Holiday air travel fees double in US, absent elsewhere

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The Independent Travel

In the past week most of the major US airlines have increased their surcharges for domestic flights during busy holidays to $20 (€14) each way, brazenly doubling the $10 (€7) fees which became widespread just last month.

In late September American Airlines became the first airline to explicitly charge a $10 (€7) premium each way for three days around Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. As expected, nearly every major US airline immediately followed suit.

Concurrently, the number of travel surcharge days went from three in winter to a total of 13 over the entire year.

Only US budget leaders Southwest and JetBlue have not added the surcharge and stated they are not planning to adopt such fees.

Surcharges are done on an airline by airline basis, but the holiday surcharge phonomenon seems to be only occurring in the US.

"We have not heard of these charges occurring in Europe," a spokesperson for Lufthansa told Relaxnews November 3. "Your fare depends on what day you travel, of course, but generally we have no plans to implement these kinds of extra fares."

Dates to expect a peak travel surcharge for travel in the US

November 29-30, 2009:   Weekend after Thanksgiving
December 19:                   Saturday before Christmas
December 26-27:             Weekend after Christmas
January 2-3, 2010:         Weekend after New Year's Day
March 14, 2010:               Sunday before many student spring breaks
March 20-21, 2010:          Weekend after many student spring breaks
March 28, 2010:               Palm Sunday, weekend before Easter
April 11, 2010:                 Sunday after Easter
May 28, 2010:                  Friday before Memorial Day