Fuel surcharge one day, gone the next...what's up?

August 10, 2011
Fares from Washington DC:

    Q. A couple of months ago I purchased a flight with Continental from Newark to Dublin leaving on Aug. 25 and returning on Sept. 6. The fare when purchased included a fuel surcharge of over $200. Today when I went to the Continental website and plugged in those dates for the same route there is no fuel surcharge added onto the price. Is this fuel surcharge dependent on whether it is applicable at the time the flight is purchased as opposed to the flight dates?

    A. It could be that Continental bundled the fuel surcharge into the total fare and isn't showing it separately, or it could be that the airline simply forgot to include it or eliminated it. We've seen several instances where airlines loaded new fares into their reservation systems and literally forgot to include the fuel surcharges, resulting in remarkably low fares, such as New York to Stockholm last spring for (we kid you not) $150 round-trip including all taxes on Delta Airlines.

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