Fuel Surcharges Nearly Double Cost Of International Airfare

Last week, a United Airlines flight from the US to Tokyo cost $400, plus $300 in fuel surcharges. Airlines say they’re passing on higher fuel costs, but some see it as an excuse to jimmy a hidden fare hike. The Los Angeles Times writes, “You can argue forever about whether this is justified, but how they are doing it shows their worst nature,” [Joesentme.com, a business traveler website] said, noting how, for instance, a surcharge is not eligible for a corporate discount.” Companies love to stuff their operating costs into the fees, taxes and surcharges on your final bill. It means they get to advertise artificially low prices, lure deal hunters, then soak them later.

Fuel fees pump up airfares [Los Angeles Times] (Thanks to Nicole!)
(Photo: basictheory)


Edit Your Comment

  1. jkaufman101 says:

    The E.U. doesn’t allow their carriers to unbundle fares. By law, airlines must show every tax, fee and surcharge in a single fare. It’s time the U.S. Congress pass legislation to require American carriers to do the same!

    Stop the shenanigans!

  2. rhombopteryx says:

    Gasp! But if we did that for airfare, people’d want it for other things too – like phone services!!
    Stop the madness!

  3. gingerCE says:

    This actually was a great thing Bankrate did. I wish they had it up and advertised before the start of primary season.

    Reaffirmed for me that I am behind the right candidate based on this breakdown–I agree with my candidate on almost every issue and dislike his opponents record–the bad news is my candidate isn’t going to get the party nom.

  4. cobaltthorium says:

    But if people saw the true cost of a service, they’d be able to make an educated assesment of how much something costs! Imagine the Anarchy!

  5. rbb says:

    That’s no different than the practices by universities and colleges to extract extra funds above and beyond the tuition by charging various mandatory fees.

  6. mac-phisto says:

    so what’s the verdict, consumerist? if there’s a candidate that’s “most consumer-friendly”, shouldn’t they be endorsed here (so i don’t have to go reading articles & formulating my own opinion & such)?

  7. DeltaPurser says:

    Or the ridiculous practice of resorts to charge a resort fee on top of the room rate… If everybody has to pay it, then why is it a separate charge?!

  8. Jasmo says:

    @rbb: except that state universities (usually the worst offenders w/r/t fees) are non-profit educational institutions, not for-profit corporations. State U doesn’t pass it’s costs on to students to keep shareholders happy, it passes costs on to keep the lights on and make up for the loss of federal dollars going towards education.

  9. Sherryness says:

    Jet fuel is a cost of doing business if you’re an airline. I think things like this are pure silliness. If they are going to partially breakdown the fee like that, why not just break everything down, such as engine maintenance, flight attendants’ uniforms, handsoap in the bathroom, fuses for lights – or they could just add it to the cost of the ticket like any normal person would do.

  10. theutopian says:

    This really pisses me off. My wife and I can’t take our yearly trip the UK because of the insane fees attached to a British Airways Airfare. Sure they advertise a graet airface at like $150 each way, but when you go through the booking process and get the final price the, there’s another $300 in fuel surcharges, taxes and fees. Totally ridiculous. Charge a freaking flat fee. Why can’t companies in general have their final prices include all taxes. It would do well to show how much things really cost.

  11. lincolnparadox says:

    @theutopian: They don’t do it because they’re trying to screw you.

    Have you ever tried flying out of Canada? It might be a bit cheaper, overall.

  12. UpsetPanda says:

    Where are these awesome rates coming from? I got quoted $1100 per ticket round trip to go to Dublin. Though I suppose if you were only going one-way it could be $550.

  13. apeguero says:

    This is why I was totally fuming when the Feds bailed these selfish, greedy bastards after 9/11. They bailed them out with my tax money and they still keep looking for ways to f me.

  14. Rando says:

    Ron Paul on top as usual

  15. endOfPath says:

    If companies can apply surcharges then I feel I should be able to apply surcredits.

  16. rbb says:

    @Jasmo: Oh, right. I forgot how important it was for the public institutions to collect mandatory fees from the students to support student groups they may philosophically disagree with. And we wouldn’t want to force the universities to actually spend some of the multi million/billion dollar endowments on such basics as tuition itself…

  17. junkmail says:

    @apeguero: exACTLY.

  18. howie_in_az says:

    They need to update this now that Crazy Guiliani dropped out of the presidential race. If only he’d do the same for the human race.

  19. TechnoDestructo says:

    Having flown United from Tokyo to San Francisco, I think I can say conclusively that no one who has ever done so would consider doing so again unless they were tricked into thinking the price was ridiculously low.

  20. benh57 says:

    Ron Paul consumer friendly, are you kidding?
    lol Ron Paul would shut down all the federal agencies which regulate how businesses treat consumers (such as the CPSC), and all consumer protections would go away… businesses would have free reign to screw everyone.

  21. Addison says:

    I have that same pic in my flickr pool….only on mine it says “if you son is wearing teal, there’s no way he’s getting any oxygen out of us!”

  22. kangman says:

    this reminds me of the bait and switch local gas stations do. They’d post a big sign saying they have such a price for unleaded then you go there and you see that you have to pay in cash to receive the advertised discount. I guess it doesn’t take a heartless corporation to do a bait and switch. Your neighborhood petrol dealer has got your fix.

  23. camille_javal says:

    @rbb: Except, airlines are trying to lure you with the prices. That doesn’t tend to be the case with universities.

  24. BrentNewland says:

    There’s a much better website with candidate summaries


  25. jamar0303 says:

    @TechnoDestructo: If you’re leaving Tokyo, do yourself a favor and take ANA.

  26. Mr. Gunn says:

    BrentNewland: Great site, tons of issues. Quite sparse coverage of science-related topics, though.

  27. strathmeyer says:

    @mac-phisto: “so what’s the verdict, consumerist?”

    I think we can all agree that we should find a candidate who isn’t in the pocket of big business and vote for them.

  28. rhombopteryx says:



  29. Rando says:

    @benh57: Source? RP never stated shutting down any of those agencies. You watch too much fox news.

    Just because he wants to get rid of a completely useless unlawful government agency does not mean he wants to get rid of everyone else.