18 Responses

  1. Andrew
    Andrew at |

    There may also be implications for passing YQ through to award tickets. Since some airlines pass through the same YQ amount to award tickets, if that suddenly plunges, where does that leave them? Do they then create a new award “surcharge”? At least by associating the name with fuel, people might be convinced that this was a reasonable charge to add to award tickets… but by another name, there may be somewhat greater resistance. Don’t know exactly, but I could see this spilling over to the award realm as well.

  2. Lark
    Lark at |

    @Seth:
    “This might mean that base fares go up while fuel surcharges go down, leaving the final fare the same for most folks. Not a huge deal in the end if the number is the same, but at least the fares will more properly reflect the reality of what is being offered.”

    Would this have a positive effect on the “costs” of award tickets? (For the airlines that impose fuel surcharges on award tix.)

  3. Scottrick
    Scottrick at |

    How do you think the fuel surcharge would vary across cabins? If a seat in F is taking up 2-4 times the space of a seat in Y, it probably should have a larger fuel surcharge to match.

  4. Oliver
    Oliver at |

    @Scottrick but I never check bags, so I should get a discount compared to that guy with three 70 lbs bags.

  5. Scottrick
    Scottrick at |

    @Oliver: Ha! While I like the idea of charging passengers according to their weight and baggage, I don’t think this is ever going to happen in the US. It would be time-consuming at check-in, and F/C/Elite passengers already get fre bags. I think if I first class seat is taking up twice as much space as an economy one, doubling the surcharge from $500 to $1000 is going to be easier and a larger difference than tacking on $10-20 per bag.

  6. Brendan
    Brendan at |

    @Scottrick: The fuel charges/fees usually increase with “premium” fares, which premium fares grouped into a bucket containing premium economy in some cases all the way up to first class. Not sure how they rationalize the increase, but they certainly do charge more.

    This is much more recognizable on international flights and Euro airlines (BA, Virgin, etc).

  7. Sice
    Sice at |

    If DOT could enforce accurate fuel surcharge pricing then it would stand to reason that it should just be added back into the base fare.

  8. LAXTraveler
    LAXTraveler at |

    Seems that Scottrick’s evaluation would make a lot of sense to the airlines – but if as Seth noted, the form 10-K measured it per passenger, I would think that includes every passenger regardless of class of service. Nonetheless, the airlines will likely find a way to increase revenue from J/F passengers whether on awards or paid through this mechanism as well.

  9. Kris Ziel
    Kris Ziel at |

    Long story short: no.
    Long story longer: YQ will change from fuel surcharge to international surcharge.

  10. Kris Ziel
    Kris Ziel at |

    I should add that I looked at some markets out of the big time international United hubs. EWR-NRT/FRA/LHR average 4.78cpm in fuel surcharge.
    Average from LHR: 4.1 cpm (all UA LHR flights)
    Average from NRT: 5.1 cpm (all)
    Average from FRA: 3.8 cpm (all)
    So I guess United should be increasing YQ on the TATL routes.

  11. Deirdre
    Deirdre at |

    @Scottrick, I don’t think that pax weigh more in first, so the fuel surcharge being higher makes no sense (except that coach is more competitive, of course). Splitting YQ into fuel surcharge + int’l surcharge might, though.

    Some of the base charges are scary low.

  12. Deirdre
    Deirdre at |

    Also: my thought about the relatively low base fare and relatively high YQ is that it’s some kind of tax dodge.

  13. Mitch
    Mitch at |

    @Deirdre An F passenger might not weigh any more, but proportionally, they are using more space on the plane (bigger seat) than a Y passenger. I have no issue with YQ being square footage based (or the like) if YQ continues to be charged separately.

  14. Kris Ziel
    Kris Ziel at |

    @Deirdre
    It’s not like the money that airlines make from the YQ isn’t taxed, it’s just like any other type of revenue when it comes to taxes. In the end it doesn’t matter what the YQ is. They have to advertise the whole fare, government taxes included (total BS). You end up paying the same fare no matter how much of the total cost is YQ v fare (total price the same).

  15. Did UA increase the YQ surcharge? - FlyerTalk Forums

    […] similar it seems unlikely that the impact ill be all that much for most passengers. That said, the DoT does seem to be suggesting that the YQ should actually have some basis in fact rather than the arbitrary numbers that the airlines use today. But no word on whether that's […]

  16. Laxalt
    Laxalt at |

    Well, the airlines have done away with fuel surcharges! Hooray!
    Oops – they just changed the name and the fare code. No more YQ, no trouble with DoT.
    Now, it’s just a “surcharge” instead of a “fuel surcharge”, the code is YR, and everything for passenger remains rotten same BS.