Rick Seaney reprots that American and United have added $10 fuel surcharges for travel on the Sunday after Thanksgiving and January 2 and 3.

A ‘busy holiday travel day surcharge’ to be sure. But why use the fuel surcharge mechanism, as opposed to raising fares for travel on those days or limiting availability in lower fare buckets?

I’ve written in the past (e.g. here) that fuel surcharges aren’t any different from price increases, but they do serve specific functions — usually as a means of bumping price on existing discount contracts or publicly signaling price intentions to competitors

Here I assume given the limited duration of these are in effect it was viewed as a quick and dirty way to accomplish the job, albeit with a fairly blunt instrument.

  1. Barbora said,

    Thank you for pointing this out. I find it really ridiculous. I don’t have anything about optional fees (for checked bags or refreshment), but the fuel surcharge should be included in the ticket price. Obviously, the fees have nothing to do with fuel any more.

  2. Oliver said,

    The blog post should be titled “United and American Airlines are LIARS”.

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