The Travel Professor
Join me on a journey across the broad spectrum of interesting travel topics. We’ll discuss destinations domestic and abroad, some familiar and some off the beaten path. We take a look at suppliers like cruise lines, air carriers and tour operators and find their bargains and special offerings. Got questions? Email

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fuel surcharges and misc. fees are hear to stay

Don’t expect major U.S. airlines and cruise lines to cancel any of the recently introduced fuel surcharges and incidental service fees. The main reasons are simple: Corporate greed and profit taking. Plus the executives think that as consumers we only look at the base price and ignore the total amount that we actually pay for an airline ticket or cruise berth.

The actually costs of an airline ticket with a base airfare of $198.00 is not $198.00. Add in $50.00 for fuel fees, $60.00 in taxes, $100.00 roundtrip baggage costs and your total ticket cost increases to $408.00. I’ve left off a fee charges like premium seating, meals and beverages so the amount can escalate higher.

In their quests for new revenue streams I see the airlines adding pay toilets on the planes then also selling you the toilet paper. For frequent flyers you’ll be able to purchase a seat license which gives you unlimited trip to the “john”.

In June, when crude oil was $134 a barrel, jet fuel was $163 a barrel. This week, the jet fuel price was about $140, according to the International Air Transport Association. But like the price of gasoline you won’t see the surcharges drop as quickly as the rose.

The carriers also have added fees for other services checking bags, redeeming miles online, booking reservations over the phone and are showing no signs of retiring them. The cruise lines have gradually added fees for dining in their specialty restaurants and I would not be surprised if they start adding fees for previously free items like use of the health club or the walking track.

The Travel Prof predicts that the industry will retain these surcharges and à la carte pricing models indefinitely. I also believe that we will continue to see a wide range of future fees added to the products.

Happy travels!