job or want to go on vacation in a far away place. And, it is correct that the big execs are only accountable to the sockholders, not to the passengers---if the stockholders don't make any money, the execs lose their jobs. So, guess who they're trying to make happy?

February 03 2011 at 12:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There it is, must be something I am doing wrong. This still seems like an info commercial for southwest.

February 03 2011 at 11:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

funny, I keep putting my comment up and then it is removed after a few minutes. This must just be a commercial for southwest. There are a few comments detailing the real problem, but I can believe that there are not more. Either I am doing something wrong or you guys want the same 13 comments to stand and nothing else. Stop flying for a week and watch them lower the prices real fast. We are still paying for the mistake that were made in the gulf with the oil spill. Cant believe you cant see past your own nose to relize the truth.

February 03 2011 at 11:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The American people are paying for the mistakes of big business not following guidlines with the spill in the gulf. Why, because our govt allows it. The people allow it and the wealthy are still laughing at you because you accept it.

February 03 2011 at 10:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's just plain poor management. Years ago the various boards and CEO's had the opportunity to give themselves raises and bonuses or purchase fuel futures. Southwest knew the price of fuel would go up and did the right thing. The big airlines made the selfish decision and now are telling you that you have to take money out of your wallet and pay them because they did. Keep using the big airlines and they will keep charging you more and more and more. They'll suck you dry because it is their job to charge you as much as you can possibly pay. That is the only way they can keep score. Remember, their aim is to satisfy their stockholders, not their passengers or their employees. Thus by making their owners richer they know that when bonus time comes around that they'll be able to double the size of their swimming pool. They'll be able to buy that fifth house. They'll be able to enlarge their stables. They can even go to Atlantic City and gamble without having to worry about losing. They do this while we put those tickets to see the grandkids on our credit card and worry and fret for years about how we're going to pay it off because of the interest rates. So stick with the cheaper airlines! If you gotta fly don't reward the big boys...they will suck you dry!

February 03 2011 at 10:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Don Douglass

that's what the baggage charges were started for....higher fuel prices. Except the airlines never made them go away when fuel came back down. Now they earn billions from them. They do not need add again now.

February 03 2011 at 10:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Doesnt my ticket price PAY FOR THE FUEL? Another reason to fly SOUTHWEST!!

February 03 2011 at 10:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply