More bad news – BA now adding fuel surcharges to US Airways flights

At the end of March, US Airways joined the oneworld alliance following its acquisition by American Airlines.

This opened up some attractive new routes from the UK and Ireland to the United States.  One of the reasons they were attractive is that British Airways was not levying fuel surcharges on these redemptions.

Instead of the standard £550 taxes and charges for a business class return, you only needed to pay:

Dublin to Philadelphia – £28

London to Charlotte – £194

London to Philadelphia – £194

Manchester to Charlotte – £165

Manchester to Philadelphia – £165

Edinburgh to Philadelphia – £162

Glasgow to Philadelphia – £161

This is effectively just the UK Air Passenger Duty plus a few tiny add-ons.

Sadly, these deals are no more.

Take a look at the screenshot below:

US Airways screenshot

This is for a Dublin to Philadelphia flight.  The tax charge used to be £28 but is now £223.

(I tried to pull up examples for ex-UK flights but ba.com would not play ball.  It was refusing to show business class flights which the US Airways website showed were clearly available.  It would also happily show US Airways international flights when a BA domestic connection was attached, but would not show the same flights without the UK domestic add-on! I could get ba.com to price an economy return from Heathrow to Charlotte. This priced at 40,000 Avios and £360, in line with what a BA redemption would cost.)

This is not BA’s fault, per se.

As One Mile At A Time explains here, US Airways is now filing its fares differently in the central airline pricing databases.  Instead of just filing a base fare, it has split the base fare into a smaller base fare and a big fuel surcharge.  ba.com is simply doing what it is programmed to do, which is to add on any fuel surcharge shown in the pricing database.

I hope that a lot of you managed to get some US Airways redemptions booked whilst the fuel surcharges were not being added.  This was never going to last beyond the start of 2015 anyway – once the US Airways name was dropped and all flights converted to American, it was 100% certain that American-sized fuel surcharges would start to be added.  I was just hoping it would last a bit longer.

If you DO have US Airways transatlantic redemptions booked, you cannot now change the dates.  If you do, British Airways will reprice the taxes and you will be forced to pay an extra £200 per person (plus the change fee!).

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Comments

  1. swissy says:

    What about using US Dividend miles on BA stock ?

    • US started adding fuel surcharges to BA flights a few weeks ago. For technical reasons it wasn’t happening for the first few weeks after they joined oneworld in April.

  2. Another very good reason for thinking about joining AAdvantage or at least crediting your BA flights to it. I’ve just made a comparison between AA & BA on MAN-MCO and the difference in charges is staggering.

  3. I do wish people would stop referring to these rip off charges as taxes. They are not. The UK does not benefit in any way from BA gauging of passengers and calling them taxes simply let’s BA off the hook.

    It really is time we had some sort class action against them for imposing fees when the operating carrier does not. Either that of the office of fair reading makes them advertise the huge level off fees every time the Avios symbol orBA logo is used.

    • The Office of Fair Reading sounds like an interesting organisation, but if it’s OFT then they’ve been abolished and replaced by the CMA, Competition and Markets Authority – but yes…go for it!

    • I am trying to write ‘taxes and charges’ at least once per post now!

    • wobbly wings says:

      As someone who has made this point many times I can only agree!! It’s a scam. It nearly makes RyanAir “booking fees” look legit in comparison.

      • callum says:

        In what way is it a scam? They are upfront about charging this fee, and always have been.

        It’s incredibly annoying, and I won’t redeem my avios for transatlantic flights because of it, but I hardly see how it warrants threatening legal action. It seems like nowadays people have no interest in determining whether something is actually legal or not before suggesting legal action against it, thinking that just because they dislike it, the law will force them to change. That’s not how the law works.

      • Aeronaut says:

        Though the ‘new’ Ryanair doesn’t go in for all that booking fee nonsense any more (and the credit card surcharge is now 2%).

  4. Well that saves me the job of hunting down availability out of Manchester for next Summer.

  5. oyster says:

    I wonder why BA hasn’t introduced a scheme to allow use of Avios to pay for fees. Obviously I’d expect it to be at a poor rate like 0.25p per Avios.

    • Because of the large number of Avios in the system BA seems very nervous about letting you use them instead of cash. Look at ‘part pay with Avios’ where the number of Avios you can use is laughably small.

      Iberia has just launched the same and its even worse – post to follow soon.

  6. Mikeact says:

    Am I likely to be asked at check in, to pay the outstanding charges?

  7. On a sort of related note, I transferred 60k SPG points Monday to AA and 90k posted this morning.

    Also noticed there were 2 seats twice a day CLT-LHR on US posted Monday morning (making me transfer!) that were all filled/pulled that afternoon.

  8. Lady London says:

    greed. GREED
    and lies

    • Technically all BA is doing is adding on the fuel surcharge that US has added to the GDS. BA hasn’t done anything to trigger this. The fact that BA gets to keep the money (the ticketing airline keeps the fuel surcharge, not the flying airline) is beside the point.

      With airberlin, AB charges its own TopBonus members a surcharge. However, because it is not broken out in the ticket price in the GDS, BA does not add one on. It works both ways.

  9. Philip says:

    I fail to see why the so called surcharges apply , we have had a period of relative stability on the fuel cost , it always used to be priced in , why no longer ?

    • A friend of mine did some calculations based on the new A380s, which admittedly are very fuel efficient. The fuel surcharges collected on a full BA A380 to Los Angeles would actually raise MORE than the entire fuel bill.

  10. I just looked up a one way NYC-MUC and ba.com showed me a US Airways flight LGA – PHL – MUC for 29500 Avios + £ 13 (Economy) or 54500 Avios + £ 13 (Business).

    Is the fuel surcharge only charged ex-Europe?