$1 Fare - with $350 Surcharge

Old Dec 16, 19, 10:57 pm
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$1 Fare - with $350 Surcharge

Hi All. My first post here, but up late at night in the states and was thinking about visiting Berlin 1/16/20-1/20/20 from ORD. Found a great fare at $536r/t, and then looked closer. The base fare is $1. There are a bunch of taxes and fees, both for the US and Germany, standard issue stuff. But then there is this $350 "International/Domestic Surcharge." Anybody know what this is and how maybe to get rid of it? I have one idea, which is to try and book it at the airport ticket counter at ORD. Here in the US, Spirit and Frontier always tack on mysterious $18-20 "customer usage fees" that seem unavoidable, except if you book at the airport. That's how those carriers are able to differentiate it between the airfare and a fee; you're paying to book online. So, is there something analogous with Lufthansa? Maybe a silly question, but have to ask given the change to maybe visit Berlin for under $200.

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Old Dec 16, 19, 11:17 pm
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That is what used to be called a "Fuel Surcharge".... and you will not avoid it by paying at the airport. It is also, these days, standard issue stuff. You are still getting 8,800 miles of travel for $536....so its not all bad....

P.S. Looks like those dates are available a little cheaper with United....$502....but THAT fare also includes the identical "YQ" carrier Surcharge...not sure why the difference.... it too is a 50 cent "fare" each way ...

Last edited by trooper; Dec 16, 19 at 11:32 pm
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Old Dec 17, 19, 12:29 am
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Unfortunately, the surcharge, which is just a hidden component of the ticket price, cannot be avoided.

Imagine a 4$ “fryer surcharge” on your 1 cent order of fries? Probably wouldn’t fly, but airlines seem to get away with it...
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Old Dec 17, 19, 12:34 am
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The actual taxes & fees are clearly displayed, that 350 USD is in reality part of the ticket price.
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Old Dec 17, 19, 2:27 am
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Originally Posted by worldclubber View Post
Unfortunately, the surcharge, which is just a hidden component of the ticket price, cannot be avoided.

Imagine a 4$ “fryer surcharge” on your 1 cent order of fries? Probably wouldn’t fly, but airlines seem to get away with it...
I think most people would wear it if the serving of fries was as large (relatively) as a flight to Berlin and back! lol

In effect the OP is paying a $351 dollar "fare" for the trip.... plus actual taxes that were clearly acceptable to him/her. Is that NOT a reasonable price to pay for that trip? If the YQ was not listed...and the fare component was $175.50 each way...would everyone be happier?

Last edited by trooper; Dec 17, 19 at 2:36 am
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Old Dec 17, 19, 2:43 am
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Just look at the total cost of the ticket. In the end, that's all that matters anyway. None of it is avoidable. I used to look at the breakdown too and wonder about all the additional costs. But I soon learned to get over it. That's just the way it is, and there is nothing we can do about it. "If you wanna play, you gotta pay."

At least they are required to show the total cost. I remember many years ago when they didn't. You'd see a great fare, and then when you'd click through, it suddenly became not such a good deal. But I believe that one of the reasons for the rule requiring airlines and OTAs to quote the final price was that it was very difficult to compare prices between airlines, because they didn't all show the same thing. Two airlines might show the same price, but when you'd click through, one of them could have a much higher final price then the other. With everything shown, it doesn't matter what is the actual fare or the surcharge or the fees or the taxes.

If you are quoted a price of $536, you pay $536. It doesn't make any difference if the fare is $1 and the surcharges, taxes, and fees are $535, or if the fare is $535 and the surcharges, taxes, and fees are $1.
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Last edited by g289t; Dec 17, 19 at 2:48 am
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Old Dec 17, 19, 3:23 am
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Originally Posted by worldclubber View Post
Unfortunately, the surcharge, which is just a hidden component of the ticket price, cannot be avoided.

Imagine a 4$ “fryer surcharge” on your 1 cent order of fries? Probably wouldn’t fly, but airlines seem to get away with it...
If you are willing to pay 4.01$ for fries, it will fly. People give a rats behind on how the price you pay is built as long as it meets you expectation.
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Old Dec 17, 19, 4:19 am
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Strikes me as being a Star Alliance thing. I've seen lots of similar £1 or $1 fares on Air Canada.

What it stopped me doing was buying the absolutely cheapest airfare from LHR-JFK using Nectar Points via Expedia, as I could only use the Nectar Points to pay for the base fare, and Expedia only considered the £1 to be the base fare.
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Old Dec 17, 19, 4:50 am
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Originally Posted by DeeGee26.2 View Post
Strikes me as being a Star Alliance thing. I've seen lots of similar £1 or $1 fares on Air Canada.

What it stopped me doing was buying the absolutely cheapest airfare from LHR-JFK using Nectar Points via Expedia, as I could only use the Nectar Points to pay for the base fare, and Expedia only considered the £1 to be the base fare.
I think someting similar can happen on deals like "50% off Black Friday fares". You end up getting a discount of $50 on a $1,000 ticket, because the discount doesn't apply to surcharges and taxes.
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Old Dec 17, 19, 5:01 am
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Originally Posted by DeeGee26.2 View Post
Strikes me as being a Star Alliance thing. I've seen lots of similar £1 or $1 fares on Air Canada.
Err, noooo.

Skyteam airlines like AF, KL, and DL are all gonna impose YQ/YR between ORD and TXL. So do Oneworld airlines like AA or BA. And you'll occasionally see USD/EUR/GBP 1 base fares from those two alliances as well.

In fact, on the OP's exact route and for the OP's exact dates, I find base fares of USD 0.50 per direction on AA/BA. EDIT: DL currently offers $0.50 base fares on that route as well.
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Old Dec 17, 19, 5:16 am
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Originally Posted by R.O. View Post
Err, noooo.

Skyteam airlines like AF, KL, and DL are all gonna impose YQ/YR between ORD and TXL. So do Oneworld airlines like AA or BA. And you'll occasionally see USD/EUR/GBP 1 base fares from those two alliances as well.

In fact, on the OP's exact route and for the OP's exact dates, I find base fares of USD 0.50 per direction on AA/BA. EDIT: DL currently offers $0.50 base fares on that route as well.
You know what, I've just spotted the extent of my ignorance!

After the AC flight that I couldn't get TATL on Nectar Points because it was £1, the second cheapest, which was the one I booked, was on UA, which I booked as a whole chunk of the fare could be paid for with Nectar points. So definitely not a Star Alliance "thing", then!

It's not alliance-specific at all, but it is an interesting piece of pricing rhetoric. I assume there's a substantial benefit in absorbing the best part of the fare into fees rather than just pricing the base fare at whatever level they want the fare to be?
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Old Dec 17, 19, 5:26 am
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Seems like a good fare to me. Just book it and don't worry about the components of it. I suspect you may not get free checked luggage or seat assignment though!
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Old Dec 17, 19, 5:42 am
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Originally Posted by DeeGee26.2 View Post
I assume there's a substantial benefit in absorbing the best part of the fare into fees rather than just pricing the base fare at whatever level they want the fare to be?
Yes, there is and it's been documented / explained in these forums many times in the various "fuel surcharges" threads.
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Old Dec 17, 19, 5:46 am
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Originally Posted by airoli View Post
Yes, there is and it's been documented / explained in these forums many times in the various "fuel surcharges" threads.
Well, thanks, I'll go off, do a search, and inform myself!
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Old Dec 17, 19, 7:07 am
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Originally Posted by oliver2002 View Post
If you are willing to pay 4.01$ for fries, it will fly. People give a rats behind on how the price you pay is built as long as it meets you expectation.
Just as people will usually pay 500$ for a Y ticket across the pond and don't care that 400$ are a "surcharge"...
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