British Airways is notorious for their outrageously high fuel surcharges, which are only exacerbated by the hefty UK Air Passenger Duty (APD), which applies if you have travel originating in the UK. While oil prices have dropped, for the most part fuel surcharges haven’t. Why? The most simple answer is because the airlines can… no one is holding them accountable.
Anyway, Head for Points notes that British Airways has lowered their fuel surcharges on longhaul award tickets.
Earlier in the week British Airways lowered fuel surcharges as follows:
- The fuel surcharges on roundtrip longhaul economy class flights was reduced from £229 to £209
- The fuel surcharges on roundtrip longhaul premium class flights was reduced from £359 to £329
Pay less in fuel surcharges for British Airways award tickets
Here’s the catch — British Airways only lowered fuel surcharges for travel originating in the UK, and not for travel originating in the US.
For example, take a look at a roundtrip first class ticket from San Francisco to London. The fuel surcharges are $904 roundtrip:
Meanwhile for a roundtrip first class ticket from London to San Francisco, the fuel surcharges are £329 (~$495). So the roundtrip fuel surcharges are almost twice as high when originating in the US than when originating in the UK.
While it’s normal for fares as such to differ depending on where you originate, it’s especially frustrating when fuel surcharges differ so much between the same cities.
As I’ve explained in the past, though, there is a workaround for lowering fuel surcharges when originating in the US. Simply book a roundtrip award ticket as two one-ways rather than as a roundtrip. That’s because when you book them as one-ways, for each direction they charge you half of the fuel surcharges that would be imposed if originating in that place.
As you saw above, for a roundtrip between San Francisco and London in first class the fuel surcharges are $904.
So a San Francisco to London one-way award would cost you $452 in fuel surcharges (half of $904):
Meanwhile for a London to San Francisco ticket you’d only pay $248 in fuel surcharges, which is half of what you’d be charged originating in the UK:
It’s nice that British Airways slightly reduced their fuel surcharges, though the drop in fuel surcharges bares no resemblance to the drop in oil prices. So while it’s slightly good news, I do find it ridiculous that they only reduced fuel surcharges for travel originating in the UK, and not for travel originating in the US.
Even though fuel surcharges haven’t been lowered out of the US, the above is a nice trick to save ~$200 in fuel surcharges on a roundtrip business or first class British Airways award originating in the US.