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US To Oz, Price Spike?

Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:08 am

Hey so the missus and I have been looking at going down under for a year or so now and I remember looking at prices in the $1000-1200 range not too long ago but now it seems I cant find anything under $1700. Have the prices spiked or am I just looking in the totally wrong timeframe (which is roughly end of March-early April).... Any input or how to get lower fares appreciated.

I do digress, I just looked and the fare is actually cheap ~$700 and the 'taxes' are ~$900.... seriously, I have never heard of taxes exceeding the fare, much less by this much?

[Edited 2014-01-14 00:11:58]
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RE: US To Oz, Price Spike?

Tue Jan 14, 2014 1:06 pm

I'm not sure I understand the taxes. Here are the normal tax breakdown for US - Australia

Australia Passenger Service Charge $22.70
U.S. Federal Transportation Tax $17.50
September 11th Security Fee $2.50
U.S. Passenger Facility Charge $4.50
U.S. APHIS User Fee $5.00
U.S. Immigration User Fee $7.00
U.S. Customs User Fee $5.50
Australia Passenger Movement Charge $49.30
Australia Passenger Service Charge $22.70
U.S. Federal Transportation Tax $17.50

Sometimes nonstop can be more expensive on the route. Going through HNL, NAN, AKL and even CAN, ICN, etc can save some money so look at onestop options depending on where you are flying from. $1700 sounds a bit high unless you are unflexible with dates and stops or are flying for Easter. March isn't high season, but loads tend to still be strong.
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RE: US To Oz, Price Spike?

Tue Jan 14, 2014 9:03 pm

The $900 in taxes very likely includes a carrier-imposed fuel surcharge. A lot of carriers do that with long-haul flights. I know that DL does it with European routes, but I haven't explored their Pacific pricing structure. This is why DL's new MQD requirement for elite qualification includes money spent on the "base fare and carrier-imposed surcharges."

If I do a dummy booking for SLC-CDG non-stop, leaving Jan 31 and returning Feb 5, the current price is $1179.60, of which labels $533 as the base fare and $646.60 as Taxes/Fees. But if you click the link for the detailed breakdown, $516 of the Taxes/Fees is the carrier-imposed international surcharge. The MQD earning on the ticket is $1049, or 533 + 516. So the "Taxes" aren't always what they seem. The money is going to the airline.

Interestingly, the full "Y" fare for the same flights is showing at $6797.60, but the taxes and fees are identical to the discount fare at $646.60. I'm no expert on ticket pricing, but it seems like the surcharge is consistent across fare classes, and might be a number that they have more flexibility to adjust with fuel price fluctuations. I've heard that there are tax advantages to unbundling the fare like this and keeping the base fare low.

[Edited 2014-01-14 13:16:50]

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