Friday, August 28, 2015

An attempt to sort out airline fare surcharges

The major network airlines have been busy in recent weeks devising ways to increase revenue from fares without calling what they're doing a fare increase. OK, technically it's not be an increase in base fares. Let's just call it by a more accurate name: It's a COST increase (forgive me for shouting), and for a growing number of air travelers it could be a substantial one.

An attempt to sort out airline fare surcharges

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The major network airlines have been busy in recent weeks devising ways to increase revenue from fares without calling what they're doing a fare increase. OK, technically it's not be an increase in base fares. Let's just call it by a more accurate name: It's a COST increase (forgive me for shouting), and for a growing number of air travelers it could be a substantial one.

First, the surcharges applied only to peak travel days around the upcoming holidays. Well, heck, it's always been more expensive to travel on those days, with the lowest-priced tickets selling out months in advance, so you have to expect higher costs. But a $50 surcharge on Feb. 8 on Delta, Northwest and United (and with others likely to join the party) ? The only thing one expert, Tom Parsons of bestfares.com, can fathom is that it's the day after the Super Bowl. Huhhh? You mean airplane seats are really precious that day, no matter what teams are playing and fans traveling?

For a full list of when the surcharges apply look at Parsons' Web site here.  US Airways took a simple path to increasing customers' costs by saying it would surcharge every ticket all the time by 5 percent starting in May. See the post below for a little more on that.   

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About this blog
Tom Belden has been reporting about Philadelphia International Airport and other air travel subjects for more than 20 years, writing columns for The Inquirer's Travel and Business sections. His reporting (with colleague Craig McCoy) on baggage handling problems in Philadelphia have been credited with helping to improve the system. His previous blog was called Road Warrior. He can reached at tbelden@phillynews.com. Reach Tom at tbelden@phillynews.com.

Tom Belden
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