Fuel Costs Not Going Up That Fast But Airlines Like Tacking On Surcharges Anyway

What’s funny about math is that sometimes when you take a close look at it, it can tell you a lot about who’s doing the calculating. Fuel surcharges added to ticket prices by airlines have increased twice as fast in the last year as the actual fuel prices they’re supposed to be compensating for. So can you really call them fuel surcharges or just extra charges tacked on to make a dollar off travelers?

According to a new study by Carson Wagonlit Travel, those fuel surcharges haven’t been reduced since 2009, even though fuel prices have dipped over that same amount of time, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Taking a closer look at that ticket reveals that increases of as much as 50% are being blamed on fuel surcharges, depending on where you’re going and which airline you fly with. Flying internationally will usually result in a higher surcharge, as flights to Europe usually carry a fuel fee of around $104 to $372.

The fun part is that while fuel surcharges are up 53% since April 2011, actual fuel prices have only risen 24%, says the study.

Airlines can no longer get away with hiding fuel surcharges while touting low fares, either, since the Department of Transportation’s new transparency in fare advertising rules kicked in earlier this year. Airlines must now advertise the entire cost of a ticket, including all fees, surcharges and taxes.

Airlines’ fuel surcharges far outpacing fuel prices [Los Angeles Times]