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Carrier Imposed Surcharges

Back in the mid-noughties, the cost of fuel and so jet fuel, went up significantly and being priced in Dollars, airlines felt that they needed to make a fare adjustment to accommodate these increases. Not unreasonable, one may argue. This amount appeared on tickets as a YR or YQ charge. The amount went from being relatively small to not leaving you much change from £350.

Fuel prices then went down. There was talk of "hedging" prices so there could be a bit of a run-on of fuel surcharges and then, having found out that this was a rather handy way of accommodating increased revenue (with the added benefit of not being reflected in any frequent flyer miles) the YQ/ YR charge suddenly changed its name to "Carrier Imposed Surcharges"

Well, what are they? Thing is, we do not know. Delta, on their website, helpfully list the taxes and charges here and this is a very clear and constructive page, until you come to the bit about Carrier imposed Charges (CIC's) which is described as "... charges stated separately from the base fares" IATA will helpfully, provide you with a complete list of Ticket and Airport Taxes and Fees, so you can analyse out what are true taxes and airport charges, which is available as a download, as long as you are happy to part with $4,049.00

It should be reasonable to assume that the cost of fueling an aircraft, paying airports to use their runways and terminals, for security, for the cost of baggage handling and ground crews, for having a pilot and crew on board an aircraft and so forth are simply the costs of "doing business" and therefore, should be included in the base fare. One can accept that the government of a particular country may impose charges and it is (arguably) acceptable that these may be shown separately; but even those charges could, again, equally be considered as part of "doing business".

In an age where we seek transparency, is it still acceptable to permit such a blatant scheme to mask from an advertised fare, costs and charges which are, for the consumer, obligatory? In fairness (and with due credit) Air France, RyanAir and other airlines do market inclusive, "final" fares - that is, the amount the "Man on the Clapham Omnibus" may reasonably expect to actually see charged to him, before the addition of any "optional extras" that one may wish to add - a specific seat reservation or a hold bag for example (that said, expect another post on that particular subject soon).

However, using tax and charge exclusive fares as clickbait does seem to be a little out of pace with the modern world. Perhaps it is time for such regulatory bodies to examine how airlines may show true taxes; and if charges have crept in, which do not give the consumer a fair price picture, then the practice should be subject to close consideration and investigation.

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