Whew, there is much talk lately about rising fares due to increased fuel surcharges.
The bad news is that you have to pay this fuel surcharge no matter which carrier you use or which booking engine you use.
The good news is that you can avoid paying the fuel surcharge by not flying.
But wait, there is another way…
If I have said it once, well, I will say it again. FlyerTalk is one of the best, if not the single best, online resource for do-it-yourself travel planners to learn how to save money on travel.
Consider those message boards–along with most of my prior posts–to be beginner to intermediate level discussions.
Why is this post called Air Travel 504?
Because this is the Graduate course. This topic will not be of interest to everyone. This is a very specialized and complicated topic.
Master it and you will be a lean, mean, airfare booking machine.
This is an independent study course using only one reference source.
The one source is a specific FlyerTalk thread . Currently 1198 pages and almost 18,000 posts it is called Trick It / Negotiate It / Special Savings Lounge Thread.
In it, contributors find extremely complicated and rare anomalies in airline reservation systems, such as quirky fares that do include the fuel surcharge. You can realize huge savings since the current fuel surcharge on flights between US and Europe is over $450.
However, the contributors do not simply tell you how to get these circumvention fares. Everything in the thread is coded.
A crude example (my creation) post: FD from lazy airport to kid’s summer wet game via land of ice and fire only using Keanu’s engine.
This would mean you can find a fare without the fuel surcharge (FD=fuel dump) between Los Angeles (airport code is LAX) to Naples (actual name is Marco Polo) via Iceland (land of ice and fire). Flights via Iceland can be assumed to be on IcelandAir–so the carrier is implied in this case. Keanu’s engine would be Matrix, which is a commonly used booking engine by FTers.
One reason for the encryption is that once a deal is discovered and publicized, the airline quickly fixes the problem.
Another reason is by speaking in code, the information remains cryptic to outsiders.
Outsiders can become insiders. All you need to do is spend the time to understand the lingo and processes.
It is not easy. And it will take lots of time to decode the puzzles. YMMV, of course, depending on your cryptography skill set.
Even better, insiders can discover and share their own findings, which contribute to the overall group benefit.
What do you think? Are you ready? If so, are you interested?
By the way, ever notice that the airlines do not lower the fuel surcharge when oil prices decline?
Charles McCool is an independent consumer travel advocate.
© 2012, Charles McCool