With fuel prices soaring around the world, it’s only a matter of time before the cost of airfare follows suit, a Frommer’s report this week postulated. “The widespread arrival of fuel charges for travel in 2022 seems imminent,” he predicted.
The outlet advised consumers to buy their plane tickets for their summer trips as soon as possible or risk facing inflated fares as the season approaches. Part of this assumption was based on reports that the Thai Airlines Association, which represents seven Southeast Asian airlines, had asked government regulators for permission to add fuel surcharges to the cost of domestic flights in Thailand. Private aviation company Wheels Up also announced that it would start adding fuel surcharges on April 9, due to rising fuel costs.
Frommer’s argued that this should be the start of an industry-wide trend, as gas prices continue to hit record highs almost daily due to Russia’s war on disruption by the Ukraine from the world’s crude oil supply. And, with the future so uncertain, would-be travelers would do well to book their air travel now before the costs soar even higher.
“People need to realize that the longer they leave it, the more likely they are to have a fuel surcharge on their plane ticket,” aviation data analyst John Grant told BBC World News on March 11.
While global tourism seemed on the road to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, its rebound was derailed by Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing war. Not only does this affect international travelers’ willingness to visit neighboring Europe and parts of the Middle East, but the situation also impacts places like Southeast Asia, where Russian tourists typically vacation. .
Russian tourists and the income they generally generate will be conspicuously absent from preferred destinations like Phuket and Bali, due to external sanctions and airspace restrictions imposed on Russia by the rest of the world. While the resulting drop in demand for air travel could drive down base air fares, soaring oil prices will eventually drive up costs, Frommer posited.
If airlines start imposing fuel surcharges on customers to offset expenses, travelers may not even realize the charges have been added because they are bundled with all the other taxes and surcharges typically added to the purchase of their ticket. On international flight bookings, fuel surcharges can add up to several hundred dollars of the total ticket price. And, historically, once fuel surcharges are instituted, they tend to stay in place even after fuel prices drop.
The record cost of gasoline may also affect other aspects of travelers’ travel, including tours, cruises and various modes of ground transportation. Various tour operators, including Collette, Globus, Kensington Tours, Tauck and Trafalgar, said Weekly trip that they do not plan to add fuel surcharges and that their 2022 and 2023 prices are already locked in.
Kensington Tours chairman Helen Giontsis said: “We hope to be able to maintain these prices despite the fuel increase. We would not consider adding a fuel surcharge as a pricing tactic. She added: “In the event that gas prices remain very high for an extended period of time, this will affect our approach to country-by-country pricing in the long term.”