Our friend tker was kind enough to start a thread on the transition of USAir, post merger, from Star Alliance to OneWorld. Having only really experienced the Star Alliance in general and USAir in particular, I have limited experience with non-U.S. carriers for award travel. Mrs. Pained and I are planning to enjoy visits to Europe, Asia, Australia, and South America over the next few years. Our other friend, californian , shared the nightmare of a $1000 charge from British Airways on an award ticket to Scandinavia. Man, that's steep!!
What airlines have joined British Airways in charging outrageous surcharges, fees and/or taxes on award travel? Please, share your knowledge and experiences.
I am going with the good in One World. You mentioned Australia and in my opinion Qantas is one of the best airlines and I don't remember a heavy tax. When i went to SA to get to Antarctica, I flew on AA and the taxes and fees were very little. I will be flying back from SA on AA nest year and the tax was small. I flew Japan Airlines, which I didn't like, going to Thailand and don't remember huge taxes. I think your main concern will be Europe.
I will be following this to learn more.
United Airlines - award travel
I was charged 49.90 per each award RT Dulles to Copenhagen;
US Customs user fee $5.50
US Immigration user fee $7.00
US APHIS user fee $5.00
9/11 Security fee $2.50
Denmark Service fee $29.90
1) It doesn't appear (unless Denmark fee) that United is charging anything
2) This was booked in the summer - don't know current or projected/if any
While I cannot answer your question regarding anyone other than what you have written about BA, I will tell you within the last two weeks I booked a trip to Europe for late next summer through UA online, yet not one flight is actually on UA . We fly Air Canada, and Lufthansa all using award miles in Business Class, the fee I paid for both round trip tickets was $151.60, so
Just give it a test run on the AA website and see what you come up with for the fee.
Thanks! I will add the same comment from the other thread. BA is being sued for the fuel surcharges. The gist of the lawsuit is that they haven't varied as fuel priced dropped. An article I read commented that BA could simply rename them and continue gouging without problem.
Two years ago, I used US Airways DM miles from IAD-BKK in business class. (3) tickets. Dulles-Tokyo was on ANA. Tokyo-Bangkok on United. Great flights. Total taxes for all passengers $450.00. Miles 360k. (120k each) awesome deal imho
so as not to hijack the thread, I'll attach this to your response to a reply - everyone else, please keep the thread on surcharges, but since tker mentioned the fuel surcharge lawsuit, international travelers might get a kick out of this (it gave me a brainfreeze, but some of you folks who travel internationally a lot, may find some value)
PS - the next story (which is what I posted yesterday and it died a slow, lonely death in the bowels of the forum, is
a nice story on Bill Marriott Bill Marriott: Sixty years a hotelier | The Economist
Ok, we now return you to your regularly scheduled programming - international fees and taxes on award travel
Nice article(s) erc. I'm nominating the Insiders Hall Of Fame data guru pingreeman as our official fuel dumping research chief. Nobody beats pingreeman, nobody.
That's a great idea. pingreeman is Mr. Algorithm himself. I think it would be great for a more intrepid Insider than myself, to fly one of those routes and report back, with big savings and beating "the system" - cool.
I agree with Californian regarding Europe travel. Air france wanted something like $2400 for two economy mileage awards tickets just last year (2012). We decided to keep our Marriott points and just pay cash for a non-stop to Paris on - what does Iahflyr call it? El Bus Grande? The problem is, I'd fly AF or QF (or even LH though LH is Star) to Europe/Australia over AA any day. Better in flight service and better seats.
(3 X - edits - a charm). What I'm saying essentially is that I'd fly any of these three foreign airlines over any U.S. airlines overseas. They simply offer a better product. Decisions, decisions.
I follow a few frequent flyer mile / hotel point blogs and there are discussions on this all the time.
Here is a link to an article that discusses most of the major domestic and foreign airlines and what their fuel surcharge policy is.
I had similar sticker shock on my recent trip to England. Ended up with a bargain price for economy seats of $911, but the fees amounted to $698, so the airline pocketed $213 per ticket (for flights from CMH-EWR-LHR and then LHR-YYZ-CHM).
For these flights fees and taxes were 76% of the total and this was not award travel. Granted I was packed in tighter than a sardine, so the airline made it's point. If you want to be comfortable, you will pay. I'll consider it next time.
I do have a breakdown of my fare and you are right, LHR (or the UK in general) does add some hefty fees.
It looks like just flying into (or through, I suppose) the U.K. adds almost $170 in fees compared with the $4 for going by way of Toronto on the return trip. Looking at it, I guess half the total ($458) is for an "International Surcharge" (whatever that is). I see no indication of where this goes (airlines, government(s), or airports). Looks like the U.S. fees amount to about $65.
It's no wonder first class tickets cost so much. Airlines would still be flying bankrupt if they could only keep $200 per passenger on a transatlantic flight.
This may be a slightly different post (I didn't have a chance to go through all of them), but if you fly many of the major airlines business class award travel will go up in February. I read this in InsideFlyer magazine, and have seen it online as well. (Probably on FlyerTalk too.) As a result, since I had about a half million unused points, I booked business class tickets twice to Rome and twice to Athens in 2014, all for a total of 400,000 miles. And it was easy -- no glitches, no error codes. One even came to 80,000 miles, which stunned me. My thought is that many people aren't spending now, even for the taxes, so it is a good time to book in business for 2014, especially for international travel.