Airlines must be forced to be fair on fuel surcharges

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This topic contains 13 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Ah,Mr.Bond 9 Jan 2018
at 12:34

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  • Tom Otley

    Piece by Michael Fabricant, Conservative MP for Lichfield in the Times (sub required)

    Airlines must be forced to be fair on fuel surcharges

    At the start of 2002 the price of oil stood at $20 a barrel. By mid-2008 it had risen to $140. In response, commercial airlines imposed surcharges on customers to cover the costs of fuel that had spiralled out of control. This was understandable.

    However two years ago the price of oil plummeted under $50 a barrel and has remained there ever since. Oil prices have not been this low for a sustained period in well over a decade. We have re-entered the age of cheap oil, at least for the time being.

    Nonetheless these surcharges persist. What was once a logical and transparent move aimed at insulating the industry from forces beyond its control has turned into an unfair penalty on customers. A £528 return flight to New York from London with Lufthansa incurs a surcharge of £183, or 35 per cent of the fare. Meanwhile the fuel surcharge makes up £364 of a £1,380 flight from London to Sydney with Emirates.


    Fuel surcharges and the way they are presented are nothing but a scam.
    They are presented as ‘taxes and surcharges’ generally, which misleads.
    Taxes such as APD, departure taxes, PFCs, and passenger handling charges are government imposed, and thus unavoidable and beyond the control of the airline.
    Surcharges are imposed by the airlines and at levels that they choose.

    CPT BA 59 N 28AUG 2130
    LON BA 58 N 18SEP 1930

    GBP 580.00 – base fare
    GBP 209.00YQ – fuel ‘surcharge’ (should be an integral part of the fare base fare)
    GBP 41.47UB – GB passenger service charge
    GBP 1.30EV – ZA passenger safety levy
    GBP 13.20ZA -ZA passenger service charge
    GBP 75.00GB – GB APD
    GBP 1.40UM – ZA passenger service security charge
    GBP 11.30WC – ZA Air passenger tax
    GBP 932.67

    Same exercise with EK flights :
    DXB EK 10 L 28AUG 2145
    CPT EK 778 L 29AUG 1045
    DXB EK 773 T 18SEP 1305
    LON EK 11 T 19SEP 0245

    GBP 285.00
    GBP 190.00YQ
    GBP 14.87UB
    GBP 14.60F6
    GBP 1.30EV
    GBP 75.00GB
    GBP 13.20ZA
    GBP 1.40UM
    GBP 11.30WC

    GBP 606.67


    It’s an absolute scam, and I’m glad that someone from the government has FINALLY taken up the case.

    The comparison cited by capetonianm is all the more revealing, because to head via DXB takes 2 flights and is longer. Thus diluting to an extent, the argument that many will have that the ME3 are state subsidised.

    For long enough, us lot north of Hadrian’s Wall have had to pay a fuel surcharge totally out of kilter as a percentage of differentiation of miles flown, because we apparently live somewhere near the North Pole. !!
    Intriguingly this fuel surcharge was applied regardless of what direction the aircraft was heading after it left Scotland.

    Sadly,, and although it’s good that Michael Fabricant is on the case, I’ll predict that if capetonianm was to do a similar comparison in 12 months’ time, the result would be exactly the same.


    I say once again, British Airways does not charge a fuel surcharge.

    YQ is not a fuel surcharge, it is a carrier imposed surcharge.

    These are not the droids you are looking for.


    Oh dear….YQ is not a fuel surcharge but a carrier imposed surcharge….what a farce it is something that should be included in the fare….surcharge for what….maybe for having FDOS batting for you?….It is time fares were fares without these silly excuses for increasing the price…



    Then again, if the airfare had no YQ, how much money would BA make on long haul redemption fares? Just think how many promotions BA runs with banks to promote avios funded trips? It allows people to shop at Tesco with their shiny credit card and then fly in ‘first’.

    Maybe those increases aren’t so silly, if you look through different eyes?


    Perhaps the most offensive charge is UK APD. Maybe the MP should direct his attention to this.


    APD is why so many people are avoiding it by flying out of non GB airports and just transitting the UK. If ever a tax were ill-conceived, pernicious, and destructive, it’s that one.

    The only tax I can think of which is worse is the French Wealth Tax (ISF) which has driven wealthy people in France to leave or find ways round it.


    You say [or know] nothing about the 1 quid net fares you get to New York etc now?
    Fuel comes down = base fares go up.
    You will always pay 500 quid regardless of how the fare is made up.


    I agree that you end paying what the airline wants to get out of you, regardless of how the fare structure is broken up..

    As far as BA’s “YQ” carrier imposed surcharge charge goes, I’m pretty indifferent to it all.
    At the end of the day, the language they use to justify their overall fare, pretty much drives me straight into the welcoming embrace of their competitors.

    I ask myself why impose a British Airways surcharge onto my ticket, when they have seriously stripped back what I expect from a premium airline.

    And FDOS, interesting last post. Are you suggesting that this YQ excess charge is in some way linked to BA cross subsidising reduced revenue tickets driven by the BAEC /Avios programme. ?.


    It would be best to look only at the bottom line. You can break any item, goods or services, down to a micro level, but in the end you pay what is on the price tag. Who cares what they call it? We don’t have any right to take it out of the total price.
    I would love to see the publication of all the charges to be dropped. It doesn’t mean anything. Don’t publish them and the price of a ticket will remain the same.
    It’s the kind of discussion about nothing.
    Just some politician trying to score in the off season. Indeed, let him focus on the things he has a direct influence on like the APD.


    I have in front of me an ITR for a trip on AZ (not me, I wouldn’t fly with that lot.)

    The base fare is €24.
    The ‘surcharge’ is €310.

    This really is a urine extraction.


    … and unused taxes and charges should be refunded if cancelled…. let me guess what your T+Cs state!!!!!!!

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