Well, there go the fuel dumps…

As I write this post I’m trying to figure out which “category” I file this under. It just occurred to me that it’s probably time for a “dumba$$” category on the side of the blog, and I’m pretty sure a special website belongs there.

For a couple of years now it has been possible to drop the fuel surcharges on many international tickets by adding a segment (typically to Canada) to the end of the itinerary. I have to admit I never took advantage of it, as the thought of an international longhaul flight in coach is terrifying, but nonetheless it was quite useful for many. Hell, there’s even a thread on FlyerTalk discussing the topic with nearly 5,000 posts. This technique could often take hundreds of dollars off of flights.

While this was by no means secret, FlyerTalkers did a good job of “beating around the bush.” Frankly I’m amazed it lasted as long as it did. How the hell did the airlines not catch on for several years?

And then, just like that, it disappeared. For some reason I can’t quite figure out, airfarewatchdog.com thought it would be a good idea to publish an article outlining exactly how the fuel dumping process works. Brilliant, right? Well, hours after the article was posted, fuel dumping was no more.

On one hand there are all kinds of nasty names I’d like to call AirFareWatchdog, and I’m not alone. Look at the comments on the article, directed towards them on Twitter, and on their Facebook page. It ain’t pretty, and they’re beyond dumb for posting an article outlining this. At the same time, how the hell did it take the airlines two years to figure this out? Frankly, I thought they just had no way of preventing this, but the fact that they pulled it hours after the article was published suggests that’s not the case. Are they really that oblivious?

Either way, AirFareWatchdog, shame on you…

Comments

  1. Erik says

    Yea. Saw the blog post. Cringed. Lamented. Have moved on, eagerly awaiting the next big “trick” or “secret” – where one door closes, another usually opens. Not always as lucrative but sometimes it is (or even more so) – such is the ebb and flow of frequent travel. :)

  2. mechteach says

    Nooooo! Only took advantage of a few of these, but saved $100s. Sigh, now I just have to hope for something new to appear.

  3. Gene says

    It seems highly unlikely that the AFWD blog post caused this trick to be closed so quickly; however, I can’t come up with a better explanation, either.

    I’m with you, Ben, international coach is terrifying, but I had recently discovered that this trick could be used for upgradeable open-jaw tickets originating in Europe, such as BRU-xxx-FRA. While this has the potential to be more comfortable than coach, it’s not exactly a convenient routing if you live in the US.

  4. Christian says

    It appears they (AFWD idiots) have removed their article, as well as all of the comments directed towards them…

  5. Dan says

    I Tweeted and Facebooked my comments to George. Time for you to do the same. I was really disappointed in him.

  6. sam says

    airline live on the idea of price discrimination, and charge what each customer is willing to pay, the hard to is segmenting the market, and flyertalk’s trick it thread was perfect for them, since we’ll all cheap ass people who wouldn’t fly on a “normal” fare, and our secretive nature keep everyone else out.

    But when AFWD posted it, they can no longer segment the market, and poof, its gone, If the airlines were smart, they’d try to come up with something else for the trick it thread.

  7. says

    It’s like United and the ability to re-fare tickets when prices dropped.

    When the process of finding the new fares was manual, they let it go.

    When Yapta made it automatic, it didn’t take long for United to decide to add the $150 re-faring “administrative fee”.

    As long as a loophole isn’t being overused, it isn’t worth it to fix, but when it becomes too well known, the airlines are going to protect their self interests.

  8. whakojacko says

    I have a hard time believing airlines never knew about this. The fact that they fixed it so quickly after that article was put up seems to indicate they were letting it slide.

    “as the thought of an international longhaul flight in coach is terrifying”
    I really hope for your sake thats sarcasm.

  9. Gene says

    @whaojacko –

    “as the thought of an international longhaul flight in coach is terrifying” I really hope for your sake thats sarcasm.

    It certainly wasn’t sarcasm when I said it! I would NEVER voluntarily fly in coach for more than 2-3 hours. I would rather stay home.

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