December 22, 2008

Airline fuel surcharges fall

U.S. airlines are rolling back fuel surcharges for trans-Atlantic routes, but many travelers are paying the same price for tickets, a fare analysis found.

USA Today reported Monday that British Airways and Virgin Atlantic last week said they cut fuel surcharges because of lower oil prices. U.S. airlines have done the same, the newspaper said. analyzed non-stop flights on 13 routes between U.S. cities and London. The study found that although fuel surcharges dropped last week, ticket prices remained the same.

The airlines pulled the same game as they did on domestic routes -- lowering the fuel surcharge and adding it to the base airfare, said Rick Seaney, chief executive officer of This again shows that fuel surcharges are all about marketing and nothing to do with the price of fuel or the length of a trip.

The biggest fuel-surcharge reduction for the routes analyzed was $52 for United Airlines' Washington-London flights.

The Air Transport Association of America said the average price of jet fuel for U.S. airlines was $3.91 per gallon in July and $1.89 per gallon last month.