UPDATE: Others have now joined in the matching, including Delta, Northwest, and US Airways.
UPDATE: The surcharge is coded with ‘Q’ which is “Miscellaneous/Other”, ‘F’ is Fuel Surcharge
Now here’s something I’ve not seen before…
On Wednesday, American Airlines added a $10 “fuelmiscellaneous surcharge” to the vast majority of its fares – but only for travel on three very specific days: the Sunday after Thanksgiving (Nov. 29) and Jan. 2 and 3. United Airlines followed suit.
You’ll note that the Sunday after Thanksgiving is one of the two busiest travel days of the year (the other is the Wednesday before the holiday) — and of course, Jan. 2 and 3 are also quite popular.
So it’s not so much a surcharge as a quick way to upcharge for those premium days. Yes, it brings in a lot of sorely needed revenue to the airlines – but to the detriment of holiday travelers, who are already paying stiff fares for those high-traffic days.
The surcharge is a rule category associated with a given airfare and is added on to the base fare and taxed (the actual surcharge is $9.30 + the 7.5% tax, equaling to $10). When you look at online price quotes it will be baked into based price of the airfare (not something charged separately like pre-paid checked bag fees).
Some of you may remember that, last year, procrastinators were rewarded with lower fares during the holiday period, but I do not expect that to happen this year (please see our “Holiday Travel 2009: Guide for Buying Cheap Holiday Flights” and “Holiday Travel – Seat Cutbacks for Thanksgiving 2009“).
When will this “new airline surcharge” crop up next? Maybe during next summer’s busy vacation season? We shall see…