Air Canada’s 30% Fuel Surcharge

In the annals of Air Canada’s deceptive practices, this one takes the cake. Here’s their quote, direct from their website, for a return flight from Charlottetown to London at the end of November:

Sample Fare showing Air Canada's 30% Fuel Surcharge

The base fare is $556, and the “fuel surcharge” of $168 is 30% of the fare. Shouldn’t the fuel surcharge just be called “part of the fare?” It’s extremely deceptive to lead customers through a process of booking a flight and then, at the last step before payment, dropping in an extra 30%.

Apparently Air Canada agrees; witness this news release from January, in which they say:

“Customers want a simple fare that includes all charges and by incorporating the fuel surcharge into our base domestic fares, we are taking the first major step in that direction,” said Montie Brewer, Executive Vice President, Commercial. “The incorporation of the fuel surcharge will help our customers truly understand how much they are paying for their travel.”

Apparently for international travel it’s not important that we “truly understand how much” we’re paying for travel.

Comments

Rob Hyndman's picture
Rob Hyndman on November 4, 2005 - 00:10

A new Ontario law will require more prominent disclosure, but Air Canada is federally regulated and therefore exempt. The Federal Government is looking at this also, so expect developments in due course, which means, essentially, on the other side of roughly forever.

Fed details here: http://cmcweb.ca/epic/internet…

Alan Wilson's picture
Alan Wilson on April 17, 2008 - 02:49

You are slightly out of date with your 30% surcharge. Cost of flight from Vancouver to Osaka on A/C’s website — April 2008? $398. Fuel Surcharge? $360. How’s that for a 90% fuel surcharge. Pretty soon we’ll be paying directly for the fuel and there’ll be a “Ticket Surcharge”.

JOSEPH SHEMESH's picture
JOSEPH SHEMESH on May 23, 2008 - 21:22

I REDEMMED POINTS FOR A TICKET WITH AREOPLAN AND WAS CHARGED $290 when fuel is part of the ticket, CANNOT UNDERSTAND WHY YOU WOULD CHARGE A SURCHARGE WHEN IT IS PART OF A TICKET. MY TICKET IS DUE FOR THE END OF NOVEMBER WHY DID THEY TAKE ALL TAXES IN ADVANCE,

Anon's picture
Anon on November 13, 2009 - 19:31

AC’s fuel surcharge actually represents 85% of the airlines fuel cost on the flight

From AC’s 2009Q3; http://www.aircanada.com/en/ab…

Cost per Available Seat Mile (CASM): 15.4c
Cost per Available Seat Mile (excluding fuel): 11.3c
Fuel Cost per Available Seat Mile: 4.1c

From a sample booking on the AC website, Nov 6/09 for YYZ-LHR-YYZ

Distance: 7112 miles
Fuel Surcharge: $248.00
Fuel Surcharge/mile: 3.48c/mile

Fuel Surcharge as percentage of actual total fuel cost: 84.8%

Ryan's picture
Ryan on March 16, 2011 - 16:49

I was just checking the Air Canada seat sale from YUL-CDG. The base fare was $398, with a fuel surcharge of $340. Total price $890.13. Ridiculous!

Marco P's picture
Marco P on April 3, 2011 - 20:23

Same as Ryan. I received an email promotion AC was offering flights to Paris “starting from $398”. Indeed they were, except they added $340 fule surcharge and another $100 in various other fees, for a total of $468 surcharge. In other words, more than double the ticket price for a total of $868. ARE THEY KIDDING???!!!!!

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