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When Will Bag Fees & Fuel Surchages Be Revoked?

By Chuckmonster on Wednesday, 29th October 2008 2:58am
  » filed under The Internets  comments: 8


Fuel Surcharges

You've probably noticed that gas prices have deflated to almost bearable levels in the last month or two. The price at my local Shell station here in Los Angeles is $3.09/gallon for 87 grade unleaded. Fuel prices in California are usually at the higher end of the nationwide spectrum, so chances are that you might be in the mid $2 range or even below that.

So what about those extra bag fees and the fuel surcharge tacked onto our plane tickets by the major airlines? How long do you think its going to be - if ever - before they drop these?

Apparently we're not the only ones who are curious. The USA Today did a little poking around and found out that fuel surcharges across the board have increased anywhere from 50%-90% for domestic flights, and double that for international flights.

Jet-fuel prices have not come down as dramatically as oil prices, and fuel costs "continue to bounce around, both up and down, on a daily basis," [American Airlines spokesman Tim Smith]

FareCompete.com CEO Rick Seaney put the cards on the table:

Fuel surcharges "don't have anything to do with the price of oil nor the distance of the trip. It's about competition and the price of a ticket."

The plot thickens...



Comments & Discussion:

It's like a addiction. Once they had their grubby little hands on the money, they just don't want to give it up.

The only way they'll drop the fuel surcharges is if they are forced to by the gov't. I was looking into taking a trip to London and found a great RT fare. The fare was $230 before the taxes and fuel surcharge were over $500, the bulk of that being the fuel surcharge. But if you're splurging on a premium economy/business class/first class seat, the taxes and fees are pretty much the same as for a coach ticket. The $500 doesn't sound so bad when you're forking out the kind of money for those seats as that amount of money represents a smaller percentage of the original fare. When you have taxes and fees that are more than twice the base fare, that is a problem.

I know Air Canada has dropped their fuel surcharge on flights within Canada and to/from the US and . They've kept them on international flights. The US carriers never really added a "fuel surcharge" to domestic service, only on international service. The real fuel surcharges for domestic services comes in the form of the checked baggage fee.

The bag fee isn't going away anytime some. Some airlines may drop it or alter the program (perhaps making the 1st bag free like Delta does or perhaps discount the fee if you check your bags online like Spirit does).

The airlines are going to milk these fees as long as they can. With it looking like the 3-1-1 rule in regards to liquids being relaxed to allow larger bottles (you'll still have to put them in a Ziplock bag and do the dog and pony show though), some folks may quit checking bags completely, as some folks have been checking their bags so they can take larger bottles of shampoo, cologne, etc. with them.

The bag fees are never going to go down until people complain much louder and even then it's not going to happen. The same deal goes for the fuel surcharge. Once you get used to money it's hard to give it back up. The only thing that could happen is fliers could get lets say more peanuts or even that whole can of soda on a flight. Wouldnt put great odds on that though.

As far as CRUISE LINES go......I know Carnival Cruises is dropping the fuel surcharge completely on their cruises next year.

On a semi-related note, have LV cab fares come back down from their "temporary" fuel-crisis price-hike? I know part of the highway robbery was to be permanent, part of it contingent upon fuel prices coming down.

It gets worse. On the most recent conference call for Allegiant, top dog Ponder Harrison -- after noting that the company's charges on checked baggage had reduced the number of bags checked -- proposed charging customers for carry-on luggage. What an asshat. I can't tell whether he wants to discourage customers from bringing luggage, period, or just thinks passengers will swallow this latest indignity w/o complaint. Either way, I've added Allegiant to NWA on my personal "no-fly" list.

i heard on npr that an airline like 'southwest' was able to keep flights cheaper because they had hindsight and bought huuuuge amounts before prices got jacked (by the way, we are celebrating $2.79 per gallon???! the oil companies are STILL making record profits, prices shouldn't be near this price). so,i am thinking that prices won't change because the companies bought the fuel at a certain cost months, or years ago. it's not like they are parking their jets at the station and letting the pump go while they go inside and pee or buy a yoo-hoo, like you or i do.
if prices will go down, it will be later. but they won't go down because this is america and is contolled by the almighty dollar. once these companies see the green, they don't want to see anything else.

Southwest, like most airlines, hedge their fuel prices, locking the price in at a certain price for certain periods. Most have done pretty well because they bought cheap and the price of fuel jumped. In the most recent quarter, several airlines had their hedges bite them in the ass because the price of the hedges they've bought for certain dates is actually higher than what the going rate is because they bought them based on the belief than many folks had that the price of fuel would continue to climb.

Celebrating $2.79 gas? Where I live, it was well over $4 a gallon a little more than month ago. Around here, it's now $2.25 in most areas, and I've seen it as cheap as $2.14.

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