Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Community > Only Randy Petersen
Reload this Page >

Award Fuel Surcharges Masquerading As 'Taxes'.....Time For An 'Inside Flyer' Expose

Award Fuel Surcharges Masquerading As 'Taxes'.....Time For An 'Inside Flyer' Expose

 
Old Aug 19, 08, 10:24 am
  #211  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Cleveland
Programs: AF/KLM Plat For Life/UA Million Miler-PremEx For Life/SPG Gold
Posts: 5,054
I'm finding an interesting line item with Flying Blue using sample itins.

CDG-IAD in J:
272 CAD total
But the line items below only equal 239, so there is a 33 CAD unexplained charge
194.85 YQAC
27.03 QXAP
6.24 IZ
10.97 FRSE

But then there is a 1.5588% BR, but with no amount next to it. Maybe that is the SALES TAX that is being charged on some type of base fare INSTEAD of the appropriate $0 fare. It's odd that this line item does not have an amount next to it??

IAD-CDG-IAD the same cryptic BR, but its only 1.0609%; and again there is no dollar amount attached to it, even though the total taxes have about a $60 gap between total tax and the adding together the line items.
beaubo is offline  
Old Aug 19, 08, 10:44 am
  #212  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Cleveland
Programs: AF/KLM Plat For Life/UA Million Miler-PremEx For Life/SPG Gold
Posts: 5,054
more oddness....

fuel surcharges from AF on a J awards:

IAD-CDG $175 CAD
CDG-IAD $195 CAD
IAD-CDG-IAD $350 CAD (175 av each way)
CDG-IAD-CDG $389 CAD (195 av each way)

How is it that the the fuel surcharge for the exact same routing could change based on whether its RT vs. one way or whether its ex-CDG vs. ex-IAD????

C'mon!!!


Different madness from BD awards.

* There is a line item called 'IZ'
CDG-IAD: AF $.6.24 CAD BD 40 Euros

* BD charges a line item called 'XT' than is NOT charged at all by AF
CDG-IAD 79 Euros

I'll try and provide something more systematic, but I am contacting BD and AF to do an applesto apples comparison on a route that they both fly nonstop (IAD-CDG).
beaubo is offline  
Old Aug 19, 08, 11:21 am
  #213  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Cleveland
Programs: AF/KLM Plat For Life/UA Million Miler-PremEx For Life/SPG Gold
Posts: 5,054
BD vs. AF award taxes/fees comparison

IAD-CDG
AF: 175 CAD fuel surcharge; 194 CAD total (183 USD)
BD: 165 USD fuel surcharge; 183 USD total

CDG-IAD
AF: 195 CAD fuel surcharge; 272 CAD total (256 USD)
BD: 115 EUR fuel surcharge; 241 EUR total (356 USD)

IAD-CDG-IAD
AF: 350 CAD fuel surcharge; 463 CAD total (436 USD)
BD: 330 USD fuel surcharge; 645 USD total
beaubo is offline  
Old Aug 19, 08, 11:30 am
  #214  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Cleveland
Programs: AF/KLM Plat For Life/UA Million Miler-PremEx For Life/SPG Gold
Posts: 5,054
http://www.advantagetravel.co.uk/Tra...ine_Taxes.html

nice summary of airport taxes.

Based on the article, if I'm reading it right, it appears that 'XT" was supposed to be a catch-all designation to aggregate a bunch of smaller taxes. But now that BD seems to itemize all their taxes (even the little amounts), maybe the XT is actually a REDUNDANT tax?????
beaubo is offline  
Old Aug 19, 08, 11:32 am
  #215  
Suspended
Four Seasons Contributor BadgeMandarin Oriental Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Feb 1999
Location: Seat 1A, Juice pretty much everywhere, Mucci des Coins Exotiques
Posts: 34,332
Ams

I just noticed this new Dutch tax on the Schiphol website that you will incur if you pass through Amsterdam.

We have unfortunately been obligated by the Dutch government to charge our passengers a so-called Air Passenger Tax on top of the ticket price and existing surcharges. From 1 July 2008, this Air Passenger Tax will be levied by the Dutch government on all flights departing from the Netherlands.


The surcharge payable depends on the destination and it either EUR 11.25 or EUR 45. All revenue generated by this extra tax goes directly into the government treasury.
stimpy is offline  
Old Aug 19, 08, 4:01 pm
  #216  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Marriott Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 16,093
Originally Posted by wanaflyforless View Post
I recently booked a friend a last minute family emergency ticket from NSI to ATL using AF miles.

AF 60K mile One-Way business class - 2 AF metal flights
NSI-CDG-ATL

AF charged me $517.22 in "taxes."

On ITA, I see ~$85 of NSI related departures taxes and $60 between the French and US fees. Then we have the ~$375 AF fuel surcharge.

That is $750 USD towards fuel on a RT award. There is no way AF has fuel expenses that high per passenger.

(Also consider revenue from cargo contributing to fuel costs.
Let alone the fact that the incremental fuel cost of another passenger is miniscule.)

I have no problem with AF collecting the $145 each way of fees they will pass on to the governments/airports involved.

Making a profit off of my redemption is another matter.

Can you prove the said airline is only using fuel surcharge as an excuse to do revenue enhancement? Some people asked why should they be paying BD for YQ levied by other airlines... I say, unless you can prove BD never intends to disburse that money collected to its partners, then you can't win based on your suspicison alone. I ask myself: "Can I easily prove my claim against a said airline charging me this and that?" In the case of US/Canada Sales tax, it can be easily shown to a small claims court here that the airline was wrong. The concept is so simple and all the necessary evidences are in place that it is impossible to lose the case. In such case, the investment in time/money is also very low so the 2nd question then becomes, can I take the airline to court cheaply and efficiently? The answer to both of these questions are affirmative. But when you look at the YQ surcharge situation, BD said they are collecting those on behalf of partner airlines. Unless you can prove that is not the case...tough luck... In the case of AF, more evidences are still necessary I think. AF has the right to charge you YQ but the rules must be clear and easily understood. If they said they will charge you $250 for flights longer than 9 hours, you want to make sure that is applied consistently between reward tickets and revenue tickets. If they don't, then you may have a legitimate claim that they are not consistent and are in fact making money where they shouldn't be. I still maintain the case re: AF is interesting but insufficient at this point. You need to demonstrate that AF has done something improper as opposed to you don't like paying YQ. I don't like YQ either but there is nothing I or you can do about it except voting with our wallet.
Guava is offline  
Old Aug 19, 08, 4:25 pm
  #217  
Moderator, CoronaVirus and Hilton Honors
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: on a short leash
Programs: some
Posts: 71,341
Originally Posted by beaubo View Post
more oddness....

fuel surcharges from AF on a J awards:

IAD-CDG $175 CAD
CDG-IAD $195 CAD
IAD-CDG-IAD $350 CAD (175 av each way)
CDG-IAD-CDG $389 CAD (195 av each way)

How is it that the the fuel surcharge for the exact same routing could change based on whether its RT vs. one way or whether its ex-CDG vs. ex-IAD????

C'mon!!!
It is not unusual for airlines to express fuel surcharges (and other fees) differently based on country of origin. Even where they are the same at time of being set, currency movements can cause them to be different.
Kiwi Flyer is offline  
Old Aug 21, 08, 10:04 am
  #218  
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Charleston, SC, USA
Programs: Avis Chairman's, IHG Gold, HyatGlobalist Lite, Honors Diamond (Amex spend), Marriott Life Gold
Posts: 6,776
Bravo to Guava #200 ^ for hunting down a 2nd-degree supervisor & fare desk employee who know(s) US law! But to the BD department that does not & programmed the computer wrong!
US law says that free/ award tix are exempt from the ZP $3.50 per plane excise tax, the US 7% (?) excise tax (Du-uh! 7% of 0 = 0 !) & the Passenger Facility Charges (XF.) However, if any money goes to the airline(s), these exemptions are lost. But the 7% is 2B charged only on the fuel surcharge/ upgrade fee/ cash of cash & miles, NOT the full fare!
Brendan is offline  
Old Aug 21, 08, 7:32 pm
  #219  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Cleveland
Programs: AF/KLM Plat For Life/UA Million Miler-PremEx For Life/SPG Gold
Posts: 5,054
Originally Posted by Guava View Post
Case in point, I just successfully discussed an imposition of fuel surcharges / sales tax levied on a one-way ticket within North America in First/Business class involving more than one Star Alliance airlines.

The Cash Portion of the award is $150 USD as the per the award chart, nothing controversial here.

The so called taxes & fees come to $470 USD, for a total cash expense of $620 USD.


Naturally, I did my homework, by my calculation, the taxes/fees should come to about $80 USD, not $470.

We eventually hit what I suspect was the trouble maker in this case, which is the imposition of Canadian Goods and Sales Tax + the US Transportation Tax. Both of these taxes are really sales tax with a fixed % imposition on the fare of the ticket.

the taxes/fees have now been reduced to 45 GBP or about $90 USD because BD imposes sales tax on the cash portion of the award (that's fine with me), not bad for an itineary is almost 5,000 miles in total travel distance. @:-)
.
What is the % cost of the Canadian GST and US Transportation tax, that a $150 cash value of the base fare (cost of C/M) could come out to $90. That calculation comes out to a 60% tax rate??!!!!!

What am I missing here?
beaubo is offline  
Old Aug 21, 08, 8:50 pm
  #220  
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Charleston, SC, USA
Programs: Avis Chairman's, IHG Gold, HyatGlobalist Lite, Honors Diamond (Amex spend), Marriott Life Gold
Posts: 6,776
Beaubo,
Canadian GST = 5%, US Transportation Tax = 7% + the ZP portion of $3.50 per flight, XF taxes = $3--4.50 per airport (max. 4 per RT.) So if there is 1 Cxn in each direction & each airport levies maximum XF:
(12% x $150) + $14 + $18 = $50.
Then come the taxes that apply even to free tix: The 9/11 Security Fee of $2.50 per flight from the USA, Cdn. security tax of C$8 + $.40 GST thereon & Cdn. AIF of C$20 + C$1 GST at most airports. So about US $38 + the $50 from above.
Brendan is offline  
Old Aug 21, 08, 10:39 pm
  #221  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Marriott Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 16,093
Originally Posted by Brendan View Post
Beaubo,
Canadian GST = 5%, US Transportation Tax = 7% + the ZP portion of $3.50 per flight, XF taxes = $3--4.50 per airport (max. 4 per RT.) So if there is 1 Cxn in each direction & each airport levies maximum XF:
(12% x $150) + $14 + $18 = $50.
Then come the taxes that apply even to free tix: The 9/11 Security Fee of $2.50 per flight from the USA, Cdn. security tax of C$8 + $.40 GST thereon & Cdn. AIF of C$20 + C$1 GST at most airports. So about US $38 + the $50 from above.
This is entirely correct, I am very impressed by how much you know, this is amazing.
Guava is offline  
Old Aug 21, 08, 10:48 pm
  #222  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Marriott Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 16,093
Originally Posted by beaubo View Post
What is the % cost of the Canadian GST and US Transportation tax, that a $150 cash value of the base fare (cost of C/M) could come out to $90. That calculation comes out to a 60% tax rate??!!!!!

What am I missing here?
The government taxes / airport fees come to about $80. There are also some provincial sales tax that I think BD should not have included but they amount to some $2 and change, so I wasn't going to argue every single penny. If your itineary is wholly within the USA, I think your tax bill on the ticket will be a lot cheaper, like half off I think.

It's too bad that UA has downgraded their p.s. service so drastically or else BD allows you to book some pretty crazy one-way itineary with one stopover plus your destination within North America. This can come handy in the summer when airfares within this continent is very high and for last-minute travel if your are BD Gold. Now that we know how to avoid those unjustified sales taxes, with no YQ, it may actually make financial sense to use BD miles on North American routes depending on the circumstances. And if you include AC business class and let it be your longest segment (e.g. SFO-YUL > JFK-LAX), you can actually book UA p.s. First class award for the price of business! ^ Now, let this be a bonus for those who read this thread please, no cross-posting! :-:
Guava is offline  
Old Aug 22, 08, 9:09 am
  #223  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: SFO
Programs: AA
Posts: 190
XT should be your total taxes, excluding sales tax
ngalliance is offline  
Old Aug 23, 08, 3:44 pm
  #224  
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: SF Bay Area
Programs: AA EXP, UA*G MM, AC 75K, Hyatt Glob, Marriott Titanium, HH Dia, IHG Plat
Posts: 4,553
Originally Posted by Guava View Post
The government taxes / airport fees come to about $80. There are also some provincial sales tax that I think BD should not have included but they amount to some $2 and change, so I wasn't going to argue every single penny. If your itineary is wholly within the USA, I think your tax bill on the ticket will be a lot cheaper, like half off I think.

It's too bad that UA has downgraded their p.s. service so drastically or else BD allows you to book some pretty crazy one-way itineary with one stopover plus your destination within North America. This can come handy in the summer when airfares within this continent is very high and for last-minute travel if your are BD Gold. Now that we know how to avoid those unjustified sales taxes, with no YQ, it may actually make financial sense to use BD miles on North American routes depending on the circumstances. And if you include AC business class and let it be your longest segment (e.g. SFO-YUL > JFK-LAX), you can actually book UA p.s. First class award for the price of business! ^ Now, let this be a bonus for those who read this thread please, no cross-posting! :-:
Wow....now let's hope the BD program isn't absorbed by M&M. Thanks much for your efforts, Guava.
Explore is offline  
Old Sep 29, 08, 12:43 pm
  #225  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Cleveland
Programs: AF/KLM Plat For Life/UA Million Miler-PremEx For Life/SPG Gold
Posts: 5,054
From Air France website:
Late Fall and Winter Webfares
Los Angeles - Munich $193* Houston - Milan $229* Detroit - Florence $269* depart 10/29 to 12/13
*Fares are one-way based on a round trip purchase. Fares include fuel surcharge. Fares exclude government-imposed taxes & fees & the September 11th Security Fee.

This is a great example of why the 'fuel surcharges' engender such cynicism.

On an award ticket, the fuel surcharge TATL is $175 each way...which would have led me to believe that fuel surcharge would be the SAME on paid tickets, as Randy has argued that award tickets shouldn;t be exempt from escaping that cost. Yet, here's an example where its the PAID ticket that is essentially exempt from the fuel surcharge either for competitive/marketing/seasonal reasons, yet the award tickets are still charged the full amount.

The utter lack of consistency about the fuel surcharge is quite perplexing.
beaubo is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread