SeatSpy: A tool for finding non-stop awards. Why is that useful?

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SeatSpy makes it easy to find award seats for selected non-stop routes. Pictured here is Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class Suite on their A350 aircraft.

SeatSpy is a tool for finding awards on select airlines.  The tool is quick and displays a full year of results all at once.  Plus, if you don’t find what you want, you can setup an alert.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that it only supports non-stop flights and only a limited collection of airlines (13 at the time of writing).  This post was originally written years ago and so I spent most of the day yesterday digging into this tool to determine its strengths and weaknesses.  I decided that the best way to present the results is by discussing how the tool can be best used for each supported airline.  The next section “What is SeatSpy good for?” is all new.  The rest of the post has only been lightly updated since last publication.

What is SeatSpy good for?

SeatSpy works differently with each airline it supports and so I’ve covered each airline or combination of airlines separately below:

Air France & KLM

Air France & KLM dynamically prices awards.  As a result, SeatSpy shows that awards are available almost every day.  That’s not very useful since the awards will be overpriced on most of those days.  Fortunately SeatSpy has added a slider bar that lets you set the maximum number of points of interest.  Here, for example, I limited my search results to Air France business class awards that cost less than 84K one way.  By doing so, I could quickly find the dates with reasonably priced business class awards between San Francisco and Paris:

Unfortunately, when setting up Air France or KLM alerts, you cannot specify the maximum points and so alerts are likely to return too many results.

Sometimes the best way to book Air France or KLM flights is with partner Virgin Atlantic miles.  Unfortunately, Air France and KLM do not release the same award space to partners as they do for their own members and so you can’t rely on SeatSpy results to show you when you can book Air France or KLM with Virgin Atlantic miles.

Air France & KLM Summary:

  • Use SeatSpy to find good award prices on Air France or KLM flights using Air France / KLM Flying Blue miles.
  • Don’t use SeatSpy alerts with Air France or KLM flights because you cannot limit the maximum number of points of interest when setting up your alerts.
  • Don’t use SeatSpy to find Air France or KLM awards bookable with partner airline miles (such as Virgin Atlantic miles).

American Airlines

Like Air France, American Airlines dynamically prices awards (these are called “Web Special awards”).  As a result, SeatSpy shows that awards are available almost every day.  That’s not very useful since the awards will be overpriced on most of those days.  Fortunately SeatSpy the slider bar that lets you set the maximum number of points of interest, plus they’ve added a few checkboxes just for AA search results: Include MileSAAver; Include all Web Special; Only Web Specials cheaper than MileSAAver.  If you really want to book your AA flight with partner miles (i.e. you want to book the AA flights with BA Avios, or Alaska miles, or Cathay Pacific miles, etc.), then you’ll want to look only for MileSAAver awards.  I’ll warn you in advance: these are few and far between.  If you plan to pay with AA miles, though, it’s fine to look for Web Specials.  Use the max points slider to find reasonably priced awards.

One problem with AA award searches is that SeatSpy sometimes includes flights on partner airlines when they fly the same route.  For example, if you search Chicago to London, you’ll find tons of SAAver award availability, but mostly on British Airways flights, not on AA.  This is a problem because British Airways adds huge carrier imposed surcharges to these awards (even when booking with AA miles).

Another problem with using SeatSpy with AA is with alerts.  When setting up AA alerts, you cannot specify the maximum points, nor are you able to specify that you’re only interested in MileSAAver awards.  As a result, almost all dates and routes return results.  I find AA alerts to be almost completely useless.

American Airlines Summary:

  • Use SeatSpy to find good award prices on AA flights using AA miles.
  • Use SeatSpy to find AA MileSAAver awards that are bookable with partner miles.
  • Watch out for routes that are served by British Airways in addition to AA because SeatSpy won’t limit results to only AA (and British Airways flights usually incur large cash surcharges).
  • Don’t use SeatSpy alerts with AA flights because you cannot limit the maximum number of points of interest or limit to MileSAAver awards when setting up your alerts.

British Airways

SeatSpy was originally made specifically for British Airways awards and it continues to work well for that purpose.  With SeatSpy you can instantly see a year of award availability for any British Airways route and for all cabins of service.  British Airways does not have dynamic award pricing and so the existence of an award is actually meaningful.  Additionally, British Airways doesn’t differentiate between awards available to its own members and awards bookable with partner miles.  That’s great because you can use SeatSpy to find these awards even if you plan to book with partner miles (FYI: Cathay Pacific Asia Miles sometimes charges less in surcharges for BA awards).

Another great thing is that British Airways doesn’t differentiate between award space and upgrade availability.  As a result, SeatSpy can be used to find upgradeable flights.  For example, suppose you want to buy a premium economy ticket and then use Avios to upgrade to business class.  You can use SeatSpy to find business class award availability before buying your ticket (but I always recommend double checking availability with the carrier before you make any purchases).

British Airways Summary:

  • Use SeatSpy to find award availability regardless of whether you plan to book with British Airways Avios or with partner miles.
  • Use SeatSpy to find upgrade space (since it’s the same as award space with BA)
  • Don’t forget that British Airways imposes very large surcharges on business and first class flights and so just because an award is available doesn’t mean that it’s a good deal!

Etihad Airways

Etihad Guest Sweet Spots
Etihad First Class Apartment.  Unfortunately at the time of this writing Etihad has not yet brought these back into service.  Also, unfortunately, SeatSpy’s support for Etihad seems to be broken anyway.

Unfortunately during my testing SeatSpy’s Etihad award search was broken.  Every time it returned zero results even on routes where I separately confirmed that awards were available.  If SeatSpy fixes this issue and if Etihad brings back their A380 flights, then SeatSpy will be awesome for finding award availability for Etihad’s First Class Apartments.

Miles & More (Austrian, Brussels, Croatia, LOT Polish, Lufthansa, Swiss)

A number of airlines supported by SeatSpy share the Miles & More loyalty program.  These include: Austrian, Brussels, Croatia, LOT Polish, Lufthansa, and Swiss.  If you have Miles & More miles, then SeatSpy could be very useful for finding award space to use those miles.  Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a one to one correspondence between award availability to those with Miles & More miles and to partner airlines.  So, for example, if you were hoping to book flights on these airlines with United, Avianca, or Air Canada miles, SeatSpy isn’t helpful for finding the required partner availability.

Miles & More Summary:

  • Use SeatSpy to find award availability for any of these airlines as long as you plan to book with Miles & More miles.
  • Don’t use SeatSpy to find awards bookable with partner airline miles (such as United, Air Canada, or Avianca)

United Airlines

In my opinion, United Airlines is the key to SeatSpy’s usefulness.  SeatSpy only shows United saver awards.  This is awesome because these are awards that are bookable with United’s partners, and some partners offer incredible bargains for booking United flights.  For example, you can use Turkish Airlines miles to fly from anywhere in the U.S. to Hawaii for only 7,500 points one-way in economy or 12,500 miles in business class.  Or you could use ANA miles to fly to South Africa in business class for only 104,000 miles round-trip.  The problem is that United is very stingy with releasing business class awards.  Fortunately, SeatSpy’s alerts can be used to help.  For example, use SeatSpy to get alerted to business class availability on routes like these:

  • Newark to Honolulu
  • Newark or Washington DC to Cape Town, South Africa
  • San Francisco to Auckland, New Zealand
  • Houston to Sydney, Australia

United Airlines Summary:

  • Use SeatSpy to find award availability for flying United even if you want to book with a partner airline’s miles.
  • Use SeatSpy alerts to find and snag otherwise impossible to get United award flights.

Virgin Atlantic

With SeatSpy you can quickly see a year of award availability for any Virgin Atlantic route and for all cabins of service.  Like British Airways, Virgin Atlantic does not have dynamic award pricing and so the existence of an award is actually meaningful.  Unfortunately, Virgin Atlantic makes more awards available to its own members than to partners and so SeatSpy can’t be relied upon to find Virgin Atlantic awards bookable with partners like Air France or Delta.

Like British Airways, Virgin Atlantic doesn’t differentiate between award space and upgrade availability.  As a result, SeatSpy can be used to find upgradeable flights.  For example, suppose you want to buy a premium economy ticket and then use Virgin Atlantic points to upgrade to business class.  You can use SeatSpy to find business class award availability before buying your ticket (but I always recommend double checking availability with the carrier before you make any purchases).

Virgin Atlantic Summary:

  • Use SeatSpy to find award availability for booking with Virgin Atlantic points.
  • Use SeatSpy to find upgrade space (since it’s the same as award space with Virgin Atlantic)
  • Don’t rely on SeatSpy to find Virgin Atlantic awards bookable with partner miles (such as Air France / KLM Flying Blue or Delta SkyMiles)
  • Don’t forget that Virgin Atlantic imposes very large surcharges on business and first class flights and so just because an award is available doesn’t mean that it’s a good deal!

SeatSpy Pricing

SeatSpy is free for economy award searches, but you'll have to pay to search for premium awards or to receive alerts.  Here are the pricing details:

SeatSpy offers a "Cancel Subscription" button within their website so it is very easy to cancel if you decide that it's not worth the cost.
Note: Frequent Miler has an affiliate relationship with SeatSpy. If you click through from our site to sign up, we will earn a small commission.

Using SeatSpy

Basic SeatSpy Search

Browse to SeatSpy.com, choose which airline you want to search, and then enter your search criteria.  Once you click the Search button, a full year of results usually appears very quickly.  I can’t stress enough how nice that is.  Most other award search tools show at most 7 days of results, but a few tools do show a month at a time.  With SeatSpy, you’ll see a full year’s results:

Modify SeatSpy Search Criteria

SeatSpy allows you to deselect cabin classes that you’re not interested in.  You can also select the maximum number of points you’re interested in seeing.  This is especially useful with AA, Air France, and KLM where awards are dynamically priced.  Additionally, with some airlines (British Airways and Virgin Atlantic), you can select whether to see only Peak or only Off-Peak awards.

View Seats Available

Within the search results, simply click on any date of interest to see how many seats are available in each cabin class.  Note that if you see 9 seats available, there may actually be more than 9.

Example US to Africa award search

The following example was written back when SeatSpy supported only British Airways and Virgin Atlantic searches.

I was curious whether SeatSpy could help me find a desirable award flying 2 adults in business or first class from New York City to South Africa in October for a two-week trip.  To make things more difficult, I decided that I would fly into Johannesburg but return from Cape Town.

All Virgin Atlantic and British Airways flights route through England, so with either airline we would be routed through London.

SeatSpy doesn’t allow searching for itineraries with connections, so I searched separately for each leg.  For example, I searched NYC to London, London to Johannesburg, Cape Town to London, and London to NYC.  I ran these searches with both Virgin Atlantic and British Airways.

For some reason SeatSpy allows searching from New York City area airports (JFK, EWR, LGA) all at once for British Airways, but requires separate searches with Virgin Atlantic.  So, for Virgin Atlantic, I searched both JFK-LHR and EWR-LHR for both the outbound flights and the return.

Outbound: New York to London

New York City to London award availability. From left to right: (1) British Airways availability in business (green) and first class (red). (2) Virgin Atlantic Upper Class (business) from JFK to London. (3) Virgin Atlantic Upper Class (business) availability from Newark to London.

SeatSpy shows that business class awards from New York to London are wide open in October for 2 adults.  Plenty of Virgin Atlantic awards are available too, but not nearly as many as British Airways offers.

Outbound: London to Johannesburg

London to Johannesburg award availability. From left to right: (1) British Airways availability in business (green) and first class (red). (2) Virgin Atlantic Upper Class (business).

As you can see above, far fewer award flights are available from London to Johannesburg in October.  Since Virgin Atlantic awards are only available at the end of the month and I want a two week trip within October, I knew at a glance that I’d have to rely on British Airways for the outbound flights.

Via multiple websites, I confirmed SeatSpy’s results: at least two business class seats were available departing New York on October 5th and departing London on October 6th.

  • BA: 112.5K Avios + $ 1,027
  • AA: 75K per person + $1,027
  • Cathay: 90K per person + $606

Unfortunately, British Airways imposes ridiculous taxes and fees on their flights, especially in premium cabins.  You can save points by booking these flights with AA miles, but you’ll still pay over $1,000 in taxes per person.  A better option is to book with Cathay Pacific Asia Miles for 90,000 miles plus approximately $606 per person.

Important: there are better and cheaper ways to get from the US to Africa in business class than by flying Virgin Atlantic or British Airways.  This experiment was really designed to see how easy it was to use SeatSpy on a real world example.  It is not a tool for finding the best award deal available.  For that you may want to check out Juicy Miles.  Also check out our in-depth post: Best ways to get to Africa using miles.

Return: Cape Town to London

Cape Town to London award availability. From left to right: (1) British Airways availability in business (green) and first class (red). (2) Virgin Atlantic Upper Class (business).

Return: London to New York

London to New York City award availability. From left to right: (1) British Airways availability in business (green) and first class (red). (2) Virgin Atlantic Upper Class (business) from London to JFK. (3) Virgin Atlantic Upper Class (business) availability from London to Newark.

To keep things interesting, I decided to pick Virgin Atlantic for the return flights since there was a Virgin Atlantic flight conveniently available on October 26th to London and then from London to New York on October 27th.

To find this combination, I had to search for each flight separately on Virgin Atlantic’s website:

At the time of this writing, 4,402.93 Rand is equivalent to approximately $290 USD
At the time of this writing, 452.46 GBP is equivalent to approximately $585 USD.
  • Virgin: 105K plus $875
  • Air France: 145.5K plus $713
    • CPT-LHR: 86.5K plus $193
    • LHR-JFK 59K plus $520
  • Delta: 145K plus $378

Unfortunately, like British Airways, Virgin Atlantic imposes huge fuel surcharges on award flights, especially in Upper Class and especially on flights from or to London.  Air France charges more miles for the same Virgin Atlantic flights, but slightly lower fuel surcharges.  The sweet-spot is to pay 145,000 Delta miles with just $378 in taxes per person (Note that since this was originally written Delta has drastically increased partner award prices and so I expect that this result will no longer hold true).

Important: there are better and cheaper ways to get from the Africa to the US in business class than by flying Virgin Atlantic or British Airways.  In fact, when I searched Delta for the above Virgin Atlantic awards, I came across cheaper options for flying Air France (not shown).  This experiment was really designed to see how easy it was to use SeatSpy on a real world example.  It is not a tool for finding the best award deal available.  For that you may want to check out Point.me.  Also check out our in-depth post: Best ways to get to Africa using miles.

Use SeatSpy to find suite seats

One reason to use SeatSpy is to try out British Airways and Virgin Atlantic’s new suites.  These are business class seats that are marketed as suites due to having extra privacy. If you’ve been eager to try these out, SeatSpy makes it easy…

British Airways’ Club Suite

British Airways offers their Club Suites in business class on all of their A350 and 787-10 aircraft.  Additionally, they have reconfigured some of their 777 aircraft with these new seats.  This post is a good resource for finding the routes that offer the new Club Suites.

Once you’ve picked out a route, use SeatSpy to find award availability and then double check on BA.com that the specific flight numbers you’re looking for are available as awards.  With that done, compare award prices across BA, AA, Cathay Pacific, and Iberia to try to find the award requiring the fewest points and lowest fees.

Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class Suite

Virgin Atlantic’s new Upper Class Suites are available only on their A350 aircraft.  For US based flyers, this includes flights between London and JFK, and soon between London and both San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Using SeatSpy, I see that plenty of business class award space is available from JFK to London.  Here’s just the next few months:

Using Virgin Atlantic’s website, I easily confirmed that award space was available on a date I randomly picked: March 9th.

As you can see above, the 10PM flight is available to book as an award in Upper Class (business class).  Also, there’s a little indicator showing that this is a “New Plane” (e.g. A350).  To double check, I clicked on the Details link and saw that it was indeed an A350.  This means that Upper Class will feature the new suite.

47,500 miles is a great price for this flight, but $675 in fees is excessive.  Delta charges far less in fees, but far more in miles: 160,000 miles + $5.60.

Air France strikes the best middle ground.  For this flight, Air France currently charges 60K miles plus $205 in fees:

Greg’s take on SeatSpy

SeatSpy is NOT a general purpose award search tool.  It only searches for awards with specific airlines and only for non-stop flights.  Still, if you have a non-stop route you want to fly and if SeatSpy supports your preferred airline, then no other tool will show you results so quickly and completely.  I love its full year display, its quick results, and its ability to set alerts.  SeatSpy’s alert function is an awesome way to find hard to get awards, especially with United Airlines.  Unfortunately, with some airlines like American Airlines, Air France, and KLM, the alert function is useless because SeatSpy doesn’t differentiate between saver awards and much more expensive dynamically priced awards.

SeatSpy definitely isn’t for everybody, but if you have a need that it meets, it might be for you.

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Dick Bupkiss

Just another bottom-feeder scam artist reaching into your pocket. I don’t need or want some idiot charging me to redeem my awards. These kinds of “services” are a ripoff and they are bad for everyone (except the self-enriching scam artists themselves). Please stop enabling and promoting them.

Lee

I’ve been using Seat Spy since you first reported it. It’s a great tool. Thank you for highlighting it. One challenge is when trying to do a partner redemption and the partner airline doesn’t see the award availability or only sees certain flights on a route but not all. It might be that the award inventory is in fact not yet released to partners. Or, it might be the same old IT connectivity issue that we all know about. For example, the AA JFK to LAX Flagship route. Rarely does award inventory show up on BA. If it does, it’s the 6am flight or something like that.

Peter

Great info. Was hoping for the points slider (IT-wise seemed so simple)!

One observation I’ve made with SeatSpy AA searches for short haul domestic is Web Specials can “hide” SAAver awards (a given flight can be both).

You might say check the box for Web Specials cheaper than SAAver but some of these flights require less BA Avios (T or U inventory) than AA miles (Web Special). Confirmed this for same flights on AA and BA websites.

Peter

Hi Greg. SeatSpy does not show SAAver availability for flights are but that also have Web Specials.
When on AA you can see in flight “Details” that it is both T (SAAver) and a Web Special. I can book this flight with BA Avios.

Peter

Sorry for typos. If an AA flight is BOTH SAAver and Web Special, SeatSpy will only display it as a Web Special. Therefore SeatSpy does not correctly show ALL SAAver flights.

I’m finding the same AA flight can cost less BA Avios (for a SAAver award) than AA Miles (at their Web Special rate).

LivelyFL

Sorry if this is a dumb question but what search software does FM consider to be the best for award searches (top 3 best)?

Frank

I just bought a subscription, first try was AA DFW-AMS, shows business class for 2 at $57K plus $12. Then I go to AA and it’s 300,000 miles for that trip !!

Next I tried a different date, same results on Seatspy but on AA it is 57.5K miles, but over $700 in fees, not the $12 SeatSpy says.

Is this a sick joke?

Of course there seems to be no support either. I will give them a day and then complain to AMEX.

Josh

Any idea what plans they have for experiences eg hotel rewards that’s supposedly coming soon?

paul5795

SeatSpy was interesting to me with it search function for BA, Flying Club, and Flying Blue, as I occasionally book award flights with those three FF programs. But it was not worth paying for SeatSpy based only on those programs. The addition of award searches for United and American, however, potentially make SeatSpy a game-changing program! I checked out several routes on SeatSpy for both United and American, and then spotchecked the award availability dates on the United and American websites. All good! So I then I signed up for a paid subscription this morning. Many thanks for being the best travel blogger on the internet!

quasimodo

I went to upgrade (Had a trial account from last year) and it wants to charge me 2.50 GBP/mo, not 2.50 USD/mo.

paul5795

Bummer.

This morning SeatSpy charged me in dollars, not pounds.

quasimodo

contacted SS…said was limitation of Stripe – payment processor. But they said I can resign up with new account/diff email. That’s what I’ll do.

Justmeha

Besides price what did seat sorry have on expert flyer?

quasimodo

from tpg

It’s a great complement to EF (which is owned by TPG’s parent company, Red Ventures), as it shows you real-time prices instead of just whether a flight is available.

Expert Flyer interface not as clean….but a lot more airlines/functionality. If SeatSpy can continue to add more airlines.. it’ll be awesome. Signed up last year for the trial, never used it — as the airlines in question I seldom to never fly. But now that AA & United are there.

Last edited 1 year ago by quasimodo
quasimodo

I’d say AA does not work. Just searched DFW-GRU on Business. SeatSpy shows ZERO availability. AA.com shows plenty

Matt

Check the “include all web special” box

quasimodo

thanks. Got it. two lashings for my incompetence.

quasimodo

Thanks for the clarification. yes, I did read that non-stop part, but that didn’t translate in my brain. Got it to work now. Maybe I shall resubscribe. An extra two lashings on my back for my tomfoolery.

Darin

I’m assuming that their tool is looking for “C” availability on AA (standard business class awards), when AA is now regularly not making space available there while booking web specials into “J” at lower redemption levels… which makes this tool not so useful for AA.

Darin

Oops, I meant “U” (Saver Award inventory), not “C” (upgrade inventory). But same issue, if there are web specials, tools like this and Expert Flyer won’t find them.

Matt

It does find web specials, look at my comment above

Darin

That’s great then, didn’t see your comment before I posted. That makes this much more useful despite some other limitations.

Sco

I see in the example that they mark “peak” and “off-peak” pricing. What does this mean now that United got rid of their award chart? Also, how does this treat AA web specials?

TravelBloggerBuzz

Pass….until they work on fixing the bugs 🙂

TravelBloggerBuzz

Oh wait…I thought I was responding to your comment earlier…and then I realized your comment is there from 11 months ago. Maybe they fixed it by now? 🙂

tim

I assume though that AA’s use of married segments for awards isn’t addressed though with this site? I.e. AA is showing coach availability for DCA-ORD-LAX on the date in May I need to travel, but not for the same ORD-LAX nonstop. Thanks Greg 🙂

john

Any idea if the United availability is showing normal or assuming you have a cc?

Nick Reyes

I can’t imagine anyone would build an award search tool that assumes that all customers using the tool have a specific credit card (and I would be less likely yet to expect that in this case since SeatSpy is a European company). I think it’s just normal United availability.

[…] But if you’re feeling more confident and/or Virgin Atlantic fits your needs or interest the best, it obviously makes more sense to book while rates are reduced. Keep in mind that Virgin Atlantic partners with most major transferable currencies, so it is very easy to put together the points for an award. Also keep in mind that you can use SeatSpy to look at an entire year of availability at a quick glance. […]

[…] free tool for finding awards on British Airways and Virgin Atlantic operated flights.  See this post for full details.United.com: This one is pretty good for finding awards across most Star Alliance carriersBA.com: […]

Kalboz

After several warnings that “last chance to grab a Founder membership” last month, I finally “grabbed” a $3.63/month membership. Apparently, it’s no longer “Founder membership” but still $3.63/month. No biggie if it’s useful, right?

No flights can be searched or placed on alert that departs from my home airport (LAX) other that to or from LON, CDG, PPT, AMS and MAN. So how do you manage if you want to redeem to Asia? Do two redemptions? One to one of these cities and the second from there to your destination?

Any assistance will be greatly appreciated.

Raffles

It always amuses me to see that BA Club Suite picture because I know the woman in it, who works for the British Airways press office!

Vlad

At least for airlines like AF, a binary true/false for availability isn’t useful. AF typically has some award space on most routes, but since they switched to dynamic pricing you could be looking at 200K miles each way. IMO to make this tool actually useful, they need to include a filter for the number of miles required for something to show up in the results.

[…] promising tool called SeatSpy, which instantly shows a year of award availability at a time (See: SeatSpy: An awesome tool for finding BA and Virgin award flights). The currently usefulness for US-based flyers has been limited because they began with award […]

TimmyD

Are there any situations with any mileage program that you can use either of these carriers without large surcharges? I’m not talking about short haul.

Lantean

Hmmmm… I picked a random date, June 25.
SeatSpy is showing 9 BA F seats NYC-LON… but BA is not showing any, neither is AA.
What am i doing wrong?
Thanks

Lantean

Yeah you’re right. It seems like if it shows 9 seats then it’s a glitch and nothing is available.
So not so useful after all sadly.

Stephen

Hi, I look after the SeatSpy site and I can see on BAs results that they are reporting availability in First class on that date. Here is a link to a screengrab: https://imgur.com/a/5YPV6Yf

DaveS

I appreciate that this is a review of the SeatSpy service, and it has merit for that reason, but as you note I too hope the concept will be expanded to focus on airlines a person might actually want to redeem tickets on. Because of the utterly insane carrier imposed surcharges, BA miles on BA flights are of very little value. Sometimes you can redeem with actual negative value.

One suggestion: Let’s all please stop referring to these scam fees as “fuel” surcharges. They are not connected to fuel. That was originally a euphemism the airlines invented to make the fees look palatable to the public, but the airlines themselves are not allowed to use the term anymore. I think a well regarded site like this one could take the lead in inventing a new term that will be immediately recognizable to readers and not play into the hands of the guilty airlines. “Carrier imposed surcharges” is a bit bulky and not terribly descriptive. My choice of “scam charges” may be too judgmental for general use. There has to be a better term.

CaveDweller

I don’t care what they call anything homeless tax, poor people tax .HC helping tax .I look @ the total price then click . I paid to much on fees home from ATH but I wanted to use those points and save the other ones . I was shocked and the hotel was laughing I had to pay $16 taxes on $100 room fees in Hawaii . As in who’s running that state and pricing people OUT ?
CHEERs