‘Fuel dumps’ on international airline tickets are apparently dead. For some time it has been possible to push down the price of an airline ticket by getting pricing engines to ticket without fuel surcharges, which in some cases can be as much as $400. It’s a great savings, and there have been various techniques for accomplishing this.
This Flyertalk thread has attracted about 4800 posts over the past year and a half about dropping fuel surcharges from tickets, and fleshing out the techniques. Many of the posts are ‘in code’, referring to booking tickets on Priceline as “negotiating” (William Shatner is ‘The Negotiator’…).
In that thread, folks are blaming Airfare Watchdog who outlined one of the more popular techniques in a blog post yesterday, detailing adding throwaway segments to Canada to the end of a ticket to drop fuel surcharges.
The consensus view is summed up by Lucky:
[H]ours after the article was posted, fuel dumping was no more.
On one hand there are all kinds of nasty names I’d like to call AirFareWatchdog, and I’m not alone… At the same time, how the hell did it take the airlines two years to figure this out? Frankly, I thought they just had no way of preventing this, but the fact that they pulled it hours after the article was published suggests that’s not the case. Are they really that oblivious?
Either way, AirFareWatchdog, shame on you…
But it seems odd to me that when there’s a Flyertalk thread with 5000 posts one would blame a blog post for getting the word out and spurring action that shut down this technique.
And I can’t imagine that the technique could get shut down in a matter of a few hours, I have to believe that the fix was in the works already. My personal guess is coincidence.
Either way, one of the really great airfare pricing tricks appears at least at the moment to be no more.