AI News, The Airline Fee That Exists for No Apparent Reason

The Airline Fee That Exists for No Apparent Reason

Since regulators told airlines they could no longer call the fees fuel surcharges, the industry has been reticent to discuss what the charges are really for and why airlines adopt the unusual pricing structure.

Breaking out a significant chunk of the fare and calling it a fee lumped with taxes makes the tax bite look far bigger on tickets.

The shiftiness can change how big a discount corporations get from negotiated fares if the discount comes off base fare only, though most companies make sure they’re getting discounts on the total airline portion of the fare.

The British Airways website says its highest taxes, fees and carrier charges amount across all routes round trip has been $910 in economy class.

British Airways declined a request to discuss the charges but offered a statement saying all prices customers see include all charges and the carrier-imposed charge is clearly identified during the booking process on its website.

Asked why the surcharge is lumped with government taxes and airport fees instead of with the airline’s fare, Lufthansa said it displays a “transparent breakdown.” (You click on a link and see International/Domestic Surcharge on a list of taxes in the same font, followed by Customs User Fee.) “Customers are made aware that the breakdown does not only include government taxes and fees but also airline surcharges,” the airline said.

American, United and Delta have refrained from adding a cash price to most international award tickets beyond real taxes and government fees, but American and Delta collect when their partners impose a surcharge.

Delta has started adding its carrier-imposed international surcharge on frequent-flier trips that originate outside the U.S., though not on trips that begin from the U.S. You can get a coach frequent-flier award ticket from Atlanta to Paris round trip on Delta for 70,000 miles plus $84.11 in government taxes and fees.

They grease the bottom line, but they have a chilling effect on loyalty,” says Jay Sorensen, a frequent-flier program consultant and president of Wisconsin-based IdeaWorks Co., who has studied carrier-imposed charges.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated United was among U.S. airlines that do pass partner-airline surcharges on to customers buying award tickets with miles.

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