American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines Raise Fuel Surcharge $20

Grab your wallets, American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines have decided to raise “fuel surcharges” by $20 (round trip) reports the Associated Press. These charges now total $139 round trip on some flights.

This is Delta’s second hike in about a week:

“This is obviously a result of the current market, and fares have to reflect the cost of doing business,” spokeswoman Betsy Talton said.

Representatives for AMR Corp.’s American Airlines and UAL Corp.’s United Airlines said the carriers matched the increase on most routes Thursday.

Top 3 air carriers boost fuel charge by $20 roundtrip [AP]
(Photo: Zonaphoto )

UPDATE: Betsy from Delta Airlines writes in to assure our readers that when you search for fares on Delta’s website you ” are given a total cost in the search results.”


Edit Your Comment

  1. bruhkgb says:

    I don’t like paying extra more than the next person, but this will probably climb as the price of oil keeps going up.

  2. Lucky225 says:


    Or as the purchasing power of your dollar is devalued, day by day.

  3. Ryan H says:

    Can someone explain to me how a ‘fuel surcharge’ is different from just raising the price of the ticket?

    I am starting to think that there should be a regulation on advertised prices. All we need is two lines of legislation that state that any advertised price must include all applicable taxes and fees.

  4. goodcow says:


  5. alice_bunnie says:

    @Ryan H:

    Exactly! This is really getting ridiculous! They need to price their ticket to reflect their costs.

    If necessary, maybe they need to restrict how far in advance they will sell tickets?

    Really, this is getting silly.

  6. katzeroo says:

    I am sure this reflects the costs of doing business in this economy but you only hope that this would also reflect better service. And get rid of the ludicrous baggage restriction…make it a weight restriction and let people carry 2 bags if they fit normally one in the overhead and one under the seat.

  7. dragonfire81 says:

    @Ryan H:

    It’s not, but putting the increase in to the surcharge allows them to keep advertising the same low rates they’ve had for a long time now.

    The rates never go up, only the fees do. This is an airlines industry trick so they can still make flying look affordable when really in the end you get drowned out in fees.

  8. FeedFaceCoffee says:

    The last few times I’ve had to book a flight I’ve compared Delta to AirTran. To the destinations I fly, the price is typically $200 less going Delta (I usually have to book close to flight time). Hopefully I don’t see this trend with the low cost carriers, but I assume it’ll be inevitable (if it already hasn’t happened).

  9. Joafu says:

    You know what would be interesting? If airlines would recompensate if a flight gets enough passengers to meet it’s bottom line for fuel efficency, or charge more for early morning or underbooked flights, something to encourage flyers to all fly together for better overall fuel efficiency for the company. Prices need to raise somewhere, may as well find a medium that doesn’t discourage complete passenger turn-off.

  10. kepler11 says:

    Fuel charges are a separate item because they do not get discounted when people have coupons, corporate rates, etc. They are billed as a surcharge so the airline cannot lose money on that portion, which I think is understandable.

  11. kepler11 says:

    “…You know what would be interesting? If airlines would recompensate if a flight gets enough passengers to meet it’s bottom line for fuel efficency, or charge more for early morning or underbooked flights, something to encourage flyers to all fly together for better overall fuel efficiency for the company….”

    So charge even more when a flight is nearly empty, so it has just a few passengers and still has to fly to its destination? umm.

  12. Bourque77 says:

    @goodcow: The govt runs the amtrak system its a loose loose situation

  13. Ecoaster says:

    Flights are officially getting so expensive that people are going to consider long drives or not traveling at all. It will be interesting to see if that effect will bring prices back down at all.

  14. goodcow says:

    @Bourque77: My reply was mostly sarcasm. I’m a big proponent of establishing a high-speed rail system in this country. I have numerous Amtrak trips booked this summer, including NY to NC, NC to FL and FL back to NY. I could fly and save a lot of time, yes, but I’d rather support something I believe in.

  15. scoosdad says:

    @goodcow: Last time I checked, it was oil that powers those diesel locomotives on a majority of Amtrak’s routes. Wait for it…

  16. Parting says:

    F@ck, just raise the prices. I’m sick and tired to be taken for idiot by airline companies.

    Just give me the TOTAL please!

    I understand costs are rising. However, I feel insulted bu all the surcharges. Just raise ticket prices!

  17. vastrightwing says:

    Heck, let the airlines charge what they want and the phone companies, etc. Simply force all businesses to advertise all inclusive prices: price + tax + surcharges + fees and that’s the final price. Try renting a car or booking a room at a hotel. You never know what you’re going to end up paying because they have a bazillion fees hidden in there.

  18. SlappyFrog says:

    Ok, I see that some other commenters have mentioned this but, it’s a simple concept: COGS – Cost of Goods Sold…add a “sufficient profit” and then you’ve got a sales price…so charge people what the damn seat costs, it isn’t rocket science.

  19. goodcow says:

    @scoosdad: Amtrak’s fare is Amtrak’s fare. There are no hidden prices. And I don’t see what oil has to do with my choice to take Amtrak over flying.

  20. ugly says:

    @kepler11: You know what would be neat? If you didn’t shill for the airlines on every single thread about them.

    You’re the most transparent corporate hack who has ever posted here, don’t you think pretty much everyone has caught on by now?

  21. t325 says:

    @goodcow: Getting across the country in a few hours instead of a few days FTW

  22. kepler11 says:

    @ugly: and why don’t *you* stop being a fucking asshole and drop this obsession? Just because I know some actual information about an industry, and take the time to contribute actual real facts here only to be rewarded with your clueless bashing, you call me a shill. Is that what you want to keep Consumerist about, uninformed ranting and no solutions? That’s what’s wrong with this forum. When was the last time *you* said anything useful or added real information to discussions here?

  23. Buckus says:

    Why don’t they just charge $1.00 for every ticket and then tack on all the fees…
    baggage fee
    fuel fee
    food fee
    seat fee
    light fee
    oxygen fee (optional)
    carpet fee
    opening the door fee
    pushback fee
    guy-waving-the-sticks fee
    air-in-tires fee
    transport-bags-to-the-darn-plane fee
    check-in fee
    de-planing fee
    fee fee

    etc, etc. I also think it is ridiculous that airlines keep increasing the fees, but the ticket stays the same. I thought the cost of the ticket was to cover the cost of doing business, and the last time I checked buying gas for the airplane was a cost of doing business…

  24. LUV2CattleCall says:

    @Ryan H:

    A “fuel-surcharge” is meaningless in the USA since it can’t be line-itemed on your ticket. It’s basically a nice tapdance around collusion laws and serves as a form of price signaling. Airline A announced surcharge and airlines B C and D already know that’s a sign that Y fares will be hiked by the competition if they go along with it.

  25. bravo369 says:

    @LUV2CattleCall: I was thinking of collusion laws as soon as i read this. You say it’s a tapdance around but i don’t understand how? How is it possible for 3 airlines to raise a price the same amount at the same time without collusion?

  26. LUV2CattleCall says:

    @ugly: @kepler11:

    Ugly, I’m with you 100%…. it’s bad enough that kitler11 is trying to shill…it’s worse that he/she/it doesn’t have a damn clue about half the stuff he/she/it spews!

    I work in the industry, and I certainly have a vested interest in painting a pretty picture and making the airlines out to be the victims…but I’m what you could call a realist.

    When it comes down to it, yes, prices must go up, I think most reasonable travelers can agree to that – it’s the nickel/dime-ing, the poor customer service (it doesn’t matter how much it costs to get a pax from A to B…there are few other industries in which one could fork over a weeks work of pay and still receive sup-par service – $200 r/t is a lot of money for pax, no matter what fuel costs per barrel!), and non-transparent fare hikes that makes for an us vs. them atmosphere.

    That being said, I leave you with this MadTV Clip that predicted it all:

    + Watch video

  27. LUV2CattleCall says:


    Because it’s not collusion, it’s a fuel surcharge :)!

    By definition, collusion is an agreement, usually secretive, which occurs between two or more persons to deceive, mislead, or defraud others of legal rights, or to obtain an objective forbidden by law.

    It would be nearly impossible to prove this as being collusion since there are probably no secretive exchanges back and forth between airlines (the only one that comes to mind is when a British Airways exec called up a Virgin Atlantic rep and tried to commit him to a price hike. VA taped the phone call and turned it over to the authorities, resulting in a BA (Big Ass) fine.).

    Also, historically, 1 in 3 of these well-announced price hikes ends up sticking. The other 2 times, even the airline that first announced the hike rescinds.

    If you think about it, there’s a reason the airlines are so loud-mouthed about a fuel surcharge… it’s not like they issue a press release every time the flight from Moline to Orlando goes up $25.

  28. hejustlaughs says:

    I’m sure glad i have tons of miles accross different airlines. I guess their value went up slightly.

    I predict the airlines might try to de-value miles yet again!

  29. LUV2CattleCall says:


    If you have US Airways Dividend Miles, they’ll be worth slightly more since the 500-mile minimum per segment rule is out the window.

    Expect DL and NWs miles to be worth roughly the same…same with CO

    However, if you have AAdvantage miles, expect it to be a pain in the AAss to redeem them: per their last annual report, they expect to increase their revenue from mileage partners (i.e. credit card companies paying them for miles to give their cardholders) to increase by a whopping 40% this year. All those extra miles out there combined with the recent cuts in capacity = spend what you have AAsAAp!

  30. unklegwar says:

    Yes, thanks to the plummeting dollar and the baggage charges and the fuel charges, my trip to Japan this fall has said “Sayonara”.


  31. ugly says:

    @LUV2CattleCall: Thank you.

    I continue to fly and I have my preferred carriers. While I abhor the deceptive practices of the industry I also find it ridiculous when some consumers think they have special rights.

    That doesn’t mean that I think the airlines are right to trample the rights of ALL consumer (as apparently Keplers11 believes). There are always going to be cases where someone is a whiney idiot, but there are hundreds of cases where a policy impacts everyone who flies. Fuel Surcharges are one of those policies.

    The total price of carriage should be what’s advertised. Period. If there are taxes and fees that are known to be included regardless of who is flying (national taxes, fuel charges, etc.) then they should absolutely be included.

    I don’t buy any corporate hack who says “Oooh but they don’t get discounted the same” I don’t give a crap. The majority of people aren’t eligible for these discounts. If that’s the issue then the obvious and correct solution would be to make that a condition of the discount, not to the price of the ticket.

  32. Karkus says:

    Next they’ll add an “Americans are getting fatter surcharge” because it costs more to fly fat people around.

    Hmmm…actually, instead of charging for extra bags, etc., why not just weigh people plus their bags and charge based on that. Extra weight costs extra fuel.

  33. phonix23 says:

    I to deplore Airlines for their lack of customer service. But I do have some pity for them.

    We all sit around complaining about how rising gas prices are costing us so much more $ to get to work. Imagine if you where an airline using tens of thousands gallons of gas a day. An $.30/ gallon increas in fuel cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars and their happening every couple months.They have to do something.

    I’m sure the airlines will eventually raise the price of their flights to reflect higher gas prices but they cannot do this overnight.

    They spend millions of dollars for ad campaigns that are set months in advance. An $20 increase in ticket prices would mean they would have to remove and reprint all current ad campaigns costing them more money.

    Not to mention they have signed contracts with all those online travel sights to offer trips for an certain dollar amount.These contracts are set in advance as well and cannot be legally changed.

    The airlines are doing what they must to stay profitable, and I personally cannot blame them for that