Questionable charges on AA Award ticket

 
Old Jul 23, 14, 6:35 pm
  #1  
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Questionable charges on AA Award ticket

Hi, I booked a round trip first class award tickets on ORD-TPE by phone (It's not possible to book this online). The itinerary is

ORD-NRT-TPE (Japan Airlines)
TPE-HKG-ORD (Cathay Pacific, overnight transfer at HKG)

However, they seem to overcharge. I got hold of their Facebook customer support to email me the breakdown. Here is the breakdown they email me:

$5.10 Japan Passenger Security Service Charge (OI)
$10.40 Japan Passenger Service Facilities Charge (SW)
$10.00 Chinese Taipei Airport Service Charge (TW)
$15.50 Hong Kong Passenger Departure Tax (HK)
$5.50 US Customs Fee (YC)
$7.00 US Federal Inspection Fee (XY)
$5.00 US APHIS User Fee (XA)
$2.5 Passenger Civil Aviation Security (AY)
$4.50 Passenger Facility Charge for ORD (XF)
$17.5 US International Transportation Departure Tax (US2)
$17.5 US International Transportation Arrival Tax (US2)
$6.00 is the US Domestic Transportation Tax (US1)


The last four I marked red seem questionable. Last year, I had same ORD-TPE award ticket on all Cathay Pacific. The last four items were not there.

I try some international flight mock bookings on AA award engine. It seems that only if BA is involved, then there will be XF and US2 (but no US1) charges.

Does anyone know whether this is new for Cathay Pacific/Japan Airlines award ticket this year or it's a mistake?
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Old Jul 23, 14, 6:38 pm
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Welcome to FlyerTalk.

As American Airlines and US Airways are still operating as distinct airlines, this question is being moved to the appropriate pre-merger airline forum.

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Old Jul 23, 14, 7:17 pm
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That's because CX now imposes a $6 HKG security fee, which is part of the BASE FARE. Your red line items are activated because of this, and unfortunately there's no way to waive them afaik
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Old Jul 23, 14, 9:48 pm
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The only questionable charge would be the last one, the US domestic transport tax since all your segments were to/from destinations outside the USA. The other three seem legitimate enough.
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Old Jul 24, 14, 1:31 am
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Originally Posted by keepssmile View Post
That's because CX now imposes a $6 HKG security fee, which is part of the BASE FARE. Your red line items are activated because of this, and unfortunately there's no way to waive them afaik
Thank you for the information. The confirmation email did show $6 as Fare. My email to customer support asked about this charge. They replied "$6.00 is the US Domestic Transportation Tax (US1)". So apparently, they gave me the wrong answer on this item.

So as long as there is a base fare, the US International Transportation Departure Tax will be applied too even though my US departure is by Japan Airlines?

It seems strange the HKG security fee is considered as Fare, rather than part of tax structure though.
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Old Jul 24, 14, 1:47 am
  #6  
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CX has decided to apply the fee as a surcharge

If there is any fare or surcharge in the itinerary, then US departure taxes become applicable. That you leave the US on JL where there is no charge and connect to CX does not impact this

In this situation, you could have avoided the taxes by booking 2 separate one way awards. If you had done this, then the oubound award would not have had any fare componant and US departure taxes would have been avoided
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Old Jul 24, 14, 9:12 am
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I just want to say all of you on flyertalk are awesome! I have a roundtrip business class ticket - JFK-HKG-BKK; SIN-HKG-JFK, where taxes were $46 (booked in Feb). I was recently able to upgrade the outbound JFK-HKG to First, and now I have a $12 fare and $86 in taxes. The agent wasn't able to explain why I had a $12 fare and much more in taxes and I didn't pursue it - I was too excited to snag that F seat... Assume this security fee was implemented after Feb.
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Old Jul 24, 14, 4:13 pm
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
CX has decided to apply the fee as a surcharge

If there is any fare or surcharge in the itinerary, then US departure taxes become applicable. That you leave the US on JL where there is no charge and connect to CX does not impact this

In this situation, you could have avoided the taxes by booking 2 separate one way awards. If you had done this, then the oubound award would not have had any fare componant and US departure taxes would have been avoided
Dave, thank you for the explanation.

If I had booked separately, I would have paid two $35 phone booking fee though I saved the $17.5 departure tax and $4.5 Passenger Facility Charge.

It's great to get correct information and gain knowledge here. Some of AA support seems clueless. First, they interpreted the $6 to be US Domestic Transportation Tax. Then I asked them why there is US Domestic Transportation Tax for international flights, here is what they replied

"The taxes are part of the cost that the government has us pass on to you. the $6.00 dollar US tax is the cost of the portion of the flight from ORD-NRT that flies over the US, the $17.50 is for the cost of leaving and returning over the US border (charges each way) and the $4.50 is the Passenger Facility Charge that the ORD airport can collect from customer who enplane in that airport. This is the info we have on the tax collection. "
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Old Jul 24, 14, 4:21 pm
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Trouble with the agents is that since the computer just prices it out, it looks like the explanation seems to based on what they can make up that might sound believable rather than actually properly investigating and replying

I am not sure what it is about the HKG fee that makes it something that CX charges as a surcharge componant rather than a tax , but as soon as a surcharge apears, so do US taxes
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Old Jul 24, 14, 4:37 pm
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Originally Posted by geniza151 View Post
I just want to say all of you on flyertalk are awesome! I have a roundtrip business class ticket - JFK-HKG-BKK; SIN-HKG-JFK, where taxes were $46 (booked in Feb). I was recently able to upgrade the outbound JFK-HKG to First, and now I have a $12 fare and $86 in taxes. The agent wasn't able to explain why I had a $12 fare and much more in taxes and I didn't pursue it - I was too excited to snag that F seat... Assume this security fee was implemented after Feb.
I don't know when they started this. Last year I booked ORD-JFK-HKG-TPE, TPE-HKG-ORD, ORD-PHX. All tax came as $35 only. So I was quite puzzled when I was told the total excluding the phone support charge was $106.5 even if factoring the HKG departure tax due to my overnight connection there. The agent couldn't explain. The email replied from customer support didn't make too much sense either. So I am glad to find out the real cause and understand how some tax charges work.
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Old Jul 24, 14, 4:41 pm
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Originally Posted by Kevinccl View Post
I don't know when they started this. Last year I booked ORD-JFK-HKG-TPE, TPE-HKG-ORD, ORD-PHX. All tax came as $35 only. So I was quite puzzled when I was told the total excluding the phone support charge was $106.5 even if factoring the HKG departure tax due to my overnight connection there. The agent couldn't explain. The email replied from customer support didn't make too much sense either. So I am glad to find out the real cause and understand how some tax charges work.
+1

FWIW, UA awards weren't adding this HKG fee as of two weeks ago when I was comparing ORD - SIN awards.

On the one hand, AA not offering all partners online leaves some availability for those of us who are more savvy, but getting tickets to price with the proper taxes is painful. Add a lap infant and you might as well down a bottle of your favorite legal poison before you dial in.
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Old Jul 24, 14, 5:03 pm
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Originally Posted by smilinganddialing View Post
+1

FWIW, UA awards weren't adding this HKG fee as of two weeks ago when I was comparing ORD - SIN awards.

On the one hand, AA not offering all partners online leaves some availability for those of us who are more savvy, but getting tickets to price with the proper taxes is painful. Add a lap infant and you might as well down a bottle of your favorite legal poison before you dial in.
UA will not be issuing awards on CX. CX specifically applies it as a surcharge, if on a different airline, it may be different

Taking TG for example, looking on ITA, it has for HKG-BKK only a tax of HDK120 for depature tax plus a YQ.

No other entry for this security fee, so would not expect the US taxes to be applied for a UA award on TG as an example
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Old Jul 24, 14, 7:15 pm
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
UA will not be issuing awards on CX. CX specifically applies it as a surcharge, if on a different airline, it may be different
So that's the difference. It's not a government-imposed fee, which would not trigger US taxes. It may be that CX (and all other carriers) is charged $6/passenger for security, but that it's intended to be a fee on the carrier, not the airline (much like landing fees). CX deciding to pass it on sounds like what car rental agencies have been doing: passing fees that are levied against the car rental agency, as opposed to the renter, on to the renter instead of including them in the base fare. On the airline side, it's no different than fuel surcharges.
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Old Jul 25, 14, 12:59 pm
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
UA will not be issuing awards on CX. CX specifically applies it as a surcharge, if on a different airline, it may be different

Taking TG for example, looking on ITA, it has for HKG-BKK only a tax of HDK120 for depature tax plus a YQ.

No other entry for this security fee, so would not expect the US taxes to be applied for a UA award on TG as an example
Yes, of course I know that UA won't be issuing awards on CX. I was comparing an all UA metal ORD - HKG - SIN award using UA miles to an all CX metal ORD - HKG - SIN award using AA miles.

Rather awful of CX to be imposing these additional charges. We'd all be better off if you could use a few more miles instead of having to pay YQ because you could then save all the additional taxes that YQ triggers.

Oh well. Another devaluation.
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Old Jul 25, 14, 1:29 pm
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Thing is, it is a valid thing to compare. If you book a flight out of HKG on , say, MH you will not (iirc) get charged a surcharge and so the US taxes will not trigger

Fly ORD-HKG on CX and connect to MH to KUL for example and you will not be hit by the taxes iirc

It is possible to get the award without paying the US taxes
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