British Airways (further) increases fuel surcharges as of February 8

Per this FlyerTalk thread:

British Airways will increase its fuel surcharge on longhaul services from Tuesday, February 8.

There will be no fuel surcharge increase to any British Airways’ shorthaul services.

World Traveller and World Traveller Plus tickets will increase by £12 per sector (£24 return).

First and Club World tickets will increase by £17 per sector (£34 return)

The move reflects the continuing substantial increase in the price of oil and a 14 per cent rise in the spot price of jet fuel since our last fuel surcharge increase in December 2010.

First of all, I find the concept of a fuel surcharge to be somewhat hilarious, but that’s nothing new and not an argument I’m going to win. They might as well charge a “labor surcharge” when the employees are about to strike, which seems to happen at least semi-frequently at British Airways.

Anyway, while people outside of the US are used to paying fuel surcharges on award tickets, those in the US really aren’t. Back in October the anti-trust agreement between American and British Airways ended. Many of us were looking forward to that, since up until then there was no way to earn or redeem American Airlines miles between the US and UK for flights on British Airways (and vice versa). And while that anti-trust agreement ended in October, American decided to impose fuel surcharges on all award redemptions on British Airways. So while we now have access to a ton more award availability for transatlantic flights, we’re paying about a $450 roundtrip “premium” for the privilege.

So back on topic, the above fuel surcharges are just another $55USD you can expect to pay for a premium cabin award ticket on British Airways.


  1. Is there a law or something in the US that prohibits airlines which are based in the USA from charging fuel surcharges (on any or except some particular routes)? Or is it simply a mutual business decision (either self-decided or based on competition)?

    You’re right that YQ is not something most people outside of the USA find odd. We always hope, of course, that they are low (and don’t like it when they go up).

    And yes, of course, there are plenty of non-USA based carriers who do not charge YQ on any or a decent subset of their flights.

  2. That’s it — I’m not spending any of my BA miles on transatlantic awards anymore. They’re very useful on AA coach since you can make as many stopovers as you want (I did LAX-DFW-ORD-JFK) on one itinerary. Or for Japan Airlines and Cathay Pacific First, since their redemption table isn’t *that* different than AA’s (75k for first one-way versus 62.5k).

  3. I was so happy when AA announced that you can now use award tickets on BA transatlantic flights as AA does not have direct flights from the west coast to Europe and BA does. When I booked an award flight on BA, I was told that Heathrow had high taxes and I had to pay $450. Now I want to change the date that I leave, it will cost over $200 more because of the BA’s fuel surcharge and it will looks like it will be even more on February 8th. One of the advantages of award travel that I have liked is that you can change dates supposedly without any penalty. This sucks.

    BA is just playing a game with their fares so that look relatively low on sites which compare airfares before taxes and surcharges and then stick it to the customer when they book.

  4. Qantas here in Australia announced an increase in their fuel surcharge a few weeks back. BA is merely just following suit. There’ll be a few others who’ll follow too no doubt.

  5. Based in the UK I am used to paying YQ in awards. I don’t have an issue with them raising YQ as many airlines (Cathay, Singapore, etc) are set to increase fuel surcharge shortly. What does bug me is that they are never as quick at reducing the fuel surcharge!

    As for BA playing a game where by their prices look low it’s not really the case. In the EU an airline must display the price inclusive of all fees (they can exclude credit card fees, etc) so that theory of making the fares seem low doesn’t work. I’m guessing that’s not the case in the US?

    As for people now deciding not to fly BA because of the YQ, suits me! 🙂

  6. I’ve got a BA award itinerary on hold (using AA miles). Do I need to ticket by Feb. 7 to avoid the increased fuel surcharge?

  7. @ anat0l — I think it’s a function of how much more US airlines are dependent on frequent flyer programs vs. foreign carriers. Several of the legacies wouldn’t be in business anymore if it weren’t for banks/credit card companies buying huge chunks of miles to help keep them alive. Simply put, consumers would be outraged if their “free” tickets were close to the price of a revenue coach ticket, and I doubt the credit card companies would be too happy about it. And up until the past year or so, when the airlines were losing billions of dollars, it seemed like the credit card companies were running the airlines.

    While others might be used to paying fuel surcharges outside of the US, I actually don’t think they make sense on award tickets. Fine, charge them if a “surcharge” is a sudden and temporary spike in the cost of something. But the fuel surcharges almost never go down. Why should an award passenger pay for a fuel surcharge, while not paying a meal surcharge, labor surcharge, airport rent surcharge, etc.? While the US airlines are the ultimate “unbundlers,” it just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

    @ AJ — It’s actually a bit better than AA for travel on Cathay Pacific, in my opinion. American might be 12,500 miles cheaper each way, but no stopovers are allowed. I love Hong Kong and I like to continue onwards, so I actually consider booking through British Airways to be a better value.

    @ Phil — Yes, you’re going to want to ticket by the 7th. If they reprice the taxes at the time of ticketing, which they should, you would be responsible for the new surcharges if you ticket on the 8th or later.

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