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US Airways New 5% Surcharge: Other Airlines NOT Matching

November 19, 2009 | Posted in: Airfare News,Pricing Activity,US Airways

At least, the other airlines aren’t matching – yet.

Maybe they’re waiting to see how much bad publicity – if any – will result from the move by US Airways to add a 5% surcharge to all its flights, beginning May 8.

It may be that the new surcharge is accepted – after all, we accepted (grudgingly) bag fees. On the other hand, US Airways did have to drop their charges for soft drinks and water after running into a buzz saw of passenger resentment.

And this 5% surcharge could sting a lot more than any $2 Coke. It’s like another bag fee, when you consider that 5% of a $300 ticket is 15-bucks.

Here’s where I have trouble – US Airways (in Philly.com) says the surcharge “will protect the airline in case fuel prices or other costs increase (my italics)” That’s an interesting way to do business: suppose your grocer slapped a 5% surcharge on a quart of milk in case the cost of the cows’ alfalfa goes up? Yeah, me too.

6 Responses to “US Airways New 5% Surcharge: Other Airlines NOT Matching”

  1. Diamond Jim says:

    seems the cruise lines are getting away with an even more unfair practice, “Princess reserves the right to impose a fuel supplement of up to $9 per person per day on all passengers if the NYMEX oil price exceeds $70 per barrel, even if the fare has already been paid in full.”

  2. Rick Seaney says:

    Jim,
    That can add up on a long cruise.
    Best,
    Rick

  3. Libbie says:

    In my small southern town the airport is only served by US Airways and Delta — but, thanks in part to your blog — I’ve begun a campaign to make my friends and clients more aware of AirTran and Southwest just 100 miles away in Raleigh-Durham. My guess is that US Air gets away with these penne-ante charges because they serve so many small airports.

    Re Diamond Jim’s comment about cruise line fuel surcharges, it’s not only Princess. All the major cruiselines have the same policy.

    I haven’t learned yet how to do track-backs from my blog, but did want you to know I quoted you today. Thanks.

  4. Rick Seaney says:

    Libbie,
    Thanks for reading. And I’ve always said, it may be well worth it to drive a bit farther to an alternate airport, if it means getting a better price, and more airlines to choose from.
    Best,
    Rick

  5. Craig says:

    I travel Philly to St.Louis every week. I can take Southwest or US Air. the US Air flights work out better for me and give me more time at home. I pay for my flights, they are not expensed to my client. Southwest is cheaper and since I only do carry-on’s the cost is only cheaper by about 25-30 dollars which I’m more then willing to pay for a few extra hours at home and non-stops both ways.

    BUT…. add on another 15-20 dollars and the price difference begins to hit the 50.00 mark, then I’ll probably switch back to Southwest.

    Craig

  6. Rick Seaney says:

    Craig,
    I expect a lot of travelers will be doing similar re-evaluations, but let’s see if this surcharge is still there as we get closer to May; airlines can and do remove surcharges without warning (and of course, they add them, too).
    Thanks for writing,
    Rick

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