All Nippon Airways (ANA) will be increasing fuel surcharges even further for bookings as of October 2022, which isn’t great news for those booking award travel to & from Japan through many frequent flyer programs. I find the timing of this to be really suspicious, especially with Japan finally reopening its borders.
All Nippon Airways hikes fuel surcharges
Japanese Star Alliance carrier ANA will be updating its fuel surcharges for bookings made as of October 1, 2022, and it’s not good news. With this change, a flight from the United States to Japan will have $434 in fuel surcharges one-way, regardless of the cabin you’re traveling in (which is unusual, because most airlines have higher fuel surcharges in premium cabins).
Below is a chart showing the fuel surcharges for travel originating outside of Japan for bookings as of October 1, 2022.
For context, below are the fuel surcharges for travel originating outside of Japan for bookings through September 30, 2022.
Through early 2022, ANA virtually had no fuel surcharges, but since then, we’ve seen increase after increase (this is at least the fifth increase we’ve seen this year). I at least respect that ANA’s fuel surcharges have reflected the reality of oil prices… until now.
What am I missing? Oil prices have dropped considerably since their peak, yet ANA just keeps raising and raising fuel surcharges. Can anyone make sense of that, other than thinking that the airline is trying to compensate for the devalued JPY, and perhaps trying to take advantage of the tourism boom that’s about to happen?
I also get that Russian airspace closures have meant that ANA has been operating some circuitous routings, but that has been the case for many months now.
What are fuel surcharges, anyway?
For those of you not familiar with the concept of fuel surcharges, these are fees that airlines have been charging for years on tickets. They were introduced when oil prices were high many years ago as a temporary measure, but for most airlines have never been eliminated.
Obviously that’s very convenient on their part — airlines add fees when costs go up, but rarely eliminate them when costs go down. ANA at least deserves credit for historically not having terribly high fees, and adjusting them somewhat to reflect oil prices. At least that was the case until now.
What are the implications of ANA increasing surcharges?
With ANA increasing fuel surcharges on most itineraries, what does that actually mean for consumers? Will tickets now be more expensive? Not necessarily.
For years airlines in most regions have had to advertise “all-in” pricing, meaning the pricing you see from an airline includes all taxes, fees, and (fuel) surcharges. Therefore for revenue tickets, when an airline raises fuel surcharges, the base fare generally decreases proportionally (though with fees this high, it does essentially create a minimum fare you’ll be charged in various markets).
For OMAAT readers the biggest implications are for award tickets, specifically with the programs that do pass on fuel surcharges to consumers:
- This doesn’t impact ANA awards through Air Canada Aeroplan, Avianca LifeMiles, or United MileagePlus, since those programs don’t pass on fuel surcharges on these awards
- This does impact ANA awards through All Nippon Airways Mileage Club and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, since those programs do pass on fuel surcharges
The best way to book All Nippon Airways first & business class awards continues to be through Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, given the exceptionally low award pricing:
- Business class awards between the US mainland or Europe and Japan cost 45,000-47,500 points one-way
- First class awards between the US mainland or Europe and Japan cost 55,000-60,000 points one-way
Unfortunately the value of that will get significantly worse shortly, as you’re looking at $434 in fuel surcharges alone, and that doesn’t even account for taxes and other fees.
All Nippon Airways will once again be significantly increasing fuel surcharges as of October 1, 2022. ANA had more or less eliminated these until early 2022, and then increased them to reflect higher oil prices. At least that was the case until now — I’m not sure how ANA can justify increasing fuel surcharges while oil prices are decreasing.
The biggest implication here is for those redeeming points, particularly through programs like All Nippon Airways Mileage Club and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, which do pass on these fees.
What do you make of All Nippon Airways increasing surcharges?